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SHINSEKAI

Shinsekai

Eclectic Prog


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fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Back in 2006, Shinsekai astonished the world (or at least those who KNOW) with their album ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, which firmly put the "e" back in "eclectic"...

However, before they got to do so, they released this all-instrumental debut, which seems little more than a try-out. At just over 37 minutes, it's the kind of thing some of you might call a mini-album. But bear in mind it's actually longer than some of the most beloved classics of prog. Also note that it comes with an extra "sound sheet" which is supposed to contain an extra 6 minutes 43 seconds of music. The sheet looks like the kind of thing you can put on an old-fashioned record player, and since I do not possess one of those I can't actually hear it! A shame really, since the A-side apparently contains a track entitled "30 percent for nothing" (Now where did they get THAT idea?) and the B-side consists of "Cafe Sennichi- mae", which sounds intriguing, since the Sennichi-mae area is THE place in Osaka if you want hot noodles or sweet-potato based liquor...

Anyway, back to the main album! Let me quickly run through the main tracks. They're played by a quartet consisting of keyboards (vintage mellotron in particular), guitars/flute, bass and drums.

"1000 Days Before Part I" sounds like the opening riff from Yes's "Heart of the Sunrise" mixed with classic Robert Fripp-style electric mischief. It tells you nothing you haven't heard before but it sure whets the appetite for more. After that, the thoroughly conventional title track comes as a serious let- down. It moves from slow to fast (and back again) just a few times too many and is the kind of instrumental that most prog bands could play in their sleep. Fortunately, things start looking up once "OCAT" takes off. This contains a sweet melody, led by mellotron and gentle guitar arpeggios, with some highly convincing Bruford-style drumming; it could be a runaway track from King Crimson's RED, or at least from one of Anekdoten's best albums.

It's back to "Schizoid Man"-style madness on "All or Nothing", while Shinsekai get REALLY experimental on the strangely unhinged "Riviere of Life Part I", which sounds like nothing so much as that chaotic middle section from Yes's "Ritual: Nous Sommes du Soleil" (especially in its live incarnation). Hmmm... interesting, but do we really want to hear this OFTEN? (Perhaps not!) Things slow down for "Riviere of Life Part II", which is an instrumental, mainly for flute, mellotron and acoustic guitar - obviously inspired by "I Talk to the Wind" but far, FAR less memorable. When "Nishinari Skidrow" opens, and turns out to be yet another attempt to rewrite King Crimson's "Red" (something the great Fripp himself has had a few gos at!), all you probably want to do is fling the CD away in disgust. At least that's how I felt...

Final verdict: does one superb track ("Ocat") warrant purchase of this album? I leave it up to you. Meanwhile, please rest assured: there's quire a bit of far better music to be found on ALICE: THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS.

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Send comments to fuxi (BETA) | Report this review (#305758)
Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars Shinsekai was the moniker displayed by Japanese artist Yu Shimoda for his personal music, who mainly works as a sound creator for video games and TV series.Shimoda though was also a fan of 70's British Progressive Rock and for this reason he settled this Shinsekai project.His first self-titled album was released in 2005 on both the Japanese labels Fragile and Poseidon, helped by Masaru Teramae on guitars/flutes, Tadashi Teramae on drums and Akinobu Kajimoto on bass.

Easily enough one could limit Shimoda's love for Progressive Rock to the whole range of the different KING CRIMSON works during the 70's, borrowing elements from their first symphonic- inclined albums to the later more complex and chaotic works.Moreover his music draws obvious comparisons with early BI KYO RYAN, being a mix of powerful and complicated guitar- based Heavy Rock with Mellotron-drenched Progressive Rock.The result is a short album (about 37 minutes long) filled with eight very dynamic compositions, characterized mostly by the torture of Shimoda's Mellotron and the frenetic guitar exercises of Masaru Teramae and his evident ROBER FRIPP influence.The music remains highly adventurous throughout with maybe an excess of complexity regarding the compositions with chaotic guitar parts and complete Mellotron themes next to a very strong and effective rhythm section.Sometimes the atmosphere is very haunting and muddy, especially when the Shimoda's Mellotron takes over, but he also threw in a couple of more symphonic tracks with a less intricate sound and an overall elegant atmosphere with acoustic textures, Mellotron and flutes.

Interesting yet a bit unoriginal debut by Shinsekai, blending contemporary and vintage sounds in an often very attractive mix.Recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#849439)
Posted Saturday, November 03, 2012 | Review Permalink

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