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Flat 122 - The Waves CD (album) cover

THE WAVES

Flat 122

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Atavachron
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4 stars Still somewhat obscure Flat 122 is a Japanese trio doing wonderful things with progressive fusion, and their debut from 2005 is as good an album as any I've heard from the Land of the Rising Sun's underground music scene. Master pianist Takao Kawasaki leads Kiyotaka Tanabe [drums] and Satoshi Hirata [guitar] through a virtuosic fantasy of ever-changing rhythms, improvisations, textures and moods revealing the unmistakable brilliance of three players who know exactly what they're doing, whether it's with eastern fire or western jazz.

The fifteen-minute title is a delicious first course, full of explosive stuff centered around Takao Kawasaki's inspired piano lines. This is, in essence, jazz, and Flat 122 are true students of the form. Three players who are so good it is undeniable as they take apart and rebuild almost every genre of instrumental music known to man (and they had the sense to still make it musical instead of giving us some tiresome exhibition). 'Neo Classic Dance' is just as full of energy if more playful, recalling the animated work of American avant-garders Cartoon with all their Raymond Scott-isms, and very prog 'The Summer' is quirky and compelling. More choice stuff in crystalline 'Panorama', 'Dizziness' lives up to its name, 'Winter Song' is soft and western in tone. And as if that weren't enough, 14-minute 'Spiral' takes us out in style with another display of inspiration.

Meticulous and quietly brilliant, Flat 122 are a force of unknowable proportions, and The Waves should be owned by those who appreciate musical mastery in all its forms. Recommended to fans of anyone from fellow countrymen Le Silo to nu-jazz mainstays as The Bad +.

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#293639)
Posted Friday, August 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
snobb
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3 stars Debut album of Japanese (power) fusion (?) trio. Strongly influenced by neo-classical music (especially keyboards).

I like this album as quite rare example of modern Japanese prog or related music, which is different from mellow smooth fusion from one side and brutal noisy hardcore avant from the other. Guitar line is still quite Japanese school - fast sharp and quite brutally emotionless. Keyboards/electric piano sound is different - with European neo-classic influence.

In fact, this album's music is not pure jazz fusion, but fusion in wide sense - jazz fusion based progressive mix with neo-classic and avnt-garde elements. On some (best) compositions musicians play great fast, technically complex guitar-led fusion. Other (not so good) compositions are just more chamber music. As a result album is quite eclectic and a bit bulky.

Still interesting work with few great compositions, but in all only average release.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#301000)
Posted Thursday, September 30, 2010 | Review Permalink

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