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Tipographica - God Says I Can't Dance CD (album) cover

GOD SAYS I CAN'T DANCE

Tipographica

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Steve Hegede
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars TIPOGRAPHICA are very hard to describe, which is probably why they were one of the most interesting band of the 90s (unfortunately, the band recently decided to part ways). The musicians, consisting of guitarist, bassist, drummer, and a small horn section seemed influenced by Frank ZAPPA's 70s jazz compositions, and especially Ruth Underwood's crazed percussion work-outs. However, the rhythms on "God Says I Can't Dance" are really unique, and don't seem directly influenced by ZAPPA. I've heard their unique rhythm work being called "arhythmic" (tons of starts, stops, 90 degree turns, tempo changes). Yes, you could definitely say that. But the band is great at creating grooves out of those irregular rhythms, giving the music a strange danceable quality to it (like ZAPPA's catchiest work). The interaction between musicians has a playfulness to it that is typical of most of the experimental Japanese bands. TIPOGRAPHICA are a perfect introduction to the Japanese prog scene.

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Send comments to Steve Hegede (BETA) | Report this review (#24283)
Posted Sunday, March 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars To understand the meaning behind the title of this album they tell us a little story in the liner notes that ends with "God, who's fed up with imitation and sampling, takes off his headphones and shouts, I CAN'T DANCE WITH THIS!". I was very pleasantly surprised with this album. I was expecting music that went a million miles an hour and stopped on a dime only to blast off again. Not so at all. This is mostly mid-paced complex music with a mixture of melody and dissonance but more of the former. Horns and drums lead the way with a definite Zappa flavour although there is a Canterbury and Free Jazz vibe as well. Most of all these 6 Japanese men play at a very high and intelligent level.

The first track "Friends" might be the most interesting of the bunch. It's just so cool to listen to the way the different instruments work together yet seem to stagger each other. It works though.Horns, organ, bass and drums lead the way early before vibes come in. Drums take over 7 1/2 minutes in. "Control Tower Says, TP-1, Break Down" is eerie to open then horns and drums start to come and go. Intricate drum patterns with horns follow as the haunting mood ends. Vibes before 3 minutes. Some raw guitar 5 1/2 minutes in. Great sound 7 1/2 minutes in as guitar continues. The tempo picks up late. "White-Collar Worker VS Black Rubber Man" is experimental to start before drums and keyboards join in. Nice deep bass lines 2 1/2 minutes in. A change 5 minutes in as horns take over. Keys and drums join in. Organ before 7 minutes. Some dissonance 9 minutes in with some great drum work to follow.

"And Then Last Ship Is Going" sounds really good early with the bass, drums and guitar. A change before a minute as vibes and horns come in. Soprano sax 3 minutes in and organ after 4 minutes. Guitar before 5 1/2 minutes sounds fantastic. Drums, horns and vibes dominate late. "Japanese Room (We Have No Zen)" is deep and dissonant to open. It turns melodic and smooth 4 1/2 minutes in as horns come in. Love the guitar 5 1/2 minutes in that goes on and on. Great track. "Laughing Photograph" opens with soprano sax, drums and vibes. The bass 1 1/2 minutes in is really good. Impressive drumming 3 1/2 minutes in. The tempo picks up late. "Forest Tipographical II" is laid back early but picks up before 2 minutes. Lots of horns. It kicks into a higher gear before 6 minutes with blasting horns and powerful organ runs. This is fuller and more aggressive.

Easily 4 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#208790)
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Moderator / Psych Team
3 stars Their activity and mischievous play, seen in the previous live work, are on this twinkling studio album, without any suspicion.

God Says I Can't Dance is TIPOGRAPHICA's second studio work. The previous live album The Man Who Does Not Nod has extremely natural, flexible and comfortable atmosphere and can let listeners and audience enjoy well with their laidback but fully improvised play. From the point of view, we can see a bit more serious potential and a bit more hard-edged style in this album - of course, their relax and free form kept intact. It's a pity that there is no sense of unity between the outfit and audience (obviously because this is a studio work) so I'm afraid we can feel their play slightly less smooth and natural. For example, the first track Friends may sound less friendly and slightly more awkward. Well nah the word 'friends' as they want to say is like this, isn't it? I dunno. However, on the next track TP-1, Break Down, I'm absorbed into the harmony with unpolished brasses & guitars and unnaturally electronic sounds. I wonder if they should shoot the songs of this album as more experimental and more avantgarde, and more serious arrows. Indeed this whole album may, at least for me, be unfamiliar and difficult to understand, in spite of their seriousness for music. (Though the song titles are very funny... :-P) Believe me, their steady and strict play is beyond expression. Despite the fact that almost all songs might be hard to dig and digest, I'm sure we can listen to the album itself with peace of mind.

So in conclusion, let me say, this work might not be essential for avantgarde progressive scene or a masterpiece, but so important and slightly enjoyable one. Recommended, although less familiar than the previous one. Listen and laugh out loudly and comfortably.

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Send comments to DamoXt7942 (BETA) | Report this review (#224082)
Posted Wednesday, July 01, 2009 | Review Permalink

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