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Daimonji - IMProg CD (album) cover

IMPROG

Daimonji

Zeuhl


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Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a highly enjoyable album that grew out of a side project. The trio, including Ruins mainstay Yoshida Tatsuya, are all members of the Jun Togawa band, whose concerts usually start with some improvisation. This became a project in itself, and the four lengthy tracks on this album come from two concerts including their debut alongside the remarkable Bondage Fruit.

For the most part this is a long way from the manic hardcore Zeuhl of Ruins, although there are similarities with the Syphonica album. There is a strong Zeuhl feel to these pieces, however, and Yoshida gives his Magma fixation free rein. There are some interesting vocal interludes, some more successful than others, and for much of the time (particularly on the first two tracks) the main keyboard is electric piano - at times the sound is extremely close to Wurdah Itah or Live:Hhai. There's also a very jazzy feel to a lot of the music, which occasionally calls Soft Machine circa 3 and 4 to mind. The real surprise is just how melodic and accessible this is, given that all the music was improvised. There are occasional discordant passages, but for the most part it's easy to forget that this all occurred spontaneously. Fans of old school prog keyboards will also enjoy those segments where Hoppy Kamiyama moves away from electric piano to his synths, which he deploys to great effect. There are moments of remarkable interplay here; at times there is a kind of musical game of tag, where two of the musicians will lock into a groove and the third will play across it, the three musicians trading places so that at any given time one will be taking the lead for a couple of bars before trading places with one of the others. Most of the album is tight, upbeat and remarkably easy on the ears.

Newcomers to Japan's remarkable prog scene, in particular the Zeuhl influenced bands, would do well to start here, while established fans of Bondage Fruit, Koenjihyakkei, Happy Family and so on will find plenty to enjoy. Not everything works, because that's the nature of improvised music, but it's rare to hear improvisations as coherent and accessible as this in any context. The musicians are all at the top of their game and turn in remarkable performances. Warmly recommended to any adventurous prog fans.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#77648)
Posted Tuesday, May 09, 2006 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars There might be a lot of still active in region in the home country and other countries musicians in the item of Avant-Prog of Japan. Various elements are being flooded for the music of Japan now. It might be evidence that the culture that Japan had had gradually originally accomplished the revolution. The music of an of course original tradition exists, too. And, there is music that succeeds in uniting other good parts, too.

Various elements , for example, Ruins-Koenjihyakkei if it thinks about conditions surrounding Japan for the field of Avant-Prog. Or, the flow that requires an experimental sense has derived on the boundary of the 80's. Members of this band are musicians active in the flow.

The music that Tathuya Yoshida had shown in the line of Ruins-koenjihyakkei might have been a flow achieved with the flow that concretely showed a certain kind of theme and the idea. The world that Tathuya Yoshida created after that made the listener listen to the performance showing rapid various shape.

Tune of performance and band that he did of course. Or, it might be difficult to understand thought and the theme enough. However, his world might be originally music offered by the skin by the catching sensibility though his theme is consistent. And, the listener might have also to catch their music with the sensibility.

In the stage, these three people who were the support members of the singer of the woman who was called active "Jun Togawa" in Japan before were often announcing the performance. Tathuya Yoshida of Ruins. And, Mithuru Nasuno of Altered States. And, active Hoppy Kamiyama in the band that is called "Pink" in the 80's. Three performances that had often been doing were indeed high-quality Improvisation. They start operations naming "Improgre" and the name in 2002. And, when this album is announced, the name has been renamed to "Daimonji".

It challenges the mix of Prog Rock and improvisation and this performance and agility of three people have succeeded splendidly. The work of this band might be very high-quality and be well-balanced in work of related of Tathuya Yoshida past. The song of Zeuhl in addition to the impression of the element of Jazz twines well. And, the tension is continued. Especially, the work of the keyboard demonstrates the response. The composition of the tune with the tension of the sound and the Mahavishnu orchestra that looks like EL&P while almost taking the form of Inprovisation offers the listener the flow to which the forecast doesn't adhere. The part where the performance is rough will be canceled by the tension and fast and slow. The band that develops a high-quality performance though it is a performance by live gives an excellent impression. It might be one evidence that three people show one's true ability to its maximum. By the way, they tried the opening act of live of Zao done to the following debuting age in Japan.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#236383)
Posted Tuesday, September 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Daimonji's debut is excellent example of new Japanese fusion/zeuhl based avant -garde music. Trio with Ruin's drummer Yoshida Tatsuya on board recorded half of their debut album just during their first ever concert! And it's not all - all the album (4 long compositions) is fully improvised music!

Don't be afraid though - differently from usual free form endless jams of improvised albums, ImProg is greatly structurised album, with many changes, emotions, different elements. In fact, at the end of the day you will hardly believe that album is fully improv!

Musically mostly based on progressive jazz fusion, but with huge influence from Magma, this album contains excellent combination of complex, dark, psyche but at the same time easy accessible music. Add operatic vocals, jazzy keyboards passages and Soft Machine-like pieces included.

Really, one of the greatest Japanese prog release from the beginning of new Millennium. Excellent entrance to this country's progressive music.

My rating - 4+!

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#288610)
Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Fans of underground Japanese music will know who Yoshida and Hoppy are without mentioning the rest of their names. In other words these two guys are famous in the Zeuhl, Rio / Avant genres of Japanese music. Also on board is bassist Nasuno who plays with Yoshida in KOREKYOJIN. Actually Hoppy has guested on one of their albums as well. So many connections though between these guys including Hoppy and Yoshida playing with Hopper and Dean in SOFT MOUNTAIN, but there's many more. This is definitely Zeuhl by the way, no doubts about that.This is DAIMONJI's first recording and it's a live one. What we get is over 77 minutes of improvs from these three guys who do this very well.

"Glimpse" opens in an experimental, spacey yet chaotic manner.The drums, bass and piano eventually take the lead. Some crazy vocal outbursts after 5 minutes that come and go. Harsh synths after 8 minutes and some spacey synths 11 minutes in.Vocals are back after 11 1/2 minutes. "Mongo Lian Bandits" opens with synth sounds, Vander-like vocal melodies that are high pitched and experimental sounds. It settles down then the tempo starts to pick up with vocal expressions and sparse piano 3 1/2 minutes in. Dual vocals 4 1//2 minutes in. Piano 5 minutes leads then the bass and drums join in. A calm 9 minutes in then it picks back up and becomes intense. Synths are prominant before 14 1/2 minutes then these crazy vocals come in a minute later. The drums rumble 17 minutes in as the piano plays over top. Vocals are back around 19 1/2 minutes.

"Night Dust / Monosyllable Sex)" opens with what sounds like guitar then vocals after a minute. Loud synth sounds before 4 minutes. A good rhythm 6 1/2 minutes in and more synths join in. It settles 8 1/2 minutes in then picks back up. It settles again before 12 minutes then kicks back in to an intense sound 14 minutes in.Insane vocals before 15 1/2 minutes. Check out the singing before 18 minutes.It ends with applause. "Ombre Moned" opens with synths as vocal expressions join in. Sparse piano comes and goes. It starts to build 4 minutes in. This is good.Drums and keys lead the way in this intense section. It settles 7 1/2 minutes in as we get some bowed bass. It kicks back in quickly as drum start to beat wildly with prominant bass and crazy synth sounds. A calm before 10 minutes then it picks back up 11 1/2 minutes as contrasts continue.There's those high pitched Vander-like vocals 19 minutes in again.

It feels good to finally own this album.Timing is everything. A solid 4 stars for these Zeuhl improvs.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#294552)
Posted Saturday, August 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A totally new name to me, but one I will keep an eye on in the future. The same can be said about the musicians here.

This is a side project of Ruins and other Japanese bands. This is also a live album and it seems like the band is mostly a live band. No reason to waste valuable time in the studio, then.

The music here is zeuhl and pretty similar to the zeuhl Magma does. But their brand of zeuhl also have pretty much have a crossover appeal to Soft Machine fans like myself. It is from that angle I approach this album. The music is dense, jazzy and pretty much the ABC of zeuhl.

The quality is almost frightening great. It is obvious the musicians here is of a quality the rest of us can only admire and hopelessly aspire to. The compositions are great, although I guess largely improvised. The tangent playing here is absolute great and the best thing about this album.

In short; I can only add my praise to this album which is one of the better zeuhl albums around.

4 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#479985)
Posted Sunday, July 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
2 stars The title of the album is taken from combining two words, 'improvisation' and 'prog'. It is at this point that some people will leave this review, shaking their head sadly, while others may be a little more intrigued. Yes, this is a fully improvised album, divided into four 'songs', where this Japanese trio certainly kick up a storm. In fact this album has much more in common with jazz than it does with prog, and the freeform style that they portray will certainly find more fans with the former than with the latter. There is no doubt that they are all extremely proficient musicians, but does that in this case make for interesting music? It is certainly more challenging than it is enjoyable, and is hard work. Does the listener get much out of it apart from a headache from the amount of concentration that is required? Probably not.

Originally appeared in Feedback #78, April 2004

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#998637)
Posted Monday, July 15, 2013 | Review Permalink

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