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Mugen - Leda et le Cygne  CD (album) cover



Symphonic Prog

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erik neuteboom
3 stars Keyboard-player Katsuhiko Hayashi (ex-Pazzo Fanfano Di Musica, later he joined Ieraishan) is the mastermind behind Mugen. He often sounds like a muscial deadringer of Tony Banks (Hackett-era). This album has very strong classical overtones but showcases more explosive moments, due to the contribution of Takashi Kawaguchi (Outer Limits) on violin, Kazuhiro Miyatake on flute and acoustic guitar and Ikkou Nakujima (both from Pageant) on guitar). They lift this CD to a very pleasant level: elaborate compositions featuring classical guitar/violin, flute/Mellotron, electric guitar/church organ and classical orchestrations liek The Enid. The highlight on this CD is the long track "Edmond's Old Mirror" delivering bombastic keyboards in a dramatic atmosphere like Le Orme's finale on "Fellona E Sorona": awesome Mellotron flights, moving violin and some distorted electric guitar. The up-tempo song "Carmilla" (with synthesizer-runs like Rick Wakeman) shows the variety of this band. AN ALBUM TO DISCOVER!
Report this review (#36023)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Marginally better than SINFONIA DELLA LUNA, if only because the band integrated their influences a bit better here (i.e.: no obvious plagiarism). The keyboard sound is still unbelievably lush (the obvious attraction here), the drums are still used sparingly and Nakamura's arch, clipped singing style is still rather annoying.

Oddly, the track everyone considers the high point of this album-"Edmond's Old Mirror"-is for me the low point. The electronic drums playing a hip-hop beat almost throughout is beyond tacky, and completely inappropriate for what they were obviously going for with the piece. It improves somewhat when the violin solo begins, but the damage has been done.

Much better is the lovely "Salomé", with its rich, evocative textures. Again the Enid/Sky parallel applies, even more so as the album ends with a gentle reading of Ravel's "Pavane pour une infante défunte".

Report this review (#47273)
Posted Monday, September 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album sounds too melancholic and mellow to really be captivating.

It is too much of the same as well, even if some fine keyboards are the highlights throughout this work. At times, some interesting violin enters the scene ("Edmond's Old Mirror") but such a moment is unfortunately too scarce. As such, it is my favourite song from this offering.

As far as I am concerned, their debut was slightly better. Vocal parts are often inadequate and could have been avoided ("Bluge").

Anyway, the combination of almost classical passages with symphonic rock remains the trade mark from this Japanese band. Their certainly deserve a listen; but I should privileged their debut "Sinfonia della Luna" to do so.

Some neo sounds are also available ("Kamira") but if the intro isn't bad at all, what comes next is a combination of symphonic pop which is not always the best mix available. In all, this album is average and I am quite perplexed in terms of rating: two or three stars?

Let's call it two this time.

Report this review (#308527)
Posted Saturday, November 6, 2010 | Review Permalink

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