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Outer Limits

Symphonic Prog

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Outer Limits The Scene Of Pale Blue  album cover
3.67 | 46 ratings | 7 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Marionette's Lament (7:03)
2. Mixer (5:39)
3. Platonic Syndrome (7:30)
4. Anti Podean (12:09)
5. The Scene Of Pale Blue (20:30)
6. Pteridophyte (8:28)

Total Time: 60:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Shusei Tsukamoto / keyboards
- Takashi Kawaguchi / violin
- Takashi Aramaki / guitars
- Tadashi Ishikawa / bass
- Nobuyuki Sakurai / drums
- Tomoki Ueno/ vocals
- Hideki Kadoya, Fumiaki Ikoma, Seiichi Furukawa / chorus

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Snow Dog for the last updates
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OUTER LIMITS The Scene Of Pale Blue ratings distribution

(46 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

OUTER LIMITS The Scene Of Pale Blue reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars In the mid-90's I met a guy who was crazy for these japanese bands such as Gerard, Bellaphon and this one. He spent several months trying to introduce me to those groups, but to no tangent results . I think my lack of interest was partly due to the genre (neo) , the format (way too influenced by Gen, Mar, Cam, etc...) , the singing (too high pitch and odd pronouciation), the awful KB sound (80's synth are everything I hate in music) and the irrelevancy of that mid-80's stuff ten years later. Those group are certainly not bad but, there is a lack of interest in them from my part.
Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars One of my favorite Japanese progrock albums is "The Scene Of Pale Blue" (1987) from OTER LIMITS. This record is generally considered as the best OUTER LIMITS ever made and one of the absolute highlights of the Japanese progrock scene. The mind blowing title track can compete with the best work from the symphonic dinosaurs: captivating skills on guitar and violin, many changing climates, great build ups and finales and compelling keyboard play, including majestic Mellotron eruptions and an impressive church organ sound. The distinctive Japanese vocals give an extra dimension to the climates. The other four tracks showcase OUTER LIMITS' maturity in composing and deliver lots of great instrumental passages. The remastered CD (Musea) includes the strong bonu strack "Pteridophyte" (almost 9 minutes). Not to be missed in any serious prog head collection!
Review by kenethlevine
4 stars "A Scene of Pale Blue" demonstrates a certain progression from "Misty Moon" of a few years earlier, but essentially the sound is intact: violin led progressive rock with lots of Crimson-esque rhythms and guitars, but with rich keyboard touches not seen in KC since their earliest days.

The opener, "Marionette's Lament", hearkens back to the title track from "Misty Moon" while showing improvement on the vocal front. The spoken or shouted parts do not really detract and seem to go well with the music. "Mixer" is also song oriented, heavy yet melodic in a dissonant sort of way. This is music that can appeal across the spectrum as long as the listener is mildly adventurous. It is really on the two longest tracks "Antipodean" and "The Scene of Pale Blue" that Outer Limits unleashes its full force. The shifts from crashing rhythm to ethereal keyboards and back again are brilliantly executed. In "Antipodean", a beautifully sung section is then taken over by gentle string synths (or mellotrons?) occupying the later part of the suite. The title cut features just about everything that makes symphonic prog the most popular sub genre - rich organs, choral effects, more angular guitar themes, odes to Genesis in their more reflective moments, even Italian themes not unlike those of Il Volo, rich vocal melodies, and an uplifting synthesizer themes to close things out.

For those who wonder what KC might have sounded like had they managed to combine their first incarnation with the Larks Tongues era, Outer Limits suggests an option. Enjoyable and challenging.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The third album by Outer Limits is my favorite one from their first era (with Tomoki Ueno, the Japanese Geoff Mann on lead voice and additional keyboards): in fact, The Scene of the Pale Plue is not only their most compositionally inspired album in the 80s, but it is also the epitome of their progressive offering - neoprog with a real rocking attitude, ornaments from Crimsonian nuances and Gothic ambiences, careful yet ballsy treatment of the various moods that take over during a track's expansions. The album's original repertoire consists of tracks 2-5. This Musea CD issue includes the opener 'Marionette's Lament', which originally appeared in an EP released 1 year after this album, while 'Pteridophyte' was rescued from an old Japanese prog rock compilation. It's curious how a bonus track can serve as an effective opener, indeed: 'Marionette's Lament' is an amazing (and a bit extravagant) example of mysterious yet catchy atmospheres within a format that reminds us of early Marillion and classic Twelfth Night, disturbing and stylish at the same time. 'Mixer' bears a kinder mood, starting with a friendly motif that may remind us of typical 80s European pop-rock, although the complacency is not too much. The violin and synth adornments that emerge later bring some unexpected folkish moods, in this way allowing things to get more bombastic for an impressive finale. The instrumental 'Platonic Syndrome' is very powerful, somber as it is elegant, kind of an anticipation of the symphonic prog sound that somewhere far away Abraxas will evolve in Poland. It's just a coincidence, I know... The violin solo in the middle is abrassive and the final motif displays a captivating darkness. 'Antipodean' (my fave trakcin the album) gets started with familiar airs brought back from the CD's opener: lyrics are somewhat minimal, but Ueno's chanting is really something weird enough to not leave the listener unaware (they may find it pleasant or not, that's another matter). At minute 6 comes a beautiful, Baroque-inspired classical guitar motif accompanied by recitation and soft singing. A screw turn makes things get bombastic with a predominant presence of synthesizers, taking charge of the orchestrations, harmonic basis, ornaments and a mesmerizing solo (Bardens-meets- Jobson style). The climax is genuinely orchestral, like UK going Gothic. The namesake track is a 20 minute suite that kicks off with mysterious church organ layers, soon followed by a sinister symphonic section that shouts B-horror movie!! in the listener's face. The succession of a variety of sections based on guitar riffs, the Gregorian-like chorale interlude, and a beautiful piano sonata augmented by guitar effects that leads to a violin.-centered passage, all of these portions together clearly tell a story whose narrative is up to the listener's imagination. After the aforesaid violin passage, comes a colorful section that reminds us of Yes at their most candid. Outer Limits don't get more ambitious than this: these 20 minutes have been just amazing. Last, the closer 'Pteridophyte' with a rich pallet of colors that includes wild violin lines, Frippian guitar leads, inventive keyboard passages that go from dissonant orchestrations from clever counterpoints and well-ordained solos. An excellent closure for one of the best albums by the best Japanese neoprog band ever. Now that the band has reinvented themselves for the new millennium, it is a good time to enjoy their eearlier input - IMHO, The Scene of the Pale Blue is their zenith for their Umeno-era.
Review by b_olariu
4 stars Third album of Outer Limits from 1987. This is maybe the most acomplished OL album from the'80's. Musically speaking is not far from the previouses two albums, but with a much tighter compositions and strong ideas. The album has that dark atmospeher like on the first 2 releases combined with strong violin parts, the listner is taken to another realm of fantasy - Marionette's Lament, second piece is much uptempo wth nice rythm, violin did a great job here. Now, Platonic Syndrome is my fav piese along with the the title track - 20 minutes of excellent symphonic prog arrangements with strong violin interlude not far from King Crimson (early years), but with a personal aproach, great. Finaly i think this album is very good, but not a masterpiece, equal with predecesors. Well The scene of pale blue desearve without question 4 stars, among the best prog albums from Japan. This album stands as one of the most intristing example of the '80's underrated prog music, and for sure needs much more atention.Recommended

Latest members reviews

4 stars Well, where to begin....i always give priority to japanese bands, because ars nova and social tension blowed my mind some time ago, and now their are gods for me. So, thanks to them, i admitt a serious admiration to this country in the prog rock scene. I listened the mentioned album, and, no w ... (read more)

Report this review (#64732) | Posted by | Saturday, January 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars ***1/2 This is the 3rd album by this eighties Japanese symphonic group. Their style is perhaps a little more theatrical compared to the other Japanese groups of the same era. I think the best part of this band is the great violin work and the very good guitar as well even though it is not so evi ... (read more)

Report this review (#43641) | Posted by geezer | Sunday, August 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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