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Amygdala Amygdala album cover
3.08 | 26 ratings | 5 reviews | 0% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Utrecht (7:06)
2. 1998 (10:15)
3. Bernoulli's Organ (10:49)
4. Low Life (7:10)
5. _db (7:21)
6. Under Utopian Universe (2:15)
7. Theme of Unteleported Man (bonus track) (6:14)

Total Time 51:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Yoshiyuki Nakajima / keyboards, synthesizer, programming
- Yoshihiro Yamaji / guitar, bass, vocals

Releases information

CD - Soleil Zeuhl 11 - 2004

All tracks composed by Yoshiyuki Nakajima

Thanks to avestin for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy AMYGDALA Amygdala Music

AMYGDALA Amygdala ratings distribution

(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (46%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

AMYGDALA Amygdala reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is very well done, especially for a two man band. A lot of programmed sounds though including the drums, but I swear if I didn't know the drums weren't real I wouldn't know. They are extremely well done. The music is dark and heavy with a Zeuhl flavour.

"Utrecht" opens heavily with slow pounding drums and scorching guitar. A lot of bottom end. The guitar really rips it up in this one and there are flute-like sounds as well. An intense ending to this one. Great opening track. "1998" opens with keys as a clarinet-like melody comes in. Drums and heaviness follows. Some nice bass lines early followed later by some scorching guitar. The melody stops before 5 minutes as synths and programmed sounds wash in for 1 1/2 minutes. The melody returns led at first by keys, then guitar and heaviness comes back.

"Bernoulli's Organ" opens with bass, keys and drums. After 3 minutes it's hard to believe again that the drums aren't real, they are so well done. We get xylophone-like sounds and mellotron-like sounds,and organ too. Angular guitar after 5 1/2 minutes. The tempo slows down before 7 minutes as it gets darker. Back to the intensity to end it. "Low Life" is fairly slow going for the first 3 minutes reminding me of UNIVERS ZERO, then strange sounds come as the tempo picks up with background spoken words. Synths and drums end it. "-DB" opens with slow paced keys and bass before a clarinet-like melody comes in. Still slow paced. Drums and guitar 3 1/2 minutes in adds some life with guitar leading the way 4 minutes in. "Under Utopian Universe" is pastoral with running water, bass and flute-like sounds. The bonus track "Theme Of Unteleported Man" features some orchestral-like sounds along with what sounds like mellotron. It gets darker before 3 minutes. More orchestral-like sounds follow.

3.5 stars. A worthy debut from this Japanese band who are only going to get better.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Amygdala made quite an entry with their namesake debut album: in this 2004 item we find a solid exercise on renewing the standards of 81-84 era Univers Zero and post-"Kommandoh" Magma, plus the bizarre colorfulness of Happy Family and the no less bizarre power of Ruins. Clearly, Amygdala is a creature of its particular progressive environment in a peculiar part of the world. This duo clearly defines its musical trend as a labor of picking things up where Bonage Fruit and happy Family left them. 'Utrecht' opens up the album with a heavy mood, living plenty of room for the guitar and the amply distorted bass to take center stage by storm: the dynamics and rhythmic frenzy get gradually augmented as the track evolves through its solid architecture of mood and tempo variations. This brilliant opening makes way for the next track, '1998', to preserve this exciting vibe with an enhanced colorfulness. You can tell that the composition and deliveries bear an augmented enthusiasm, but let's not jump to the conclusion that this has become some sort of "happy RIO": on the contrary, the sonic spectrum of anger and mystery prevails through the development of the main motif and the successive permutations. There is a mellotron (or mellotron-like) interlude that pretty much reminds us of "Ceuz du Cohors"-era Univers Zero - it provides a somber bridge between the preceding passage's frantic finale and the following passage's gradually climatic intro (actually, a reprise of the opening motif). This piece epitomizes better than any other in the album the apex of Amygdala's vision. But let's move on confident that we won't get disappointed at all in the remaining repertoire. 'Bernoulli's Organ' pretty much preserves the sense of colorfulness so proficiently incarnated in the preceding track, only this time the pulsating factor is more prevalent than the orchestral one: this is real zeuhl, the sort of modernized zeuhl that other Japanese acts such as Happy Family and Bondage Fruit had stated so convincingly in the 90s. 'Low Life' marks a return to the standards of Univers Zero chamber-rock, displaying a powerful set of languid, autumnal atmospheres in the melodic and harmonic developments. The weird thing, though, is that the rhythm section (that is, the bass guitar and the loyal rhythm machine) actually indulge in a display of jazzy cadences, which in the most exciting passages turn quite Latin. A combination of the sinister side of chamber-rock and a set of jazz-fusion paces - you have to hear it to believe, like I just did! '_db' drifts through a denser stream, finding the band exploring the most sinister aspect of their musical avant-garde vision. The track builds up a proper climax of tension and mystery in a cleverly sustained fashion. The doses of energy and creativity are really awesome, leading to an explosive closure. The segued brief piece 'Under Utopian Universe' functions as an epilogue to '_db', something like a call for repose after the magnificent explosion of avant-prog that had taken place just before. 'Theme of Unteleported Man' is the bonus closure that finds keyboardist Nakajima indulging in a bombastic orchestral framework, electrifying and majestic, as if prokofiev's spirirt had inundated Nakajima's mind and flesh. A very captivating ending for an amazing album - Amygdala is an important part of this new generation of talented Japanese acts devoted to the preservation of RIO and zeuhl for the new millennium.
Review by TheGazzardian
3 stars Amygdala's debut album does not sound as close to the strict confines of Zeuhl as I've known it to be thus far, straying a bit into what sounds to me to be a bit more along the lines of avant rock music. One thing that is surprisingly about the band is that there are only two members, and that only the bass, guitar, and vocals are not synthetic. The rest of the music either emerges from keyboards, or is programmed. This includes the drums, which, while at time sound obviously precise, for the most part are very well done.

The music contained on this album is generally dark and complex. The music slowly builds in intensity and layering, often culminating in a dark, dangerous sounding climax, although occasionally contrasting this with a change to a more light-hearted sound (as on the third track, Bernoulli's Organ).

Compositionally the music is quite strong, with the songs each developing nicely and always having a sense of going somewhere. The music is completely instrumental other than the rarest of vocals, making this the first instrumental Zeuhl music I have heard thus far. I really like the feeling too, it's dark without being overbearingly so, using tension to build up a sense of darkness and danger.

The only real complaint I can think of for this album would be that the use of more "real" instruments would improve the sound, but really the band does a good job of working with what they have available and the music is pretty strong as a result. Definitely an enjoyable listen, if not exactly what I expected from this sub-genre :)

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'Amygdala' - Amygdala (3/10)

Japan arguably has the strongest Zeuhl music scene outside of France, as well as an avant- garde community so large that the Japavant term was invented to label them. Amygdala is a Japanese two piece band that brings their own rendition of progressive chamber music in the style of Univers Zero and Magma at their darkest. As far as my experience with the Japanese movement of avant-garde music goes, it has brought me some of the strangest music I have ever heard, and most of it has been brilliant. Although Amygdala show promise in regards to their grasp of the dark chamber style, a poor execution mixed with somewhat aimless compositions make this self-titled debut into something of a failed experiment.

Amygdala derive much of their sound from Univers Zero, at the point in their careers when their music was at its darkest. Amygdala's debut is filled with apocalyptic chord changes and unsettling melodies, but that's around where the similarities with Univers Zero are cut painfully short. Although the chamber prog style is boldly attempted here, Amygdala fall short on several notes. Most noticeably is their overbearing use of fake instruments. Although a drum machine and other emulated sounds can be expected from an amateur or even semi-professional project, the machine sounds cheap and downright irritating by the end of the record. The pianos are given a great deal of the lead responsibility, but that does not stop them from sounding utterly programmed and lifeless. In short, 'Amygdala' is an album that sounds more like a cheap demo than a legitimate full-length debut. The composition enjoys the sort of multi- layered sound that I have come to expect from chamber prog, but these songs suffer from an aimless direction that makes the weak sound sting even harder. 'Amygdala' is not a hopeless album, but the band will have to bring more to the table on subsequent releases in order to impress me.

Latest members reviews

3 stars A lighter version of Shub Niggurath has this band often been described as. This is indeed a correct description of Amygdala on this album. I am off course referring to the Shub Niggurath's demo and first album here. Their ideas has been taken further by Amygdala on this album. This album is s ... (read more)

Report this review (#300802) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Tuesday, September 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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