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BEYOND THE CLEAR AIR

Midas

Symphonic Prog


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Midas Beyond The Clear Air album cover
4.00 | 13 ratings | 3 reviews | 23% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sham Noctiluca (8:07)
2. The Slough of Despond (15:33)
3. Mortuary (4:46)
4. Beyond the Clean Air (18:45)

Bonus track on CD releases:
5. Green Forest (8:54)

Total time: 56:05

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Kazuo Katayama / acoustic & electronic drums, percussion
- Eishyo Lynn / piano, synthesizers
- Katsuaki Mishima / bass
- Eigo Utoh / lead vocals, electric violin

Releases information

LP Made in Japan MIJ-1021LP (1988)
CD Made in Japan MHD-25015 (1988)

CD Poseidon/Musea FGBG 4830.AR (2009)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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MIDAS Beyond The Clear Air ratings distribution


4.00
(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
23%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(62%)
62%
Good, but non-essential (8%)
8%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

MIDAS Beyond The Clear Air reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Midas was one of the most notable Japanese bands from the prog revival era that took place in the 80s. Their style was clearly defined as a halfway between the stylish essence of vintage symphonic prog (Yes, UK, Camel) and the agile dynamics of neo- prog, with a preference for the former point of reference. It will also be fair to notice that the band's overall sound bears an exotic flavor regarding both melody and cadence, a factor that allows them to create originality across their influences. The fact that the violin assumes the leading role most of the times males the band enhance the symphonic possibilities of the keyboard input in order to let the violin solos shine whenever they emerge. In perspective, one can tell that their debut recording "Beyond the Clean Air" doen't equal the power incarnated in their third effort "Third Operation" (in my opinion, their highlight album), but all in all, it is a very strong debut, a musical work that should be undoubtedly appealing for any symphonic prog lover, especially for its melodic richness and predominant extroverted moods. 'Sham Noctulica' kicks off the album with a splendid slow intro, something like a mixture of UK's 'Danger Money' and Genesis' 'Eleventh Earl of Mar', somewhat leaning closer to the moderately sinister vibe of the former. The track's development turns into an exciting, colorful display of symphonic sounds framed under a neo-prog oriented guise: the interaction between the energetic synth solos and the elegant intrusive violin phrases are well accomodated on the solid rhythm section, before the majestic intro is reprised into the closure. This track is a solid garantee for a very good impression. Next comes 'The Slough of Despond', which fills the following quarter of an hour with an even more pompous exercise on symphonic prog melodies and ambiences, featuring a heavier presence of keyboards - Eishyo Lynn's style is evidently inspired by Wakeman and Jobson, in equal terms, particularly the playful classicism of the former and the sense of cosmic texture of the latter. The inclusion of some slight Celtic-inspired lines in some mofits helps the track to keep its uptempo vibe in a very consistent fashion. A piano-led interlude, a waltz-based progression and a Camel-meets-Pendragon motif set on complex rhythmic structures succeed each other in a well-ordained fluidity. 'Mortuary', despite its title's funeral allusions, keeps the joie-de-vivre spirit alive. Its uptempo exotic main melodic lines include a funny brief tango section: as weird as it may sound, the trick works quite well. It is the shortest track in the album, but not the simplest, since it contains enough twists to become musically demanding. The official repertoire end with the 18+ minute long title track, a real marathon that represents Midas' musical statement at its most expressive level. It begins with a melancholy introduction performed on piano, wodwind-like synth and violin, exrcising the ghosts of old Baroque muses. The first sung section bears the scheme of a prog ballad, conceived in a compromise between UK and Curved Air. When things get faster, they really get fast, creating the perfect pretext for the exhibition of bombastic solos on violin and synthesizer, while the rhythm duo keeps things catchy and dynamic. Things slow down, heading for quasi-cosmic fields, building a bridge toward a reprised old motif and its subsequent coda, which alternates the climatic and the melancholic. 'Green Forest' is a very good bonus track, which makes it more than accurate that it should be published on this CD edition of the album. Regarding ambience and mood, it is very closely related to tracks 1 and 2. The album, as a whole, works well, and despite the fact that the dominant keyboard sounds feel somewhat dated, it stands as a progressive gem to be preoperly appreciated by genuine symph prog fans - Midas is a mandatory entry in every collector's list.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#141079) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
4 stars While the 80's decade was the worst one for progressive rock with a lot of prog bands releasing commercial albums,it was exactly the same time when the best prog rock bands emerged in Japan heavily influenced by the british and US prog rock of the 70's.Among those bands were MIDAS,who were formed by vocalist/violinist/guitarist Eigo Utoh.Eigo was a big fan of symphonic rock and baroque music.After several live appearances,through which MIDAS earned some fame,''Black Vinyl'' label gave the band the opportunity to release their first work,''Beyond the clear air'' in 1988.

And this is a fantastic album.Eigo's violin dominates the whole album through complex interplays with the keyboards of Eishyo Lynn or even with fast rhythmic passages.The synthesizers and strong piano work of Lynn give the album a bombastic taste.But there is also a lot of melody in this album except the grandiose complex symphonic moments.I would say that the album comes as a succesful combination of OUTER LIMITS and PAR LINDH PROJECT with a fully symphonic sound torn between melody and adventuruous playing.Eigo's vocals are also mostly great,especially when he sings in a calm ethereal or operatic style.It seems that there is a little problem in his more aggresive rockier style of singing...But the most obvious problem of the album is the mediocre production,that causes some problems in the dynamics of the band's grandiose music...Sometimes it's like these great compositions lose some of their energy due to the production...At the end of course it's the music where I personally focus on and the result is fabulous...

MIDAS'debut album is one of the most underrated gems of japanese prog.It's an album full of romantic vocals,adventurous moments and ethereal symphonic passages with top notch violin and keyboards' interplays.The only reason I can't give this album a 5 star rating is, unfortunately, the weak production...However this is an absolute essential album for your collection,especially if your deep into symphonic rock!

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#191121) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, November 30, 2008

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Only recently was I aware of the japanese prog scene of the 80´s, and I have to thank PA for that. Somehow not a lot of prog fans seem to reckon that country fertile musical culture in the 80´s and 90´s. And I guess that was true to a lot of progheads, because that´s the only possible answer when I found about this fantastic symphonic band and when I looked there was only two reviews concerning this CD and none by collaborators nor experts. So I am writing one now and warning all the symnphonic lovers about Beyond The Clean Air.

I was amazed by the incredible creativity and skill of those musicians, specially Eigo Utoh, their leader, violin player and vocalist. The guy is simply great on his instrument, sometimes reminding me of Curved Air´s Darryl Way. His interplay with keyboards maestro Eishyo Lynn are breathtaking! And while their music is definitly influenced by the british symphonic great of the 70´s, the sound on this work is still Midas own. Interestingly there is absolutely no guitar on this album. Even if I think it would be good to have such instrument added to the overall sound, I didn´t miss it too much.

There are no real highlights, although the epic 18 minute title track with its shifting moods and dazzling violin and keyboards solos is a classic. The only weak spot I could find in the whole CD is on the vocal front, and yet only partially. Utoh does have a nice voice that sits very well for the slow to midpace parts. On the fast numbers it is simply annoying. Still, I can live with that. The production is fine, the songwriting is superb and the arrangements are very tasteful. In other words, everything you´d expect from a first rate group. highly recommended. 4,5 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#214367) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 08, 2009

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