Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Midas Beyond The Clear Air album cover
3.99 | 41 ratings | 6 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

Buy MIDAS Music
from partners
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)

Total time 47:11

Bonus track on 1991 & 2009 CD releases:
5. Green Forest (Live at Gorilla, Osaka, April '85) (8:54)

Line-up / Musicians

- Eigo Utoh / vocals, 5-string electric violin
- Eishyo Lynn / piano, synthesizers (Roland S-50,D-50,SH-3A,JUNO-6,KORG Mono/Poly, M1,AKAI S-900, Sequential Six-Tracks, CASIO CZ-3000)
- Katsuaki Mishima / bass
- Kazuo Katayama / acoustic & electronic drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Eigo Utoh

LP Made in Japan Records - MIJ-1021LP (1988, Japan)

CD Made in Japan Reords - MHD-25015 (1991, Japan) With a bonus Live track
CD Musea - FGBG 4830.AR (2009, Japan)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy MIDAS Beyond The Clear Air Music

More places to buy MIDAS music online

MIDAS Beyond The Clear Air ratings distribution

(41 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MIDAS Beyond The Clear Air reviews

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

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.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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!

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Only recently was I aware of the japanese prog scene of the 80īs, 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 80īs and 90īs. And I guess that was true to a lot of progheads, because thatīs 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 Airīs 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 70īs, 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 didnīt 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 youīd expect from a first rate group. highly recommended. 4,5 stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars This is a solid Japanese symphonic prog offering which, though hailing from the 1980s, feels more like a continuation of the classically-influenced 1970s prog styles than it does as part of the then-contemporary neo-prog movement. Eishyo Lynn's piano and synthesiser work has a stately, refined tone to it which lends a certain bombast and gravitas to proceedings.

However, the band's real secret weapon is Eigo Utoh; without Utoh, they'd be a perfectly competent power trio in the ELP synths/bass/drums mode, but with Utoh's violin work and lead vocals go the extra mile in giving the band their own distinctive character which saves them from being a mere nostalgia act.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The debut album by a Japanese quartet who were obviously inspired and informed by GENESIS but moreso it would seem, by the short-lived progressive rock scene in Italia in the 1970s. (What was it about the late 1980s that caused several Japanese artists to lock into the Italian rock progressivo sound and styles?)

1. "Sham Noctiluca" (8:07) a rather long intro in which synths, cymbals and violin make their presences quite known. Once the song is finally settled into a rhythmic flow in the third minute the flaws in sound quality, instrumental simplicity, and singer's lack of melodic connection become too obvious. The singer can sing, and the violinist and bass player can definitely play, but the construction is lacking in sophistication and/or originality (or something). (12/15)

2. "The Slough Of Despond" (15:33) opening with a New Age Celtic weave, it could be something from a CLANNAD soundtrack album. After 90 seconds there is a musical shift into a faster, more rock passage with some fiery violin riffs but then there is an odd and unexpected shift for the arrival of the vocals. Nice bass and drum play. The thickly instrument-supported vocal melody line beginning in the fifth minute is quite reminiscent of some modern RPI bands like UNREAL CITY, INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE or LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO. This similarity holds true for the entirety of the rest of the song: this could easily have been lifted to create the La notte anche di giorno album that came out in 2015--27 years later! Impressive song. (27/30)

3. "Mortuary" (4:46) synth and violin go back and forth, sometimes doubling up on the melody line for the first movement and then an accordion joins in on the action in the second movement! Very impressive musicianship! The vocal enters well into the second minute, almost squeezing into the complex weave of instruments as if not wanting to disturb them! My favorite song on the album and the one deserving of the most praise. (9.25/10)

4. "Beyond The Clean Air" (18:45) slow Genesis/Tony Banks-like pseudo-classical intro which is joined by nice violin play before the music spreads out to allow space for Eigo Utoh's impassioned vocal. Except for the fine violin play, the music sounds like it comes right off of the BABYLON album: twists and tempo turns allowing for different displays of the leader's prowess as both vocalist and violinist. And the instrumental passage in the second half is way to drawn out and single-minded. (34/40)

Total time 47:11

I'm sorry but, despite the fine musicianship and artistry of Eigo Utoh and company, adequately complex song compositions, and fairly clean sound reproduction, the music on this album sounds too dated and too imitative of others that have come before. Those late 1980s keyboards are embarrassingly cheap and outdated! The bass playing is excellent, the drumming very good but so rotely Neo Prog.

B/four stars; a fine first album of Neo Prog for these accomplished musicians. Tune in to their next albums: they get even better!

Latest members reviews

4 stars I first discovered Midas while searching different progressive rock bands on youtube. The song that first grabbed me was Sham Noctiluca and then Beyond the Clear air. I was still new to prog-rock and so i found the new songs to be daunting in a way but after listening in full i was hooked. I pur ... (read more)

Report this review (#1479570) | Posted by Jbagwell | Tuesday, October 27, 2015 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of MIDAS "Beyond The Clear Air"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.