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Pale Acute Moon

Symphonic Prog

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Pale Acute Moon Newtopia album cover
2.93 | 24 ratings | 7 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Collage (3:19)
2. Chapter 1: Newtopia (9:18)
3. Chapter 2: The End of Party (5:34)
4. Chapter 3: Time Trip (4:56)
5. Refrain: The End of Party II (1:28)
6. Chapter 4: After Moon (7:47)
7. Chapter 5: Impression (8:15)
8. Chapter 6: Daybreak (4:33)
9. Coda (1:29)

Total Time 46:39

Bonus track on King/Crime CD:
10. Aftermoon II (6:25)

Bonus tracks on Musea CD:
10. In a Forest with a View (2:26)
11. Beelzebub (2:31)
12. Silent Room for Yourself (4:59)
13. Baby (4:38)
14. Room (1:15)
15. Decembre (4:53)
16. Silver Films (5:33)
17. Ten Years Ago (0:32)

Line-up / Musicians

- Shinji Akahori / vocals
- Masahiro Imamura / guitars, vocals
- Yasushi Inoue / bass (7)
- Katsunori Hamada / bass
- Motoi Semba / keyboards, backing vocals
- Ryoichi Terashita / drums
+ Kaori Shimomachi / vocals

Releases information

Lp. Monolith 2505 (1,050 made) / Cd. King/Crime K32Y 2137 (1988) / Cd. Musea FGBG 4308.AR (2000)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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PALE ACUTE MOON Newtopia ratings distribution

(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PALE ACUTE MOON Newtopia reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
3 stars The keyboard player Motoi Semba from the well-known Japanese band TERU'S SYMPHONIA founded PALE ACUTE MOON. Their album "Newtopia" from 1985 is said to be one of the famous masterpieces of Japanese neo-progressive rock. Well, sorry, I have to say that I haven't heard of it before, and I could mention many other Japanese releases that are far better than this one. Although my harsh words there's plenty of things to enjoy too. The female singer M. Imamura has a unique voice, which adds a nice flavour to the music. So do Motoi Samba's magnificent keyboard wizardry too, as well as his compositional skills. The music is mostly instrumental with the emphasis on keyboards. Perhaps this is a much sought-after item, and it's released in a limited edition of 2000 copies, but I would buy ARS NOVA, BI KYO RAN, GERARD, HAPPY FAMILY, KENSO, MIDAS, OUTER LIMITS, TERU'S SYMPHONIA or anything else from Japan instead if I were you.
Review by erik neuteboom
2 stars The only album Pale Acute Moon ever released contains tasteful arrangements but the influences from the British symphonic rock dinosaurs like Genesis, King Crimson, Yes and Pink Floyd are a bit too obvious! Some great keyboard soli on this CD are directly derived from several Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson runs. This may be a challenge for progheads to do a game who can recognize the original work! I always wonder: is this blind worship or creative poverty?
Review by kenethlevine
3 stars While I am on a roll reviewing 1980s symphonic bands from Japan, I thought the tour could rightly include Pale Acute Moon (PAM) and their only contribution. You can certainly hear, in the keyboards, close relations with Teru's Symphonia which became Motoi Semba's next group. While PAM features more pianos, a welcome break from the electronica even if they themselves are probably somewhat processed, we do get those passages that sound like they should be themes to some yet-unreleased sci fi movie. PAM also does not contain the harder rock element that occasionally seeps into Teru's efforts, but focuses more on the spacey aspects.

The problem is that, at least in the original album sans bonus tracks, we never seem to get far past the mood setting and cosmic approach. The melodies aren't particularly notable, nor does much development occur even in the longer songs. Signs of life are provoked by the aforementioned piano work as well as some occasional lead guitars, especially in "End of the Party" but, while these result in many pleasant moments, overall the appeal is limited. In contrast, the poorly recorded and produced bonus tracks are so good that they transcend their amateurish settings and implementations. Of course they are right out of the mid 1980s David Sylvian playbook, but why not? Sylvian was one of the most creative and introspective artists of the time, and Shinji Akahori sounds a lot like him. But even the instrumental "Silver Films" captures that luscious mood with Spanish sounding guitars.

2.5 stars for the original albums, 3.5 for the bonus material, not an utopia but still worth hearing.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars 3.5 really

Pale Acute Moon release a single album named Newtopia in 1985. Formed by keybordist Motoi Semba known from another symphonic band Teru's Symphonia in 1985 Pale Acute Moon never gain any big attention in prog circles. Many considered this a weak album, not at all, this album is in same vein with Teru's Symphonia, less key dominated than Gerard and Ars Nova, similar with Magdalena, delivering a good symphonic album, not something spectacular but worth investigate for sure. Some of the pieces from here are real killers, at least for me, and I' talking about: Time trip, Impression, After moon and Newtopia, excellent prog pieces that shows Pale Acute Moon deserves a wider recognition. Some intristing interplays between guitar and keys, sometimes with a spacey atmosphere, well done and played . I considered this album a good one for sure, not necesarly among the masterpieces from Japan but a welcome addition to my collection and a good and entertaing prog music. So, a solid 3.5 stars, my CD version is from Musea and has as bonus tracks 9 unpublished pieces from solo effort of Motoi Samba.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Newtopia" is the debut and sole full-length studio album by Japanese progressive rock act Pale Acute Moon. The album was originally released through Monolith on vinyl limited to 1050 copies. A CD version of the album was released through King/Crime in 1988. "Newtopia" was a re-release in 2000 through Musea Records.

The music on the album sits somewhere between symphonic progressive rock and neo progressive rock. As most of the synths/keyboards used on the album and the drum sound are firmly placed in the eighties, itīs hard not to think mostly of the latter mentioned style. The lead guitar style, which often reminds me of Marillion and IQ also points in a neo progressive direction. The vocals are for the most part female, and Iīm pretty sure, an aquired taste. They are sung in a way that sounds close to not hitting the right notes and I donīt understand a word of what is said, but thereīs something charming about them anyway. They are not that dominant in the soundscape though and itīs probably the synth/keyboard work that most people are predominantly interested in. The tracks feature quite a few interesting ideas and symphonic moments but despite the rather original (read: Odd) vocals, "Newtopia" doesnīt always come off as a terribly original release. It is however pretty well written, well produced for the time (if you can get past the sometimes plastique keyboard sounds), and well performed too.

It should be mentioned that the albumīs tracks are titled chapters and that "Newtopia" should be regarded as a concept piece.

Overall this is certainly a decent release and well worth the price of admission, even for a few plastique sounding keyboards and the occasionally odd vocals, and Iīd say a 3.5 star (70%) rating isnīt all wrong.

Review by Matti
3 stars One-album band Pale Acute Moon represents the same keyboard dominated symphonic prog of the 80's as the better known Japanese bands Outer Limits, Pageant, Gerard -- or Teru's Symphonia, which the leader of PAM, keyboardist Motoi Semba, joined in the late 80's.

The sole album Newtopia may not be very remarkable or special, but its slightly orchestral sounding and melodic music is pretty pleasant. The bright vocals of Shinji Akahori are, in one word, girlish, but decent enough. The singing (in Japanese if I'm not mistaken, despite the English titles) doesn't dominate the album that contains also instrumental pieces.

The composing style has a little bit of the ELP/Wakeman-like, uplifting bombast, and some of the more romantic approach of Renaissance and the quartet-era Genesis, at least in small doses. The sound is however more of contemporary Neo Prog than retro- seeking Symphonic Prog. At times the keyboard sound reminds me of the Tony Banks solo debut A Curious Feeling.

I feel I should enjoy Newtopia more than I do. Perhaps the compositions are not memorable enough, and perhaps the sound feels slightly too 80's. The other musicians besides the keyboardist are undoubtedly competent too, but in the mix especially guitar and bass are often almost lost. If you want to explore more Japanese symphonic prog to accompany the more important bands mentioned above, give it a try.

Latest members reviews

3 stars This only release of Japanese band PALE ACUTE MOON "Newtopia" shows some similarity with another Japanese Symphonic Prog "icons" from the 80's, such as GERARD, OUTER LIMMITS... . and of course comparable with TERU'S SYMPHONY ( due to keyboardist Motoi Semba), as for instance the keyboards ... (read more)

Report this review (#644758) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, March 3, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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