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KBB Four Corner's Sky album cover
3.99 | 61 ratings | 7 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Discontinuous Spiral (7:16)
2. Kraken's Brain is Blasting (9:34)
3. Horobi no Kawa (6:51)
4. Back Side Edge (6:48)
5. Slave Nature (6:37)
6. I am not here (9:08)
7. Shironiji (10:10)

Total Time: 56:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Akihisa Tsuboy / violins, cellolin (7), guitars (5)
- Toshimitsu Takahashi / keyboards
- Dani / bass, guitars (2,7)
- Shirou Sugano / drums

Releases information

Poseidon Records PRF 008 / Musea FGBG 4501.AR

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KBB Four Corner's Sky ratings distribution

(61 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

KBB Four Corner's Sky reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars KBB is a Japanese prog rock quartet, their instrumentation includes violins, cellolin, guitars, keyboards, drums and bass. They delivers a stunning second album featuring seven compositions. The rhythm-section is very strong and dynamic, the keyboards sound alternating (synthesizers, organ, Fender Rhodes piano), there is some good guitar work (howling guitar in the final track "Shironiji") but the focus is on the swirling violin play. It has elements from JEAN-LUC PONTY, EDDIE JOBSON and the famous (gypsy) players from the Rumanian folk-scene (like GREGOR SERBAN). The highlight on this album is "Kraken's brain is blasting": a fiery electric guitar solo and in the second part a spectacular break with dazzling violin play. Another great track is "Horobi no kawa", beautifully build up from slow with tender piano to mid-tempo with a flashing violin solo. The propulsive songs "Backside edge" and "Slave nature" contain fine solos on piano, organ, guitar and of course violin, all supported by a pumping bass (evoking JEFF BERLIN, known from his work with BILL BRUFORD). In "I am not here" the sound is a bit experimental and complex (like the early KING CRIMSON) with lots of violin and some heavy guitar work. If you like violin driven, instrumental symphonic jazz rock, this CD is yours!
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars KBB's musical genius remained intact, and even more, got enhanced and perfected as their splendid sophomore masterpiece "Four Corner's Sky" patently reveals. Following in the path of their excellent debut album "Lost and Found", the quartet shows a major interest in increasing the jazzy essence of their music while adding some exciting refreshment and variation to their sound. The main compositions bear the usual strong feel. The opener 'Discontinuous Spiral' is a typical KBB refashion of the combined heritages of Jean-Luc Ponty's vintage stylish melodic fusion and di Meola-era Return to Forever's energetic sophistication. A strong opener, indeed. For the second meal of this feast, 'Kraken's Brain is Blasting', the band goes for a more somber ambience: for the first time, KBB ventures into neurotic territory, sorting out a well-balanced mixture of Mahavishnu's mystic side and King Crimson's exulting uneasiness. Bassist Dani provides some excellent guitar leads that portray a big enough dose of fire as to serve an explosive challenge to violinist Tsuboy, a challenge assumed and responded with immaculate grace and convincing muscle. Definitely, track 2 is one solid peak in the album. After this display of power, comes a proper counterpoint, the beautiful ballad 'Horobi no Kawa'. It starts with a series of laconic piano chords, soon joined by the full band, which delivers a refined exercise on ethereal, melancholic moods worked on a simple yet effective basic melody. Just listening to these first three tracks in a row gives you that anticipation of a full masterpiece. The following two numbers are well constructed under the prototypical patterns of KBB jazz-prog. 'Back Side Edge' returns to the Ponty thing, marked by an initial catchy bass line set on a dynamic 7/8 tempo. 'Slave Nature', whose main motif is also constructed on a 7/8 tempo, preserves the same energy albeit a bit more restrained. The almost-Emersonian organ solo and guitar leads during the harder sections give an effective pompous adornment to the track, while the funky-based interlude softens things for a while. In many ways, you can describe 'Slave Nature' as a recapitulation of the recurrent moods of tracks 1 and 6. Then comes 'I Am not Here'. a mysterious title for the most inscrutable KBB composition ever. The band lets go momentarily of their melodic candor and splendorous vision in order to submerge itself into the realms of RIO. Yes, RIO. Assuming the lead role at its most compelling, Tsuboy's violin leads the band into a journey of sinister atmospheres, pretty much similar to early 80s Univers Zero. The interventions of Takahashi on piano and synth textures don't exactly help to make things brighter: the whole track seems to have been inspired by the dark side of the mind. Very unusual for KBB standards, yet very revealing of how well can the band integrate diversity and unexpected ideas into the album as a whole. After the darkness comes the light again. The 10 minute closer 'Shironji' lifts off from when tracks 6 and 7 had left, leading to a gradually climatic display of progressive brightness. The successive guitar and violin leads help the track move from a more muscular mood into a more ethereal vibe, always energetic. "Four Corner's Sky" is a good reason to keep infinite faith in the current Japanese prog scene. KBB has created a prog masterpiece for the new millennium - I wish I had gotten acquainted with this band's discography earlier since it's a genuine catalogue of wonders.
Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars A delightful surprise of instrumental excellence which oozes moody class and technical proficiency. "Four Corner's Sky" is filled with a variety of jazzy rock music brimming with musical artistry unlike most anything else out there. The songs may be straightforward enough for fans of fusion music, but these Japanese players have surprising ingenuity when it comes to making the old sound new-- not to mention possess the monstrous chops it takes to make this kind of music genuinely entertaining.

I warn that the "lead-violin" sound will likely not appeal to everyone (not right away at least), but for those who feel like taking a chance it proves to be a unique and dynamic change of pace-- don't worry... Tsuboy's playing sounds NOTHING like any of the mid- west noodling found in Kansas' music, in fact, he makes Kansas sound very mediocre. Tsuboy uses the instrument to achieve some very cool sounds, often carrying the melody but also sawing out eerie textures and soundscapes. The rest of the players are no slouches either-- they all have their moments to shine throughout the variety of songs recorded here, which range from up-beat and enthusiastic dances of dexterity to slow-tempo balladry.

A must for fans of instrumental or jazz/rock music and those seeking something off the beaten path.

Songwriting 4 Instrumental Performances 4 Lyrics/Vocals NA Style/Emotion/Replay 4

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Anyone that has a little world culture will tell you that Japan is probably the most enigmatic country anywhere, with peculiar quirks: a society that simply cannot infuse foreigners (hence no immigrants but baseball is OK), great at exporting (Toyota, Sony, Nintendo, Sushi), a land with the most hairy (the aboriginal Ainu) and least hairy humans but also probably the most appreciative audiences anywhere, just ask Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Styx (Domo Arigato, Mr Roboto), McCartney, David Beckham or Tom Cruise. I have never heard of a famous nipponese rock band (except for the odd Sadistic Mika Band and the quirky Yellow Magic Orchestra) and while Japan literally saved prog from total oblivion in the 1980's by reissuing past prog glories on CD, they have a rather poor catalog of local progressive bands. Yeah! Ars Nova, Gerard, Bellaphon, Asturias, Kenso and Mugen were decent prog bands but the list of cheesy, wimpy and plastic copycat wannabes are sadly abundant. That's until KBB showed up on the radar, like a proud samurai ready to challenge the Prog world with the all-instrumental "Four Corner's Sky". Any band led by a violin can only bode well and Akihisa Tsuboy is a no disappointment. Unlike the jazzier JL Ponty or Didier Lockwood, the raw power of Jerry Goodman and the somewhat uninspired David Cross, Tsuboy can display virtuosity as well as versatility, plowing through material that audaciously explores the various confines of the Prog Frontier. He is ably abetted by some absolute stellar accomplices: the elegant Toshimitsu Takahashi on various keys and synths, the inventive Dani on whiplash bass and thunderous guitar and the brilliant Shirou Sugano handling all matters percussive. They can all rock & they can roll. They also can shred, bash, caress, groove and sizzle. The kickoff begins with the 7 minute "Discontinuous Spiral", a JL Ponty like piece that highlights a deep lyrical melody, held together by solid rhythm work, giving the maestro free reign to worship his violin with unabashed passion. But the magnum opus and cracking next track, the oddly named "Kraken's Brain is Blasting" delves very deeply into Larks Tongues/Starless & Bible Black/Red territory, showing how Wetton, Fripp and Bruford would of benefited with a true violin virtuoso (Cross was good but frankly out of his league even by his own admission). This 9.36 minute track erupts fiercely, spewing massive flows of reptilian bass, devastating crunch guitar, hysterical synths gone berserk and Sugano's monstrous drumming. You will need some liquid refreshment after this one, trust me. Next up is the gentler respite of "Horobi no Kawa", led by bucolic piano, inspired fretless bass and slick stick work that conjures up an image of a Tokyo jazz club, real chill stuff, the violin gliding along, gently swaying in the storm's lull. Awesome catskin runs slowly spiral into a spirited affair, proving again that these guys can play with the best. "Backside Edge" is even more pure classic jazz, with twists, turns and summersaults, bopping bass with a brilliant solo, grooving piano, swirling organ and rifling drum work, cymbals galore. Just some preparation before the violin kicks this sucker into overdrive with a dazzling solo that "howls" uncontrolled into some of the deepest realms of the prog universe. "Slave Nature" offers up a more Mahavishnu Orchestra-like environment, the violin pied- piping the flock into some organ driven landscapes, sparkling e-piano runs and some gritty electric rock guitar by Tsuboy. "I am not Here" is a 9 minute exploratory piece of music that navigates some avant- garde areas, with some liberal dashes of dissonance, a fiery Tsuboy solo that scrapes, claws and scratches along mercilessly, with various atmospheric interludes that defy any logic or direction (very free), stop-starting the proceedings in a typical improv manner. As the title may imply, this is spooky stuff, sort of like a possible soundtrack for the movie "I am Legend". Not quite my cup of sake but I am impressed by the audacity. The finale "Shironiji" is another genial highlight, a 10 minute composition that features some more stellar guitar work by bassist Dani, this time less Fripp and more Holdsworth, with some adventurous and at times, vertiginous fretwork that duels nicely with the Vivaldi-esque violin. All in all, a sturdy recommendation for those who enjoy a little virtuosity without falling into an aimless chopzilla contest. While not a masterpiece, this is a most pleasant offering from a land that loves its prog. Domo Arigato, indeed. 4 Rising suns.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Another good release from this Japanese quartet although I like the debut quite a bit more. In fact I re-listened to it ("Lost And Found") tonight just to see if it was that much better than "Four Corner's Sky". And my conclusion is that it's definitely a step up, mostly because there's more guitar and emotion in my opinion. I think i'm in the minority with this opinion by the way.

"Discontinuous Spiral" kicks in right away with violin, drums and bass, but it settles in quickly. Synths after 2 1/2 minutes then the violin returns. A calm with violin and piano after 4 minutes then bass then drums return. "Kraken's Brain Is Blasting" is much better than the opener.The violin is more intense. We do get a calm before 2 minutes that lasts about a minute but contrasts do continue. "Horobi No Kawa" opens with piano then it turns fuller just before a minute.The violin is prominant before 3 minutes. "Back Side Edge" has a nice bass intro then it all kicks into a Fusiony flavour. Love the bass, electric piano and drums after 3 minutes.Then the violin comes in and leads.

"Slave Nature" is a violin-led piece but there is some organ in this one for a change. It does settles with piano before 2 minutes then the violin leads again after 5 minutes. "I Am Not Here" is my favourite. It takes a while for it to really get going, in fact it's after 2 1/2 minutes before we get a steady melody.This is great ! It settles back after 4 1/2 minutes and after 6 minutes. In between we get some intensity. It also picks up late. "Shironiji" is mellow with piano and guitar. It does build. A calm after 4 minutes with violin and piano.

While I may prefer the debut, this album is filled with extraordinary instrumental work. If your a violin fan definitely check this out.

Review by kev rowland
5 stars This is the second album from Japan's KBB and one that I was looking forward to. I haven't heard KBB's debut album, but have heard some of their songs and I still play Akihisa's album that he recorded with Natsuki Kido. Akihisa plays violin and guitar (and wrote 6 of the 7 songs); Toshimitsu Takahashi is on keyboards, Dani on bass and guitar and Shirou Sugano on drums. So quite an unusual line-up, and in many ways an unusual album: this is jazz-rock with very strong progressive tendencies. Curved Air is probably the closest comparison, but even that doesn't really cover it.

It is an instrumental album, but that is primarily because there is just no room for vocals. In "Kraken's Brain Is Blasting" there is a passage where all of the band take off in a tumultuous run with Akihisa just managing to keep in front. At times the others play a concerted piece which is at odds to the main melody, yet at others they are very much locked together. On "Slave Nature" there is a much more prog feel to proceedings with some great fretless bass just behind the lead instrument, whether it is violin, keyboard or electric guitar.

For those who enjoy complex instrumental music at its' very best.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars First album by KBB was hailed by the prog press as a magnificent work, but this was not enough to keep Gregory Suzuki in the line-up, as he left KBB in 2001.Shortly after the band introduces Toshimitsu Takahashi as the new keyboardist.The fresh core would record a second album, ''Four corner's sky'', which was released both in Japan and Europe via Poseidon Records and Musea respectively in autumn 2003.

Suzuki left the band and took along his much symphonic keyboard orientations with Takahashi having more or less a more jazzy style of playing, indicated by the pronounced electric piano and the dominance of Tsuboy's violin throughout the album, which sometimes seems to cover the rest of the group.Even if KBB's style shifted towards less flexible grounds and focused on more Fusion-directed performances, the executions and arrangements remained rich, extremely virtuosic and fairly dynamic with a good bunch of solos, breaks and complex parts.There are even slight KING CRIMSON vibes in the colder cuts with an also familiar OUTER LIMITS mood, but more or less the Japanese kept a good balance between sinister atmospheres, romantic textures and highly technical moves.As aforementioned, Tsuboy's violin workouts are the main leading forces of this album, complemented by Takahashi's piano, organ, synths and electric piano in complicated compositions, full of intricate plays, fast runs and tempo changes, supported still by a very solid rhythm section.There are also a couple of more melodic pieces with a softer style, where the Classical influences come excusively out of Tsuboy's crying violin.

This is emphatic, violin-driven Prog Fusion with focus on complex, instrumental music.Not as masterful as KBB's debut, but again I doubt that many bands can come up with such a consistent and interesting sound.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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