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Yuka & Chronoship


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Yuka & Chronoship The 3rd Planetary Chronicles album cover
3.92 | 75 ratings | 3 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Birth of the Earth - Collision (1:28)
2. Stone Age (8:26)
3. Galileo I - And Yet It Moves (E Pur Si Muove) (2:52)
4. Galileo II - Copernican Theory (5:52)
5. Birth of the Earth - Merger (1:20)
6. Age of Steam (8:07)
- I. Pastoral Garden
- II. Machine City
7. Wright Flyer 1903 (7:50)
8. On the Radio (2:18)
9. Birth of the Earth - Magma Ocean (1:26)
10. E = c♯m (4:36)
11. I am Thee (Awakening of Cloneroid) (6:55)
12. Birth of the Earth - Embryonic Planet (8:17)

Total time 59:27

Line-up / Musicians

- Yuka Funakoshi / vocals, piano, keyboards
- Shun Taguchi / bass, vocals
- Takashi Miyazawa / guitars
- Ikko Tanaka / drums

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
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YUKA & CHRONOSHIP The 3rd Planetary Chronicles ratings distribution

(75 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

YUKA & CHRONOSHIP The 3rd Planetary Chronicles reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Japanese band YUKA & CHRONOSHIP was formed in 2009, and I understand that the band at least initially mainly was the creative vehicle of composer, vocalist and musician Yuka Funakoshi, the remaining members of the band mainly renowned as highly skilled and talented studio musicians. The band have three studio albums to their name so far. "The 3rd Planetary Chronicles" is the most recent of these, and was released through UK label Cherry Red Records in the fall of 2015.

As one might suspect from the title of this CD, this album is one that explores a set theme or concept, in this case the history of the Earth from the stone age and, I guess, well into the future. As I'm working with a digital version of this production I don't know how well this concept is outlined, and as this is a mostly instrumental production the songs themselves do not indicate strongly how far reaching the concept is either, other than the name of the songs indicating that these chronicles cover ages past, present as well as yet to be.

Similar to a steadily increasing number of artists, Yuka & Chronoship appears to have chosen a take on progressive rock that isn't easily placed inside any of the subsections of the progressive rock universe. They come across as a unit that have well thought out ideas about what sounds and effects to use at any given time, and use them without any thought on how the various details or the sheer totality of them fits into a context or not. As such, this isn't a band to seek out if your taste in music is towards a band that stays put within a narrowly defined corner of the progressive rock universe.

A recurring feature throughout is the use of the piano to provide core motifs, more often than not in the shape of delicate, wandering patterns that only gets to dominate whenever the composition in question hone in on the more sparsely arranged, fragile moments, and is otherwise more of a supplemental feature adding a delicate presence to the proceedings. Another recurring feature is the use of Yuka's vocals as a nonverbal, atmospheric textures, basically the voice used as an additional instrument. This gives the songs an almost sacral, organic presence that can be mesmerizingly beautiful, and those who tend to enjoy such effects can note down this production as a must buy due to this detail alone.

Otherwise the compositions alternate between multiple and different types of stylistic expressions, as regarded from within a progressive rock context admittedly, with subtle references to bands like Pink Floyd, Camel and arguably Genesis as well tucked into the brew, with compositions that range from pastoral oriented fragile sequences to dramatic neo progressive rock in general style, but also with room for some cinematic interludes and occasional lapses into jazzrock and funk-flavored sequences as a natural part of the proceedings.

The end result is a distinctly modern sounding take on progressive rock, a fairly eclectic album but also one that maintains an accessible sound and atmosphere throughout, with occasional nods towards some of the great names in the annals of the genre as, perhaps, something of an incidental feature. When that is said, the manner in which this production unfolds and the general nature of the material makes me suspect that those with a taste for 80's and 90's neo progressive rock might be something of a key audience for this CD, alongside symphonic progressive rock fans with a something of a liberal taste and a certain affection for skilled, contemporary bands in general.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Yuka & Chronoship are baaaaack! Caught completely unaware by this fine Japanese band's previous 2013 album, "Dino Rocket Oxygen", I was very skeptical of any kind of future repeat performance and again, I was proven both wrong and foolish. This new album "The Third Planetary Chronicles" is a tremendous piece of modern prog using all the old school techniques with a fresh and vibrant approach that is sure to thrill all progressive rock fans. Yuka is Yuka Funakoshi, a lady keyboard virtuoso who can handle a wide variety of ivories with talent and aplomb, never overtly flashy but very expressive and unafraid to show it. Her piano playing in particular is quietly exquisite, choosing elegant sequences and making the technical look easy in the process. Chronoship are the three seasoned musicians that keep her stoked, probably the finest trio in Japan, led by sensational guitarist Takashi Miyazawa, who positively smokes when asked to do so, aided and abeted by slick bassist Shun Taguchi and tectonic drummer Ikko Tanaka. This is a concept album that goes from the dawn of time, snapping music photographs of milestone events that eventually lead to today and beyond. Technically this is an instrumental opus but what was started on their previous release has now become a hallmark feature that must be immediately identified and illuminated, I am referring to Fuka's voice being multi-tracked as a choir and being liberally used throughout with great effect. This 60s voice style is truly breathtaking as it gives the highly modern sheen (the production is first rate) that organic feel that we can all identify with.

Befitting a concept style, there is a beginning, recurring and ending piano sequence that is ultra-simplistic, even hypnotic but full of emotional gratitude. After the "Birth of The Earth" awakening , we shuffle into "Stone Age" which wastes little time in introducing those sweeping choirs mentioned above, a thoroughly exalting dive into majestic symphonic prog with swirling synthesizers, including a delightful flute patch ascension that really sets the tone remarkably. The tribal drum fills give this a true caveman feel, highly cinematographic and evocative of the conceptual subject. Fuka rips through some spirited soloing that has both pace and substance, leading to another glorious choral passage.

The 2 part "Galileo" suite swoons into the horizon with a first part ("And yet it moves") that seeks to highlight the grand piano as well as a barrage of synths, with some sublime shifts and contrasts, while Part2 "Copernican Theory" revs up the score mightily , as the piano continues its cosmic quest , shouldered by a pulsating drive. Intensely melodic with loads of restraint, you can sense the impending eruption as the synthesizers finally kick in with strong electric guitar support. This piece features some stunning cymbal work from percussionist Tanaka, segueing again into another choral section, egging the delectable piano onward.

After that recurring intermezzo, the epic "Age of Steam" is without question or hesitation, one of the highlight moments here, a simply magnificent piece of symphonic prog. Pastoral acoustic guitar and flute weave to create a dazzling melody, accentuated by a more distinct vocal and choir from Fuka, as the elegant piano takes over before exploding (and I mean exploding, with a churning organ and heavy beat) into a short scorching guitar solo that is way beyond the norm, seething , stirring and growling like some manic beast. Within a few minutes, Fuka saddles her organ and begins to swelter smoothly, slowly urging it towards more and more dissonance and obliqueness, sounding like Kerry Minnear of Gentle Giant fame. The lead guitarist is given another opportunity to shine and he does until the fade out.

Now if that didn't nail you to a cross, the next track will. "Wright Flyer" is taken over by Miyazawa's blistering axe, sliding a metallic phrasing that will turbocharge any propeller, the main choir melody is shatteringly attractive and a soaring acrobatic loop of divine music that only fuels the harpsichord to provide some bucolic release. The ensuing extended guitar solo is one for the ages, loaded with blistering bluster, shrill effects and tortuous finger work that will make you sit up and notice. The choir symphonics' return will provide even more goosebumps and seal the magic.

The effects-laden "On the Radio" serves to perpetuate the concept, where an echoed voice states: 'one thing is certain, the human being should never enter the realm of God'. This leads to another repetitive piano beacon that will ultimately introduce the next chapter "E=c#m", a swelling and manic keyboard manifesto, led by rapid-fire piano ornaments and sprinkled with some whirlwind synth soloing. Our ace guitarist shows off his rather considerable chops once again, blitzing manically with furious determination, a flawless foil for Yuka's ivory romps. This is where the proof of musicianship is indelibly stamped. This is one hell of an accomplished band! Einstein would have been proud.

Time to relax from all the bravado, "I am Thee" explores more exotic horizons, highly moody and affected, adorned by velvety guitar licks and brooding keyboard caresses. There is a sudden acceleration with both choir and instrumental participation, shifting wisps of electronics and that roiling organ once again coming to the fore. A wee angular guitar solo that hints at Vai or Holdsworth, more 'sturm und drang' to keep the heart palpitating. Breathe in the air!

This monumental disc ends with "Birth of the Earth-Embryonic" which serves to recap the concept in one 8 minute + epic finale, with all the usual suspects described above taking a bow. Can't say enough about the effusive piano work here, can't drool enough over the sweeping synthesizers, the majestic melodies and the engrossing choral passages that give this release so much depth and suspense. The electric guitar is sensational, the bass/drums are powerful, confident and bold.

Like in a great sci-fi movie, the insistent piano coda sears itself into the mind. And then, silence?.

5 universal archives

Review by FragileKings
4 stars The 3rd Planetary Chronicles is the third album by Japanese prog band Yuka & Chronoship, featuring keyboardist Yuka Funakoshi as the principal composer and supported by three excellent musicians on drums, bass, and guitar. The album's theme is the development of technology with specific technological advances featured, namely the Stone Age, steam power, flight, radio, and cloning as well as a reference to the concept of a solar-centric solar system and a reference to physics. Like the "Promenade" sequences in Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition", there are short transitional tracks which make up a series entitled "Birth of the Earth". This series concludes with a fully developed track over eight minutes long.

The music is largely lead by Yuka's piano, synthesizer and organ work but plenty of spotlight time goes to guitarist Takashi Miyazawa. The music is for the most part gentle, atmospheric, dynamic, and powerful. There are plenty of swooshing keyboard sounds at the right times, aethereal chorus vocals in parts, and the odd recorded spoken dialogue. Only a couple of tracks have lyrics and they are brief.

The music is very close to western prog bands both past and present but with a touch of that Japanese sense of human spirit. It sounds positive overall despite some of the darker moments. It never gets weird and works well as a companion piece to western prog while still keeping a sense of Japaneseness.

Personally, I find the longer tracks more engaging. The album begins like a misty landscape: you can't see (hear) the full beauty of it yet. For me, the album continues to develop interest as it goes along, and "I Am Thee (Awakening of Cloneroid)", the second last track, quickly became a favourite track out of many great tracks.

I will definitely be checking out their second album in the near future.

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