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Ain Soph

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Ain Soph Hat And Field album cover
3.91 | 64 ratings | 10 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Swan Lake (5:45)
2. Little Pieces part 1 (1:34)
3. Suite - Hat and Field (10:02) :
- a) Triple Echo
- b) Hat & Field
- c) Deep Feelin'
- d) Triple End
- e) Spanish Channel
4. Mizzle (3:41)
5. Canterbury Tale (for Pye Hastings & Richard Sinclair) (2:57)
6. Magic Carpet (6:57)
7. Little Pieces part 2 (2:31)
8. Pipe Dream (7:53)

Total Time: 41:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Yozox Yamamoto / guitars
- Kikuo Fujikawa / keyboards
- Masahiro Torigaki / bass, arrangements
- Taiqui Tomiie / drums, arrangements

Releases information

Artwork: T. Tsukamoto

LP Nexus ‎- K28P 603 (1986, Japan)

CD Nexus ‎- KICS 2514 (1993, Japan)
CD Nexus ‎- KICS-91941 (2013, Japan) Remastered by Hiroyuki Tsuji

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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AIN SOPH Hat And Field ratings distribution

(64 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

AIN SOPH Hat And Field reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It took 6 years for Ain Soph to finally record this amazing follow-up to their equally amazing debut album. The original lineup 90 (the band was formed in '77) was fully incorporated, since drummer Tomiie and keyboardist Fujikawa rejoined their former fellows (they had left before Ain Soph's debut was recorded). Some of the material already existed during the old days, so basically 'Hat & Field' is like a groups of four musician friends catching up. The title shows one of their major influences, Hatfield and the North: since these guys are really Canterbury freaks, it's no wonder that we can also find the inheritance of other similar acts such as National Health and Gilgamesh, as well as 'Rain Dances'-era Camel. The most explosive moments show the clear influence of Return to Forever and Holdsworth's solo albums. The playing is superb: not only each individual is a top-notch master on their instrument, but also they can interpleay with immaculate fluency through all these complex time signatures and complicated compositions, keeping an aura of delicate sophistication, as if it were actually an easy task to do. The moments in which Yozox and Fujikawa lay their challenging interplays are executed with infinite finesse. As in their previous album, the appearance of some exotic lines reminds the listener of their Japanese essence: their jazzy prog is not a clone, but the result of an inventively idiosyncratic recreation of an established pattern. There is a subtle difference, though: 'Hat & Field' puts a major emphasis on the jazz factor, subduing the symphonic thing for that matter. The beautiful opening track 'Swan Lake' is really captivating: through its tasteful delicateness, it has a subtle energy in it that makes it catchy. 'Hat & Field', the namesake suite, starts the same way, until an explosion of pyrotechnics takes place during its last section: this explosion is effectively continued in the glued following track 'Mizzle'. 'Magic Carpet' and 'Pipe Dream' follow in the same vein as the opening number, while tracks 2, 5 and 7 work as relaxing interludes, which create an introspective, slightly melancholy mood. Lovers of Canterbury and the best 70s jazz-fusion will most likely love this one too, and eventually, discover the particular beauty of Ain Soph's own jazz-prog voice.

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After a highly promising and impressive debut, Ain Soph seemed to me like one of the most promising Jazz-Rock bands from Japan in the early 80's. This second offering, however, goes in different directions than before.

While their debut album is a progressive jazz rollercoaster with plenty of technical and compositional competence, "Hat and Field" is calmer, easier to digest and warmer than it's predecessor. It still have the symphonic and canterbury-ish elements from their debut, only that this time they're presented more gently in the songs, and the compositions are far more relaxing and less demanding to listen to. The only problem with this is that the songs seems duller, less interesting and lacks the fire that the band provided for their debut this time. This makes the album a bit uneven, and even boring at times, but it's still enjoyable although not as remarkable as I wanted it to be. It tries hard, but doesn't quite make it, to say it with other words. The songs are melodic but not nearly as thrilling as they could be, but this still is a good album generally, and a good handful of the songs are actually quite good. The musicianship is very good and the production is clear and warm enough to provide all the music nicely througout and adds an extra plus to this (slightly disappointing) album.

This album is a good follow-up to their debut, although quite different. It's a good bet if you are interested in this band, or if you think their debut is a bit too much. If you like jazzy, melodic and solid prog then give this one a try. If you already are in love with their debut, you might get a bit disappointed (as I did) but it still deserves 3.5/5.

Review by crimson87
5 stars Love at first Feel

This is one of those opportunities when an album clicks on you just by hearing the first note on it.If you are a fan of jazz fusion and the late Canterbury Scene , then this is the real deal for you.Ain Soph are a japanese cult band that did not release many albums , however the few they released were absolutely stunning.If I were to find a way to describe the album sound it may be usefuf to say that this is a mixture between The Rotter's Club and National Health debut album.

Yet , this description falls short.The music is crafted with so much precission that it's possible for you to feel overwhelmed by this fact.However guitarist Yozox plays some of the most emotional notes ever played on a six string , and when I say emotional I mean: David Gilmour , Steve Rothery or the Derek and the Dominos Clapton phase.Just hear to the opening track The swan lake and you will understand what I say.

Yozox ain't the only virtuoso on the list , Bassist Nasashiro Tokigaki and drummer Taiqui manage to deliver a fine performance on the record , mainly on the 10 minute title track and the colsing track Pipe Dream

I am not giving this hidden gem the same rating as Brain Salad Surgery for no reason , this may be one of my best adquisiitions in my neverending musical journey.Having heard this group , I started to get albums by japanese artists like Kenso , Kazumi Watanabe , Gerard and Hiromi but I am searchng for more! It's just that japanese mucisians seem to have something with jazz , the way they interpret it leaves me in awe.

A very reccommended album if you are a jazz fusion fan like me.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Shortly after the release of the masterful ''A story of mysterious forest'' Masey Hattori left Ain Soph, he went to form his own Fusion-oriented band 99.99.That resulted the pause of activities by the band, around 1983 a new keyboardist was brought on board, but the new formation did not work out.After releasing a solo cassette in 1983, Yozox Yamamoto reformed Ain Soph due to the unexpected comeback of Kikuo Fujikawa.With Masahiro Torigaki on bass and Bellaphon's Taiqui Tomiie on drums the band would record its second disc ''Hat and field'' in 1986, released on Nexus.

The title of the album says it all.The much more Classical-influenced Masey Hattori was out and Fujikama's jazzy-spiced playing was thrown in Ain Soph's style, thus the new album was heavily resembling to the pre-Ain Soph years of Tenchi Sozo.With such a name it's rather useless to talk about the band's sound at this point.It was recalling the monster Canterbury Fusion works of the 70's and HATFIELD AND THE NORTH, CARAVAN, NATIONAL HEALTH and even FOCUS are just a few names, the sound of which Ain Soph tried to plagiarize in ''Hat and Field''.So most of this effort passes through ethereal electric piano and synth workouts, CAMEL-like emotional and jazzy-flavored solos and melodies (remember, Tomiie came from BELLAPHON, which were a highly CAMEL-influenced combo) and generally ''Hat and field'' tries to deliver an airy, less technical and more melodious approach on Progressive/Jazz Rock with accesible tunes on an all instrumental offering.Being Japanese, which means musicians with an impressive technical level, Ain Soph couldn't leave their virtuosic skills aside, so a couple of pieces feature some fiery interplays on keyboards and guitars, sitting comfortably next to the calm solos and atmospheric keyboards.Moreover, despite being a really down-to- earth album, ''Hat and field'' contains a huge number of emphatic breaks and rhythm changes, somewhat unfairly treated by the band itself due to some flat keyboard lines, but the result is always tasteful and interesting.

The revival of the Canterbury scene into the 80's.Melodic British-styled Fusion, nothing to do actually with the more symphonic sound of ''A story of mysterious forest'', this sits somewhere between Camel and Hatfield and The North.Warmly recommended for its honest approach on progressive instrumentals and delicate interplays.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is AIN SOPH's second album released some six years after their debut "A Story Of Mysterious Forest". I do prefer the 1980 debut as I gave it 4.5 stars but this one is well worth the 4 stars in my opinion. "Hat And Field" is an obvious reference to HATFIELD AND THE NORTH including the very cool album cover. There's also a song called "A Canterbury Tale(For Pye Hastings & Richard Sinclair)", yet to my ears this is Jazz/ Rock Fusion all the way with them crossing the line into Symphonic and Canterbury the odd time. I wish the liner notes were in English as there's a lot of info but I appreciate the many pictures of the band, mostly in the studio.

"The Swan Lake" has a mellow intro that turns beautiful before a minute followed by a guitar led section, very enjoyable. Distorted keys replace the guitar and the bass is prominent here as well. The guitar is back leading and man that bass is good. A calm after 4 1/2 minutes but it's brief as that guitar led soundscape returns. "Little Pieces Part 1" and the second part later on were written by the keyboardist while pretty much everything else was written by the guitarist named Yozok. This short piece is piano and floating synths throughout.

"Suite: Hat And Field" is the longest piece at just over 10 minutes and it's divided into 5 sections. It hits the ground running with so much going on but then it stops as a guitar led melody takes over. Catchy stuff with some nice bass too. I like how themes are repeated throughout. We get an almost spacey vibe 4 1/2 minutes in that's beautiful and I like the relaxed keyboard work after 7 minutes. The tempo picks up before 8 1/2 minutes big time.

"Mizzle" is a Jazz/ Fusion piece where they show off their chops. Impressive! "Canterbury Tale(For Pye Hastings & Richard Sinclair)" is a guitar led song that is a fitting tribute, very enjoyable. "Magic Carpet" is synth led as the music swells and collapses until it kicks into a Jazz/ Fusion track that is quite lively. A calm before 3 minutes and I love when the guitar comes in with the background synths. "Little Pieces Part 2' like the first one is piano led with spacey synths, very ballad-like. "Pipe Dream" is a bright keyboard led track with prominent bass and busy drum work. The guitar starts to lead before 4 1/2 minutes. Nice.

A really enjoyable album that will scratch the itch for most of you Jazz Rock/ Fusion fans out there.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Japanese instrumental four-piece Ain Soph released a greatly admired debut `A Story of Mysterious Forest' in 1980, and despite a reworked line-up here of departing and returning band members, their follow-up arrived six years later, entitled `Hat and Field'. Unsurprisingly, with that title, the band frequently performed music in the Canterbury sound style, but they were also just as likely to incorporate strong symphonic elements and plenty of fiery jazz-fusion, and it makes for an exciting and dynamic set with frequent moments of prettiness and soothing moods as well.

Hardly unexpected with a title like `The Swan Lake', the opener is a prancing symphonic swoon with jazzy soloing breaks, flecked ever so gently with a medieval fancy and touches of soft whimsy that reminds instantly of Camel and wouldn't have sounded out of place on their `Snow Goose' album. `Little Pieces part 1' is a low-key electric piano and dreamy synth interlude, but then it's all business for the ten minute, five-part `Suite - Hat and Field' epic. The band showcase an excellent use of reprising elegant and warmly embracing themes, many that again remind of Camel with the crisp electric guitar melodies, pristine acoustic interludes and serene synth airiness. A last minute blast of fuzzy keyboard wig-out busyness sees `Suite' oddly move right into `Mizzle' that closes out the first side, a frantic jazz-fusion race with plenty of twisting-turning heavy guitar snarls, rumbling drum tantrums and unravelling Seventies-flavoured Mini-Moog runs.

`Canterbury Tale (for Pye Hastings & Richard Sinclair)' opens the second side, a cheerful and romantic symphonic devotion to the two Canterbury scene notables of chiming acoustic guitar magic and mellow electric guitar soloing, reminding of both Caravan and even Richard's time with Camel. `Magic Carpet' is a solo-heavy rocker, `Little Pieces part 2' a lovely piano reprise of the first part from the flip side, and the infectious closer `Pipe Dream' has a jazzy spring in its step and provides plenty of happy-go-lucky back-and-forth rollicking playfulness with fuzzy electric piano noodling and stirring Andy Latimar-flavoured guitar work full of dignity and grandness.

Admittedly a few short stretches come close to being just a little bland, and the Eighties production sometimes gives the music a slightly clinical sound (but hey, even real-deal Canterbury-related LP's like National Health's `D.S Al Coda' from the same decade occasionally suffered the same fate), but this is a hugely charming album, delivered with the technicality and professionalism that is a consistent characteristic of Japanese prog-related groups. Listeners wanting a fine jazz-fusion/symphonic/Canterbury crossover disc should absolutely investigate this one immediately.

Four stars.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Wonderful Canterbury-inspired instrumental jazz fusion from Japan featuring some highly skilled (and classically trained) musicians in this reboot of the 1980 band that released the highly acclaimed (but more classically-oriented) A Story of Mysterious Forest.

1. "The Swan Lake" (5:45) quite CAMEL-esque (and quite nice). (9.5/10)

2. "Little Pieces part 1" (1:34) Fender Rhodes and synth washes. Pretty. (4.25/5)

3. "Suite - Hat and Field" (10:02) a beautiful and highly engaging suite. (18.5/20): - a) Triple Echo - opens with a FOCUS feel--with some tinges of Spanish and classical influences. - b) Hat & Field - other than the Jan Akkerman-like guitar play, this movement does have some Hatfield and the North feel to it. - c) Deep Feelin' - like this section with its acoustic guitar lead and rich keyboard and bass support (a little like something from Narada Michael Walden solo albums of the late 70s/early 80s) - d) Triple End - keys (Fender Rhodes) get the triple effect this time. - e) Spanish Channel - Not to sure about the "Spanish-ness" of this movement--other than a kind of tribute to Santa Esmeralda.

4. "Mizzle" (3:41) very tight whole-band jazz-rock fusion with everybody showing their skills and discipline. The drums are especially awesome but the bass track feels a little off-set. (8.75/10)

5. "Canterbury Tale" (for Pye Hastings & Richard Sinclair) (2:57) sounds rife for some Richard Sinclair vocal whimsy. (8.5/10)

6. "Magic Carpet" (6:57) some sophisticated time and polyrhythms conjure up the tighter songs on KING CRIMSON's Discipline but then move more into the realm of RETURN TO FOREVER. Nice melodies and performances throughout. The keyboardist's sounds and styles bear a striking resemblance to those of Chick Corea while the guitarist is more akin to Larry Coryell (to my ears). (13.5/15)

7. "Little Pieces part 2" (2:31) repeat configuration of the previous "Little Pieces" piece with a little more developed ABACAB structure. (4.25/5)

8. "Pipe Dream" (7:53) though starting out leaning to some of the more serious jazz-oriented Canterbury artists (like Hatfield, Gilgamesh, and later Soft Machine), the second section that begins at 3:50 is something straight out of a Camel album. Interesting amalgam! (13.75/15)

Total Time: 41:20

While all the players are deserving of praise and superlatives, I kept finding my ear paying attention to the drums and bass play. Great mastery of cymbal play from the former and nice melodic lines from the latter. The guitarist and keyboard player feel more chameleonic--prone to be more imitative of others.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music with a Jazz-Rock Fusion orientation.

Latest members reviews

4 stars It seems with the band's debut, they made an attempt to showcase their musical ability while giving less effort to their songwriting whereas, in this album, it seems as though the band does a flip over and makes an attempt to craft beautiful and interesting songs that may not show off how talented t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1172714) | Posted by MJAben | Thursday, May 8, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Swan Lake 5:46. Very catchy start of an album, soft key to a strong guitar with a tune you can follow, pretty slick, bass flying some notes of it's own. Keys following then completely take over with bass up and down back to full guitar excellent keys above. Tempo and style to pure elec gui ... (read more)

Report this review (#352092) | Posted by Steven Brodziak | Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Released 6 years after Ain Soph's 1980 debut "A Story of Mysterious Forest", which had little to offer besides outstanding technical performance, "Hat and Field" was definitely a step in the right direction, with the instrumental band focused on creating effective, memorable composi ... (read more)

Report this review (#61497) | Posted by Pafnutij | Saturday, December 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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