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Wappa Gappa

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Wappa Gappa Gappa album cover
3.48 | 17 ratings | 7 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Kyoei no ichi (Souk) (7:44)
2. Ido Uuenchi (Kirmes) (8:43)
3. Ranja (10:51)
4. Taiyo no kin np ringo (The golden apples of the sun) (8:31)
5. Heishitachi-e (To soldiers) (6:50)
6. Gokujo no yuuutsu (Exquisite blue) (7:28)
7. Escher (9:39)
8. Etranger (8:38)

Total Time 68:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Keizo Endo / bass
- Yasuhiro Tachinibana / guitars
- Hideaki Nagaike / keyboards
- Hiroshi Mineo / drums
- Tamami Yamamoto / vocals

Releases information

CD Musea Records #FGBG 4545.AR - 2004

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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WAPPA GAPPA Gappa ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (59%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

WAPPA GAPPA Gappa reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
3 stars This is the first album by this band I've got into my hands and I was rather curious to listen to it. Actually I find the music quite interesting, reminding me a bit to THIEVES' KITCHEN's Shibboleth album, although being not quite as good as that one. They're playing in some way a mixture of symphonic/Neoprog and jazz elements. What's very positive is that the Neoprog influence is very marginal and the jazz input is merged rather well with the symphonic element. During the first few spins the music presented here might still sounds a bit strange especially to our European ears mainly due to the sometimes oddly sounding vocal lines and as well the language.

The opener Souk is not quite suitable for falling in love with this record immediately, but after a few spins and getting used to the vocals the song becomes more attractive revealing some very interesting moments and actually it should appeal to fellows preferring odd stuff. Very intricate and slightly odd song with excellent keyboard, bass and guitar work. Kirmes is basically a more accessible and melodic song although once again vocals by Tamami Yamamoto provide a certain amount of oddity. Another very positive aspect of this album is that keyboard solos are mainly done by the good ol' Hammond. Ranja is a very nice and excellent symphonic prog song with a slight jazzy touch, certainly one of the highlights here having a rather melancholic basic mood with nice flute keyboard tunes combined with excellent guitar/bass play. Vocals are sounding as well very enjoyable on this one. In The Golden Apples Of The Sun melodious and complex sections are alternating in a very felicitous way and here it's becoming quite evident how dominant the bass play is in their music. There's as well a very fine solo provided by excellent guitarist Yasuhiro Tachibana and keyboarder Hideaki Nagaike uses some tunes sounding quite interesting, second highlight of the album. Not to forget to mention that in general musicianship is really excellent here. Without going too much into detail of the rest of the songs I can just say that they are anything than inferior keeping well the quality standard of the album's first half. Closing track Etranger can be called another highlight with once again an excellent guitar solo.

SUMMARY: Third album by this interesting Japanese band is an excellent and solid work presenting some first classed musicianship and should provide enough complexity and pleasure to most prog collectors for quite a few spins. Although possibly not an essential one, it might certainly appeal to all lovers of modern intricate symphonic/jazz fusion. I'd like to rate it with 3.5 stars!

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Not really extravagant but weird, Wappa Gappa's style delivers a special type of progressive jazz friendly with the combination of symphonic prog overall harmonic orchestrations and neo-prog refined melodic structures. The band's repertoire is full of hooks and pompous energy, with the recurrent jazzy rhythmic cadences serving as providers of a rare swing to the melodic developments. All in all, the jazzy factor isn't limited to the rhythm department: in fact, it embraces the essential core of many tracks in "Gappa". So far, I am only familiar with this album, the band's third effort, which I find absolutely splendid in terms of writing and arrangements. The opener 'Souk' epitomizes the aforesaid general description quite well: the sung sections bear a neo dynamics with an extra funky feel, while the instrumental interlude states a punchy jazz-rock approach in the rhythm duo and the lead guitar's phrases, and the keyboardist delivers some majestic symphonic oriented ornaments and solos. 'Kirmes' is clearly related to the influences from Tribal tech and Allan Holdsworth, as well as "Five Evolved from 9"-era Ain Soph. Yamamoto's singing style fits better the symphonic framework than the jazz-rock, but sure she can move fluidly with her lines through the frame elaborated by her fellow members. This second track finds the keyboardist displaying flourishes a-la Keith Emerson. He turns to the George Duke-influence for the following piece, 'Ranja'. This semi-ballad finds Yamamoto toying effectively with her higher pitch. During almost 11 minutes, 'The Golden Apples of the Sun' is the longest track in the album. After the cosmic interlude, the band states a full frontal extroverted vibe. Guitarist Tachibana states his leads and harmonics in a Holdsworth-meets- Gary Moore style, very efficiently indeed. The jams are exciting yet controlled and well-ordained: the fireworks are there, but the track is not over-saturating. Next comes the lyrically melancholic 'To Soldiers': the track builds a sort of gradual crescendo, with the guitarist performing what arguably are his best leads in the album. The keyboard stuff may remind us a bit of classic Marillion, but the interactions between Tachibana, Endo and Mineo keep the jazz factor tightly rooted in the band's sound. 'Exquisite Blue' reinforces the jazz-rock essence in Nagaike's playing, while 'Escher' states an alternation of symphonic prog and jazz around Nagake's deliveries. These two pieces allow the album to preserve a very interesting vibration before the arrival of the 9 minute long closure 'Etranger'. It is a very reflective song, equaling the lyricism (not the intensity) of 'To Soldiers'. Anyway, the powerful combination of keyboard layers and a clever rhythm section makes this track show off the band's good taste on arrangements and organic sense. The climax is very polished, and so are the incendiary guitar solos. "Gappa" is an excellent item of jazz-prog for the new millennium - let's hope for more from Wappa Gappa.
Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Japanese band WAPPA GAPPA was formed back in 1992, and over the next 12 years they would release a total of 3 studio productions before either splitting up or entering a state of hiatus. As news from the band stopped sometime in 2004 it's uncertain what the real status actually is. "Gappa" is the bands third and so far last studio production, and was jointly released by Intermusic and Musea Records in 2004.

And it is a fairly innovative creation we're dealing with in this case, and a rather sophisticated entity to boot. It is also a testimony to the fact that challenging, creative music doesn't need to be hard on the ears and the brain, as this band manage to craft accessible compositions without losing the innovative edge and groundbreaking features.

Their style is perhaps the part of the proceedings hardest to describe in an accurate manner, although a word like eclectic does come to main rather quickly when listening through this CD. There's a subtle but distinct jazz orientation to their endeavours, with bass guitar and to some extent drums catering for this part of the total package. On the other hand, the keyboards and organ used throughout adds a symphonic sheen to the proceedings, while the guitars ventures closer into an expression fans of early 80's King Crimson might recognize.

Of course, it's the manner in which these different instruments are assembled and utilized which makes this special. And the compositions all share some features. One of them is that some parts of each composition is of a fairly accessible nature. More purebred symphonic oriented with a firm hold on harmonies most often, occasionally with a fusion orientation for these passages. Other parts are fairly challenging in nature, combining the diversity previously described in challenging movements, where differing levels of intensity and tonal range utilized see to it that the different stylistic expressions somehow does manage to combine into a whole. And a major asset that manage to assemble the various musical details at odds with each other into a contextual whole are the lead vocals of Yamamoto. Her distinct, melodic delivery adds a smooth coating to the proceedings that is a vital ingredient in this peculiar mix.

The end result is a rather unique blend of challenging art rock, symphonic progressive rock and fusion. With a number of nuances and details catering for the challenging aspects, while the latter two tends to be somewhat more up front and thus leading to compositions that retain an accessible nature despite seeking out new musical grounds to cover. And as such a production that merits a check by those who are fond of innovative progressive rock as well as by liberal minded symphonic art rock and fusion enthusiasts.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars This is the third album by Japanese outfit Wappa Gappa, and I know this because it is possible to view their web site in English! Although all of the lyrics are in Japanese this isn't a major problem, as the female voice becomes just another instrument, but they do kindly offer a translation for all of the lyrics in their booklet. This is a prog band that has a lot going for it, with some great guitar leads. It is difficult to describe how they sound as they are quite different to most bands around, but that has to be very much in their favour. There are elements of Gentle Giant and other Seventies bands due to some of the kjeyboard sounds they employ, but also they often go off at tangents into a musical free for all as they open up and have fun. This is easily one of the best Japanese prog albums that I have come across.

There are gentle quiet passages, then off they go on another rock out. It's all quite fun really. Although initially released in Japan it is now also available in Europe through Musea. As for the name? On the site they tell us that '"Wappa"means hand cuffs in japanese plicemen's slang."Gappa" in chinese character can be read with a meaning of "I break it". There is a hidden hope behind our name which says " Be free, be yourself".' Now you know!

Originally appeared in Feedback #79, June 2004

Review by b_olariu
4 stars This band from Japan with intresting name Wappa Gappa, caught my attention few years back with their last album to date named Gappa, issued in 2004 by Musea records. To tell the truth I was hooked right from the opening track Kyoei no ichi (Souk) - a perfect in every way 8 min piece that establish them among the best from land of the sinshine in last decade or so. The music has plenty of memorable passaes with quirky arrangements and superb playing from all members. The music is symphonic prog but with a healthy doze of fusion jazziness, this combinattion is very efective and catchy in same time. The similarity are from Kenso to an extict and with anoth top notch japanes band Mongol and their fantastic Doppler 444 release. If the guitar, bass and drums carring the jazzy floavour, the keyboards and moog adds a very distinctiv symphonic sound and giving in the end a very special, intresting and captivating album. All pieces stands as great, no boring moments the listner is conected full time from start to finish. Also I forgot to add that femal vocalist Tamami Yamamoto has a very beautiful voice that is going hand in hand with the music offered.A well rounded release that is needing a far more recognition by any prog listner. 4 stars easy and recommended

Latest members reviews

3 stars Very mediocre. The songs all sound the same, airy female Japanese vocals repeating the same thing over and over while jazz fusion happens below. Absolutely no character to the songs. This album is also quite bloated at over an hour of music, which is not a positive when the music has nothing ... (read more)

Report this review (#2573609) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Tuesday, June 22, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I enjoyed "A Myth" more than this one. I've not heard "Yamatai" so I cannot compare it to that one. Gappa seems to be a little more subdued.....not as intense and not as many memorable hooks and intense grooves. Good playing still with enjoyable moments. If you need a place to start, get "A my ... (read more)

Report this review (#30826) | Posted by swalter | Tuesday, October 5, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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