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Mr. Sirius

Canterbury Scene

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Mr. Sirius Barren Dream album cover
4.19 | 69 ratings | 10 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. All the fallen people: (11:57)
.. I. Overture
.. II. Madrigal
.. III. Rhapsody
.. IV. Fantasy
2. Sweet revenge (1:44)
3. Step into Easter (7:47)
4. Intermezzo (5:18)
5. Eternal jealousy: (8:14)
.. I. Prelude
.. II. Intake
.. III. Stillglow
.. IV. Return
6. Lagrima (4:11)
7. Barren dream (13:28)
.. Act I
.. Act II
.. Act III

Bonus track on 1999 remaster:
8. Eternal Jalousie (Single version, remixed) (4:42)

Total Time: 56:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Lisa Ohki (Hiroko Nagai) / vocals, grand piano (3,5)
- Kazuhiro Miyatake (Mr. Sirius) / flute, guitars (electric, synth, 12-string, Classical & acoustic), keyboards, piano, Mellotron, Hammond, synth, sampler, bass, accordion
- Chihiro Fujioka / drums, tambourine (6)

- Fumiaki Ogawa / grand piano (5), Mini-Moog (8)
- Raven Ohtani / lead guitar and solo (5)
- Yoshihisa Shimizu / lead guitar (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Ratta.K.S.

LP Made In Japan Records ‎- MIJ-1013 (1987, Japan)

CD Crime ‎- 280E 2025 (1989, Japan)
CD Mr. Sirius Records ‎- KASA-0001 (1999, Japan) Remastered by Hikaru Sawamura with a bonus track and new cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MR. SIRIUS Barren Dream ratings distribution

(69 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MR. SIRIUS Barren Dream reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Progbear
4 stars Mr. Sirius is multi-instrumentalist Kazuhiro Miyatake. Actually, it's the name of his solo musical project. His main partner in crime is Pageant vocalist/keyboardist Hiroko Nagai (a.k.a. Lisa Ohki). Her clear-toned yet powerful voice is perfect for this pastoral, dreamy take on symphonic prog.

In tried-and-true fashion for 80's Japanese prog, lush pillows of orchestrated keys form the musical bed for this album. To compare this to Renaissance would be a bit glib, but not entirely inaccurate. Miyatake's classical guitarwork is a devastatingly lovely component of the band's overall sound, as is his lilting flute work throughout. The piano playing (by Nagai on "Intermezzo" and Miyatake elsewhere) is likewise quite a nice touch.

It's not all willow branches and buttercups, though. There are touches of fiery fusion, as on "Sweet Revenge" and the climax of "Eternal Jealousy", the latter featuring Black Page guitarist Raven Ohtani.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Barren Dream is the debut album from Japanese progressive rock band Mr. Sirius. They are catagorized here as Canterbury scene which is totally wrong IMO. This is symphonic prog rock with a few ( very few) moments of fusion jazz rock. What shouldnīt be desputed is the quality of the music though because this is excellent and very original prog rock. Mr. Sirius is a three piece which consists of Chihiro Fujioka on drums, Hiroka Nagai on lead female vocals and composer Kazuhiro Miyatake on flute, keyboards, Mellotron, bass, accordion. There are a few guest appearences on guitar on some of the songs on the album.

The music is cleverly composed and very classically influenced. Itīs very dynamic and there are both quiet and more bombastic symphonic parts. Itīs very pleasant music with lots of flute, vintage keyboards and female soprano vocals. Some of the songs have pretty complex structures like All the fallen people or Eternal jealousy, but all songs are pleasant and beautiful. I like the subtle quiet parts a lot. The few fusion jazz rock moments occur in Sweet revenge and Eternal Jealousy and those moments are great for the diversity even though they are not a dominant part of the album.

The musicianship is excellent and I have to give a special mention to Kazuhiro Miyatake for his outstanding composing skills. He must be classically trained. The female vocals from Hiroka Nagai are also very good. One time I was reminded of Kate Bush but generally Hiroka Nagai has her own style.

The production is very good but I do have a small problem with the voice production which is a bit hollow at times.

Barren Dream is a very enjoyable symphonic prog album and it certainly deserves 4 stars both for the performances and the outstanding compositions. Forget about the Canterbury Scene tag though as itīs very misleading. Anyone who loves symphonic/ orchestral music should be able to enjoy this. This is a highly recommendable album.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Japanese multi-instrumentalist Kazuhiro Miyatake was involved in most japanese Symphonic Rock projects during the 80's,mostly playing acoustic guitars and flute.So,anyone can find him in the line-up of bands like Mugen, Pageant, Pazzo Fanfano di Musica or Magdalena.By mid- 80's he adapted the name MR.SIRIUS and formed his own band,followed by PAGEANT's lead singer Lisa Ooki (she uses the name Hiroka Nagai on MR.SIRIUS) and Chihiro Fujioka on drums.After a 1986 EP,the trio releases their debut LP ''Barren Dream'' the next year on Made In Japan,re-released on CD by King Records with a different -cover plus a bonus track.

''Barren dream'' had to be one of the most intricate, energetic, adventuruous and nostalgic listenings for a prog fan back in the 80's (if not the most adventurous one!).Its English lyrics show that this record was headed for worldwide distribution and, as for the sound, this comes like a cross between acoustic RENAISSANCE-like melodies,GENESIS/CAMEL-influenced Symphonic Rock with plenty of flutes and highly-aggresive Canterbury Prog in the vein of HATFIELD AND THE NORTH or even better Dutch SUPERSISTER.Many different styles in here,but all of them are so inspiring and well-arranged,that you will get equal thrilling moments of listening.There is much of the typical Japanese piano/synth-driven grandiose and symphonic introductions, easily indicating the band's origin.Lisa Ooki's voice is more mature than ever with operatic vocals and sensitive choirs dominating the mellow symphonic or acoustic parts of the album (which even contain accordeon sometimes) in a dreamy way...but when it comes to the high energy,the album really gets off with the fantastic Canterbury-Fusion interplays,which come like a mix of nice melodies and demanding complexity.MR. SIRIUS prooves to be a mastermind of this style..Flutes are battling instrumental solos,melodic guitars combine with obscure synths,jazzy piano passages meet the complicated work of the rhythm section.Progressive rock at its best and I mean it!

Honestly,I do not know how much better progressive music can be,listening to ''Barren dream''.Kazuhiro Miyatake can place himself among the most significant figures of our beloved music (at least for me),after producing a masterpiece like this!A step further than extremely highly recommended,a must-have for ages!

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In the prog revival movement that started in Japan in the late 70s and became reaffirmed during teh 80s and 90s, there was room for every trend, even for this sort of mixture of symphonic prog, Canterbury-satyle jazz-prog and pastoral moods that Mr. Sirius developed as its own musical ideology. Masterminded by the skilfull multi-instrumentalist Kazuhiro Miyatake (keyboards, flute and acoustic guitars), the band's debut album "Barren Dream" remains to this day a solid example of how good prog rock continued to be as an artistic endeavor after the 70s. Miyatake had already had a wide array of experiences in his native progressive arena (for instance, Pageant and Pazzo Fanfano Di Musica), and now it was time to fully convey his vision through this band's functioning. The album starts with the first suite, "All the Fallen People", which clerly manifests the main progressive virtues of Mr. Sirius' music. This is gentle symphonic prog not devoid of stamina, well-constructed sequences of melodic bases in which the mood and motif shifts emerge fluidly, a crafted combination of serene beuaty and energy. Teh main mission of Hiroko Nagai's voca ldeliveries is to enhance the relaxing aspect of the bucolic side that Mr. Sirius imparts with academic elegance. All in all, throughout teh evident complexity devoted to this msuical architecture, a sense of warmth prevails. Netx is the brief instrumental 'Sweet Revenge' [... too brief...], which brings a jazz-rock tapestry of exciting colors. The nex ttwo pieces are focused on somethign quite different, that is, instrospective moods wrapped in a pastoral sonic landscape ('Step into Easter') or in a return to Romantic chamber ('Intermezzo'). The pairing of these tracks serves as a culmination of the road to eclecticism that Mr. Sirius designed for teh album as a whole: just by listening to these four tracks, the listener is capable of stating the band's progressive game. The album goes on with 'Eternal Jealousy', a song that steadily brings back much of the vibrant colorfulness we had met in track 1, only this time with a powerful jazzy ingredient that conditions its integral framework. It can be described as a Camel thing wrapped in Gilgamesh sheets and adding colors from Bruford's first two solo albums. This is a really excellent track: its 8 minute span feels so short once you notice that it's ended. You might as well listen to it twice in a road, but if you don't, you will be immediately treated with a lovely Rennaissance-meets-Anthony Phillips piece entitled 'Lagrima': the eerie marriage of female vocals and acoustic 12-string gutiar gets conveniently adorned with flute lines and soft percussion in places. The closing track is also the longest: it lasts almost 13 ― minutos. Essentially, it is a hybrid of the moods from the majestic 'All the Fallen People' and the ultra-dynamic 'Eternal Jealousy'. Pompous it is, but its inherent compelxity is handled solidly in order to keep things under control lest the moments focused on melodic expansions become overtly self- indulgent. "Barren Dream" is more than just an album and it is not simply a great progressive album: it is an exercise on fine pottery in the shape of articulated sound. Simply recommended to all prog rock collectors over the world, no ifs or buts...

Review by Warthur
4 stars One of the most unique and individual progressive rock albums I have ever heard. I understand why this is in the Canterbury section, because the group do occasionally drift into Canterburified jazz-rock territory reminiscent of National Health's self-titled album, but much of the music here is in a symphonic, pastoral mode. Imagine, if you will, a collaboration between Anthony Philips on acoustic guitar and the Enid's Robert John Godfrey on piano, playing in the most relaxed and tranquil moods they've ever played in, and you might have something that resembles this piece. It took a while for this one to grow on me, but grow it did, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in some genuinely challenging material which challenges all the usual assumptions about the categorisation of progressive rock music.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars WARNING: This is NOT a Canterbury Scene album. Nor is it facsimile of Canterbury style music. It is a representation of an eclectic array of many styles that were explored in Progressive Rock music between 1966 and 1986, including (in fairly equal proportions) Symphonic, Jazz-Rock Fusion, Canterbury, and Neo Prog. This is the remarkable and, in fact, quite extraordinary debut album from Japanese artist/composer/multi-instrumentalist Kazuhiro Miyatake. He is joined by brilliant recruits, Lisa Ohki, a mezzo soprano vocalist and classically-trained pianist, and drummer Chihiro Fujioka.

1. "All the fallen people" (11:57) a gorgeous suite that opens fully representative of all things Canterbury before sliding deftly into GENESIS/ANT PHILLIPS-like Neo Prog. (28.5/30) .. I. Overture - the opening movement is full of both Canterbury and Neo Prog sounds and nuances. (4.75/5) .. II. Madrigal - The second movement includes the wonderful AMANDA-PARSONS-like voice and piano stylings of Lisa Ohki (singing in Japanese) in a gorgeous kind of Anthony Phillips fairy story telling passage. (10/10) .. III. Rhapsody - drums and circus-like noises denote the shift into this section, which becomes a Neo Prog feast of sound: active, chunky bass, Amanda-Parsons-like vocalese, a variety of TONY BANKSian keyboard synths, and a very GENESIS-like chord and melody structure with Lisa singing in English "all must be done" over a very GENESIS-like sound palette. (9.25/10) .. IV. Fantasy - with the signature marker of a classical guitar, a mystical journey of synths and piano is unveiled to play out softly, beautifully, to the end. (4.5/5)

2. "Sweet revenge" (1:44) using a Hammond organ and flute, the full band puts forth a very DAVE STEWART-like fast-paced instrumental ditty. (4.75/5)

3. "Step into Easter" (7:47) opens with a chorus of Lisa Ohki voices singing something only it's been reversed. Classical guitar, flute, and accordion give this a very STEVE HACKETT-like sound over the next two minutes. Flute and accordion take turns exposing the melody over the classical guitar play as if in a conversation before male and female voices enter singing in English in a very archaic GENTLE GIANT-like style and melody. The classical guitar takes over the sole musical carpet in the fourth minute before Lisa returns, this time singing in Japanese. The music here still feels like a combination of the delicate sides of STEVE HACKETT and GENTLE GIANT. The elegant guitar playing is exquisite as is this masterful, almost-classical song. (15/15)

4. Intermezzo (5:18) (Not present on my copy of this album therefore, not rated/reviewed.)

5. "Eternal jealousy" (8:14) (20/20) .. I. Prelude - solo piano plays delicately in a soft jazz KEITH JARRETT way. (5/5) .. II. Intake - turns on the synth strings with a series of orchestra-like chords before full band enters like JAN AKKERMAN and his FOCUS gang in all their glorious precision and technical perfection. A jazzy piano solo ensues to fill the foreground over the high-powered jazzy bass and drums before the AKKERMAN-like guitar shredding continues. (5/5) .. III. Stillglow - notes a shift into full Canterbury regalia with PHIL MILLER-like guitar (which later turns more Mike Oldfield/Alan Holdsworth) and organ and intermittent vocalese from Lisa. (5/5) .. IV. Return - a return to a FOCUS-like sound and theme in which Electric guitar, flute, piano, and synth all take turns up front. (5/5)

6. "Lagrima" (4:11) harpsichord and picked and strummed 12-string guitar provide the simple-yet-full musical fabric over which Lisa Ohki sings her extraordinary classically trained voice in Italian, French, Japanese, and English in a very European aria style. Ends with a very ANT PHILLIPS-like flourish. (9.5/10)

7. "Barren dream" (13:28) (27/30) .. Act I - synth strings open this before solo piano takes over at 0:22. At 0:47 the full band enters in jazz mode with two flute tracks sharing the exposition of the melody. At 1:20 the rock side takes over with electric guitar taking over for the flutes. At 1:45 there is a shift back to more classical sound with classical guitar. This interplay of classical/acoustic alternating with full rock electronic instrumentation repeats before a soft synth strings chord sequence bridges us .. Act II .. Act III

Total Time: 56:29

A wonderful display of compositional virtuosity with some amazing instrumental and melodic contributions throughout. The heavier, more intricate sections of the compositions sound much like country mates KENSO and AIN SOPH, while the more pastoral passages feel close to the stylings of ex-GENESIS soloists, ANT PHILLIPS and STEVE HACKETT, while the vocal passages feel forceful and dramatic enough to fit on the stages of Broadway or London's West End. The complexity of vocal symphonic passages are quite reminiscent of Keith EMERSON as well as jazz musicians like MANHATTAN TRANSFER and today's MOETAR.

A/five stars; an unquestioned masterpiece of progressive rock music and as fine of an album you'll find in Prog World.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. A step up in every way from the second album "Dirge" but I still have problems enjoying this one other than that incredible 12 minute opener called "AllThe Fallen People" but even on this one I have issues. This band is a trio with multi instrumentalist Kazuhiro Miyatake playing flute, guitar, synths, bass, accordion, mellotron and keyboards. His alias is Mr. Sirius. Lisa is almost all vocals here with some piano while we also get a drummer. Three guests including two guitarists playing on one song each and mini-moog on one track from another musician.

I'm going to get hate mail for this one but this just isn't an album I enjoy other than the opener. The opener repeats themes and has a very good bass section. Quite a lot of vocals along with flute, accordion and piano. Two things that are prominent on this album that I have a hard time with are those orchestral sounds generated through his keyboards. He also has a sampler and a synth called a "super orchestra". Anyway I wish he'd ditched that and used his mellotron samples in those sections. Lisa has a great voice but I'm not into them most of the time. So sugary and sometimes almost operatic. Like a Broadway singer you could say. So yeah she can sing. Very much an up and down record for me and one I can't in good conscience give 4 stars to. No this is not Canterbury.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This is Mr. Sirius debut album released in 1987. One of the most unique and individual progressive rock albums. The music covers the Canterbury Scene and Symphonic Prog. It's very pleasant music with lots of flute, vintage keyboards and female soprano vocals. This album is chock full of wonde ... (read more)

Report this review (#1866359) | Posted by nikitasv777 | Saturday, January 13, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ''Barren Dream''is a really interesting album by a not widely-known Japanese progressive rock group.When I first listened to this album I felt overwhelmed with strong emotions and feelings, as I have to say that several melodies it contains are indescribably wonderful.In my opinion it is a four ... (read more)

Report this review (#217484) | Posted by bfCanterbury | Friday, May 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Meltingly beautiful autumnal and harmonically advanced chamber-prog, mixed with odd but very ferocious fusion interpolations with Canterburyish bent. I spent years trying to find a cheap edition of this and then finally got one free. Hackett fans should not hesitate for a SECOND. Miyatake is n ... (read more)

Report this review (#94648) | Posted by Paul Stump | Sunday, October 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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