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Jazz Rock/Fusion • Japan

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Ain Soph biography
Instrumental band from Japan who plays a very interesting and intricate music, a real salad of styles, navigating over jazz fusion, symphonic prog and Canterbury Sound. This group plays a chamber and fusion Progressive rock in the style of KENSO, HATFIELD AND THE NORTH and CAMEL. Hard to imagine such sound? What are you waiting for... go listen to the band!

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AIN SOPH Videos (YouTube and more)

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Boushi to NoharaBoushi to Nohara
Imports 2018
$17.36 (used)
Yousei No MoriYousei No Mori
Imports 2018
$17.20 (used)
Studio Live Tracks Eighties And 2005Studio Live Tracks Eighties And 2005
Musea 2007
Story of Mysterious ForestStory of Mysterious Forest
King 2002
$28.35 (used)
Sigillum SSigillum S
Old Europa Cafe'
Studio Live Tracks '80s And '05Studio Live Tracks '80s And '05
Musea/Poseidon Records
Mysterious Triangle Special Live Vol.2 by AIN SOPHMysterious Triangle Special Live Vol.2 by AIN SOPH
Ride On A CamelRide On A Camel
$28.15 (used)
Mysterious Triangle Special Live Vol.2Mysterious Triangle Special Live Vol.2
Quicksand: Special Live Vol.3Quicksand: Special Live Vol.3
$31.29 (used)
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AIN SOPH Hat And Field JAPAN CD KICS-2514 1993 OBI USD $52.83 Buy It Now 8 days
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Ain Soph - Boushi To Nohara (CD Used Like New) USD $12.02 Buy It Now 28 days
AIN SOPH A Story Of Mysterious Forest JAPAN CD KICS-2819 1998 OBI USD $52.54 Buy It Now 28 days

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AIN SOPH discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

AIN SOPH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.99 | 93 ratings
A Story Of Mysterious Forest
3.89 | 46 ratings
Hat And Field
3.17 | 22 ratings
Marine Menagerie
2.78 | 14 ratings
5 Or 9 / Five Evolved From Nine

AIN SOPH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.41 | 17 ratings
Ride on a Camel - Special Live
2.37 | 7 ratings
Mysterious Triangle - Special Live,Vol.2
2.50 | 4 ratings
Quicksand - Special Live Vol.3

AIN SOPH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

AIN SOPH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.17 | 4 ratings
Studio Live Tracks '80s And '05

AIN SOPH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

AIN SOPH Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Story Of Mysterious Forest by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.99 | 93 ratings

A Story Of Mysterious Forest
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Ain Soph's debut album features an instrumental mashup of progressive rock and jazz. At points, the Japanese group turn out material reminiscent of the Canterbury style - logically enough, since much Canterbury material was characterised by a particular approach to prog-inclined jazz-rock - and in these moments the group joins the ranks of the likes of Supersister or Picchio dal Pozzo in terms of groups who, despite not even hailing from the UK, still produce something that feels like it's got that distinctive Canterbury style to it. At the same time, Ain Soph's sound is a bit more wider ranging, with more purely symphonic touches here and harder-edged moments of fusion there ensuring that things stay unpredictable.
 Hat And Field by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.89 | 46 ratings

Hat And Field
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

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.

 Hat And Field by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.89 | 46 ratings

Hat And Field
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Hat And Field by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.89 | 46 ratings

Hat And Field
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

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.

 Hat And Field by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.89 | 46 ratings

Hat And Field
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by MJAben

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 the musicians are, but nevertheless that talent is still there.

This second style works for the band and I find myself absolutely loving this album, I enjoyed their debut but at times it became a bit much whereas this album seems to have a perfect soothing pace throughout. Also, a strong bonus is that you don't enjoy have to be a fan of prog to enjoy this record, I will play this for my family, friends, girlfriend and it is almost always a crowd pleaser, it is simultaneously interesting and relaxing in such a way that it's hard for anybody to dislike this record.

But this safety net may in fact be the albums downfall, it takes no chances and although the musicianship is fantastic, the songs are beautifully crafted and the music is absolutely breathtaking the album is completely safe and doesn't stry to far away from its roots. I wouldn't call the album redundant, it doesn't befin to sound the same and the music certainly doesn't start to grate on you but the style doesn't exactly change.

I would reccomend this music to just about anybody but wouldn't call this a masterpiece of progressive music, but it's still an absolutely breathtaking album.

 A Story Of Mysterious Forest by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.99 | 93 ratings

A Story Of Mysterious Forest
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Well,. I guess my expectations were too great. Here in Brazil the prog comunity just love bands from Japan. I like some too but I donīt think this album is as great as some people say. I much rather hear Belaphon or Novella. Ain Soph is a fine jazz-rock band with some prog leanings (the title track, especially on the first half is an excellent exemple of how good they could get as a prog band in the vein of Belaphon, absolutely gorgeous). The rest is good, I guess, but thereīs just too much jazz-rock/fusion cliches for my taste. Like all those bands, the musicans are exceptionally skillful and technical. Like most jazz rock bands, however, most of the time the songs just seem to be an exercise on virtuosity with little room for melody or emotion. Music for musicians as they say. And Itīs allright, if you like that. Ain Soph is in the middle of the way between the typical jazz-rock group and a full blown symphonic prog rock outfit (the influences of Camel are clear in that aspect). The final result is kind of a hybrid that donīt mix well: the jazz rock passages are just too jazz rock and the prog parts are totally melodic and symphonic, like two differente bands on the same stage battling for atention.

All in all I liked the CD. Not the masterpiece some claim, but very good anyway. A shame those guys couldnīt decide wheter they were prog or jazz, or beter yet, came up with a good mix of both. But the prog parts are very good. I guess Iīll have to hear their follow ups to have a better overview of their sound. For now, something between 3 and 3,5 stars is my rating for A Story Of Mysterious Forest.

 Mysterious Triangle - Special Live,Vol.2 by AIN SOPH album cover Live, 1993
2.37 | 7 ratings

Mysterious Triangle - Special Live,Vol.2
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars Not sure exactly what this music is, but Jazz it ain't. Only some parts, but everything is so drenched in Symph that the music emerges more like classical 70s like (or solid 80s release as in this case) Symphonic Prog. Keyboards dominated, long compositions oriented beauty. It is never good to respond to previous reviewers (or future ones ? if only I had precognition gift), but arriving to this album's profile and seeing it's only having 1.33 rating is just unfair. Totally, completely not fair, because this music isn't bad by any chance. Monotonous (in a way Symphonic Prog is monotonous - keys dominated, gentle string pulling sounds), maybe a bit too long, but not bad.
 Hat And Field by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.89 | 46 ratings

Hat And Field
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Steven Brodziak

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 guitar. Steeling the show. drums, bass, keys all doing fine job. Full sound chord changes wonderful. Oh, nice acoustic then back to top to close this. 4.7

Little Pieces pt.1 1:37 soft key with swirls overhead-nice-unratable

Suite: Hat and Field 10:03 strong start precision! Nice guitars and a Rush from Xanadu sounding bass chord, good feeling electric guitar comes in back to acoustic to elec, almost Christmasy. Elec guitar just playing as nicely as Chuck Mangione plays his trumpet. 4.5 min in change tempo, very nice acoustic. subtle tones can fill you here. Put you out of body. Definate mood music (any). They take their time any give you what you want, hitting all the right notes and chords. 8m. Oh my, bass guitar up tempo precision again! Very straight forward when elec guitar comes in with impressive keys and pounding drum, this IS very structured and difficult composition. Intense and sudden end. 4.8

goes right into "Mizzle" 3:45. Keeping the tension going, up pace each instrument having a shot at lead. Strong piece, full sound. Very solid. 4.1

Canterbury Tale 3:00 Guitar takes a lead at this with backing chords once again taking a very favorable melody. Almost meloncholy then, satisfaction feeling. 4.3

Magic Carpet 6:59 Keys open this with very dark backing then a sax enters in chord changes, off key but enter guitar with key and a dat dat dat. This is a jazzyish piece till the electric guitar overtakes it at 3m. Now we start jammin a bit. Broken jazz I'd say. (whenever I hear an electric guitar it is difficult to associate it with jazz). I had previously (in my system given this an 8.8 or 4.4, I'm going to drop that to a flat 4. Still instrumentally very impressive. Specially the end.

Little Pieces pt.2 2:33 Very very nice piano! 4.6

Pipe Dream 7:55 I had previously written in my own notes "Anthony Phillips take off of Geese and the Ghost" and that is exactly what it is. Copywrite infringement???? Played with keys (you'll recognize the melody). This upsets me because Phillips is one of my favorite artists. Besides that this is a bit too techno for me, of course until 3:45 when the electric guitar starts in, then it just got very impressive with it's own (not stolen) melody. It is almost the center section of ASoMF. Damn it I have to give it a 3.9 for a strong mid section, back to copywrite to close, even has cannon fire at end. Maybe it was dedicated to him, further inquiry needed.

All in all a 4.5 album. Wish I could rate it as such.

 A Story Of Mysterious Forest by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.99 | 93 ratings

A Story Of Mysterious Forest
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Steven Brodziak

4 stars This album starts out with a keyboard stronghold similar to sounds of Zappa, a song called Crossfire at 2:54. out of 10 I give it a 6.4.

track 2 Interlude 1. An even shorter acoustic guitar piece completely different setting than previous, very nice due to it's length at 1:31 I leave it unratable.

track 3 Natural selection, very jazz laiden yet not . Keyboards again and synths and a great drum kit going on. Keys over diff keys abound with a bass keeping up then an electric guitar takes over the course to a calm, floppy keys with flute (I believe keys). Not jazz, very technical drum key section then we change again to a solo piano. Change again to very synthed, though very technical I'm having trouble finding my place, then skillful, enter acoustic spanish sounding guitar with some floating keys, bass chords, not sure, I think I got lodt at the drug store. At 8:11 though very instrumentaly sounds, the composition eludes me. 5.8 of 10

track 4 Variations on A Theme by Brian Smith at 9:42 Has some highlights on guitar but again misplaced on complexion, Very nice finish though, 7 of 10

track 5 A Story of Mysterious Forest the 18:45 version (24:24 on Ride a Camel album).Start this megastructure with swirling keys very subtle with acoustic guitar so quiet......drums and keys enter and pick up the pace, brilliant sound! Harpsichord in refrains! comes to something any Pink Floyd Richard Wright fan would adore. So quietly an electric guitar enters playing some of the soothingest notes I've ever heard.mellow!!,>>brings you to a peaceful bliss till 7:30 sound the drums electric guitar and backing keys accentuate this performance!!!! Just brilliant. keys continue a nice mellow pace to electric storms back in OMG.<track 5 Interlude 2 at 0:32 unratable. Very nice acoustic.

All in all I give this album 4 stars based on title track, because it is an excellent addition.

 Ride on a Camel - Special Live by AIN SOPH album cover Live, 1991
2.41 | 17 ratings

Ride on a Camel - Special Live
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars One of the finest Japanese bands,AIN SOPH were originally formed as TECHNI-SOZO (translated into ''The creation'') in 1970 featuring Yozox Yamamoto on guitars, Kikuo Fujikawa on keyboards, Masahiko Torigaki on bass, and Hiroshi Natori on drums.Inspired by Canterbury Prog,the band recorded a demo in 1978 containing live rehearsals over a span of years in the 70's.These tapes were collected and released by Belle Antique under the AIN SOPH name in 1991,which the band used from 1980 and on (since the release of their official debut ''A Story of Mysterious Forest'').

STYLE: Easy to define,this all instrumental album is an ultimate tribute to 70's Canterbury sounds,filled with good interplays,catchy grooves and nice breaks.First two tracks contain impressive guitar work in a Latimer-like style,later the album is heavily grounded on the keyboard work of Kikuo Fujikawa,but Yozox Yamamoto is always there to deliver some good melodic lines.The rhythm section is very tight,collaborating in a harmonic way with Fujikawa's Barden-esque keys.Extended solos both on keys and guitars,jazzy interplays and a good dose of melody define AIN SOPH's sound,which can be both adventuruous and relaxed in the same track.The last track is just the original version of ''A Story of Mysterious Forest'',contained in a shortened form in the band's official debut.

SOUNDS LIKE/INFLUENCES: With such album titles like ''Ride on a Camel'' or ''Hat and field'' iit is quite easy for the average prog fan to detect the band's main inspirations.At moments, where the album gets highly melodic,is Bahrain's finest band OSIRIS,that comes to mind.

PLUS: Impressive guitar work with grea hooks and solos.Even more impressive is the keyboard effort with lovely,extended but not boring solos,often flirting with electronic sounds.The arrangements are generally in a high level.''A Story of Mysterious Forest'' is a track of pure beauty with a much more personal sound.

MINUS: Except for the last track,the band is far from offering a personal sound.Seems like ANDY LATIMER and PETER BARDENS are on guitars and keys respectively.Recording quality is rather poor,affecting the result of the album's sound.The first four tracks follow the same path,having a lot of similarities.

WILL APPEAL TO:...a wide spectrum of fans like followers of Canterbury Prog,Jazz-Fusion fanatics,even melodic prog lovers and of course the dedicated CAMEL fan club.

CONCLUSION/RATING: Do not expect a grand release coming out of the vaults.The album is quite balanced,well-crafted and carefully laid-back,but both the abscence of a unique sound and the poor recordings keep it away from a trully essential purchase.Yet it is fairly enjoyable and easy-listening and deserves a solid 3 star rating.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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