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AIN SOPH

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 SophAin Soph
Import
Elfenblut 2002
Audio CD$14.98 (used)
Story of Mysterious ForestStory of Mysterious Forest
Import
2002
Audio CD$29.49
$22.99 (used)
Ain Soph - Hat And Field [Japan LTD CD] KICS-91941Ain Soph - Hat And Field [Japan LTD CD] KICS-91941
King Japan
Audio CD$24.47
$3.99 (used)
KshatriyaKshatriya
Import
Audioglobe 1995
Audio CD$49.98
$22.50 (used)
AuroraAurora
Cthulhu
Audio CD$39.98
$9.99 (used)
Flies & LiesFlies & Lies
Import
King Japan 2007
Audio CD$26.45
$24.44 (used)
II
Audio CD$46.98
$29.99 (used)
IIII
Import
Old Europa Cafe 2002
Audio CD$43.98
$157.74 (used)
IIIIII
Import
Old Europa Cafe 2002
Audio CD$52.98
$34.99 (used)
Marine MenagerieMarine Menagerie
Import
Musea Records France 2006
Audio CD$23.00
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AIN SOPH shows & tickets


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AIN SOPH discography


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

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

3.97 | 72 ratings
A Story of Mysterious Forest
1980
4.01 | 34 ratings
Hat And Field
1986
3.17 | 18 ratings
Marine Menagerie
1991
2.70 | 11 ratings
5 OR 9 / Five Evolved from Nine
1992

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

2.42 | 15 ratings
Ride on a Camel - Special Live
1991
2.39 | 5 ratings
Mysterious Triangle - Special Live,Vol.2
1993
3.00 | 3 ratings
Quicksand - Special Live Vol.3
1994

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

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

2.09 | 3 ratings
Studio Live Tracks '80s And '05
2007

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

AIN SOPH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hat And Field by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.01 | 34 ratings

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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.

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 A Story of Mysterious Forest by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.97 | 72 ratings

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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.

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 Mysterious Triangle - Special Live,Vol.2 by AIN SOPH album cover Live, 1993
2.39 | 5 ratings

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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.

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 Hat And Field by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.01 | 34 ratings

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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.

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 A Story of Mysterious Forest by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.97 | 72 ratings

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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.

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 Ride on a Camel - Special Live by AIN SOPH album cover Live, 1991
2.42 | 15 ratings

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

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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.

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 Marine Menagerie by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.17 | 18 ratings

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Marine Menagerie
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Competent Japanese soft fusion band's third album is kind of compilation. Almost every song there was released before on early band's albums, but for this album all compositions were re-arranged and re-recorded.

Music there is light, well balanced and strongly influenced by Camel sound. Ain Soph always openly showed their influences (their previous albums were named "Hat And Field" and "Ride On A Camel"), and there they put all things together. If Canterbury (or "Hatfield and North") influence is not so obvious, melodic soft symphonic prog (or "Camel") is presented there in whole. You can even find there some heavier guitar soloing (in few places)!

Will you like this music or not mostly depends on your taste. Melodic, professionally played ,good arranged, symphonic fusion of this album is a pleasant listening. Just don't expect too much of originality or new ideas (better don't expect at all). Just enjoy the music.

My rating - 3+.

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 A Story of Mysterious Forest by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.97 | 72 ratings

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A Story of Mysterious Forest
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by camelspotter

5 stars Ain Soph's first attempt to write progressive rock music is far greater than many of the bands of this genre. It's like they knew the magic recipe for great compositions.But it isn't only the composition it self but the great musicianship and ability that makes this record truly shine! The keys are exceptional, from the ideas to the sound selection.The trebly bass has some great basslines many times going along with the melodies of the keys. The album kicks in with a very fast fusion type of song, which short lasting but shows the abilities of the players in jazz paths.I really like the album beginning this way, but it's not an actual song.The actual album ''begins'' with the interlude part one,an acoustic greatness and ends with interlude part two being somewhat similar. Personally i love this. So the main songs are just three. Natural Selection starts of very melodically with some ''funny'' themes, then it goes on with some jazz piano and solo, then it heads off in jazz standards changing between one theme and back to standards.it then continues like a fusion type with a great keyboard and guitar solo and it ends with the beginning theme. Variations on a theme starts with an amazing classical piano solo then very powerful with latin influences, and a flamengo guitar solo,follwed after by a intelligent keyboard solo and then guitar solo over a 4/4,7/8 repetitive rhythmic and it closes with some amazing mellotron sounds and a beautifull piano outro.A story of mysterious forest brings me images of a land beyond our imagination, fairy tale like music, and the action starts on the 3d minute with fast drumming and blistering keyboards, which comes again as a reprise in the end.I Love when this happens. In the middle it gets really low and atmospheric passages from guitar and mellotron chords till the 14th minute when the adventure in the magial forest begins again in a very playfull 7/8 time signature.And what a better way to end this with a reprise of an earlier melody. With many tempo and time signature swings, slow parts and very powerful ones, raging guitars, mellotron passages, playful themes and great musicianship in overall this album has it all! All one true progressive rock fan would want to hear. Highly recommended.

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 A Story of Mysterious Forest by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.97 | 72 ratings

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A Story of Mysterious Forest
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Kazuhiro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This Ain Soph is recognized as a band generally located in the highest peak between fans of Prog Rock for the music of Japan where I live. It is in the element with width very wide in which the Music's genre cannot be specified for a charm of their music. Of course, the technology of their performances might project in the music that exists in Japan.

The history of their music goes back in the early the 70's. The activity of guitar player's Yozo Yamamoto had the flow of the blues and the lock as a band leader. The element originated the edge in the band that was called "Tenchi-Souzou" ,in a word, "Creation" in the 70's. The musician from whom they had gotten acquainted in student's age had already had a high- quality element for the technology and the knowledge of music.

They have renamed the name of the band to "Ain Soph" in 1977. And, it changes radically and the band begins the production of this debut album though they were facing the state of the dissolution of the band in 1979.

The band with the technology like them guesses that it did not exist so much in Japan though they at that time had gone well in live to some degree. There might have been time when a few in was necessary by the time the existence was accepted by the spectator, too.

However, it is guessed that the music at which they had been aiming at that time obviously included music , for example, Canterbury and Jazz Rock. When this album is announced, it is said that the listener showed puzzled to the fixation of the genre a little because it was specified.

They in debut CD were and there was power in the shown performance. Elements such as Canterbury and Jazz Rock might be taken without remaining and all of them be included in this album that works enough in the masterpiece.

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 A Story of Mysterious Forest by AIN SOPH album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.97 | 72 ratings

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A Story of Mysterious Forest
Ain Soph Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by fuxi
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Fascinating album, but not the masterpiece some make it out to be. The wonderful "A-side" (tracks 1 - 4) is high-octane symphonic jazz-rock, strongly reminiscent of early Brand X at their best, with frenetic lead guitar and drums which bring to mind the interplay of Phil Collins and John Goodsall. However, there are some weird and dopey synth intermezzos as well, and at least one grand piano cadenza straight out of ELP's TRILOGY. If the original B-side (tracks 5 and 6) were just as good, I would award the album at least four stars (there are few enough first-rate Brand X albums to listen to as things stand!) but unfortunately the 18+ minute title track is shapeless, sleep-inducing and all over the place: the kind of slow, stately and ballad-like symfo-pap which (by 1980) had been milked to death by Camel and Pink Floyd. There's one fiery but all too brief guitar solo, loads of disappointing tempo changes, some totally superfluous harpsichord (I adore the harpsichord, but you've got to DO something with it) and no climax worth speaking of. Some bonus points for the album's title (which a native speaker of English would never come up with) and for the excellent cover art by the obscure Art Nouveau painter Karel Masek Viteslav.

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