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WAPPA GAPPA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Japan


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Wappa Gappa biography
WAPPA GAPPA is a Japanese group. The line-up is: Keizo Endo (bass), Masahiro Lee (guitars), Hirishi Mineo (drums), Hideaki Nagaike (keyboards) and Tamami Yamamoto (vocals). Masahiro Lee is a new member that did not play in the first three albums. The group was founded based on the idea of bassist Keizo Endo in 1992. The music of this group is in symphonic vein and with a strong jazz tendency. Overall, the closest classification is probably fusion although there are sections in the music with no evidence of it. There are moments when the music is atmospheric and there are even some signs of popular music but the many influences work nicely together. The best way to describe the music is to imagine a mix of symphonic like PAGEANT and fusion like KENSO.

The first album "Yamatai", released in 1996, is hard to find. After this album the group signed to the French label Musea. The 2nd album "A Myth" came out in 1998. The music in this album is very good progressive with many influences. They are able to execute the different influences in a successful manner. The 3rd album "Gappa" was released in 2004 and it is similar to the predecessor. The voice of the female vocalist Tamami Yamamoto is wonderful.

WAPPA GAPPA is enjoyable Japanese progressive.

: : : Markus Mattsson, FINLAND : : :

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Buy WAPPA GAPPA Music


GappaGappa
Musea/Poseidon 2004
Audio CD$71.44
$70.26 (used)
GappaGappa
Import
Musea/Poseidon 2004
Audio CD$5.14
$4.10 (used)
A MythA Myth
2001
Audio CD$239.14
$239.14 (used)
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WAPPA GAPPA discography


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WAPPA GAPPA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Yamataikoku
1996
3.09 | 6 ratings
A Myth
1998
3.42 | 10 ratings
Gappa
2004

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WAPPA GAPPA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gappa by WAPPA GAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.42 | 10 ratings

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Gappa
Wappa Gappa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

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

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 Gappa by WAPPA GAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.42 | 10 ratings

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Gappa
Wappa Gappa Jazz Rock/Fusion

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.

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 Gappa by WAPPA GAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.42 | 10 ratings

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Gappa
Wappa Gappa Jazz Rock/Fusion

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.

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 Gappa by WAPPA GAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.42 | 10 ratings

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Gappa
Wappa Gappa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

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!

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 Gappa by WAPPA GAPPA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.42 | 10 ratings

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Gappa
Wappa Gappa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by swalter

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 myth" and if that one really sets you off, then venture to "Gappa". Yamatai is OOP I think as I've not been able to find it.

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 A Myth by WAPPA GAPPA album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.09 | 6 ratings

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A Myth
Wappa Gappa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by swalter

3 stars I dont hear much Canterbury here, a little bit of Kenso (in the instrumental passages) but not as intense. Very enjoyable music though. At times they rock pretty good and fall into a nice groove which keeps it interesting. The vocals in Japanese are pretty good and I like her voice, they also do not dominate the music which is nice.....the well thought out instrumental passages carry the majority of the disc. For me this is to a lesser extant the typical Neo Prog thing and leans ever so slightly in the fusion/symphonic realm!! Make sense?

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 A Myth by WAPPA GAPPA album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.09 | 6 ratings

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A Myth
Wappa Gappa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars I saw this band in Verviers (spirit of 66 ) as a part of a duo with another band ( it was not Ars Nova) that I cannot recall but it must've been Japanese also. If I remember them and not the other one , it is either good or bad . Actually I think of them as pretty good musicians doing slightly different music from the Japan standart prog band - this makes me think of Kenso or Bi Kyo Ran to a lesser extant. Another way would be to classify them in Canterbury , but the music on here is not very fun. They all excell as musicians in technicallity and dexterity , but lack inspiration and inventiveness. This band in concert was lead by the bassist , and I don't remember that much vocals.

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