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FROMAGE

Symphonic Prog • Japan


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Fromage biography
FROMAGE story starts back in the late 70's when two future famous Japanese musicians join in Kyoto to for a band, we are talking about Toshio Egawa (Novela, Gerard, Scheherezade) and Ikkou Nakajima (Pageant, Ie Rai Shan) but they left long before FROMAGE released their debut album 1984.

Leaded by the flute player Manabu Higashizawa the lineup included Tomohisa Hayashi (Bass), the solid guitar player Yoshihito Kondo, Yoshi Shimamura on keyboards and the drummer Hirozaku Taniguchi, FROMAGE releases "Ondine" an excellent vocal Symphonic album in the borderline with the early Neo Prog movement in England.

For their second album "Ophelia" released in 1988, the band had several changes, Yoshihiro Kitamura (Keyboards) Tohru Ohta (Guitars) and Yuji Tanaka (Bass) join the band instead of Shimamura, Komdo and Hayashi, making a strong change, "Ophelia" has stronger melodies and the keyboard orientation is 100% Symphonic, IMO a much solid album.

Their last release is "Tsukini-Hoeru" which has material from both eras, this would explain why it is credited as released in 1990 but on some sites appear as recorded in 1985.

FROMAGE still survived until 1993 but apparently due to artistic differences they split but the spirit of the band was kept alive because Tohru Ohta, Hirozaku Taniguchi and Yoshihiro Kitamura moved on and formed CINEMA.

Just to end, must only say that FROMAGE is among the best Japanese Symphonic bands and a good point to start a collection would be "Ophelia" when they reached their peak of the creativity and developed an absolutely Symphonic personality.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

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FROMAGE Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy FROMAGE Music


OndineOndine
Musea 1984
Audio CD$18.05
OpheliaOphelia
Musea 1987
Audio CD$18.05
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Randy Hoexter Group - Fromage - CD USD $9.37 Buy It Now 1 day
The Deansmen CD Digital Fromage Bates College Acappella Rare Out of Print USD $10.00 [0 bids]
1 day
Le Grande Fromage - Nasher (2008, CD New) USD $11.33 Buy It Now 3 days
THE KNACK Fromage 12" USD $10.95 Buy It Now 3 days
Nasher - Le Grande Fromage [CD New] USD $11.29 Buy It Now 3 days
NASHER - LE GRANDE FROMAGE NEW CD USD $15.50 Buy It Now 3 days
John Cooper Clarke Ou Est La Maison Du Fromage? [Extra tracks, Import] USD $45.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Primus Promo De Fromage ANIMALS SHOULD NOT TRY TO ACT LIKE PEOPLE CD [2003] USD $6.99 [0 bids]
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VANILLA No Way No Way 12" 3 Track Progress Fromage Mix Dj Promo UK USD $8.19 Buy It Now 8 days
A Toute Vitesse Soundtrack (CD, 1996, Fromage Productions), Import.. USD $15.99 Buy It Now 10 days
ALEX JAMES Le Grande Fromage UK 6-trk promo only publishing CD Blur KT Tunstall USD $39.09 Buy It Now 11 days
FROMAGE Ondine BELLANTIQUE-8401 JAPAN LP o63422 USD $43.99 Buy It Now 11 days
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FROMAGE Japan Prog CD with OBI, OPHELIA still sealed USD $59.99 Buy It Now 14 days
FROMAGE Japan Prog CD with OBI, ONDINE still sealed USD $49.99 Buy It Now 14 days
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Fromage - Ophelia (Mini Lp Sleeve) (Cinema, Novela, Gerard) USD $34.99 Buy It Now 17 days
FROMAGE?/?Ophelia ?JAPAN CD Mini-LP w/OBI ?BELLE-071276 USD $67.50 Buy It Now 18 days
Gerard- keyboards triangle II (Ars Nova, Fromage) USD $18.99 Buy It Now 20 days
Fin Jetstream UK 7" vinyl single record FROM004 FROMAGE ROUGE 1995 USD $10.85 Buy It Now 20 days
220 Volts FM - Tuner ŕ Vif (CD,1997,Le fromage, BN) USD $5.95 Buy It Now 22 days
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Taudi Symphony - Taudi Symphony - CD (FR346 Fromage/Big Cheese 1994) USD $16.31 Buy It Now 27 days
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FABULOUS DISASTER / OC TOONS - AWESOME FROMAGE NEW CD USD $10.82 Buy It Now 27 days
FIN Skin EP Fromage Rouge 4 Track 12" FROM003 Numbered 0684 PS USD $7.82 Buy It Now 28 days
Hommage Au Fromage/hollingsville - Spoerri,Bruno/Massonix New & Sealed LP Free S USD $45.49 Buy It Now 29 days


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FROMAGE discography


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

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

3.04 | 10 ratings
Ondine
1984
3.08 | 5 ratings
Ophelia
1988

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

FROMAGE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Tsukini-Hoeru
1990

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

FROMAGE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ophelia by FROMAGE album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.08 | 5 ratings

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Ophelia
Fromage Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Entering the second half of the 80's, Fromage were in front of several line-up shakes. Hayashi, Kondo and Shimamura all left the group and they were replaced by guitarist Tohru Ohta, bassist Yuji Tanaka and keyboardist Yoshihiko Kitamura.In 1988 with the support of the Belle Antique label the group released the second album ''Ophelia'', obviously inspired by the character of the same name in William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

New band members does not necessarily means a change in the music style and Fromage remained faith to the sound of their debut, this is typically 80's-styled Japanese Symphonic Rock in the style of MUGEN or TERU'S SYMPHONIA.While the overall approach is still quite grandiose, Fromage belonged to the list of bands that avoided the Hard Rock cliches of many of their compatriots, though their sound had always a strong pompous flavor, especially when synthesizers were in full use.However the majority of the album is a very atmospheric and often melancholic Symphonic Rock with downtempo song structures, good instrumental parts with a Classical edge and expressive Japanses vocals.The new members had fully adapted the band's style, established by Manabu Higashizawa.Ohta delivers some excellent melodic guitar lines, Tanaka offers deep and solid bass lines, while Kitamura had the most difficult work to do, filling the compositions with his keyboards colors, and he did a great job in all these bombastic synth moves, strong organ waves and soft piano interludes dominating the album.Only a couple of shorter tunes are closer to a more accesible Neo Prog sound, but these sound charming as well.

Very good Japanese Symphonic Rock, suffering a bit from a mediocre production, but the music in here has a great value.Grab the CD reissue of Belle Antique, which contains a live version of ''Toma'' along with excellent symphonic mini epic ''Seruroido no sora'', which sounds even better than the tracks of the original issue.Recommended stuff.

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 Ondine by FROMAGE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.04 | 10 ratings

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Ondine
Fromage Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars A Japanese group from late-70's, formed in Kyoto and featuring later Gerard's leader Toshio Egawa and Pageant's guitarist Ikkou Nakajima in their early line-up.However the band did not release anything around the time and we would have to wait for 1984 when the Fromage quintet debuted with ''Ondine'' on Belle Antique.By the time female musician Manabu Higashizawa was handling the flute, Yoshie Shimamura was the keyboard man, Yoshihiro Kondo the guitarist, while the rhythm section consisted of Hirozaku Taniguchi on drums and Tomohisa Hayashi on bass.

The album opens with ''Extermination''.Interesting flute work,careful use of synths,some great breaks but also a cliche groove and ultra-cheesy vocals complete a fine but rather uneven track.The following ''Inspiration'' is pretty awful.Sort of bluesy Pop Rock mixed with 80's synths and unbearable vocals,a total failure.''Ultimate'' is a winner to say the least,instrumental keyboard-driven Symphonic Rock with a slight commercial edge, headed by the fantastic flute work of Higashizawa,the nice synths of Shimamura and the STEVE HACKETT-influenced guitars of Kondo.The eponymous track is actually a long symphonic ballad with good electric solos and decent synthesizers in a very grandiose mood,not unlike early GERARD.''Color Vision Night'' is the worst track by far,absolutely uninteresting Synth- Pop with distorted guitars and horrible poppy vocals.The band however decided to save the best for last,the 17-min, grand epic ''Tsuki-ni-hoeru'',a composition with a fair amount of diversity.Melodic symphonic Rock with hints of CAMEL on the flute work, pretty nice use of synthesizers in a GENESIS vein and a touch of FOCUS on the guitar lines.And the only track along with the eponymous one,where vocals are pretty bearable.

Two CD reissues followed by Belle Antique in 1994 and 2007 respectively,I would definitely recommend the second one,which features the decent 10-min. bonus track ''Kishibe no nai umi''.Pretty commercial but certainly well-played Neo/Symphonic Prog with some nice breaks,fiery hard rock soloing but also very interesting keyboard and piano parts in the vein of QUASAR,surprisingly the forefront bass work is also very good.

Not an excellent album,but ''Ondine'' holds a fair amount of interesting material to satisfy the Progressive/Symphonic Rock fan.Typical Japan product of the time,if you skip a couple of embarassing tracks,the rest of the album is easily recommended.

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 Ondine by FROMAGE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.04 | 10 ratings

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Ondine
Fromage Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars While I was listening to the opening track of this album, I thought: "He! I know this song". But I couldn't tell on the spot which one. But it became quite obvious after the chorus: "Candy's Going Bad" from "Golden Earring" was the song. A partial rip off should I say.

What's nice, are the peaceful flute interludes that brings a definite prog side to this track. What's not nice are the extremely poor vocals (but this is not the first Japanese band to deliver this). If only this track would have been purely instrumental...

The music alternates between gentle and sweet flute combined with heavy rock elements during which the guitar is soaring jolly good like during "Ultimate" which is my preferred song from the whole album (it is also purely instrumental).

Melancholic symphonic music can be experienced during the title track: a simple structure, a nice melody and a catchy guitar break are definitely pleasant. Just a pity that there are some vocals in here?

The long closing number "Tsuki-ni-hoeru" allows the band to expand more in the several directions which they have investigated with the shorter tracks from this debut album.

More subtle moments, more great guitar parts; but not more vocals (thank god!). Some jazzy and groovy passages also provides some eclectics to this song which is pretty enjoyable to listen to. A fine moment in perspective for symphonic prog fans. (like the good bonus track as well).

Three stars for this good album that could have been rated higher if only the vocal department would have been on par.

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 Ondine by FROMAGE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.04 | 10 ratings

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Ondine
Fromage Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This Japanese band is rooted in 1977 and had some known progrock musicians in their line-up like Ikkou Nakajima (ex-Pageant) and keyboard wizard Toshio Egawa (ex- Novela, ex-Sheherazade and re-united with Gerard). It lasted until 1984 before Fromage released a debut album entitled Ondine (without Nakajima and Egawa who already had left the band). The seven compositions are or short and catchy or longer and more symphonic featuring tasteful coloured compositions featuring pleasant work on guitar, keyboards and flute, in the vein of fellow Japanese bands like Gerard, Mugen and Pageant. The final song is a bonustrack from 1981, it sounds very alternating and delivers lots of surprising breaks. A nice album that shows a frequent 'Prog Archives Rating dilemma'': 3 stars is too much for this CD (it's nice, not good) but 2 stars is too little (it's nice but fans only sounds too negative) ... so I rate 3 stars but I mean 2,5!


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