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SHINGETSU

Symphonic Prog • Japan


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Shingetsu biography
Hailed as one of the greatest Japanese progressive rock bands of all time, SHINGETSU ('new moon') arrived in the Japan music scene in the late 70s to carry the torch which seemed to have been left behind in England. Led by the 'Japanese Peter Gabriel', Makoto Kitayama, with his deep, wavering, mournful vocal, SHINGETSU stirred up some great press with their cinematic progressive sound, which rightly gained them comparisons to peak-time GENESIS. Consisting of Makoto Kitayama, Akira Hanamoto, Naoya Takahahi, Shizuo Suzuki and Haruhiko Tsuda, this promising band unfortunately only lived long enough to make one studio album, followed in later years by two live albums which nevertheless featured some unreleased performances.

Their one album proper, the eponymous "Shingetsu", is no less than a masterpiece of symphonic prog, with the soft organ/synth soundscapes, tasteful use of mellotron, and 12-string guitar passages reminiscent of the softer UK bands of the 70s. Kitayama's haunting vocal and intriguing lyrics, however, give SHINGETSU a distinctive edge that is hard to find anywhere else in music even to this day.

A seminal progressive band; not too long a career to get to grips with, yet richly rewarding.

: : : Marc Carlton, SCOTLAND : : :

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Live 25-26 July 1979 - ABC Kaikan Hall TokyoLive 25-26 July 1979 - ABC Kaikan Hall Tokyo
Import
Musea 1979
Audio CD$17.47
New Moon (Shm-cd) Mini LpNew Moon (Shm-cd) Mini Lp
Remastered
Belle
Audio CD$39.99
Shin Getsu Zen ShiShin Getsu Zen Shi
Box set · Limited Edition · Import
Imports 2005
Audio CD$2,516.24
$457.04 (used)
Shingetsu [Import]Shingetsu [Import]
MARQUEE
Audio CD$30.60
$34.26 (used)
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SHINGETSU discography


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

3.78 | 32 ratings
Shingetsu
1979

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

2.13 | 5 ratings
Akai Me No Kagami Live '79
1979
3.03 | 5 ratings
Shingetsu Live 25-26 July 1979
2004

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

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

3.00 | 3 ratings
Kagaku No Yoru (Serenade + Shingetsu)
1985
4.00 | 1 ratings
Zenshi
2005

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

SHINGETSU Reviews


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 Shingetsu Live 25-26 July 1979 by SHINGETSU album cover Live, 2004
3.03 | 5 ratings

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Shingetsu Live 25-26 July 1979
Shingetsu Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The music here is very much in the Gabriel-era GENESIS mode complete with the singer changing into different costumes on stage. This is a live recording from July of 1979 not long after their debut album was released. There is a fair amount of mellotron on here as well. The big disappointment is with the sound quality here, it's poor, very muddy.The vocals seem really low in the mix and honestly I never would have purchased this cd if i'd known it would sound like this. It completely takes away from my enjoyment of it. Too bad because this is melodic, lush and quite impressive from what I can take from this show.

2 stars because of the sound quality. I should have got their debut album instead.

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 Shingetsu by SHINGETSU album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.78 | 32 ratings

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Shingetsu
Shingetsu Symphonic Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

4 stars One of the most beautiful but short-lived Japanese progressive bands.

SHINGETSU is, at least in my humble opinion, one of the most greatest Japanese symphonic rock bands, with featuring melodic keyboard player Akira Hanamoto and lyrical vocalist Makoto Kitayama. And here what I want to say strongly is that all songs in this historic album should need the musical sense of all SHINGETSU's players. Personally I love Haruhiko Tsuda's dragging and drowsy guitar...without the unusual guitar sound SHINGETSU's music style won't go well. Of course, strict but flexible rhythm section by Shizuo Suzuki's bass and Naoya Takahashi's drums is absolutely important. This Japanese pride was constructed by these talented player.

Their masterpiece, Oni is the greatest! A plaintive melody by Akira can go with clear and transparent voice and a little languid guitar. Oni, a Japanese terrible monster, seems (hears?) to be even kind and gentle, and be dancing slowly and elegantly. Pop and catchy (even in this work) is the song Asa No Muko Gawa (The Other Side Of Morning). So fresh and like we enjoy morning salad. They are attractive on pop world, too. :-) Hatsunetsu No Machikado (Influential Street) can let us amazed with its reverse play and eccentric plus fantastic tune. This song includes some styles of a march, a ballad, and a rock. Like a lunchbox with various materials LOL. I suggest this song playing be their real pleasure. On the contrary, Reito (Freeze) is a more classic piece, and extremely big Kagaku No Yoru (Night Collector) is like a theme-song of some Japanese hero TV programs... :-) Exactly, this song has a theme of a boy with some extrasensory perceptions and it's natural the song has such an atmosphere.

All the songs are written in Japanese, not English. They might have a patriotic spirit. But I'm sure this work of theirs should be accepted all over the progressive rock world.

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 Shingetsu by SHINGETSU album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.78 | 32 ratings

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Shingetsu
Shingetsu Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I was quite surprised to find recently how creative and varied was the japanese prog scene in the late 70“s and early 80“s. Unfortunalty not too many bands had a long career and broke up after one or two LPs. Shingetsu is one of them: with a strong Genesis influence (specially around the Wind & Wuthering period) the group made a great mix of european and japanese roots to deliever a truly international sound.

The CD is far from perfect, but as a debut recording, it is also very promising and outstanding. I specially like the first track, Oni, a great prog epic and the last, the beautiful Return Of The Night again very Genesis-like). The remaining songs were also nice but not at the same level as those two. The lyrics are all in japanese, but the delivering is so convincing it hardly matters if you don“t know what the singer is talking about. In other words, a very poignant music that every prog lover should give it a listen.

It is only a shame this band did not have a long career. Certainly they would have outgrow their Genesis mold and delivered some real strong and original stuff. 3,5 stars.

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 Shingetsu by SHINGETSU album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.78 | 32 ratings

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Shingetsu
Shingetsu Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Shingetsu from Japan is a new band to me. My impression is that the prog rock scene in Japan has some good bands. This band is one of the better bands.

Shingetsu does lush symphonic prog like GENESIS with some hints of CATHEDRAL, CAMEL and YES. The vocals is pretty dark and very effectful. The organs and the guitars is very GENESIS like. The flute is not too far away from FOCUS land.

The opening track Oni is excellent and very GENESIS ala their Wind & Wuthering era with plenty of time shifts and intricate bass lines. This is where I also detects hints of CATHEDRAL. The rest of the tracks are in the same vein. Very interesting with it's lush landscapes of keyboards and guitars. The songs are not that great though. Maybe ten times on the turntable is not enough to give the album enough justice. But I know for a fact that this is an album I will listen to in the coming years. This is an album worthy the inclusion in any good symphonic prog collection.

3.55 stars.

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 Zenshi by SHINGETSU album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Zenshi
Shingetsu Symphonic Prog

Review by Thulėatan
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars This is a very special boxed set by the short-lived but excellent Japanese band Shingetsu, compiling just about everything the band ever did in the studio along with material by the various solo and offshoot projects that came into being after the band dissolved. The result is something I would consider essential to all fans of the golden age of '70s progressive rock. Influenced by classic King Crimson, Mike Oldfield, Pink Floyd, and particularly Genesis, Shingetsu did not appear on the scene until the late '70s but brought with them that pure, symphonic, cinematic sound shared by those other bands earlier in the decade, completely untainted by punk and the other commercial music which had now started to plague progressive music here in the west.

Their first, eponymously titled, album from 1979 is now a landmark of Japanese prog rock history: eight epic tracks of adventurous music, accompanied by abstract lyrics typical of the Japanese aesthetic delivered by Makoto Kitayama's beautiful, mournful, storyteller's voice. This album, which merits a dedicated review of its own, is included here in full as a remastered version. The remastering is light and very faithful to the original release - the body of the music has been brought closer to modern day loudness, and the acoustic guitars in particular have a slightly cleaner and more colourful sound compared to the previous CD issue.

Shingetsu embarked on a successful tour of their first album, and soon began work on a follow-up, 'From A Distant Star'. Unfortunately the band split before this second record could be completed, despite the warm reception of much of its material while on tour. One of the most promising chapters in prog was sadly over before it began. However, in 2005 when the band reunited to compile this anthology, they also took on the unusual task of completing the album they had started writing almost two decades earlier, and so disc two of 'Zenshi' presents Shingetsu's second album to the world at last. Having such a prolonged inception, 'From A Distant Star' bears the rare honour of sounding like a golden age album, containing all the energy and imagination of the time, but executed with today's technology. Crystal clear without sounding even remotely over-produced, this collection of tracks ranges from improvisational instrumental landscaping to full-on unclassifiable majesty, employing a diversity of keyboard and guitar sounds, and throughout there is that sense of melody being infused into every element which was so central to '70s prog. The strong stage numbers of old, 'Red Eyes On Mirror' and 'The Voyage For Killing Love' are revitalised, making up the bulk of the CD, and the latter in particular is a towering epic - Part One as gentle and grievous and aching a ballad you're ever likely to hear, and Part Two a blazing journey to oblivion, via infinity, then back again as Kitayama cries 'I will wait for you on a distant star'. Yes, this CD alone is worth the price of admission.

The remaining CDs cover the rehearsals and demos of Shingetsu as well as the bands that the members formed subsequent to the first break-up (HAL, Serenade and others) who also came up with some very interesting Shingetsu-esque material. These bands were equally short-lived, and this document allows us again to see what might have been. The final disc is a short DVD, featuring a few tracks from the original album set to footage of the band on stage (the music itself is not live) plus some encouraging scenes of the reunion rehearsals in 2005.

Naturally, some may find the Japanese lyrics an obstacle to fully enjoying Shingetsu. However, not only is the music on its own outstanding, but (as with songs in any language we don't speak) sometimes the sound of and emotion behind the words transcend their literal meaning - that is certainly the case here. But the meanings too once understood do add to the music, and as with early Yes, for example, Shingetsu's words are chosen not only for their sound but for their poetic effect. Suffice it to say, there are no love songs present here. 'Zenshi' is a testament to the flourishing of progressive rock music far away from where it was born. I can't help wondering what might have been if the band had stayed together at the end of the '70s... and wondering if we will ever hear from them again.

This lavish, unmissable set from 2005 is a limited edition, but at the time of writing there are still copies available at cdjapan.co.jp - so act fast!

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 Shingetsu by SHINGETSU album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.78 | 32 ratings

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Shingetsu
Shingetsu Symphonic Prog

Review by mitsubachi

5 stars On listening to this eponymous album by Japan's most interesting progressive group, I defy you not to be captivated by the vocals of Makoto Kitayama. Never before will your cd player have purveyed such grievous tones. Well up there with the very best of prog vocalists, Makoto Kitayama, whilst mournful, also manages to be forceful, impassioned, defiant, gentle, wistful.

Fans of 70's prog may find many of the sounds on this album somewhat familiar, reminiscent for example of Hackett and Fripp guitars, and certainly Kitayama's stage presence gives a firm nod to Peter Gabriel's performances. But, although Shingetsu themselves will admit to being fans of groups such as Genesis and King Crimson, (and how can that be a bad thing!) although they do share sonic similarities it does not prevent Shingetsu from carving out a prog niche all their own.

Although sung entirely in Japanese, and therefore ostensibly less accessible to the Western prog fan, 'Shingetsu' will reward close study, of both the lyrics and music. Quintissentially Japanese, but somehow simultaneously universal, the lyric matter of 'Shingetsu' ('New Moon' in English) is all about capturing moments in life and nature; situations and feelings that we have all encountered but perhaps never yet articulated. The beautiful 'Other Side Of Morning' captures perfectly the sensation of stillness and the almost dreamlike quality of a quiet dawn, with ethereal 12-string guitars and a melody rife with nostalgia, sadness and yet hope.

'Fragments of the dawn' is again another beauty, opening with a searing guitar and seriously funky (yes funky!) bassline, quickly segueing into a blissful vocal melody, guitars and mellotron, combining with the lyrics to capture a still moment of meditative contemplation.

But Shingetsu are by no means whimsical prog nancy-boys. They can rock out with the best of them, as proven in the first track, 'Oni', a saga named after a demon, concerning fear and confusion, and also in 'Night Collector' with its furious drumtastic energy.

Even if you can't understand the lyrics, Shingetsu's music plus Kitayama's voice seen solely as another instrument in the mix, are more than enough to highly recommend this wonderful album.

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 Akai Me No Kagami Live '79 by SHINGETSU album cover Live, 1979
2.13 | 5 ratings

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Akai Me No Kagami Live '79
Shingetsu Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The eponymous debut album by Japanese band Shingetsu is a wonderful blend of mid- Genesis (Hackett-Banks sound) inspired symphonic rock and an ethnic flavor. After the re-release of that debut CD the Japanese record company Belle Antique also released this live CD with recordings from 1979. It contains five tracks from Shingetsu and three tracks from the never released second studio album. Again we can enjoy mid- Genesis inspired symphonic rock and ethnic touches although the three new songs sound less captivating, only the great Hackett-like guitarwork is really worth listening. And unfortunately the recording quality is at the level of an average bootleg. So I am afraid that this live CD only will appeal to collectors.


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 Shingetsu Live 25-26 July 1979 by SHINGETSU album cover Live, 2004
3.03 | 5 ratings

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Shingetsu Live 25-26 July 1979
Shingetsu Symphonic Prog

Review by progadicto

5 stars Oh, man!! The most classic and beautiful japanese prog LIVE!! If you really like symphonic prog, you have to get this album. With some influences of Genesis, the truth is that Shingestsu sounds very different to any other band. Long melancholic passages forwarding slowly through the magnificient voice of Makoto Kitayama (a kind of oriental Peter Gabriel) 'till they reach beautiful explosions of symph prog thanks to the excellent work on keyboards by Akira Hanamoto. Every song sounds really good and all of them are my favourites... I want to give them 10*, but I can't. Maybe with 5 it's enough... a masterpiece...

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 Shingetsu by SHINGETSU album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.78 | 32 ratings

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Shingetsu
Shingetsu Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a nice album that deserves to be discovered. The first and final track strongly evokes mid-Genesis (did Steve Hackett and Tony Banks some secret session work?). But the other tracks has a typical Japanese climate (warm and dreamy), it's very pleasant to hear the ethnic touches featuring acoutic guitar and flute. LOVELY MUSIC!


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 Shingetsu by SHINGETSU album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.78 | 32 ratings

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Shingetsu
Shingetsu Symphonic Prog

Review by saar

5 stars Great Album, Great vocal and instrumental work! Listen to this album if you like Japanese prog rock. I would mention first composition - ONI at first, absolutely unique and pleasure track, amazing vocal by Makoto Kitayama. So if you did not hear this album yet, I suggest to buy it as soon as possible and enjoy.

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