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MIZUKAGAMI

Symphonic Prog • Japan


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Mizukagami biography
MIZUKAGAMI is a contemporary Japanese group from Tokyo that was founded by former members of PEDIMENT. The group consists of Tanaami Futaba (vocals, flute), Junya Anan (keyboards, Japanese percussion), Keiichi Yanagawa (bass), Yasuo Asakura (guitars, theorbe) and Keita Kamiyama (drums, ethnic percussion). The music is classic seventies influenced symphonic progressive with some elements from traditional Japanese music adding some Oriental feel. It is a little more on the atmospheric side than your average Japanese symphonic group. In this sense they can be compared to the other Japanese group CINEMA but they are rather similar to groups such as PAGEANT and PROVIDENCE as well.

The debut album, simply titled "Mizukagami", was released in 2003. It is a highly symphonic work but it has some influences from other genres as well. The music is centred on the keyboard work of Junya Anan who is also the composer of the songs. His playing consists of fast keyboard runs and tapestries of synths. The female vocalist, a common detail in Japanese symphonic groups, ads delicacy with her refined vocals and flute playing.

MIZUKAGAMI is a top example of Japanese symphonic.

Mizukagami official website

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YugakeYugake
Musea/Poseidon 2007
Audio CD$17.30
MizukagamiMizukagami
Import
Musea 2003
Audio CD$9.99
$22.81 (used)
MizukagamiMizukagami
Musea/Poseidon 2003
Audio CD$43.56
$43.56 (used)
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MIZUKAGAMI discography


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

3.37 | 16 ratings
Mizukagami
2003
3.42 | 10 ratings
Yugake
2007

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

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MIZUKAGAMI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mizukagami by MIZUKAGAMI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.37 | 16 ratings

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Mizukagami
Mizukagami Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars This is an intriguing album from Japan, and one that has already been gaining many favourable reviews on the web. The fact that it has been released in Europe on Musea, as well as on Poseidon in their native Japan, means that it is relatively easy to get hold of. That is an important fact and although this album is sung in Japanese, this is something that all discerning progheads are going to want to have in their collection. Like many Japanese prog albums, there are some very dreamy and reflective passages but what makes this album stand out are not only the clear pure (and very Japanese) vocals of female lead singer Tanaami Futaba but also the way that they are attempting to bring together some traditional music with very Western prog. They also aren't afraid to let rip and give the instruments a good work out, something that makes them stand out from many others.

This is symphonic prog with a heavy use of synths, but while they may be looking to the Seventies and Tull/ELP/King Crimson there are also elements of more modern bands such as IQ. The quiet and pleasant passages are more then offset by the complicated ones that follow, so that even though it isn't possible to understand the words there is more than enough going on to make this an interesting and varied listen. This is something that many progheads will enjoy.

Originally appeared in Feedback #78, April 2004

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 Mizukagami by MIZUKAGAMI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.37 | 16 ratings

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Mizukagami
Mizukagami Symphonic Prog

Review by Prog_Traveller

4 stars Pretty obscure but pretty good.

Mizukagami are a modern Japanese symphonic prog band who released this, their self-titled debut in 2003. Evidently, the group's members were formerly in a band called Pediment. Since I am not familiar with any Japanese prog bands music I can only guess as to what who this band is influenced by but I would say that they could very well consist of 80's Japanese symphonic prog bands such as Outer Limits, Mugen, Providence, Pageant and others.

The music on this disc is very much modern symphonic progressive with very little if any hints of neo prog. That said there are probably some strong hints of 80's Japanese symph prog. The ultimate source of inspiration I imagine comes from the seventies prog legends and you can hear elements of Camel and Genesis and to a lesser extent even King Crimson and Yes. This album is jam packed with symphonic embellishments including that classic wall of keyboard sound. There are some great synthesizer leads on here too. In fact there are a few moments on here where things get very wild and intense and it is moments like these that make me glad I am a prog fan since they are well worth waiting for and make an already very fine CD like this all the more interesting.

I must also point out that there is a female vocalist named Tanaami Futaba who also plays the flute and it is these passages more than anything that remind me of early Genesis or Camel. Of course, the presence of a female vocalist inevitably draws comparisons to Renaissance but I doubt they were much of an influence except where maybe the vocals are concerned. By the way, the vocals are in japanese but that shouldn't deter anyone from checking out this disc since musically it's very strong.

Overall this is a very varied and very interesting symphonic prog disc with lots of twists and turns from this very promising recent Japanese band. Highly recommended.

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 Yugake by MIZUKAGAMI album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.42 | 10 ratings

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Yugake
Mizukagami Symphonic Prog

Review by Kazuhiro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It is certain that it also has various genres also for Prog Rock Scene of Japan. Musicians will often take elements of the road that oneself passed to put the position of the directionality of the aimed music and influenced musicians of course in no small way. And, musicians in Japan. Or, musicians in other countries will also surely digest the road and the unique culture of the country be taken naturally. Very sapid through filter of music music and the sense are conceived and the culture of the country is being offered to the listener.

Keyboard player's Junya Anan has been formed to this band as a person at the center in around 1997. At first, it acted as three members. They are the soundscapes of Prog Rock and process the space as a composition of the tune of the band Music who was aiming taking Music of the tradition that exists for a long time and the culture to Japan enough. Or, the method of demonstrating the characteristic of the machine parts used enough. They were intentional acts from beginning. It hardens gradually and they announce 1st Album to the member in 2003. The soundscape and making attempt the differentiation with other bands with an intentional meaning.

This 2nd Album announced in 2007 develops the composition of the tune from 1st further and catches the key point surely. Unique culture of Japan. It is "Singing. " for music. Or, the element of the element etc. of "Nursery rhyme" is surely united with the element of Prog Rock and it expresses it splendidly. It has the method of the digestion the performance method's no becoming loose, too and it advances overall. These might be the music characters at which the band aims and be the tastes.

Ideas of an intense part and the melody, etc. might also have a little weak part by the tune. Especially, the expression of Vocal is made well. However, there is a little weak part in getting on to the sound of the band, too. However, it is intentional. And, it is likely to transmit to the listener from whom the element to express the culture of the home country enough listens to the tune for the first time.

It ensures the music character at which the band aims while lacing the flute and Mellotron in addition to the composition of the sound that looks like "Genesis" and "Renaissance" and the extension if it dares to put the opinion. Or, it might have the element that looks like "Cirrus Bay". The culture of Japan is waited for the aspect and ..album with the race.. has finished splendidly with the element of good Music in the West really the composition of the overall tune however.

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 Mizukagami by MIZUKAGAMI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.37 | 16 ratings

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Mizukagami
Mizukagami Symphonic Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych / Avant / Neo Teams

3 stars A very interesting stuff.

Mizukagami is one of the most impressive Japanese symphonic progressive rock bands, with a slightly difficult character. Namely, they should not be immersed in Western symphonic style but keep much essence of Japanese traditional music style and theory in their mind. 'Bout each song you can feel the Japanese flavour called 'Wa no Kokoro' somewhere in such a beautiful symphonia. The point I want to emphasise is that particularly Futaba's clear, graceful, and well-carrying voice should make this 'Wa no Kokoro' much greater. Exactly you feel something eccentric in their work, as if you eat purely Japanese dishes prepared by a Japanese chef in a Western restaurant but as a Japanese let me say bravo to MIZUKAGAMI for their courage to go with the style, not a simply typical symphonic progressive rock one.

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 Mizukagami by MIZUKAGAMI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.37 | 16 ratings

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Mizukagami
Mizukagami Symphonic Prog

Review by AdamHearst

3 stars This is a wonderful starting point for anyone interested in exploring the world of Japanese Symphonic Prog. The music has a familiar, comforting feeling that reminds of classic 70's Symphonic Prog. It is usually quite airy, flowing, and light in mood and it also has a very distinct Japanese flavor... even when there are no vocals present.

The opening instrumental section of 'Sakura' is one of the best parts on the album. It summons the spirits of Yes and King Crimson and features beautiful mellotron keyboards, a distinctly Asian melody played on lead guitar, and a thick heavy bass line driving it all along. The music that follows is pure magic... the sound of a gentle stream flowing through a Japanese garden fades in and is accompanied by a melancholic flute solo.

The vocals of Tanaami Futaba, backed by the sound of singing birds, are simply enchanting and carry you to a far-off land of fantasy; pink leaves and lotus flower petals drifting on a cool breeze through an orange sky above bright green fields....

Besides the lovely vocals, classic synthesizers are the dominant instruments on the album. The bass player is very good and holds the lithe flowing music together well. The drums leave something to be desired and feel a little too stiff; they are are the weakest element of the music... but they are steady enough to not drag the rest of the music down.

'Suzukaze' is another highlight which features the most beautiful musical theme on the entire album. A haunting Japanese melody is played on a sad, heavily-reverbed piano and is framed by a wall of chilling effected mellotron. It must be heard to be appreciated, it is a wonderful piece of music.

The rest of the album is generally very high quality as well, but a couple songs do tend to wander and lose me a bit. This is one of the better Symphonic Prog albums of the past decade. A solid 3.5 effort... and a grower. The more you listen to it, the better it gets.

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 Yugake by MIZUKAGAMI album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.42 | 10 ratings

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Yugake
Mizukagami Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars

This is the second album by Japanese five piece band Mizukagami, reading the wide range of analogue keyboards I got excited: several Moog synthesizers and a Mellotron, electric piano, string- ensemble, digital Hammond organ and a harpsichord!

So it's no surprise the six tasteful and varied compositions are loaded with those unique keyboards: compelling with lush organ and dreamy with flute-Mellotron and harpsichord in the titletrack, choir- Mellotron, twanging guitar with flute-Mellotron and a mid-tempo with flashy Moog synthesizer flights (along howling guitar) in Hanamizake, heavy Hammond waves in Yatagarasu and a bombastic Hammond sound in the alternating final song Ruten - Ame. I also loved the guitarwork (from twanging acoustic guitar to howling electrci guitar runs, often in combination with the keyboards) and some work on real flutes (along the flute-Mellotron). The female singer has a decent voice in the mellow songs but in the more heavy and bombastic track she lacks power, like in Hanamizake. But fortunately the focus is on the guitars and keyboards, that makes this CD in general to a pleasant musical experience. My rating: 3,5 stars.



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 Mizukagami by MIZUKAGAMI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.37 | 16 ratings

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Mizukagami
Mizukagami Symphonic Prog

Review by Vasil Jalabadze

4 stars 4.5 stars!!!

Great album, amazing vocal from Tanaami Futaba. Flute is also very impressive. "Sakura" is an absolutely masterpiece and the best number in album. I think this band with Shingetsu is the best example from japanese symphonic prog scene, becouse both this bands are very unique, you know, they haven't stolen anything from classic brittish bands and that's why admire these japan bands very much!

Excellent work, strongly reccomended! :)

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 Mizukagami by MIZUKAGAMI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.37 | 16 ratings

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Mizukagami
Mizukagami Symphonic Prog

Review by geezer

4 stars The debut album by this Japanese group proves to be high class symphonic. Mostly it is keyboard driven but there is some nice guitar leads as well. The keyboardist Junya Anan plays the main role in their music with his varied keyboards, fifteen different listed in the liner notes. On top of this is the female vocalist/flautist Tanaami Futaba. Her vocals are not a let down if one likes the many other female vocalists of other Japanese groups. She is among the cream of her crop. Very delicate and refined vocals in the style of Hiroko Nagai of Pageant fame. The flute is a nice addition as well. If you enjoy the eighties Japanese symphonic groups this should be an easy pick. The production is of high quality as well.

The best tracks are in the first part of the album, namely "Sakura", "Haru no sono" and "Suzukaze". "Haru no Sono" starts with a really beautiful theme. I'm very much against repetition in progressive music but in this case I hope it would have been repeated in the latter part of the song. You kind of wait it to appear again but it never does. Still, it is among the best tracks. In the latter part of the album the quality goes down a little but it is still very good.

Conclusion: Great Japanese symph!

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Thanks to geezer for the artist addition. and to H.T. Riekels for the last updates

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