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ALTERED STATES

RIO/Avant-Prog • Japan


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Altered States biography
There is some ambiguity surrounding Alter States inception, it is generally accepted sometime '89 - '90 in the underbelly of Osaka, Japan. A Power Trio [in every sense of the word] consisting of Nasuno Mitsuru [bass], Yoshigaki Yasuhiro [drums], Uchihashi Kazuhisa [guitar], established themselves as a Jazz trio. Deeming jazz a poor avenue for their harsh exploitations, they gravitated towards rock, still paying an indebted homage to their improvisational backgrounds. The Trio's sound displays a vast array of chopping and changing, touching upon, jazz-rock, psychedelic, noise rock, funk, neatly weaved around guitar driven Avant-prog.
During the '90s the band produced a string of hectic Avant-prog releases, both 'Mosaic' and 'Altered States 6' are commendable inductions for beginners, exhibiting their powers with in the studio. Displaying an aptitude for eccentric live performances [they are highly improv influenced after all], 'Lithuania and Estonia Live Featuring Otomo Yoshihide' features a spectacular live performance, unleashing the band in the natural environment. After a short hiatus [a 6 year gape between releases], busied by numerous other bands, Altered States produced Bluffs and Bluffs II ['05 and '06], immersing themselves within the perilous realms of improvisation.
All members of Altered States also played with Otomo Yoshihide's Ground Zero [now defunct].

Altered States is another cornerstone within the impressive Japanese Avant-prog scene, fans of Ground Zero, Ruins, Korekyojin, Massacre are bound to have a field day, while their records could also attract fans of King Crimsons more abstract styling.


==Adam (Black Velvet)==

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ALTERED STATES discography


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

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Altered States
1992
4.04 | 4 ratings
Mosaic
1995
0.00 | 0 ratings
6
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Plays Standards
1999
4.05 | 2 ratings
Bluffs
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
Bluffs II
2006

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Lithuania and Estonia Live (featuring Otomo Yoshihide)
1994
4.00 | 1 ratings
Altered States 4
1995
4.00 | 1 ratings
Cafe 9.15 (with Ned Rothenberg)
1996

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ALTERED STATES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bluffs  by ALTERED STATES album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.05 | 2 ratings

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Bluffs
Altered States RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by SaltyJon
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Are you a fan of long improvs, with inventive guitar played through an Electro Harmonix 16 second delay (or something similar)? Do you enjoy when the guitarist in question alters the speed of the loops he's recorded and uses the altered loops in really awesome ways to add to the music? If so, you need to check out this mammoth album by Uchihashi Kazuhisa and crew. Coming in at roughly two hours and ten minutes long, it's a very good example of the kind of jazzy avant-garde music these three masters have been making over the years.

Whereas earlier albums had some composed parts along with the improv, at this stage in the band's career everything is improvised. Thankfully, each musician knows how to add to the group. They all have a unique voice on their respective instrument, but easily the most distinctive is that of Uchihashi Kazuhisa's guitar playing. The things he does with his loop station are incredible, and his playing style in general is addictive. From the first time I listened to the album 4 I knew I wanted to keep an eye on his playing. I'm glad I have, because I've been rewarded with some great and exciting improvised stuff both with this group and with others. I came to know Altered States indirectly while first looking into Korekyojinn, as the bassist from this group, Nasuno Mitsuru, joins Yoshida and Kido in that power trio. I've come to believe that being asked to play bass in a group with Yoshida is a sure sign that the bassist in question is top notch, so I checked out this, his "main" group.

Some of you are probably thinking to yourselves "A two hour plus long album of improvisations? Surely it has to get tiring before the first disc is over!" In my opinion, you couldn't be more wrong. Perhaps with less experienced improvisers or musicians who aren't this comfortable playing together, but these three really mesh at the atomic level. Everyone's pretty equally represented here, and they develop the improvs together rather than the rhythm section following the lead instrument. With musicians like Mitsuru and Yasuhiro comprising the rhythm section though, there isn't really any standout lead instrument. They're both very active on their respective instruments.

Buying this album may be somewhat of a gamble if you're unfamiliar with the group. It's certainly pricey, and I hesitated with the purchase even being familiar with what kind of music I should expect. Thankfully, I'd say it's worth every penny of the price I paid for it though, and if you are interested in the prospect of three top-notch musicians improvising and enjoying themselves for a couple hours, then I'm fairly confident you'd think it was worth the price of admission as well. Still, my advice is to start with a shorter, less expensive album (personal recommendation is 4), and if that goes well for you then consider this one. This definitely gets at least four stars for me, possibly an upgrade later.

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 Mosaic  by ALTERED STATES album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.04 | 4 ratings

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Mosaic
Altered States RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Next in row Altered States album after their great "Estonia And Lithuania Live" is Japanese noise/brutal version of math-rock. Or Japanese avant with math rock elements.

Mostly instrumental, almost fully improv based release with some guests on board. Music is more diverse, than usual (mostly because of guest I think), very interesting Ned Rothenberg's sax on Dan-go.

In all - extremely energetic,fast and technical fusion of noise,Frippian guitar (on steroids), ecstatic rhythm section and some shamanic screams. Highest technical level of musicianship you can imagine, not too much attention to musical component (as usual).

Great album for Japanese brutal avant prog lovers, less prepared listener could be attracted by excellent musicianship techniques, but disappointed by lack of attention to musical element though.

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 Cafe 9.15 (with Ned Rothenberg) by ALTERED STATES album cover Live, 1996
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Cafe 9.15 (with Ned Rothenberg)
Altered States RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars Third Altered States trio live release, this time with guest sax player Ned Rothenberg . His collaboration on this concert/recordings changed trio's music radically - instead of fast technical brutal heavy avant rock dominated music there is free jazz.

Whole album is just recorded improvs, but sax is openly soloing instrument there, and it brings its own rules. Even if common atmosphere there is still quite dark and noisy in moments, music by its structure and even sound is modern free jazz. All instruments participates in sax improvs (possibly drummer is less busy than usual there). Compositions are very free form, with all possible components of avant jazz - complex, crazy, scratchy, so this album is far from accessible music. You will need repetitive listening just to got this release in all, and even that doesn't mean you will be very familiar with what happens there.

Addition of soloing sax to brutal Altered States music is really attractive move; free jazz music played by avant rock musicians doesn't become easier listening though.

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 Lithuania and Estonia Live (featuring Otomo Yoshihide) by ALTERED STATES album cover Live, 1994
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Lithuania and Estonia Live (featuring Otomo Yoshihide)
Altered States RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars First live recording (and second at all) of one of Japanese cornerstone avant prog band was recorded during their Baltics tour. Two first compositions are recorded on Estonian radio (and you can feel some chamber atmosphere of these recordings), six next - on annual Tallinn Jazz Fest. Two last compositions are recorded in annual Vilnius Jazz Fest in my hometown (unhappily I missed the show).

First of all I must to say, that Baltics jazz scene is very open for years, and it gives the possibility to see such "non-jazz" bands on our Jazz Fests regularly. Not too many Jazz events around globe are so open for experimental avant prog!

Music there is full improvs,played by power trio in Japanese avant prog traditions- noisy, loud, very complex and sometimes dark. Fourth member of all concerts are well-known Japanese avant guitarist Otomo Yoshihide. Sound you can hear is free jazz by it's origin, but played by non-jazzy heavy avant rock trio. Scratching guitars, plenty of different noises, excellent musicianship level.

Live recordings have possibly not such a great sound quality on this album, but presents excellent atmosphere. Musicians are all in top form, and improvs are played so good that they often sound as pre-written compositions. I didn't hear all AS albums, but from what I listened, this one is one of their great one!

For sure, it is free form complex rock-rooted experimental avant music. So - don't expect easy or accessible listening! And - Kazuhisha Uchihashi is one of the most capable modern electric guitarist I believe!

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 Altered States 4  by ALTERED STATES album cover Live, 1995
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Altered States 4
Altered States RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by SaltyJon
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars This album is my first (and so far, only) release by Altered States. It's a great, 50 minute long session of nothing but improvised rock by this amazing trio. A lot of the music doesn't even sound like improvisation to me, the band members are really good together. The album is three tracks, two of which pass the 20 minute mark and one of which is just under 6. The longer tracks see the band stretching out a bit more and showing off their incredible skills, and the shorter track is a bit more focused around some shorter themes and quirkiness. The band has a bit of a jazzy sound, but not overly so; it more blends in with their other influences. This album is a good choice for anyone who's interested in some of Yoshida Tatsuya's less crazy projects, like Korekyojinn. Actually, the bassist from this band is the bassist for Korekyojinn as well, a smart move by Yoshida Tatsuya while starting that band.

I give this album a strong 4 star rating, almost 5 but not quite there yet.

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 Bluffs II by ALTERED STATES album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Bluffs II
Altered States RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Music By Mail

— First review of this album —
3 stars One of the greatest guitar/bass/drums trios in the history of rock; their music - often largely improvised - draws from a wide range of influences including progressive rock, jazz-rock, psychedelia, metal, noise rock, electronica, funk, ambient, and even country music. The musicians have a long and extended background; guitarist Uchihashi Kazuhisa appears on the "Improvisations" duos made with Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, on several recordings by Ground Zero and Otomo Yoshihide. Bass player Mitsuru Nasuno is also part of the two latter but also appeared as member of Korekyojinn. Drummer Yasuhiro Yoshigaki has also been part of Ground Zero and member of Otomo Yoshihide's New Jazz Orchestra, besides having played with several Japanese and international artists (Leonid Soybelman, Satoko Fujii Orchestra, Hoppy Kamiyama, Rovo, Opabinia, Coil, etc...). On Bluffs, he also plays trumpet, adding an extra colour to the trio's improvisations, always rich in moods, shifts of tempi and forms. Starting from a single percussion sound and cookin' it up to a wild rhythm orgy or operating the reverse way, they always keep their listeners under tight control, moving when ands where you don't expect them to. Three and a half stars!

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