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AMYGDALA

Zeuhl • Japan


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Amygdala biography
Amygdala are a Japanese band, the duo of Yoshiyuki Nakajima (keyboards, synths and programming) and Yoshihiro Yamaji (bass, guitar, and vocals). Drums are programmed by Nakajima and even though it's inferior to having a real drummer, it is still well done. Nakajima is also the composer of the music.

Reminiscent of electric period Univers Zero (Uzed, Heatwave) and heavy sounding, creating a heavy throbbing and dark zeuhl sound that might conjure up a faster Shub niggurath with its dense brooding atmosphere. They are comfortable in this range of intense, dark and eccentric atmosphere in their music and they do it very well.
Fans of the aforementioned bands and all dark, obscure sounding music and zeuhl/avant-rock will relish with this band's output.

==Assaf Vestin (avestin)==

Amygdala official website

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AmygdalaAmygdala
Import
Soleil Zeuhl 2008
Audio CD$14.49
$8.00 (used)
Complex CombatComplex Combat
Import
Soleil Zeuhl 2008
Audio CD$17.89
$24.07 (used)
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AMYGDALA shows & tickets


  • Costumes + Colonia + Amygdala + more at Trends Die Haus, San Antonio on 10 Aug 2014

AMYGDALA discography


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

3.06 | 12 ratings
Amygdala
2004
3.92 | 7 ratings
Complex Combat
2008

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AMYGDALA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Complex Combat by AMYGDALA album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.92 | 7 ratings

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Complex Combat
Amygdala Zeuhl

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars Berserk fusion - Buffalo roller-coaster

Have you ever heard an album that quite literally felt like a fight scene? The music on Complex Combat truly sounds like that - like being kicked around with different instruments all according to the flow of the individual track. Finishing this, is like having fought a couple of 10 minute rounds with Mike Tyson and a big angry anaconda.

Or maybe this is the secret album by the Schulman brothers - once cooked up during a feverish nightmare where the brothers had chewed on a couple of kilos of magic mushroom - for then to be attacked by an instant lust - an urge to record a twisted take on music with loads of unimaginable ingredients. One thing is for damn sure: Complex Combat has got one of the most action packed schedules, and much like the name suggests, here we are dealing with music that both roars, bitch- slaps and just gets profoundly lost in murky waters of alternating time-signatures and other shape- shifting sonic robes. This is beyond complex, but it doesn't feel academic or snobbish. It feels raw and untamed.

I guess you could call it avant guarde Zeuhl - or maybe avant fusion, but instead of going off in some obscure direction with untied hands - free to do whatever, here you get the impression that everything is highly orchestrated and planned out. It is rather strange now that I think of it, - mostly because it feels so out there and unrestrained. The first cut here actually sounds like 4 different tracks glued together to make up some weird sounding cockentrice. Attacking fusioneros drumming, lurking creeping organs - and erratic piano gulps that conjure up images of a spastic coffee fiend maniacally jumping on the keys.

BUT - once you get past the overwhelming first hand impression, the music suddenly starts to make sense, even if that probably is the wrong word for it. You hear patterns that weren't there to begin with - sounds and tempo-shifts that all of a sudden complement each other, and by golly if you don't hear something akin to a distinct concord in all of this mad contention. The pieces of the puzzle were not meant to fit in a regular way - what you really needed to do was to change your initial approach, and start gluing stuff together arbitrarily and waywardly - throwing all kinds of loose ends on the table and just casually mix it up shake it up and sit back, enjoy the tumbling ride of the buffalo roller-coaster.

Though we're dealing with a strange hybrid here, the everyday progger with a penchant for simple things like moogs and metal - will bizarrely also find something of interest in Complex Combat. Mole's Egg (Gotta love a name like that eh?) features some alluring synthesizers and if I didn't know any better, I'd say that there was a certain loose and billowing Canterbury touch going on, though that is probably pushing it a bit. The metal however is a thing that mostly gets suggested through sheer power and immersion in the guitar department. As things get heavier and louder you often get snippets of metallic riffing that counterpoint the maniacal onslaught of the drums as well as complementing the furious whirlwinds of piano and keyboards.

This is however not a record for the squeamish. As a matter of fact, I'd only recommend this thing to people who already have familiarised themselves with avant music and looney bin fusion. If you're one of these wild cats out there, then I strongly advocate this outing, as it most likely will have you running around naked in the garden wearing your cat as a hat - whilst drinking old milk frenziedly - shouting wildly about like a mental person who digs the feel of wet grass between his toes and music that literally goes berserk. 4.5 stars.

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 Amygdala by AMYGDALA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.06 | 12 ratings

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Amygdala
Amygdala Zeuhl

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 'Amygdala' - Amygdala (3/10)

Japan arguably has the strongest Zeuhl music scene outside of France, as well as an avant- garde community so large that the Japavant term was invented to label them. Amygdala is a Japanese two piece band that brings their own rendition of progressive chamber music in the style of Univers Zero and Magma at their darkest. As far as my experience with the Japanese movement of avant-garde music goes, it has brought me some of the strangest music I have ever heard, and most of it has been brilliant. Although Amygdala show promise in regards to their grasp of the dark chamber style, a poor execution mixed with somewhat aimless compositions make this self-titled debut into something of a failed experiment.

Amygdala derive much of their sound from Univers Zero, at the point in their careers when their music was at its darkest. Amygdala's debut is filled with apocalyptic chord changes and unsettling melodies, but that's around where the similarities with Univers Zero are cut painfully short. Although the chamber prog style is boldly attempted here, Amygdala fall short on several notes. Most noticeably is their overbearing use of fake instruments. Although a drum machine and other emulated sounds can be expected from an amateur or even semi-professional project, the machine sounds cheap and downright irritating by the end of the record. The pianos are given a great deal of the lead responsibility, but that does not stop them from sounding utterly programmed and lifeless. In short, 'Amygdala' is an album that sounds more like a cheap demo than a legitimate full-length debut. The composition enjoys the sort of multi- layered sound that I have come to expect from chamber prog, but these songs suffer from an aimless direction that makes the weak sound sting even harder. 'Amygdala' is not a hopeless album, but the band will have to bring more to the table on subsequent releases in order to impress me.

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 Amygdala by AMYGDALA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.06 | 12 ratings

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Amygdala
Amygdala Zeuhl

Review by TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Amygdala's debut album does not sound as close to the strict confines of Zeuhl as I've known it to be thus far, straying a bit into what sounds to me to be a bit more along the lines of avant rock music. One thing that is surprisingly about the band is that there are only two members, and that only the bass, guitar, and vocals are not synthetic. The rest of the music either emerges from keyboards, or is programmed. This includes the drums, which, while at time sound obviously precise, for the most part are very well done.

The music contained on this album is generally dark and complex. The music slowly builds in intensity and layering, often culminating in a dark, dangerous sounding climax, although occasionally contrasting this with a change to a more light-hearted sound (as on the third track, Bernoulli's Organ).

Compositionally the music is quite strong, with the songs each developing nicely and always having a sense of going somewhere. The music is completely instrumental other than the rarest of vocals, making this the first instrumental Zeuhl music I have heard thus far. I really like the feeling too, it's dark without being overbearingly so, using tension to build up a sense of darkness and danger.

The only real complaint I can think of for this album would be that the use of more "real" instruments would improve the sound, but really the band does a good job of working with what they have available and the music is pretty strong as a result. Definitely an enjoyable listen, if not exactly what I expected from this sub-genre :)

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 Amygdala by AMYGDALA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.06 | 12 ratings

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Amygdala
Amygdala Zeuhl

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A lighter version of Shub Niggurath has this band often been described as. This is indeed a correct description of Amygdala on this album.

I am off course referring to the Shub Niggurath's demo and first album here. Their ideas has been taken further by Amygdala on this album. This album is still dark enough to scare the mice away from the table. But the music here is multi-faceted and not as claustrophobic as their French brethren. There is also a healthy dosage of RIO here and some classical music. Even some jazz is present here.

The result is a very good platter of zeuhl. Though is the dot over the i missing. A lot of the i is actually missing too. What I feel is missing most is any woodwinds and contrasts in the music. Drenching the album in synths is not a strong enough paintbrush for these songs. The music does not enthuse me that much either. It is a good zeuhl album and that's it. But it is a very decent debut album and I hope the second album is a lot better. Good effort and a big plus for the artwork.

3.25 stars

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 Complex Combat by AMYGDALA album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.92 | 7 ratings

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Complex Combat
Amygdala Zeuhl

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

4 stars Yoshiyuki Nakajima's brilliant and refined keyboard sounds can lead all of other instruments and listeners into the darkness.

A keen hit of his piano opens the curtain of the AMYGDALA's Complex Combat show. Over 45 minutes you cannot breathe well, and your brain will be broken and melted down by lacking of oxygen and high fever of your passion. As above mentioned, the star of the show is Yoshiyuki, a keyboardist and a bassist. That is, he can play most of AMYGDALA's important roles. He writes all tracks and scripts, plays as not only the the leading actor but another supporting one. With hearing me saying that, you may assume that he should have the show all to himself... No! The important point is that two (plus one) other supporting member, a speedy and sharp guitarist Yoshihiro Yamaji, a strict and steady but much flexible drummer Daniel Jeand'heur, and a terrific KENSO's synth player Ken'ichi Oguchi (track 3 and 4) as a special guest. Such characteristic players can play together without blurring. Can you feel what a wonderful show this be? Oh yes, I could shout so in spite of myself hahhaha...

From start to finish, around the show is dark atmosphere. Not fuzzy or cloudy, but clearly and spiritually dark atmosphere, on it. The act one Double Army is a 12 minute scene without letting us feel the length. Absolutely dangerous keyboard and earachy guitar sounds with drums aggressively flunged can heat our mind and smash our brain to pieces. The sharp-edged darkness and painful killa flavour can remind us the sounds of King Crimson in the Starless And Bible Black era. I'm sure their play and stage should be with full of passion and full of coolness.

After the first act, we should be deeply sunk with the next one, without any short breath and teardrops. This Theatre Anatomy is a surrealistic pillow. Some dry coughs should mean what? The deeper we go backstage or inside of the theatre, the dustier the dressing rooms may be...? Very mysterious and spiritual world we can feel. The strings sounds in the middle part can make the backstage air itself more risky and more dangerous. Where will we go from now? I dunno, I'll never know!

Wow, we should be surprised at a Mole's Egg in the deeply underground theatre. What do this close-to-the-cliff keyboard shouts express? Should it show a mole baby born from the egg? How terribly the shouts be growling! It might kill us at a glance...how fearful! The scene is finished with heartbeat-confusing guitar squeaks. At last, a terrible beast has come here!

Ozy we can find from the title some mysterious stuffs in the stage and the scene. More improvised and more let-us-crazy style the actors can have and give to us. The magical world occupied with devils should get darker and more despaired, as the track be, I always feel. But not always there are killer sounds only but calm and solemn ones sometimes, though the result be same...dark and dangerous. This song and scene is the most improvised and wonderful one in this album and this show I consider.

The last scene Logos gets started with more rigorous and tougher sounds of keyboards and guitars. Well we are remarkably amazed at the star Yoshiyuki and the keyboard plays shining and getting sharper. Although the other instruments can make such an effort - the guitars are loud and impressive, and the drum and percussion are very strict and very serious - as hard as the star keyboard, they should be hidden behind the star player! The leading actor can play his role so gracefully but much violently. THIS IS AMYGDALA SHOW, YOU, BURN IT INTO YOUR EYES AND BRAIN OVER!

Sorry but I can't say anymore. Huh, I'm comfortably tired. And this show's highly recommended naturally!

P.S. This album was recommended to me by John Davie aka sinkadotentree. Thanks John!

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 Amygdala by AMYGDALA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.06 | 12 ratings

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Amygdala
Amygdala Zeuhl

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Amygdala made quite an entry with their namesake debut album: in this 2004 item we find a solid exercise on renewing the standards of 81-84 era Univers Zero and post-"Kommandoh" Magma, plus the bizarre colorfulness of Happy Family and the no less bizarre power of Ruins. Clearly, Amygdala is a creature of its particular progressive environment in a peculiar part of the world. This duo clearly defines its musical trend as a labor of picking things up where Bonage Fruit and happy Family left them. 'Utrecht' opens up the album with a heavy mood, living plenty of room for the guitar and the amply distorted bass to take center stage by storm: the dynamics and rhythmic frenzy get gradually augmented as the track evolves through its solid architecture of mood and tempo variations. This brilliant opening makes way for the next track, '1998', to preserve this exciting vibe with an enhanced colorfulness. You can tell that the composition and deliveries bear an augmented enthusiasm, but let's not jump to the conclusion that this has become some sort of "happy RIO": on the contrary, the sonic spectrum of anger and mystery prevails through the development of the main motif and the successive permutations. There is a mellotron (or mellotron-like) interlude that pretty much reminds us of "Ceuz du Cohors"-era Univers Zero - it provides a somber bridge between the preceding passage's frantic finale and the following passage's gradually climatic intro (actually, a reprise of the opening motif). This piece epitomizes better than any other in the album the apex of Amygdala's vision. But let's move on confident that we won't get disappointed at all in the remaining repertoire. 'Bernoulli's Organ' pretty much preserves the sense of colorfulness so proficiently incarnated in the preceding track, only this time the pulsating factor is more prevalent than the orchestral one: this is real zeuhl, the sort of modernized zeuhl that other Japanese acts such as Happy Family and Bondage Fruit had stated so convincingly in the 90s. 'Low Life' marks a return to the standards of Univers Zero chamber-rock, displaying a powerful set of languid, autumnal atmospheres in the melodic and harmonic developments. The weird thing, though, is that the rhythm section (that is, the bass guitar and the loyal rhythm machine) actually indulge in a display of jazzy cadences, which in the most exciting passages turn quite Latin. A combination of the sinister side of chamber-rock and a set of jazz-fusion paces - you have to hear it to believe, like I just did! '_db' drifts through a denser stream, finding the band exploring the most sinister aspect of their musical avant-garde vision. The track builds up a proper climax of tension and mystery in a cleverly sustained fashion. The doses of energy and creativity are really awesome, leading to an explosive closure. The segued brief piece 'Under Utopian Universe' functions as an epilogue to '_db', something like a call for repose after the magnificent explosion of avant-prog that had taken place just before. 'Theme of Unteleported Man' is the bonus closure that finds keyboardist Nakajima indulging in a bombastic orchestral framework, electrifying and majestic, as if prokofiev's spirirt had inundated Nakajima's mind and flesh. A very captivating ending for an amazing album - Amygdala is an important part of this new generation of talented Japanese acts devoted to the preservation of RIO and zeuhl for the new millennium.

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 Complex Combat by AMYGDALA album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.92 | 7 ratings

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Complex Combat
Amygdala Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Love the title they chose for this one because it does describe the music very well. For this their second recording they have added a real drummer in Daniel Jeand'heur from ONE SHOT. I'm a real fan of this talented drummer and was excited when I heard the news he was going to play on this album. He does not disappoint in the least. Kenichi Oguchi from KENSO guests on synths for 2 tracks. This is an album not unlike a UNIVERS ZERO record where you really have to give it your full attention or forget it. This is not good background music. I really felt that this album had more in common with UNIVERS ZERO and PRESENT than a lot of Zeuhl bands i have heard. This is intricate, dark and complex.

"Double Army" opens with odd-metered drumming and random keys before an outbreak of guitar. It's 2 minutes before we get a real melody, and it's slow paced. Scorching guitar breaks out as drums pound out intricate patterns.This is great ! Lots of keys and organ. More ripping guitar comes and goes until we get a calm after 8 minutes of piano and drums.The guitar breaks that up 10 minutes in as the sound becomes very intense. "Theatre Anatomy" opens with slowly played piano as we can hear guys coughing over and over. This becomes dark and tense with organ and keys as the guitar offers up angular sounds. Complex not unlike chamber music but electric with all these intricate sounds coming and going. Dark sounding organ before 8 minutes also comes and goes.

"Mole's Egg" opens with organ and drums before guitar comes in with attitude. Check out the synth solo 1 1/2 minutes in by Oguchi. Nice. It's followed up with a blistering guitar solo. Keys and angular guitar 3 minutes in. Some powerful organ comes and goes. Pounding drums after 6 minutes. Check out the guitar after 7 minutes to end it. "Ozy" is dark and heavy to start with. I love listening to the drums here as the angular guitar grinds and scrapes away. Another guest synth solo 4 1/2 minutes in and after 6 minutes. Complex combat aptly describes the rest of the song. "Logos" opens with powerful organ as drums burst upon the scene. It becomes very intense 1 1/2 minutes in. This is all about the drums and organ. The drumming before 6 minutes is outstanding. So much going on during this track.

4.5 stars.This really blew me away. Almost 5 stars in my opinion.The complexity, darkness and drum work are mind-boggling.

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 Amygdala by AMYGDALA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.06 | 12 ratings

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Amygdala
Amygdala Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is very well done, especially for a two man band. A lot of programmed sounds though including the drums, but I swear if I didn't know the drums weren't real I wouldn't know. They are extremely well done. The music is dark and heavy with a Zeuhl flavour.

"Utrecht" opens heavily with slow pounding drums and scorching guitar. A lot of bottom end. The guitar really rips it up in this one and there are flute-like sounds as well. An intense ending to this one. Great opening track. "1998" opens with keys as a clarinet-like melody comes in. Drums and heaviness follows. Some nice bass lines early followed later by some scorching guitar. The melody stops before 5 minutes as synths and programmed sounds wash in for 1 1/2 minutes. The melody returns led at first by keys, then guitar and heaviness comes back.

"Bernoulli's Organ" opens with bass, keys and drums. After 3 minutes it's hard to believe again that the drums aren't real, they are so well done. We get xylophone-like sounds and mellotron-like sounds,and organ too. Angular guitar after 5 1/2 minutes. The tempo slows down before 7 minutes as it gets darker. Back to the intensity to end it. "Low Life" is fairly slow going for the first 3 minutes reminding me of UNIVERS ZERO, then strange sounds come as the tempo picks up with background spoken words. Synths and drums end it. "-DB" opens with slow paced keys and bass before a clarinet-like melody comes in. Still slow paced. Drums and guitar 3 1/2 minutes in adds some life with guitar leading the way 4 minutes in. "Under Utopian Universe" is pastoral with running water, bass and flute-like sounds. The bonus track "Theme Of Unteleported Man" features some orchestral-like sounds along with what sounds like mellotron. It gets darker before 3 minutes. More orchestral-like sounds follow.

3.5 stars. A worthy debut from this Japanese band who are only going to get better.

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