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Crossover Prog • Japan

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Zettaimu biography
HISASHI FURUE formed ZETTAIMU in 1983 -- literally translated as "absolute vanity" but claimed to really mean "absolutely nothing." He is the guitarist lyricist and composer, as well as a multi-instrumentalist (early albums feature merely him and a drummer) He was influenced by both rock and "Ma" -- a traditional element, and style, of Japanese music which refers to the intervals between notes, and I have seen defined as "the power of silence." ZETTAIMU explores and utilises traditional Japanese music, and one can find it fused with alternative and heavy rock, proto-proggish music, psychedelic rock, progressive/ experimental rock, post-rock, and pop, creating refreshing progressive rock -- accessible, yet nuanced textures. It can be very atmospheric music with dark and light contrast -- at times playful (in a J-Pop, or Beatles pop sort of way, and at other times somber or morose (not that unlike The Cure).

The band's first album, "My Grandma Says", was released in 1989 and was influenced by groups such as THE BEATLES, VELVET UNDERGROUND and THE MOODY BLUES. PINK FLOYD's brand of psychedelia is fairly prominent on several albums, and one can hear some similarities to alternative groups such as PORTISHEAD, groups such as THE CURE, as well as J-pop bands. Hisashi Furue cites an eclectic list of influences: from DAVID BOWIE, to SLAPP HAPPY, to the ever modest MUSSORGSKY.

The early albums have a Proto-Prog, and early psych, feel to them, but later albums are more progressive, and indeed, the band has become more progressive with each release. Furthermore, ZETTAIMU seems to have found its own voice more in later albums -- using mostly Japanese rather than English language vocals in recent albums helps greatly because, for one thing, the Japanese traditional elements are important to the music, and so it adds to the ambiance and mystique. In 2009, ZETTAIMU had got more powerfully Japanesque with recruitment of MARIKO (voices) and Hiroaki HORIUCHI (bass) - they keep in progress for their new soundscape.

Particularly recommended are "Miroque" (2007), which is the most consistent, Crimsonesque, and fully realised work, and "Oiran" (2005).

------bio written by Logan, updated by Keishiro Maki------

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New ClearNew Clear
CD Baby 2017
$36.22 (used)
Musea Records France 2007
$6.98 (used)
What Can I DoWhat Can I Do
CD Baby 2003
$9.95 (used)
$21.06 (used)
In the Decadent TimesIn the Decadent Times
CD Baby 2001

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ZETTAIMU discography

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

3.00 | 1 ratings
My Grandma Says ...
0.00 | 0 ratings
In The Decadent Times
3.33 | 3 ratings
What Can I Do
3.00 | 1 ratings
3.45 | 4 ratings

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Zettaimu Live!

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

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

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 My Grandma Says ... by ZETTAIMU album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.00 | 1 ratings

My Grandma Says ...
Zettaimu Crossover Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars How depressive their sounds are, how depressive the front sleeve of their album is, and how depressive the back sleeve picture is ... all are so utterly depressive enough to let us feel them quite addictive.

Basically Zettaimu are founded as a Hisashi's project that has realized his Japanesque music dream merged with 70s rock and roll essence. He'd tried to push another Japanese dark side ahead, as his original depressive lyrics and weird riffs. Contrary to "Miroque" their recent album, this "Grandma" cannot be mentioned as a refined and well-matured one. However, his weirdness drenched with Japanese dark tradition could be terrifically expressed by such an unpolished structure, especially with Yoshihiro Orii's (a bit unstable but) heavy drumming quake and Hisashi's sticky and a bit cheesy (sorry) voices. Hisashi says he'd got immensely shocked at his grandmother's vacant words in a mutter "we people do the same monotonous tasks (eating, sleeping ... ) over and over" in front of his grandfather's gravestone, and noticed that he should create the conception for the first album and songs with her thoughts ...Exactly this was the kickoff of ZETTAIMU. From the beginning of the first track, their infernal sound sighs are too painful for us to listen with comfort. But actually, Hisashi might launch this depression intentionally, as "seriousness" for almost all of Japanese, or "philosophy" that has been alive for a long while in Japan.

Quite different from as-it-is-said progressive rock, their tune structure is (that is, sounds less structurally complex and more cynically poppy), and we can feel pretty eccentric sound depth in them. Let me say, this "eccentricity" can absolutely be called progressive. Hisashi says he's never got immersed in as-it-is-said progressive rock, and this means that he looks over more progressive sight I suppose. This album cannot be thought pleasant and delightful, and be recommended for typical progressive rock freaks, but let me recommend to you who love eccentric progressiveness merged with Japanesque soundscape that sounds very dark and painfully depressive. And what an unrefined stoner-flavoured inferno (different from ZETTAIMU in their recent days featuring with graceful and solemn female voices), you can enjoy this naive greasy taste.

 Miroque  by ZETTAIMU album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.45 | 4 ratings

Zettaimu Crossover Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

4 stars Consider ZETTAIMU not as a progressive rock project but as a progressive pop one.

My first impression for ZETTAIMU was that they play Japanesque traditional music with weirdly solemn atmosphere (especially around voices) based on Japanese oldie and goodie songs, also tinged with modern pop or mainstream light rock. No complex rhythm structure nor warping sound appearance around this project and material, but it can be said progressiveness (not progressive rock) that "naturally, not artificially" they could pick up mainstream pop music and cultivate in Japanese traditional music culture. Their lyrics are mainly Japanese, that notify us something mysterious and psychedelic far from Western hemisphere - in Japan psychedelic rock has got much influential upon progressive rock scene, and much renowned all over the world, and this phenomenon can be seen in ZETTAIMU project. Not sharp-edged sound procedure but their voices and lyrics can be stuck like an icepick into our mind, mysteriously.

Hisashi FURUE has said he should not play progressive rock but a mixture music with Japanese traditional music and rock music he'd listened to and played, based upon Japanese atmosphere called "Wa". He might not need complex rhythm collection at all but simultaneously he might wonder why nobody had tried to do such a natural mixture, I consider. This album "Miroque" they could not take enough time to produce, Hisashi mentioned, but I've felt we can get enough intensive Japanesque traditional pop via their instruments. As a result, we can call them progressive, even without complexity nor eccentricity of sound structure. Let me say you can realize another appearance of progressive music. Recommended.

 Miroque  by ZETTAIMU album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.45 | 4 ratings

Zettaimu Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a band from Japan who have changed their stye of music over the years, which is why they're listed in Crossover-Prog. This is their latest album and it's minimalistic with almost mono-toned female vocals. Very melancholic as well. This style appeals to me which is why i'm giving it 3 stars, but in reality I have a hard time getting into this one.

"Red Moon-Prologue" is an intro track with the wind blowing as the sound builds. Some vocal melodies too. "I Don't Need Anything Else" is melancholic with vocals, bass and drums standing out. The guitar comes to the fore after 3 minutes. "Anyone Is Loved By Someone" is laid back and fairly dark to start. Reserved vocals before a minute. It picks up after 4 minutes with some nice bass before settling again with that melancholic vibe. "Time Like An Arrow" is more upbeat with vocal melodies. Vocals join in and the guitar comes and goes. "Jennifer" opens with strummed guitar and some percussion. Male and female vocals on this one although the male vocals become more prominant.

"Sharan" opens with a Japanese stringed instrument of some sort as female vocals join in. Bass too. It's heavier before 4 minutes. "Icarus" features female vocals and a beat that comes and goes. Guitar 2 minutes in and a fuller sound follows. "Time Perplexes Time Oneself" opens with some nice guitar. Vocals follow. The guitar here is so raw, I like it. "Red Moon-Epilogue" is brighter with vocals. Piano after a minute. It's kind of jazzy. Back to the brighter sound again. Wind 3 1/2 minutes in as the mood changes. Piano and vocal melodies join in.

I think you'd really have to be into this melancholic, minimalistic style of music to really enjoy this one.

Thanks to Logan for the artist addition. and to DamoXt7942 for the last updates

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