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BI KYO RAN

Heavy Prog • Japan


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Bi Kyo Ran biography
BI KYO RAN is one of the most important Japanese Progressive Rock bands. Forming in the '70s, the legendary BI KYO RAN played with the bristling energy, intensity and aggression of KING CRIMSON mainly on the "Red" era, then alternately delicate and pastoral, with ample use of mellotron. The guitar sounds like a Fripp clone, although sometimes it gains a bit in originality. Despite the obvious cloning, the music is very well executed, and to complete the picture, a violinist is also featured. They are still active and most recently released "Anthology Vol. 1", a re-recording and updating of their earliest and best tunes. It features guitarist and leader Kunio Suma and drummer Masaharu Sato. Dynamic and impressive.

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Buy BI KYO RAN Music


Bi Kyo RanBi Kyo Ran
Import
King Record Co. Japan 2007
Audio CD$16.02
$32.00 (used)
ParallaxParallax
Import
Spalax 1997
Audio CD$17.61
$16.95 (used)
A Violent MusicA Violent Music
Import
Musea Records France 2006
Audio CD$16.74
$43.56 (used)
Go-un (Shm-cd) (Japanese Mini Lp)Go-un (Shm-cd) (Japanese Mini Lp)
Audio CD$34.99
$39.99 (used)
Live Vol.2 Who Ma (Japanese Mini Lp)Live Vol.2 Who Ma (Japanese Mini Lp)
Import · Remastered
Belle Antique
Audio CD$34.99
Live Vol.3 Ran (Japanese Mini Lp)Live Vol.3 Ran (Japanese Mini Lp)
Remastered
Audio CD$34.99
$29.99 (used)
Bi Kyo RanBi Kyo Ran
Import
Imports 2006
Audio CD$19.90
$29.99 (used)
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BI KYO RAN discography


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

BI KYO RAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 26 ratings
Bi Kyo Ran
1982
3.34 | 19 ratings
Parallax
1984
3.90 | 10 ratings
Go Un
1995
3.29 | 16 ratings
Kyobo Na Ongaku (A Violent Music)
1997
4.33 | 3 ratings
Bi Kyo Ran Anthology Vol. 1
2002
4.00 | 4 ratings
Sakigake!! Cromartie High School
2004

BI KYO RAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 3 ratings
Bi Kyo Ran Live I: Fairy Tales
1987
3.92 | 5 ratings
Bi Kyo Ran Live II: Who Ma
1988
3.80 | 5 ratings
Bi Kyo Ran Live IV: Madoromi*
1994
3.57 | 4 ratings
Bi Kyo Ran Live III: Ran
1994
4.00 | 1 ratings
Deep Live
1995

BI KYO RAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

BI KYO RAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bi Kyo Ran Live III: Ran  by BI KYO RAN album cover Live, 1994
3.57 | 4 ratings

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Bi Kyo Ran Live III: Ran
Bi Kyo Ran Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was recorded live in March,1983 at the "Bourbon House" in Osaka, Japan.This KING CRIMSON inspired trio blaze a trail of fire here but they also contrast these fiery passages with some laid back sections. Mellotron is played by two of the members here. I have to say that this "sounds" really good. The sub woofer really gets a workout with this album cranked up, and of course those angular, Fripp inspired guitar melodies are all over this recording. I love when they just jam, in fact they really stretch out these tunes as 3 of the 4 are all over 16 minutes in length.

"Psycho Part I" is the short opening tune at 3 1/2 minutes. It opens with a great sound of bass and drums while the guitar just plays along until taking the spotlight before a minute with some angular melodies. This all sounds so good. "Warning" is from their debut album and it opens with mellotron and solina strings. Vocals after a minute. I like the laid back guitar here. Mellotron continues. It kicks in after 7 minutes. Here we go ! Deep bass and angular guitar, and check out the drumming ! Sounds like vibes or some sort of percussion before 10 1/2 minutes with vocal melodies as it settles right down. Heavy drums and bass before 15 minutes, and the guitar joins in too for a killer finish. Nice.

"Suite Ran" is from their "Parallax" album. Lots of drums, bass, guitar and noise until we get a groove going after 3 minutes.This is fantastic ! Love the drums after 5 1/2 minutes as it settles somewhat. Fat bass lines here too. It settles down after 15 minutes before we get the big finish. "Double" is from their debut album. I have always liked this tune.The heaviness and bass are incredible. Vocals before a minutes.It settles before 3 minutes and mellotron rolls in a minute later.Tasteful guitar 4 1/2 minutes in. Later it gets chaotic before they jam for quite a while.

I can't give this less then 4 stars. It's a nice companion with the "Live II Who Ma" cd I have. A legendary band who thankfully wear their influences on their sleeves.

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 Parallax  by BI KYO RAN album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.34 | 19 ratings

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Parallax
Bi Kyo Ran Heavy Prog

Review by Kazuhiro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The start of "Bi kyo ran" goes back to 1974 for them. It is said that he absorbs various music at infancy time and the method of the performance in the guitar was established according to the remark of guitar player's Kunio Suma. The method of very various music was flooded in the situation of Prog Rock of Japan at the time of the 70's. The performance to take the methodology of King Crimson from a stage as early as this Bi kyo ran to the band in the flow might not have existed so much in the situation of Prog Rock of Japan. The fact that King Crimson exists in one of the directionality of the method of his performance and the band in the remark of Kunio Suma might be correct. However, circumstances of the unique culture of Japan and music. Or, when exchanging it with various musicians, their methodologies were established.

It discovers in no stay in Heavy Prog and taking also of the method of some music and the listener might be able to discover it if it listens to their performances of course. It might be certain to have equipped various knowledge and technologies that do not stay in Heavy Prog as a concept of the band to which they formed Bi kyo ran as a band of the copy of King Crimson by the idea besides the activity of active "Madoromi" in the band.

They announced 1st album in 1982. The sounds of them listened with this 1st album were music that made the idea of the music that they had digested till then based on a heavy sound in which the methodology of King Crimson was exactly taken an embodiment. It might have succeeded if their debuts were caught as a few greetings. The composition and the method of their thought music had already been digested in their activities and might have ripened as a meaning of the band.

This 2nd album was produced after one year the announcement of 1st album and announced. Their styles are established further and will improve greatly in about one year in the technology of the performance and the composition of the tune. Making and the idea of the sound will give the listener the impression of advancement and the refinement while establishing the methodology of the band. Band leader..remark..a variety of..Music..element..absorb..band..bring in..part..reflect..have..album..embodiment..make..have..this..album..production..for..Music..id ea..movie..Music..concern..show..say.Those ideas might merge well in their music characters and be reflected in this album as an original style. The road that they passed is never thought to take various ideas into the method of their performances well exactly continuously of mimicry.

"Silent Running" ..tune.. has finished with age at that time and their performances when unifying it the very refinement. The soundscape is refined and I hear the advancement of the idea and the composition from 1st album further. A song and a complex rhythm will extend further and have one space part. Development that is reminiscent of the idea of initial King Crimson from ..Heavy.. Riff might be splendid. And, the method by the contribution of the keyboard and the performance of the band might succeed.

"Prediction" never becomes interrupted from the first and is connected. It starts from the part of the ballade and it progresses by a beautiful melody. The tune gradually becomes intense, makes one extension and the part of sedition cohabit, and progresses. The impression to which the part of the idea that multiplies from the first stage of King Crimson to middle term and is done has been taken is given. However, the idea might succeed if it thinks consistently as directionality of the band. The performance has evolved compared with 1st album.

"Suite Ran" might be a tune to establish directionality as the band. The march of a heavy sound might be a part kneaded well when Bi kyo ran is performed. The part of a complex rhythm and sedition advances further by the contribution of the keyboard and the trumpet. The classics and avant-garde parts are one challenges to their music. The tune reaches the peak and rushes into the top. The flood of the sound will be calculated and the existence of this album be told with various ideas.

After having announced this album, they required years for about 12 years by the time it began the following work. The music at which they aimed with 1st album and this album and the idea are exactly offered to the listener with the evolution of the band. These albums of men who announced at the peculiar time called for Prog Rock and other music the 80's are important as the performance done as [**] never cracks to the fashion by an original methodology and important parts when talking about circumstances of the music of Japan. mightIt is likely to succeed though it considers from the idea of Heavy Prog as their albums.

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 Bi Kyo Ran by BI KYO RAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.50 | 26 ratings

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Bi Kyo Ran
Bi Kyo Ran Heavy Prog

Review by Kazuhiro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars They are often compared in the item of Prog Rock of Japan with King Crimson. It might hit the methodology at which the performance and the band by guitar player's Kunio Suma aimed by the leader of this band. They are producing this debut album in 1982. However, the history of their bands goes back to 1974.

Leader's Kunio Suma met various music at student's time and experienced them. It is guessed that they had a large influence on him. Within that time frame, they had formed the band that was temporarily called "Madoromi". And, "Madoromi" did advanced concurrently shape and acted with this band. It is said that band leader's Kunio Suma groped for the conflict of music in the formation and the methodology of own performance for the market of the music of Japan of the 70's. His method was originally continuous to have advanced the existence of "Bikyoran" of groping.

It was time when the flow of Blues and Fusion had invaded Japan. The shape that surrounding musicians who surrounded the leader also matched to those flows was taken. Kunio Suma guesses that it experienced various music from "Madoromi" "Bikyoran" until settling down in certain shape. And, the existence of King Crimson became an element that decided the position of the direction of the band including the leader. The leader is offering us own confession. It is talked that King Crimson and Frank Zappa are influenced musicians in his remark. The influence in the performance of Robert Fripp applies to the method of this band. It is said that Kunio Suma will surely digest them by the time this debut album is announced and aim at the performance like Robert Fripp as an expression method. There might be of course a lot of bands that also were influenced the musician in other countries from Robert Fripp and King Crimson. However, it might continuously be connected with the road of final about mimicry but the digestion, groping, and directionality. And, this band also never set in the direction of King Crimson and I think that it is a result of uniting various music. Kunio Suma might certainly take the methodology of King Crimson in this band. It is talked that he also was listening only to King Crimson of course. However, it is guessed that it is not music where this band is caught as a simple band if the passage to the arrival there is considered.

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 Bi Kyo Ran by BI KYO RAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.50 | 26 ratings

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Bi Kyo Ran
Bi Kyo Ran Heavy Prog

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

4 stars I do consider that most of rock bands might enter show biz as copy bands and some of them, getting their originality and their world, should be more famous all over the world. So I want to say, I'll be fretful if you say BIKYORAN be only a copy band of King Crimson. :-)

BIKYORAN (Beautiful Madness? Beauty-Freak? ...sorry.) is one of the most famous Japanese heavy progressive bands. We can say the sound master of the band is Kunio Suma, with sharp-edged guitar sounds and 'Japanese Geddy Lee (by Cesar Inca)' voices. Nobody has suspicions that Kunio could construct BIKYORAN sound style rigidly with his guitar and voice, and his previous band 'MADOROMI' was absolutely a copy band of King Crimson. However, what I have to emphasize here is, with the Crimsonish core of their sound, they could get, accept and digest more and more materials. For example, the first track Niju Jinkaku (Double) can remind us of a heaviness by Larks' King Crimson and of course Geddy Lee & Rush. Cynthia has exactly classical and lyrical flavour of Gabriel's Genesis...I can't help chuckling. Kyo (Psycho) Part 2 and Hitorigoto (Monologue) should have the Larks' Crimsonism but be more psychedelic (especially Kunio's dreadful and keen voice) I always feel. In the last Keikoku (Warning) lots of sound monsters come and attack to us! Exploded guitar sounds like King Crimson, Japanese atmospheres, and in the beginning French symphonic flavour should be around us. (Kunio had respect for Richard Pinhas, a French electroprogressive emperor...so it's natural he could get French flavour.) We can enjoy their heaviness with all-over-the-world tastes.

Only one sad thing for me is they could not get enough time to make the great product. Indeed, the rhythm section has a few dizziness and there are a few fumble with the guitar solo. But it's almost Ok. This album is surely brilliant sunbeam of heavy prog from Japan!

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 Bi Kyo Ran by BI KYO RAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.50 | 26 ratings

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Bi Kyo Ran
Bi Kyo Ran Heavy Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars It's quite a surprise to realize that a band from Japan has adubted this kind of sound.So far I was only aware of japanese bands that have a more synphonic or sympho/fusion sound.But BI KYO RYAN are another story.This is a progressive rock trio with A sound totaly close to KING CRIMSON.The first album of the band was published in 1982,but the Crimson-esque sound of the band resembles more to mid 70's...

The beginning is very dynamic with the 14 min epic ''Double''.First part of the track is very intersting with expressive japanese vocals,groovy rhythm in the vein of KING CRIMSON with maybe a touch of RUSH and a mellow break before the middle with nice guitar work,while the second part is a total disaster with the guitarist ripping off ROBERT FRIPP's solos and the rhythm section playing the same rhythm for 7 minutes! Very monotonous...''Cynthia'' isn't not a trace related to the rest of the album.Medieval atmospheric music blending Hammond organ,acoustic guitar and later flute and violin with a satisfying result...''Psycho'' is another Crimson-esque intro before another Crimson-esque track,''Monologue''...This track contains complex guitar work,lot of breaks and psychedelic vocals that at the end it sounds rather boring...The closer is another epic,the 13 min. ''Warning''.Again we have to deal with a track somekind split in two parts.The mellow violin start is followed by psychedelic vocals and decent guitar work and the second part contains Frippian guitars and some really enjoyable drumming accompanied by heavy bass lines...

It's obvious that the hero of the band is the guitarist Kunio Suma.Without his overall good performance this band would be just another mediocrity.However the good guitar work saves this work from being just another album in a collection and I'll rate BI KYO RYAN's debut with close to 3 stars...

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 Bi Kyo Ran Live II: Who Ma by BI KYO RAN album cover Live, 1988
3.92 | 5 ratings

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Bi Kyo Ran Live II: Who Ma
Bi Kyo Ran Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is even better than i thought it would be. These guys are great live. My version has a couple of bonus tracks that they have mixed in at songs 2 & 4. The performances on this album were taken from two shows, one in December of 1982, and the other in March of 1983. They usually have a few guests performing with them in studio, but for these live shows they just have a guest percussionist. So no mellotron this time, or horns. What we do get though is angular, Fripp-like lead guitar, along with some fantastic bass and drumming.

"Vision Of The City" is driven by these raw guitar leads throughout. Although there is a calm with some laid back guitar 2 1/2 minutes in. Vocals are present early in the song and towards the end. Some fat bass lines 10 minutes in after those cool angular guitar melodies. "Monologue" features more abrasive guitar and distortion. Vocals play a prominant role in this one though (hence the title). More deep bass lines in this one too. "Psycho (Part 1)" is an instrumental that's not as hard on the ears. The guitar is incredible a minute. Very melodic tune, and one of my favs. "Silent Running" is another great tune. Vocals come in as it settles down. The guitar grinds away 4 1/2 minutes in. Nice. Vocals are back 8 1/2 minutes in as it calms down once again. Love the way they contrast these two sectons. I really like both passages too. "Stop Breaking Sense" has a heavy sound to open with chunky bass and scorching guitar. Vocals join in as the guitar trades off with him. The bass is killer! Awesome sound before 3 minutes and 5 minutes in when the guitar lights it up both times. The bass continues to be huge. Vocals are back 7 1/2 minutes in. A calm 9 minutes in to end it. My favourite track.

"Who Ma" is the title track. It takes a while to get going but when it does the guitar makes all kinds of noise 2 1/2 minutes in. The drums are very random at this point. The guitar is grinding away at will. Once they get going this sounds incredible. Ripping guitar after 7 minutes. The calm sections are contrasted with the full passages a couple of times before it ends. "Improvisation" opens with no real melody just sounds until 2 1/2 minutes in, but even then this isn't melodic. Then the guitar starts to make some noise. This is experimental to say the least. Hey it's an improv ! We get a good melodic soundscape 7 minutes in, and for the next 6 minutes they just play. Nice.Then a calm as they stop the melody and make random sounds. He ends it with an excellent guitar solo.

I know these guys are huge fans of KING CRIMSON but I couldn't help but think of Neil Young and his raw, garage sounding guitar tone. Who needs polish when you can have this ! I should mention that I had this on at work the other day, and this young guy came in and eventually asked who was playing, then asked me to write down the bands name so he could try to find his own copy.

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 Bi Kyo Ran by BI KYO RAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.50 | 26 ratings

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Bi Kyo Ran
Bi Kyo Ran Heavy Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Bi Kyo Ran is undoubtedly the most enthusiastically Crimsonian band from Japan. The band's origins date back in the mid-70s as a psychedelic rock band, but eventually it shifted toward a heavily Crimson- influenced sort of heavy prog, with special emphasis on the 73-75 era, but also hints to "Lizard"-era. This approach is abundantly clear but not totally exclusive, since guitarist/leader Suma's compositions also give room to traces of jazz-rock, space-rock and electric blues. Suma's tenor timber can lead him to become a "Japanese Geddy Lee" at times, and that may be shocking to a number of listeners, but at the end of the day, the performative qualities of Bi Kyo Ran as a whole ensemble should prevail in the listener's perception. In fact, when this debut album was released in 1982, the band had already developed a controlled style and a focused strategy in its instrumental travels, and that's the main point of its contribution ot the prog genre. The album kicks off with 'Double', whose 14 minutes are full of polished roughness, with convenient, not-too-drastic mood shifts revolving around a well defined recurrent motif. The violin and guitar leads that go emerging along the way bring a certain air of mystery to the track's development. 'Cynthia' makes a radical transition to the bucolic realms of pastoral serenity, pretty much inspired by Renaissance music: the sweetly driven classical guitar arpeggios are beautifully ornamented by the violin and the recorder. 'Pycho (Part II)' is a lovely yet too short instrumental whose framework mixes "Red"-era KC and jazz-fusion in a very dynamic way. 'Monologue' emphasizes the most aggressive side of Bi Kyo Ran, although it also preserves the jazz element in the rhythm duo's delivery. The Frippian tricks on guitar emerge with power but not overwhelmingly - the spoken lyrics seem to be mostly humorous. The last track lasts 14 172 minutes, just like the opener - it is called 'Warning'. Its first half is languid and melancholic, becoming the only lyrical sung passage in the album. The guitar and violin flourishes state an amazing eerie ambience. The second half turns into yet another display of Crimsonian heavy prog, reiterating the prominence of the "Red" influence. This section includes a captivating percussive section in full ethnic splendor, as well as a soaring coda on synth. I happen to enjoy this album more than "Parallax" (my first Bi Kyo Ran buy), since it comprises a more diverse trend. In perspective, both albums bring the prog researcher an important view of the heavy prog sound delivered in Japan's avant-garde rock scene in the 80s, years ahead of currently celebrated bands from the same country. In short, both Bi Kyo Ran and the "Bi Kyo Ran" albums are excellent beyond doubt.

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 Parallax  by BI KYO RAN album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.34 | 19 ratings

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Parallax
Bi Kyo Ran Heavy Prog

Review by Gooner
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Nothing too outstaning here. Sort of like a Japanese version of King Crimson...'70s composition style but '80s production. Not very original, really. You might hear some Drama-era Yes too, but very derivative. Guitarist tries his darndest to get a Fripp-tone at every corner. For the curious only. Suite Ran is not too shabby. Recommended to hear at least once.

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 Kyobo Na Ongaku (A Violent Music) by BI KYO RAN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.29 | 16 ratings

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Kyobo Na Ongaku (A Violent Music)
Bi Kyo Ran Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There are portions of this record that are incredible, but overall this doesn't measure up to their first two studio albums. "A Violent Music" is an apt title for this recording as it is often very "noisy" and as victor77 says it's "hard to listen" to at times. Sometimes the drums are too upfront in the mix or they just don't sound good, and at times it's the distorted guitar that takes away the enjoyment of this record for me.

"A Violent City" hits the ground running with a lot of noise as guitar leads the way. Fortunately we get some scorching guitar melodies, and the guitar is especially good before 5 minutes in. Mellotron then floods the soundscape as xylophone, more mellotron and some blistering guitar follow. "Feet On the Ground" is difficult for me to enjoy as there is again a lot of noise.

"A Violent Party" is uptempo with fast paced vocals as the guitar grinds it out. Mellotron and drums follow before the melody from the beginning comes back but this time with xylophone. "A Violent Fort" has more mellotron and xylophone, but prior to that it's the guitar that impresses me the most 3 minutes in. "A Man Of Hand To Mouth" has processed vocals that I don't like, but I love the mellotron after 2 minutes. "Creep Funk" has some good bass and I especially like the guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. "A Violent Nightmare" features some good guitar as the band jams for a while.

A good record but disappointing for me after really enjoying their early work.

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 Parallax  by BI KYO RAN album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.34 | 19 ratings

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Parallax
Bi Kyo Ran Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Parallax" was BI KYO RAN's second studio album released in 1984. Their next studio album wouldn't be recorded until 1995. They are a trio who brought in several guests to play instruments such as cello, trumpet, violin, keyboards and mellotron. Compared to their debut I would say this album has more variety on it as well as more mellotron. If I had to choose between the two it would be difficult, but I think I would pick the debut for it's harder edge.

"Silent Running" has an energetic intro before the Japanese vocals come in and things calm down quickly. This contrast continues throughout this song. The rhythm section shines on this track. Some Fripp like melodies are fired off by the lead guitarist and the violin is quite aggressive 5 minutes in as the drums pound away. "Prediction" opens with a beautiful melody, but it is replaced quickly by vocals and waves of mellotron. Some good vocal arrangments follow that actually become complex after 4 minutes. We then are treated to about 3 minutes of amazing guitar melodies as more mellotron rolls in .

"Suite Ran" is a side long suite that is divided into five sections. This is a ride people.There is some aggressive guitar early as the drummer beats out some short, fast bursts.There is then this long section where we get trumpet, followed by violin, followed by trumpet, followed by cello, followed by more trumpet. The whole time there is some fantastic drumming and great bass lines. Nice. The song then changes to a spacey soundscape as the guitarist plays a hypnotising melody that eventually becomes a screaming solo 14 minutes in. Actually there is a lot of guitar noise for a couple of minutes.17 minutes in the song changes again to a pastoral calm during the final section called "Epilogue: Crimson Children (Pupils staring at a stream)".

Another incredible record from these Japanese wonders.This album is significant because it was released in the eighties, and even more significant because this is fantastic progressive music.

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