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ROVO

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Japan


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Rovo biography
The window of opportunity that started ROVO's career was a mundane but very narrow one.

This was Yuji's statement: We can make and play more illusory and spacey rock!. Yuji Katsui (violin) was the one issuing the statemant; which was uttered at a raveparty in London to Seiichi Yamamoto, one of the greatest Japanese progressive guitarists.

A rave party in London saw to it that they met, which lead to that staement being made. A coincidence!? NO! It was natural and inevitable fans will say.

It didn't take long for two the talented musicians to get four additional progressive brothers aboard...

Two terrific perccussionists; Yasuhiro Yoshigaki & Yoichi Okabe, and heavy bassist Jin Harada. They provide the band with driving, strong and aggressive rhythms. Tatsuki Masuko (keyboards) adds a gentler touch to the compositions, maintaining and adding the beautiful aspects of the bands output.

All six musicians in ROVO are highly experienced, and have performed all over the world. It was no big surprise that they made themselves a brilliant future.

Their first mini-album Pico! and first full length disc Imago showed a huge potential. On the Fuji Rock Festival in 2000, after the second album Pyramid was released, the audience were all attracted to their terrific live performance.

ROVO would become greater, more renowned and more spacey with their lives & gigs for each album released...and the seventh album Condor is the brightest shining so far.

Rovo official website

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Buy ROVO Music


SaiSai
Import
Wea 2001
Audio CD$23.48
$8.54 (used)
Tonic 2001Tonic 2001
Tzadik 2002
Audio CD$15.33
$8.25 (used)
CONDORCONDOR
BOUNDEE
Audio CD$37.26
$10.00 (used)
Rovo - Phase [Japan CD] WRCD-63Rovo - Phase [Japan CD] WRCD-63
DDD
Audio CD$25.46 (used)
ROVO LIVE AT MAGASIN 4ROVO LIVE AT MAGASIN 4
INDIE (JAPAN)
Audio CD$17.49
$15.00 (used)
NUOUNUOU
BOUNDEE
Audio CD$35.38
$10.00 (used)
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ROVO discography


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

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Pico!
1998
3.00 | 1 ratings
Imago
1999
3.50 | 2 ratings
Pyramid
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sai
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
Flage
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
Mon
2004
3.96 | 4 ratings
Condor
2006
2.00 | 2 ratings
Nuou
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
Ravo
2010
3.00 | 1 ratings
Ravo Dub
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Phase
2012
3.91 | 4 ratings
Phoenix Rising (with System 7)
2013

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

4.00 | 3 ratings
Tonic 2001
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At Liquidroom 2001.5.16
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Hibiya Yaon
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At Magasin 4 2004.06.04 Brussels, Belgium
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At Tokyo Kinema Club 7/7/2006
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At Kyodai Seibu Kodo
2007

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At Kyodai Seibu Kodo
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
ROVO LIVE At Hibiya Yaon 2008.05.05 MDT FESTIVAL
2009

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
ROVO Selected 2001-2004 with Nakanishi Koji
2009

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

3.00 | 1 ratings
Hinotori (with System 7)
2013

ROVO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Phoenix Rising   (with System 7) by ROVO album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.91 | 4 ratings

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Phoenix Rising (with System 7)
Rovo Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars I decided to chase this hitherto unknown to me Japanese act, uniquely attracted by the lure of Steve Hillage's presence on guitar as well as confirmation that he would be wielding his slippery axe and leaving the synths to long-time partner Miquette Giraudy . Then, I also noticed that this psychedelic/space combo was also staffed by two drummers. The clincher was the presence of a cover version of a Mahavishnu Orchestra classic "Meeting of the Spirits" Hmm! This could be good proggy stuff, further online video research revealed the need to take a risk, as no PA review has yet been posted.

Well, they have been around since 1998, releasing regularly intervalled albums, to relatively small prog-rock acclaim being more of a trance/jam band and I can only guess that by adding the Gongster and his famous lady the prog community will join in on the fun. Truth is the music presented here is definitely more club oriented techno/rave with stupendous though binary drumming, relentless bass pummeling, scouring violin sorties, cyclical guitar churnings and stop/start explosions. In fact, the correct definition would be a heavier, more organic version of System 7 (Hillage and Giraudy's band are huge in Japan) with harsher sounds, adding definitely more propulsion than a synthesized drum machine. The first two tracks "Hinotori" and "Love for the Phoenix" are clear examples of what System 7 is all about, electronic space jam excursions that are both linear and hypnotic.

One of the highlight tracks unsurprisingly is the John McLaughlin-penned "Meeting of Spirits" off the Inner Mountain Flame album, showcasing Hillage's command of his instrument as well as some spirited work from violinist Yuji Katsui, though the two Japanese drummers cannot match Cobham's whirlwind technique. The piece comes across as a much heavier version, which is actually highly appreciated.

Another cool track is "Cisco", which is a heftier lumbering bulldozer with an echoing guitar that sounds like a harmonica, sort of wondering if it was not inspired by War's classic "Cisco Kid" (I think so!) , creating an all-instrumental jam-fest that rambles on for 13 minutes of beat-infested glory. There is an obvious Ozric Tentacles feel, when bassist Jin Harada steps up to the plate and starts swinging for the fences. Hillage, together with fellow axe man Seiichi Yamamoto (who is legendary in his native country) then start carving some serious slices of cosmic splendor, boldly going where few have gone before. This is a highly bellicose arrangement, thrashing hard and mercilessly, skirting the outer edges of delirium and unafraid to bliss out.

"Unbroken" starts out all fluffy white clouds, ponderous slivers of undulating rhythms and serene atmospheres, until the violin starts screeching boldly, a twisting neo-jazz electro- space shuffle, sort of urban cool in a delirious kind of way. Imagine JL Ponty meeting a Gonged-out Steely Dan! Steve really kills it here, showing clearly why he is such a prog guitar icon. Tremendous track!

The simmering and somewhat playful "Sino Dub" is a Yamamoto-penned epic that is just too simplistic and frankly puerile to my ears, at odds with the three previous tracks that had such massive doses of bite, grit, beat and fire. The eternal drum rhythm in particular is very boom-boom-tchak, closer to the Orb than anything else (funny, Hillage played on the debut!). This is a skipper.

The final track "Unseen Onsen" is an ambient Giraudy piece that showcases interplanetary synthesized resonations that flicker about in seemingly Oriental spheres (Gong), strips of Moogy stringlets forever blowing bubbles into the not too distant cosmos. It's refreshing, meditative, spiritual and hypnotic. A definite mood driver.

Somewhere between 3,5 and 4 Elevating firebirds

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 Imago by ROVO album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Imago
Rovo Psychedelic/Space Rock

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

— First review of this album —
3 stars Bedfellows with ulterior motifs end up doing the same

With a fiery percussion duo of two drummers, a bass man as bouncy and propulsive as your next door couple doing the vertical jig, Japanese psych rockers Rovo wield a form of psychedelic music that both pays homage to the sludgy side of the Krautrock spectrum as well as diving head first into the snaking jungle paths of modern day space rock. With the add on of violin and the apt guitar juices to accompany such cornucopian marmalade escapades, the bridging between old and new is always on the horizon with this band.

Imago though sees the band opting for a decisively more electronic sound - a feel of mixed martial arts with computer buffs, nun-chucks, somersaulting joyrides and the sonic kick flips that today have become part of the Japanese fingerprint. That last part of the equation is something felt in the, at times, tumultuous rhythmic interplay where both drummers go out of their way to enrage each other, throw each other a bone that's not really a bone but an alternate take on whatever 1-2-3 beat the music is forwarded by.

You wouldn't know all of this just by listening to the opening track 'N'dam'. At first I thought I'd read the label wrong - gotten my hands on the wrong album, because what I found in the place of that propulsive marmalade rock was a twitchy form of electronic music that lead my mind astray, and suddenly I started thinking about the glitchy part of Autechre's oevre. Zipping mosquito like and oddly enamouring all at once, the track edges it's way forth like small fragmented beams of sound and ends up in a beautiful and solemn built up with sparsely used hand drums - taking this listener straight out on an Indian sand dune by night.

Swoop and it's gone! Straight away I'm reminded of the Rovo I know and have come to adore, as the next tune 'Horses' neighs and gallops onto the scene and gives to you all the well-known characteristics of the band. Fiery, raw, propulsive with loads of hypnotic rhythmic powers, guitar sauces and that bass that threatens to rearrange your heart beat.

And there you have it! A succinct recipe for this outing: the constant swaying between futuresque zipping firefly electronics and brawling, almost sludgy rock forces. Sure, you're treated to individual tunes that manage to boil down these two strange bedfellows to a broth, but to this listener the outcome never really crystallises into magnificence............Now that I think of it, the two forms of sonic expression are actually not that strange of a pairing. The trouble I have with them on here is that they both seek the same in the material. The elusive and esoteric, the stuff that makes a haze of your mind and clouds your senses. Now I am all for that kind of stuff, yet on 'Imago' the final product seems to drift on by you like a run-of-the-mill circus cart with no genuine persona - no blue elephants nor dwarf penguins, and that's a shame, because it's all right there for the taking. I love both sides of this band and they do it oh so well, yet here it feels undeveloped and unfocused. Like a really good jam that lacks the final spark, the jet fuel needed for the aeroplane to really take off.

I love that first track though. It's a guilty pleasure of mine to put on when I need something bilingual yet without any vocals. And it's not like the rest of the album is bad, because it isn't. It is rather good actually. Perfect for the in-house spring cleaning, for standing on ladders overlooking the street through murky windows or for your day to day daydreaming and all such everyday activities that sneaks on by you without notifying your brain. For that it is perfect. Just don't expect the ol' cabeza to partake...

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 Ravo by ROVO album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Ravo
Rovo Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

— First review of this album —
4 stars Having several albums in the bag in the meanwhile the ROVO project is consisting of experienced Japanese musicians, you bet. Very important to mention - they don't repeat themselves, every album bears new spirit and surprises. The trademark, which all the albums units though, is a special virtuoso and intricate attitude with space prog as well as fusion background, overall based on massive (dance) grooves. No wonder - they have two drummers aboard regularly. So this time they offer 60 highly enjoyable minutes filled with hypnotic as well as accessible moments. Every track crosses the ten minute mark, which points to a quite improvisational and experimental attitude overall.

This means, a repetitive motif is given in general where the crew carefully varies over the course. Violinist Yuji Katsui actually seems to be the only member with significant solo ambitions here. They overall provide an enormous groove and pace, based on joy of playing I believe. Wow - due to this dynamic performance it must have left them sweat-soaked afterwards, no question. Just to pick up Eclipse which is a fantastic dancable affair which reminds me on Hidria Spacefolk a bit. RMD offers a spacey groove close to Oresund Space Collective or Ozric Tentacles but also infiltrated with Mahavishnu Orchestra sentiment.

The main motif on Sino + seems to recur from the epic track 'Sinno', which originally appears on their live 'Tonic 2001' album. I would say Katsui's violin is THE remarkable placement this time. Heads up ... 'Ravo' comes as another gripping affair, if you like to listen to a versatile blend of composition and jamming. This even comes close to krautrock here and there. Recommended!

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 Tonic 2001 by ROVO album cover Live, 2002
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Tonic 2001
Rovo Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars ROVO is an experimental, psychedelic jam band from Japan. They like to improvise which isn't surprising considering that these are some of the best underground Japanese musicians on the planet. We have THE BOREDOMS guitar player, the ALTERED STATES and GROUND ZERO drummer, BONDAGE FRUIT's violinist and drummer and more.There's lots of electronics and Djembe as well.This was recorded live in New York City at the Rovo Night Club in July of 2001. I like how spacey the music can get and also the violin that does some impressive shredding reminding me of INDUKTI.

"Sukhna" is an amazing track that starts out with violin and drums as they seem to jam while guitar and other sounds help out. The tempo picks up before 6 minutes with the bass standing out. "Guiding" opens with atmosphere then drums, violin and other sounds start to come and go. We start to get a steady beat halfway through as the violin rips it up. The guitar comes in before 10 1/2 minutes as things get intense. Incredible ! "NA-X?" opens with the drums pounding away then the violin comes in slicing and dicing. Killer sound 8 minutes in. I could listen to this all day. "Horsess" has these ethnic sounds with drums.They really groove on this one and I love the drumming and bass.Violin 5 1/2 minutes in.

"Vitamine" opens with synths then it kicks in before a minute with drums and bass. Nice. Synths continue then the violin joins in. "Cisko" opens with atmosphere and violin. A change after 2 minutes as the drums kick in. Nice.The tempo picks up 7 minutes in and the violin lights it up. They are kicking ass and taking names before 10 minutes. "Sinno" is a 34 1/2 minute monster jam. It sounds like a keyboard melody that is repeated over and over then it turns spacey around 4 1/2 minutes. Drums join in as spacey sounds continue. Violin arrives then the beat stops after 10 minutes as it becomes spacey. Drums are back after 14 1/2 minutes and it's starting to pick up 17 minutes in. Pretty much violin only 24 minutes in then the drums return again as they continue. "Sunspot" is mellow with intricate sounds to start. Violin around 4 minutes. It kicks in around 8 minutes.The guitar arrives late when it settles back.

This two disc set is a little long for my tastes but I do really enjoy the style of music here. A solid 4 stars.

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 Tonic 2001 by ROVO album cover Live, 2002
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Tonic 2001
Rovo Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars First live release of Japanese space prog band. Recorded in NY Tonic and released on Zorn's Tzadik records,this album attracted my attention by its characteristic "Tzadik style" cover. Avant- jazz?Klezmer?

No mistakes - real space prog, but what a great one! Sound is liquid and very jazzy, especially fusion drumming. Spacey soundscapes are very airy, sometimes psychedelic, and differently from some more "rock-based" colleagues, band's long compositions doesn't sound too repetitive or mechanic.

Could be compared with very jazzy version of some early Hawkwind's works, or Ozric Tentacles with soft and liquid sound. Really nice album for space prog lovers ,searching for different (jazzy) sound!

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 Nuou by ROVO album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.00 | 2 ratings

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Nuou
Rovo Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

2 stars Contact with the outer space and some responses have come now...?

'They can try to make and play more illusory and spacey rock.' This is exactly the most important goal in ROVO's history. (Ah...sadly in Japan some reviewers say ROVO is a dance music band...it's a pity for me.) We can find indeed the song or album titles should be under comprehension but they may be some of 'SPACEY WORDS' defined by ROVO. On the previous work they could let a CONDOR fly higher in the sky and could get the way of communication with the outer world. They could make a footprint on the road named space rock scene. And on the current one they can really lay a cornerstone I think.

Chopping guitar sounds can open the window of NUOU. From the first track KOO Seiichi's guitar and Yuji's violin can battle together with eccentric synthesizer, heavy bass and dynamic double drum sounds. I have never used the phrase "noises violino" yet...now just here this is much suitable I feel. I think his violin sounds should be different from David Cross' knife-edged ones. As someone may say, we can feel the sounds taking listeners away from THIS world. (On the contrary David's ones let us feel this serious world I always feel.) In the next track OUO, like this song title(O-U-O), some simple and repetitive guitar plus drum sounds can hold our brain strictly. Even here Yuji's violin solo is very graceful and relaxed. Regretfully the percussive sounds on the background hear to be a little persistent. Well, this persistence may be called as 'spacey'...maybe yes...and it's also true these should be lacking in big waves. From listening to this track I can feel only a listener popping away, rather than the contact with outside. Wonder MELODIA means the sound of violin or the whole one...? However we listen to the song, the violin solo should be more striking than another stuff. Yuji's violin can have so various faces that we may feel so... Of course, the rhythm section can be so strict and steady I must say. Understand this, please. Next AGORA has anomalous rhythms and big waves as above mentioned...especially many kinds of percussions and multi-facial chandeliers. It's sad at this time we may be slightly tired with the length of the TRIP. CADO can let us sleep well...in spite of the rampant and violent sounds...

Sorry but I can't meet the attract like the previous work CONDOR.
The milestone of realizing the contact with the outer space is one of important points of this album.

How will be their next work?

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 Tonic 2001 by ROVO album cover Live, 2002
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Tonic 2001
Rovo Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Playing at New York City's music club 'Tonic' ROVO offer a quite undefinable mix of music styles here - this is eclectic, ecstatic, virtuoso. The band is consisting of seven experienced musicians from the japanese experimental rock scene and the songs put on this double compact disc are representing a best-of from two concerts showing them in excellent condition. The two drummer/percussionists Yasuhiro Yoshigaki and Yoichi Okabe are the backbone so to say caring for an enormous groove which is mostly jazzy accentuated but also alternating with a djembe forced tribal fundament.

The opener Sukhna for example holds a hypnotic bass and violin appearance which is intensifying a trancy feeling. And they are also integrating furious impressions, speed changes coupled with fiery escalating moments. I don't know what could be more suspense-packed as the jam Guiding Star - a great example for their instrumental interaction. As for the jazzy moments I'm sometimes remembered at Stomu Yamashta. Horses shouldn't be missed - another great example of combining psych, fusion and trance.

The musicians are really acting like a collective by the way - which means nobody is ever distinctly pushed into the foreground. The songs are mostly lacking of solos - okay - if you don't count some Jean-Luc Ponty references when listening to Vitamine. Second disc now starts with spacey ambient soundscapes supported by a melancholic violin until the band grooves once more. Cisko is presented in a clear psych/space environment with distorted wah-wah modulated guitars and twittering synths (which you will find all over by the way) evolving to an ecstatic heavy rocking piece in the vein of Hawkwind.

Now I won't forget to mention the lengthy Sinno, originally composed by guitarist Seiichi Yamamoto for a split CD with Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden. Nearly 35 minutes long, showing a long electronical intro, then slipping into something like a trip hop/nu jazz behaviour and later gliding into the orbit with a spacey flow ... open-end! This eclectic suite is really something special. A tough call ... have to listen once more.

It is said that Bill Laswell is responsible for two special mix translations. Not that I'm surprised that he's aboard because the ROVO sound holds a special trippiness undoubtly - but couldn't find any information which songs are exactly involved here. I shouldn't wonder if any. 'Tonic 2001' is an entertaining album (maybe one or two will exclude the monster track 'Sinno') - recommended to prog music listeners who are searching for new horizons. Don't miss them!

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 Condor by ROVO album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Condor
Rovo Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

4 stars RovoCondor is now watching eagerly for the flight chance to the outer space.

How huge, how elegant, and of course how spacey ROVO's concept is! This 7th album 'Condor' is exactly a conceptual one. The story is about a condor flying and flapping for the sky and the space, with three parts all can go on a large scale and take us listeners strictly and tightly.

The first part - AIRES - is opened with quiet and straight violin solo and slightly funky percussion. With listening to the part, I always feel a condor waking up from a deep sleep and slowly spreading his wings. Not only Yuji's violin solo, but heavy bass sound as an earthquake and light and sticky percussion and drums are all remarkably individual and of course important. Some phrases are repeated over and over, and the sound gets louder, huger, and more fantastic...his wings are spread widely and he can prepare a flight.

For me, the second part - n'POPO - seems as he is shaking his large body and clomping down rough ground. There, especially plenty of percussions by Yasuhiro and Yoichi can make the part perfectly. And my surprising and amazing thing is that Yuji's violin and Tatsuki's keyboard be very percussive too. All instruments can hop, jump, beat and roll around. Very impressive.

I wanna say the highlight is the third part - LAND -. He can fly quietly from the LAND and look down on the LAND around over. The sound gets faster and more massive as if he can fly higher and higher... All talented and skilled players can product this atmosphere and LANDscape exactly. And the condor should fly away to the outer space...all are over suddenly with a squeaky explosion.

YOU AND I CAN BE A CONDOR AND FLY FARAWAY TOGETHER! Highly recommended.

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