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ORPHEUS

Neo-Prog • Japan


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Orpheus biography
In early 1982, a Japanese obscure rock project ORPHEUS were founded firstly as a quartet in Osaka, Japan by Shigekazu KAMAKI (guitar), Yasufumi KAWAMURA (voices), Hiroyuki NAGASE (drums) and Naofumi OCHIAI (bass). Their formation had been altered step by step, whilst gigging many times in Kyoto or Osaka. Although Shigekazu had stepped down for a while since the following year, the new guitarist and bassist left away soon so that he came back to them as a collaborator.

In September 1983, Yasufumi persuaded all the other members to record material and release an album - the members in those days were Shigekazu (guitar), Yasufumi (voices), Hiroyuki (drums), Masaru KODAMA (bass) and Kazuki HATTORI (keyboards) - finally, their eponymous album was released in late 1983. Sadly they were disbanded soon after a gig in Hirakata Blow Down (Osaka) upon March 17th, 1984.

(Thanks to Shigekazu for providing their information.)

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Gitchi U by Z'Looke still sealed Orpheus 12" Hip Hop US $9.95 Buy It Now 1h 12m
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Victor 78 #18195 - Orpheus and Peerless Quartets - "Darling Nellie Gray" US $9.99 [0 bids]
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ORPHEUS 45 - Can't Find The Time / Lesley's World - N.M. US $5.50 Buy It Now 2h 57m
7EG 8476 GLASGOW ORPHEUS CHOIR Old Favourites 7" EP US $19.52 Buy It Now 3h 11m
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ASH Orpheus CD US $7.64 Buy It Now 3h 13m
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DLP 1019 GLASGOW ORPHEUS CHOIR Self Titled 10" LP US $39.89 Buy It Now 3h 14m
DLP 1020 Glasgow Orpheus Choir Vol 2 10" LP US $22.92 Buy It Now 3h 14m
DLP 1128 GLASGOW ORPHEUS CHOIR Hugh Robertson 10" US $22.92 Buy It Now 3h 14m
SRS 5124 GLASGOW ORPHEUS CHOIR / Sir Hugh Robertson US $21.22 Buy It Now 3h 16m
VICS 1466 Orpheus in the Underworld Boston Pops Arthur Fiedler vinyl LP US $16.13 Buy It Now 3h 17m
MORRISTON ORPHEUS CHOIR / BAND OF HM ROYAL MARINES Say It With Music vinyl LP US $16.13 Buy It Now 3h 18m
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NM LP~ALEESE SIMMONS~I Want It~[Original 1988 ORPHEUS Issue]~R&B~Soul~ US $3.49 [0 bids]
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BALKANTON RICCHI E POVERI Golden Orpheus 1973 BTA 1559 Mac & Katie KISSOON US $24.99 Buy It Now 6h 55m
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GLASGOW ORPHEUS CHOIR - 10" LP US $7.53 Buy It Now 7h 36m
Orpheus 45 Can't Find The Time/Lesley's World MGM Records #K13882 US $9.99 Buy It Now 7h 36m
ODE TO ORPHEUS**ON THE DARKSIDE OF THE SUN**CD US $13.50 Buy It Now 7h 45m
Colin Towns Mask Orchestra - The Orpheus Suite NEW CD US $13.82 Buy It Now 7h 57m
ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM**BLACK ORPHEUS (SOUNDTRACK)**CD US $15.85 Buy It Now 7h 57m
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9h 19m
Victor 78 record Whose Pretty Baby Are You Now 18238 Orpheus Quartet US $10.99 [0 bids]
9h 20m
The Slide Album, Pt. 2 by Mr. C the Slide Man (CD, Mar-2002, Orpheus Records) US $1.50 [0 bids]
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9h 45m
MORRISTON ORPHEUS CHOIR**GREAT VOICES OF WALES**CD US $6.25 Buy It Now 9h 46m
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ORPHEUS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA**MOZART: LITTLE LIGHT MUSIC**CD US $18.29 Buy It Now 9h 57m
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Cast Your Fate to the Wind: Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus by Vince... US $8.01 Buy It Now 12h 15m
Black Orpheus by Luiz Bonfá/Antonio Carlos Jobim (CD, Jul-2006, UME Imports) US $7.84 Buy It Now 12h 18m
Caution * by André Ward (CD, 2013, Orpheus Records) US $13.01 Buy It Now 12h 20m
ALEX BUGNON Head Over Heels 12" LP Orpheus D1-75615 US $6.47 Buy It Now 12h 58m
Black Orpheus [Digipak] by Nilson Matta (CD, 2013, Motéma Music) US $9.57 Buy It Now 13h 45m
Handel 3 CD Box Set 12 Concerti Grossi Op. 6 Orpheus Chamber Orchestra US $14.99 Buy It Now 13h 54m
Offenbach: Gaite Parisienne; Orpheus in the Underworld; Voyage to the Moon (CD, US $3.99 [0 bids]
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Psych LP ORPHEUS Ascending MGM STEREO US $14.00 Buy It Now 15h 25m
CLASSICAL HITS, ORPHEUS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA SEALED CD, DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 1993 US $11.56 [0 bids]
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15h 30m
ALEX BUGNON DANCE OF THE GHOST 12" ORPHEUS US $6.00 Buy It Now 15h 46m
Barber Piano Concerto Schumann Song Of Orpheus LP Szell Columbia ML 6038 Promo US $27.97 Buy It Now 16h 31m
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The Welsh Male Voice Choir - The Morriston Orpheus Choir 2CD, The Morriston Orph US $14.45 Buy It Now 18h 23m
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JOHN MORRISTON ORPHEUS CHOIR songs from the green hills LP VG 33SX 1576 Vinyl US $12.00 Buy It Now 20h 11m
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ORPHEUS MALE CHORUS our heritage liberty LP Sealed SPS 5295 34 Vinyl Record US $8.00 Buy It Now 23h 18m
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Orpheus Ascending SE-4569 Stereo Lp MGM 1968 Original Psychedelic VG US $14.99 [0 bids]
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Vince Guaraldi Trio "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" b/w "Samba De Orpheus" 45rpm US $5.00 [0 bids]
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WEILL**DER NEUE ORPHEUS/VIOLIN CONCERTO**CD US $9.40 Buy It Now 1 day
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YALE SOCIETY of ORPHEUS and BACCHUS presents an evening with the IMMORTALS lp US $23.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Marc Almond With Alexei Fedoro - Orpheus In Exile - The Songs O (NEW CD) US $19.93 Buy It Now 1 day
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ORPHEUS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA**3 CLASSIC ALBUMS**3 CD SET US $10.50 Buy It Now 1 day
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Markopoulos: The Liturgy of Orpheus on ancient Orphic poems, New Music US $8.46 Buy It Now 1 day
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The Society Of Orpheus And Bacchus Bell Sound 2 Self Titled US $9.99 [0 bids]
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Somewhere Different by Lexi (CD, May-2002, Orpheus Records) EXCELLENT CD US $2.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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ORPHEUS discography


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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Orpheus
1983

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

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ORPHEUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Orpheus by ORPHEUS album cover Studio Album, 1983
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Orpheus
Orpheus Neo-Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars Orpheus is probably the most obscure Japanese band I had pleasure to listen to. They only to manage record one self-titled LP in 1983 before they completely vanished. It seems that this album hasn't even been re-released on CD, so it's not easy to find it out!

Orpheus' eponymous album is filled with rather good but derivative neo/symphonic prog with hard rock touches, in general very similar to work of much more popular band from Japan - Novela. Nothing spectacular, but if you've already collected all records of Novela, Gerard, Vienna and alike, you should also check Orpheus 'cos you will find "more of the same".

This long-play includes 5, rather long tracks:

1. "Tsurugi No Mai" - the shortest track begins with thundering sounds of some huge storm followed by...naive-sounding "lalala" singing. A bit like kindergarten chorus :-). But don't worry and don't run away from the speaker 'cos after few seconds "proper" music kicks in! Soon "Tsurugi No Mai" appears to be rather simple but enough enjoyable hard rock song in the vain of Scheherazade. Especially middle section with Moog synthesizer/guitar solos is good. And one thing is sure from the beginning: Yasufumi Kawamura's voice is very similar to Hisakatsu Igarashi (Novela, Scheherazade). So if you don't like over-the-top, shrieking vocals it may be not a perfect choice for you to listen to Orpheus...

2. "Mermaid" - another track is a truly nice mini-suite (almost 10 minutes long). After first part with sea waves sounds, acoustic guitar guitar lines and soft vocals, before 4th minute we enter into dynamic, full-blown symphonic hard rock piece. Vocals become more "screamy" in this point but they are still catchy enough to deliver what we expects from such kind of music. Guitar is sharp, keyboards are floating and background Hammond organ chops are decent enough to provide us with fantastic prog-rock paradise.

3. "Les Sylphides Suite" - another long epic begins with sober church-like organ motif, truly magic moment. Later we have standard but surely entertaining symphonic prog music surely influenced by early Novela and Genesis. Around 5th minute tempo significantly rises and Shigekazu Kamaki's guitar riffs become more evident. Kazuki Hattori's keyboards are also decent, but especially his swirling organ parts are the most enjoyable for me, sometimes they bring lots of dynamics to the music and sometimes they create heavenly mellow atmosphere (like between 8:37 - 10:15 minutes). Fantastic epic with many memorable fragments and overall captivating ideas.

4. "Ai No Yosei" - it's a shorter, much more straightforward track, filled with up-beat drum and guitar work. There is also wakemanish synthesizer solo which should please symph-prog fans and in general Hattori's organ/keys lines are always nice to listen to. I would call it prog-inspired hard rocker.

5. "Shi To Shojo Suite" - opus magnum of the album: 14+ minutes long epic! I like that in this track Hammond lines are much more audible and sharp than in previous songs, where keyboards in general sounded to "muddled". I suppose cheap recording production... But anyway "Shi To Shojo Suite" is a magnificent suite for me. Yasufumi Kawamura's vocal is truly passionate here and whole band seems to deliver all the goods. Fast, adrenaline-driven fragments are mixed with atmospheric ones in a perfect balance here!

To sum up, I can say that Orpheus could be a real competitor for Novela and Gerard, so it's really a pity that they didn't manage to continue and disbanded soon after their debut was released. The only real problem I had with this album is very poor production values which made many keyboard parts sound too buried in the background. But I guess it's not band's fault, just like it's not their fault that it still wasn't remastered and recorded in CD with decent quality (anyway I don't know anything about it, so I listened to it from rather low quality vinyl transfer). But don't worry, if you overcome recording issues, I can assure you that the quality of the music itself is very high and all fans of Japanese 80's prog should enjoy Orpheus.

As I said target listener for this band are people who also like such formations like: Novela, Scheherazade, early Gerard, Vienna, Starless, Rosalia and alike.

4 stars from ozzy_tom

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