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DEJA-VU

Symphonic Prog • Japan


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Deja-Vu biography
DEJA-VU is a Japanese band that was formed at the Meiji University of Tokyo in 1984 under the name of CLASHED ICE (Soon changed) by the talented keyboardist Motoi Sakuraba, the bass player and vocalist Tetsuya Nagatsuma and the drummer, backing vocalist Genta Kudoh (Also played in Vermillion Sands)

As most respectable Power Trios, DEJA-VU has a clear influence of ELP but also some leanings towards Italian bands as Balletto di Bronzo and the Japanese Gerard. During the next three years they toured and recorded their own material gaining fame and international recognition, but it's not until 1988 when they were able to release "Baroque in Future" their only album.

"Baroque in Future" was recorded in 1998 but the Musea 1998 re-issue contains two bonus tracks recorded during a 1989 concert where they played with the French iconic band Atoll, almost immediately.

In 1988 Tetsuya Nagatsuma leaves the band and after a few moths of inactivity Tomoki Ueno and Ken Ishita join the band but during the recording sessions of a second album, DEJA-VU members split due to disagreements with the musical direction of the band..

In 1990 Motoi Sakuraba and his style clearly inspired in Keith Emerson and Eddie Jobson gain him a place in the excellent compilation album "King's Board" album that boost his prolific career as soloist and allows him to release his first album "Gikyokuonsou" in 1991.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

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DEJA-VU discography


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3.23 | 16 ratings
Baroque in the Future
1988

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DEJA-VU Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Baroque in the Future by DEJA-VU album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.23 | 16 ratings

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Baroque in the Future
Deja-Vu Symphonic Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Deja-Va" was a Japanese symphonic progressive rock trio from 80s which is well-known as first step to great career of highly skilled keyboards virtuoso Motoi Sakuraba. This formation lasted only few years and they were able to record only one album in 1988 called "Baroque In The Future". Music which filled this disk can be described as keyboard-led and often pompous prog-rock in the vain of "ELP", "Trace", "Tritonus" or even some solo work of Rick Wakeman. However compared with later days power trios from Japan like "Social Tension", "Ars Nova" and (re-formed as trio in 90') "Gerard", music of "Deja-Vu" isn't so much retro-sounding. Motoi Sakuraba's gear mainly consists of 80s era digital keyboards so Hammond organ sounds are used only occasionally (no Moog or mellotron here). So if you are devoted fan of vintage equipment, I rather suggest you to check Sakuraba's solo output (especially his phenomenal concert albums), but if you like any kind of keys-oriented prog (even 80s-sounding, like early Geard, Teru's Symphonia, Vienna etc.), you will surely love Deja-Vu's material.

1. "Prelude" - quite nice introduction to the album. Very symphonic melodies played on synthesizers with supportive piano work. However it sounds a bit too "cold" for me, maybe because of those rather goofy sounding chorus-imitating keyboards or rather "inhuman" drum beat.

2. "Next World" - more aggressive composition with entertaining vocal duels between Tetsuya Nagatsuma & Genta Kudoh. But the most important factor is of course very precise Motoi's keyboard work. He uses many different synth sounds to obtain satisfying level of ELPish bombastic effect. I especially like guitar-like synthesizer and explosive organ solo (Sakuraba never played real Hammond, but his Korg CX-3 organ sounds almost the same).

3. "Baroque in the Future" - really fantastic instrumental filled with heavy Korg organ riffs and razor-sharp synthesizers, but my favorite fragment is played on pipe organ (electronic version). Goosebumps all the way! I'm sure female trio "Ars Nova" was inspired by this track quite much.

4. "Daydream" - composition begins with swirling Emerson-influenced organ fragment but after that vocal section appears and it's not so hot. Fortunately solos presented in the middle of the song are good as usual, wide range of different keyboard effects is used here so everybody should be satisfied. In general this track reminds me UK's material quite much (especially UK's debut).

5. "Flash!" - tremendously energetic instrumental loaded with speedy synthesizers extravaganza and sparkling piano melodies. Genta Kudoh's drum work is crunching and Tetsuya Nagatsuma's bass lines are pulsating as never before. Phenomenal, noisy organ solo a la Toshio Egawa included!

6. "Byzantium" - more restrained composition with many lovely piano moments. References to Rick Wakeman's 70s staff are obvious here. But "Byzantium" includes also more bombastic fragments with pompous fanfare-style keyboards in the vain of late 70s ELP.

7. "Deja Vu" - indistinguishable prog-rock track with rather bland vocal delivery. A bit like another Japanese band called "Vienna", but I still prefer most of Vienna's songs compared with this one. It just lacks any hooks, memorable melodies or serious "kicks". I could image better ending for this album.

All in all Deja-Vu's only LP is a decent prog-rock effort but sometimes doomed by 80s style keyboards and uneven vocal delivery. However I still highly recommend to keyboard-led prog aficionados of such bands as ELP, UK, Trace, Triumvirat, Tritonus, Quill, Gerard, Social Tension, Ars Nova, Little Tragedies and so on. However I'd also like to mention here first Japanese ELPish trio called "Mahoujin", which played in similar style to "Deja-Vu" (although less technical). But I have to admit that I prefer Motoi Sakuraba's solo output which is often neglected by proggers as "only soundtrack music", while in fact it's pure symphonic prog disguised as game soundtrack. Trust me!

BTW, if you're interested in Deja-Vu's live material I suggest you to check concert compilation of various prog-rock bands from Japan called "Progressive's Battle 1988". They play medley of "Prelude" and "Next World" there.

4 stars with minus from ozzy_tom

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 Baroque in the Future by DEJA-VU album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.23 | 16 ratings

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Baroque in the Future
Deja-Vu Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The music displayed by this Japanese band is not truly innovative. Keyboards are the core and genuine base of their music, but I can't be over-enthusiastic about what I listen here.

The obvious ELP flavour is being brought extensively: lush keyboards (it's a given) and bombastic passages are plenty. But in terms of genuine developed prog music, I can't be overwhelmed by the music played by this band. Nice compositions at best: this symphonic album lacks in diversity and originality. Decent musicianship is not enough. Average vocals are not an added value either. And the fact that they borrowed the "Watcher Of The Skies" theme during "Daydream" won't add any star to my rating (even if this is one of my most beloved songs, the genuine "Watcher" of course).

Some good beat is available here and there ("Flash!"), but globally, I won't be too generous with this work. Two stars, no more.

I would say that this album is for symphonic jazz lovers. But I don't belong to these...

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 Baroque in the Future by DEJA-VU album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.23 | 16 ratings

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Baroque in the Future
Deja-Vu Symphonic Prog

Review by DamoXt7942

3 stars Wow, very classical keyboard symphonic progressive!

DEJA VU was a Japanese "EL&P-like" three piece band around a lyrical keyboardist Motoi SAKURABA. Also in Japan EL&P have been much appreciated by many fans, reviewers, and musicians - in those days lots of keyboard-bass-drum-based three piece ensembles were formed, and most were dismissed soon. Disappointingly DEJA VU were one of Japanese short-lived bands including three talented players. In general a brilliant keyboardist, reminding us Keith Emerson or Eddie Jobson, can be in the spotlight more than the other players...Motoi of DEJA VU was no exception. It's absolutely natural his dreamful keyboard play should be much approved, and surely I can second this approval. We cannot overestimate him with such a dramatic, lyrical, and classically matured solo. Consider again, however, could they play so strictly and rigidly without the rhythm section? No. The terrific and fantastic keyboard sounds did need the basis by the heavy bass and the steady drums and percussion - Tetsuya NAGATSUMA (bass) and Genta KUDOH were great as well. In other words, the rhythm section less-motivated should let DEJA VU be short-lived and break up soon.

Their background aside, though there are pros and cons, I love Motoi's beautiful but "coarse and unrefined - human-smelled" keyboard play, with graceful composition. That is, his play sounds like not a stream but a seashore with big waves - without any mechanical flavour. At this point I cannot help saying he should be less technical than Keith or Eddie - but but I love this rustic play. (Oh, of course not because he's a Japanese like me.) Sadly cheesy voices sometimes attacking my ears cannot be permitted - completely not fit for this beautiful atmosphere. Well variously changeable keyboard sounds and, the steady basis by the bass and the drums holding the keyboard from under...we can taste enough well only by one album.

Let me say this: Please appreciate them more, please. ;-)

P.S. This Baroque In The Future was recommended as one of the best Japanese symphonic albums by a great Romanian reviewer Bogdan Olariu aka b_olariu. Thanks Bogdan!

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 Baroque in the Future by DEJA-VU album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.23 | 16 ratings

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Baroque in the Future
Deja-Vu Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A very baroque start of the album with a mix of piano and bombastic keyboards kinds of gives the game away. ELP is a close relative of this band..... but that's not the full story. There is a lot of Neo Prog in this album too. The more fluid parts of PENDRAGON's music springs to mind. But most of all classical music in the vein of Haydn and Chopin. The logo on the tin describes the meat inside in this case. Unfortunate, some of the meat is Spam. For those who does not know food and cooking; Spam is a type of generic meat put inside a tin. Pretty cheap and fills the stomach.... but not much else. Spam is most definate not a gourmet dish and neither is this album too.

This album's main instrument is keyboards. Pretty heavy keyboards too. Piano makes some guest appearances now and then. The vocals is in English and not too bad. Shrieking without much substance though, but still tolerable. The vocals is therefore mostly a sound effect here. The main instrument is the keyboard and it creates a lot of noise. Mostly vintage noise with a good throwback to Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman. The best parts is when the band plays baroque music. The title track being the best example. The music is mostly mid tempo with some good dramatic themes. The music is not too technical and soulless. It is pretty much lush and with a great deal of character and purpose. I happens to like this album, although it is not the greatest thing since sliced bread. It is just like a tin with Spam. I happens to like Spam. Unfortunate, this is the only album from this band. But check it out if you like lush keyboards and baroque modern music.

3 stars.

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 Baroque in the Future by DEJA-VU album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.23 | 16 ratings

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Baroque in the Future
Deja-Vu Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Deja Vu is a band from Japan that playes symphonic prog with jazz elements in places. The main man of the band is Motoi Sakuraba keyboards. All the music is composed by him. The influences are from ELP and sometimes as Erik Neuteboom said earlier from Eddie Jobson. Anyway the album sounds very strong , very tight all the members are very skilled and the album is above average key orientated sympnonic album. All the pieces are very good specially Next world and Flash, the rest are also good. So if you like keyboard-oriented symphonic rock this is the album you want to check out. To me is a great one a desearves without doubt 4 stars. Un underrated album who for sure need much more attention from prog conoseurs. Similar bands ELP, Eddie Jobson, and even Gerard. Recommended

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 Baroque in the Future by DEJA-VU album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.23 | 16 ratings

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Baroque in the Future
Deja-Vu Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Japanese keyboardplayer Motoi Sakuraba sonds like the Japanese twin-brother of Eddie Jobson but I also trace elements from the style of Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson. On this album you hear instrumental keyboard-oriented symphonic rock with a tight rhythm- section and nice and alternating compositions. The vocals sound a bit powerless but this may not stop the 'vintage-keyboard-aficionados' from checking out this CD. In my opinion "Baroque in the future" is not a classic but it contains wonderful keyboardplay.


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