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PALE ACUTE MOON

Symphonic Prog • Japan


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Pale Acute Moon biography
Along with Gerard, Outer Limits, Deja Vu and Pageant, Pale Acute Moon was part of the Japanese symphonic progressive movement in the '80s. This one album band seems to mostly belong to keyboardist Motoi Semba. The former member of Teru's Symphonia, and Rosemary (also Kennedy and Shonen Knife), joined guitarist Masahiro Imamura, drummer Ryoichi Terash*ta, bassist Katsunori Hamada, and singer Shinji Akahori in 1984 for this endevour. They released the much hailed "Newtopia" in 1985.

The music is praised for its arrangements, and keyboard work (there are, of course, the usual comparisons to Emerson, Wakeman, Banks, Jobson, etc). The difference here is that there is also an incorporation of 80's electronic musical styles. However, that does not mean it is not symphonic. There is a pervasive orchestral quality, and only about half of the songs have vocals.

Although they only recorded one album, the band did not officially break up until 1988. This was when Semba joined Teru's Symphonia. The "Newtopia" reissue has bonus tracks from his solo career.

H.T. Riekels (bhikkhu)

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NewtopiaNewtopia
Import
Musea 1985
Audio CD$9.75
$4.22 (used)
Suite: Looking for NewtopiaSuite: Looking for Newtopia
Remastered · Import
King Japan 2013
Audio CD$24.31
$38.74 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)


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PALE ACUTE MOON discography


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2.84 | 12 ratings
Newtopia
1985

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PALE ACUTE MOON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Newtopia by PALE ACUTE MOON album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.84 | 12 ratings

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Newtopia
Pale Acute Moon Symphonic Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Newtopia" is the debut and sole full-length studio album by Japanese progressive rock act Pale Acute Moon. The album was originally released through Monolith on vinyl limited to 1050 copies. A CD version of the album was released through King/Crime in 1988. "Newtopia" was a re-release in 2000 through Musea Records.

The music on the album sits somewhere between symphonic progressive rock and neo progressive rock. As most of the synths/keyboards used on the album and the drum sound are firmly placed in the eighties, itīs hard not to think mostly of the latter mentioned style. The lead guitar style, which often reminds me of Marillion and IQ also points in a neo progressive direction. The vocals are for the most part female, and Iīm pretty sure, an aquired taste. They are sung in a way that sounds close to not hitting the right notes and I donīt understand a word of what is said, but thereīs something charming about them anyway. They are not that dominant in the soundscape though and itīs probably the synth/keyboard work that most people are predominantly interested in. The tracks feature quite a few interesting ideas and symphonic moments but despite the rather original (read: Odd) vocals, "Newtopia" doesnīt always come off as a terribly original release. It is however pretty well written, well produced for the time (if you can get past the sometimes plastique keyboard sounds), and well performed too.

It should be mentioned that the albumīs tracks are titled chapters and that "Newtopia" should be regarded as a concept piece.

Overall this is certainly a decent release and well worth the price of admission, even for a few plastique sounding keyboards and the occasionally odd vocals, and Iīd say a 3.5 star (70%) rating isnīt all wrong.

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 Newtopia by PALE ACUTE MOON album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.84 | 12 ratings

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Newtopia
Pale Acute Moon Symphonic Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars This only release of Japanese band PALE ACUTE MOON "Newtopia" shows some similarity with another Japanese Symphonic Prog "icons" from the 80's, such as GERARD, OUTER LIMMITS... . and of course comparable with TERU'S SYMPHONY ( due to keyboardist Motoi Semba), as for instance the keyboards in a orchestral simulation, the use of female vocals and guitar/keyboards duets and children's choir (like in track 2 - "Chapter 1 - Newtopia"), But, in a overall analysis their sound "suffer" a certain lack of creativity. In fact, if you due atention for some keyboards arrangements (like in the track 7 "Chapter 5 - Impression") you easily recognize a strong Rick Wakeman's influences - the mentioned track presents a clearly reference a some Wakeman's themes ( in first to "No Earthly Conection", in second to "The Six Wives of Henry VII, and finally "Raphsodies") . Although I can detach some tracks, as for instance the track 2, "Chapter 1 Newtopia", track 4 "Chapter 3 - Time trip" and the track 8, "Chapter 6 - Daybreak", I think which this album isn't a great work and the bonus tracks in Musea edition seems to me a simple "stuffing". My rate is 3 stars !

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 Newtopia by PALE ACUTE MOON album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.84 | 12 ratings

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Newtopia
Pale Acute Moon Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 really

Pale Acute Moon release a single album named Newtopia in 1985. Formed by keybordist Motoi Semba known from another symphonic band Teru's Symphonia in 1985 Pale Acute Moon never gain any big attention in prog circles. Many considered this a weak album, not at all, this album is in same vein with Teru's Symphonia, less key dominated than Gerard and Ars Nova, similar with Magdalena, delivering a good symphonic album, not something spectacular but worth investigate for sure. Some of the pieces from here are real killers, at least for me, and I' talking about: Time trip, Impression, After moon and Newtopia, excellent prog pieces that shows Pale Acute Moon deserves a wider recognition. Some intristing interplays between guitar and keys, sometimes with a spacey atmosphere, well done and played . I considered this album a good one for sure, not necesarly among the masterpieces from Japan but a welcome addition to my collection and a good and entertaing prog music. So, a solid 3.5 stars, my CD version is from Musea and has as bonus tracks 9 unpublished pieces from solo effort of Motoi Samba.

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 Newtopia by PALE ACUTE MOON album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.84 | 12 ratings

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Newtopia
Pale Acute Moon Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars While I am on a roll reviewing 80s symphonic bands from Japan, I thought the tour could rightly include Pale Acute Moon (PAM) and their only contribution. You can certainly hear, in the keyboards, close relations with Teru's Symphonia which became Motoi Semba's next group. While PAM features more pianos, a welcome break from the electronica even if they themselves are probably somewhat processed, we do get those passages that sound like they should be themes to some yet-unreleased sci fi movie. PAM also does not contain the harder rock element that occasionally seeps into Teru's efforts, but focuses more on the spacey aspects.

The problem is that, at least in the original album sans bonus tracks, we never seem to get far past the mood setting and cosmic approach. The melodies aren't particularly notable, nor does much development occur even in the longer songs. Things spring to life for the aforementioned piano work as well as some occasional lead guitars, especially in "End of the Party" but, while these result in many pleasant moments, overall the appeal is limited. In contrast, the poorly recorded and produced bonus tracks are so good that they transcend their amateurish settings and implementations. Of course they are right out of the mid 80s David Sylvian songbook, but why not? Sylvian was one of the most creative and introspective artists of the time, and Shinji Akahori sounds a lot like him. But even the instrumental "Silver Films" captures that luscious mood with Spanish sounding guitars.

2.5 stars for the original albums, 3.5 for the bonus material, not an utopia but still worth hearing.

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 Newtopia by PALE ACUTE MOON album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.84 | 12 ratings

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Newtopia
Pale Acute Moon Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The only album Pale Acute Moon ever released contains tasteful arrangements but the influences from the British symphonic rock dinosaurs like Genesis, King Crimson, Yes and Pink Floyd are a bit too obvious! Some great keyboard soli on this CD are directly derived from several Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson runs. This may be a challenge for progheads to do a game who can recognize the original work! I always wonder: is this blind worship or creative poverty?


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 Newtopia by PALE ACUTE MOON album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.84 | 12 ratings

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Newtopia
Pale Acute Moon Symphonic Prog

Review by Greger
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The keyboard player Motoi Semba from the well-known Japanese band TERU'S SYMPHONIA founded PALE ACUTE MOON. Their album "Newtopia" from 1985 is said to be one of the famous masterpieces of Japanese neo-progressive rock. Well, sorry, I have to say that I haven't heard of it before, and I could mention many other Japanese releases that are far better than this one. Although my harsh words there's plenty of things to enjoy too. The female singer M. Imamura has a unique voice, which adds a nice flavour to the music. So do Motoi Samba's magnificent keyboard wizardry too, as well as his compositional skills. The music is mostly instrumental with the emphasis on keyboards. Perhaps this is a much sought-after item, and it's released in a limited edition of 2000 copies, but I would buy ARS NOVA, BI KYO RAN, GERARD, HAPPY FAMILY, KENSO, MIDAS, OUTER LIMITS, TERU'S SYMPHONIA or anything else from Japan instead if I were you.

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