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Ain Soph (Japan)

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Category: Progressive Music Lounges
Forum Name: Prog Bands, Artists and Genres Appreciation
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URL: http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=46938
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Topic: Ain Soph (Japan)
Posted By: avestin
Subject: Ain Soph (Japan)
Date Posted: March 08 2008 at 20:56
http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=11 - AIN SOPH
 
PA bio:
Instrumental band from Japan who plays a very interesting and intricate music, a real salad of styles, navigating over jazz fusion, symphonic prog and Canterbury Sound. This group plays a chamber and fusion Progressive rock in the style of KENSO, HATFIELD AND THE NORTH and CAMEL
 
http://www.gepr.net/aa.html - GEPR bio -
Ain Soph [Japan]
Updated 5/17/00

Ride on a Camel (78) (recorded as Tenchi-sozo before first official release, released 91), A Story of Mysterious Forest (80), Hat and Field (87), Marine Menagerie (91), Five Evolved From Nine (93)

In 1998, Yozox Yamamoto and Masahiro Torigaki of Ain Soph joined Taiqui Tomiie and Mitsutaka Kaki to reform the disbanded http://www.gepr.net/ba.html#BELLAPHON - Bellaphon .

This band is nearly 100% instrumental, and their sound is very close to bands like Caravan, http://www.gepr.net/ca.html#CAMEL - Camel and Soft Machine. Ride On a Camel is a live one, and while the performace is exceptional, the recording quality is only a little better than so-so. Marine Menagerie contains studio versions of most of the better material on the first, plus some new material as well.

There was a band called "Tenchi Sozo" (which means "The Creation") in the late 70s. They played http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#CANTERBURY - Canterbury progressive Jazz- http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#FUSION - Fusion as heard on Ride on a Camel which was recorded as a demo tape in the late 70s. The members were: Yozox Yamamoto on guitars, Kikuo Fujikawa on keyboards, Masahiko Torigaki on bass, and Hiroshi Natori on drums. In 1980, they changed their name to "Ain Soph" replacing the keyboard player, and released the 1st album A Story of Mysterious Forest as the 2nd album on the King Nexus label. (The 1st album of the label was Novela). The new keyboard player Masey Hattori left the group and formed a http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#FUSION - Fusion band "99.99" and Ain Soph seemed to have broken up. Around 1986, the original keyboard player came back and a new drummer Taiqui Tomiie, who was a member of Bellaphon, joined. The quartet released their 2nd Hat and Field. The bassist Masahiko Torigaki played on the 1st album of Bellaphon titled Firefly in 1987. From 1991, they released albums constantly: Marine Menagerie as 3rd, and Five Evolved From Nine as 4th album.

Breathtaking instrumental progressive from Japan. From the really short, Mahavishnu-type http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#FUSION - Fusion rifferama of "Crossfire" which opens A Story of Mysterious Forest, you know you're in for an enjoyable ride. There's a definite jazzy undercurrent to a lot of this, but the players surprise you with sudden http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#SYMPHO - symphonic interjections with baroque harpsichord and swirling http://www.gepr.net/proginst.html#MELLOTRON - Mellotron . Keyboards are certainly centre stage on this album, the synths are always tasty. The drummer also bangs out the complex rhythms imaginatively and effortlessly. Altogether, I think the word classic describes A Story Of Mysterious Forest accurately. I've heard a bit of Marine Menagierie, but I don't remember much about it, except that I wasn't anywhere nearly as impressed with it as A Story Of Mysterious Forest, which is definitely the one you should start with anyway. I think a lot of people will like it.

Ain Soph are a recent Japanese band with several albums to their credit. I have heard one cut from Ride on a Camel. The album is well-named as a tribute to http://www.gepr.net/ca.html#CAMEL - Camel and this is reflected in the music. This album was poorly recorded before their first LP, suffers from a great deal of hiss and is not really representative of their style to come. I will say, however, that as a tribute to http://www.gepr.net/ca.html#CAMEL - Camel , the song is very nicely played, with strong http://www.gepr.net/ca.html#CAMEL - Camel influences but also a spark of originality. Although I have not heard it, I understand Hat and Field to be a similar tribute to Hatfield and the North and the http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#CANTERBURY - Canterbury scene.
A Story of Mysterious Forest opens with an excellent http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#FUSION - Fusion vamp in the vein of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Arti E Mestieri, with great guitar and synthesizer playing, as well as some fine drumming. This sets the stage for the next couple of songs, which are very jazz and http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#FUSION - Fusion driven progressive songs, albeit with a more laid-back groove. Soon, the http://www.gepr.net/proginst.html#MELLOTRON - Mellotron enters and you are treated to some very satisfying, smooth and intelligent progressive rock/ http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#FUSION - Fusion . The music shifts seamlessly between http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#FUSION - Fusion and classical progressive passages that are pastoral and spacey or driving and intense. In particular, the title track is well-named; the extended spacey suite tells of a fog-shrouded forest's mysterious qualities. The cut also contains a few surprises, which I leave for you to discover. In short, A Story of Mysterious Forest contains excellent musicianship, flows extremely well and is highly recommended.
Five Evolved From Nine starts a little weaker, if only because of my preferences. Their style is still very jazz-inflected but now has a "contemporary jazz" feel, at least for the eight minutes of "The Two Orders of Image." In addition the band seems to lack some of the intensity and drive they displayed on A Story of Mysterious Forest. The musicianship is still of the same high caliber, however, and the album abounds with excellent playing from all musicians. One fine example is "Ancient Museum," which starts a little stiff but, suddenly, the groove clicks and a jammin' guitar solo emerges. In fact, the quality of the music improves and remains generally excellent for the remainder of the album. Another good cut is "The Valley of Lutha," which opens up with a clear-toned jazz guitar solo, then a more distorted http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#FUSION - Fusion guitar solo, which then gets into an interactive jam between guitar, piano, bass and drums. Overall, Five Evolved From Nine is a very good and very solid album, much better than many popular prog bands. I simply do not think it is up to the consistent standard set by A Story of Mysterious Forest. -- Mike Taylor

Ain Soph are a post- http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#CANTERBURY - Canterbury Japanese quartet who have certainly paid their dues, and whose Hat and Field album marks their return to the progressive/jazz scene from a six year hiatus since their 1980 classic A Story Of Mysterious Forest. The music on Hat and Field is perhaps more subtle and subdued than their recent work, 5 Evolved From 9, but is also more consistent. While they are still guilty of occasionaly dabbling in virtually new age territory, it works better on this album because of the more mellow atmosphere. Which is not to say they don't heat it up -- on "Suite: Hat and Field" there is some blazing guitar/synth harmony lines which surprise the listener with their intricacy and accuracy. The drummer and bassist take more of a supporting role than is usually heard in this style, but they do it well. The drummer is light and quick, and the bassist moves nimbly through rapid chord changes to provide a solid rhythmical backdrop for the lead lines to work against. Fans of Chick Corea, Caravan, Pat Metheney, and National Health will all find a lot to enjoy on this album, which is overall more solid than anything Ain Soph have done since. Furthermore, for http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#SYMPHO - symphonic or http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#NEOPROG - neo-prog fans wanting to explore new realms, Hat and Field represents the http://www.gepr.net/genre2.html#CANTERBURY - Canterbury genre very well. -- Dan Casey

[See http://www.gepr.net/ba.html#BELLAPHON - Bellaphon | http://www.gepr.net/he.html#HERETIC - Heretic ]

 
 
 
 
http://gnosis2000.net/reviews/ainsoph.htm - Gnosis info:
Mike McLatchey    http://www.expose.org/"> 20-Jan-2001 Five Evolved From Nine

This Japanese band has been around for a while and has put out some pretty damn good music. Unabashedly Canterbury influenced (album titles: Hat & Field, Ride On A Camel), it seems that Ain Soph are trying to break away from that into a more original style. Their new album is quite good, and much more jazzy than you'd expect and seems a bit more like A Story From Mysterious Forest than the last one Marine Menagerie. Make of that what you will!

(Originally published in Exposť #1, p. 9, Edited for Gnosis 1/19/01)




Sjef Oellers 7-Mar-2001 Ride on a Camel

Ride on a Camel is a compilation of old live tracks from the mid 70s. The tracks "Ride on A camel" and "Aria" really sound very much like the English band Camel, as both the keyboard and guitar playing could be lifted directly from one of the early Camel albums. On the other tracks they still remain in "symphonic prog meets fusion" territory, but references to Camel are less obvious. Their style is also quite similar to Kenso, although Ain Soph have a less dense, more lightweight sound. The highlight of the album is an early 25 minute version of "A Story of Mysterious Forest", which definitely shows signs of their own style developing.



Dan Casey    http://www.expose.org/"> 12-March-2001 Hat And Field

Ain Soph - "Hat And Field" (Nexus KICS 2514, 1986/1993, CD)

Ain Soph are a post-Canterbury Japanese quartet who have certainly paid their dues, and whose Hat and Field album marks their return to the progressive/jazz scene from a six-year hiatus since their 1980 classic A Story Of Mysterious Forest. The music on this album is perhaps more subtle and subdued than their recent work, 5 Evolved From 9, but is also more consistent. While they are still guilty of occasionally dabbling in virtually new age territory, it works better on this album because of the more mellow atmosphere. Which is not to say they don't heat it up -- on "Suite: Hat and Field" there is some blazing guitar/synth harmony lines which surprise the listener with their intricacy and accuracy. The drummer and bassist take more of a supporting role than is usually heard in this style, but they do it well. The drummer is light and quick, and the bassist moves nimbly through rapid chord changes to provide a solid rhythmical backdrop for the lead lines to work against. Fans of Chick Corea, Caravan, Pat Metheney, and National Health will all find a lot to enjoy on this album, which is overall more solid than anything Ain Soph have done since. Furthermore, for symphonic or neo-prog fans wanting to explore new realms, Hat and Field represents the Canterbury genre very well.

(Originally published in Exposť #3, p. 14-15)

 
 
 
 
 
One can't go wrong with either http://www.progarchives.com/album.asp?id=53 - A Story of Mysterious Forest  or http://www.progarchives.com/album.asp?id=51 - Hat And Field
 
 


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Replies:
Posted By: Bj-1
Date Posted: March 09 2008 at 17:44

A very fine band, their A Story of Mysterious Forest album is a Fusion essential, IMO!

Hat & Field is weaker, but still quite decent. Fans of Kenso should enjoy this band especiallyClap


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Posted By: memowakeman
Date Posted: March 10 2008 at 01:50
Very interesting band, another example of the awesome Japanese prog scene, Hat and Field is an album i adore, their music is so beautiful and comfortable.

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