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TEE (The Earth Explorer) - Trans Europe Expression CD (album) cover


TEE (The Earth Explorer)



3.92 | 35 ratings

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5 stars Japan is a country known by their passion for music, and in the Progressive Rock field we have the best re-editions made by the Japanese. The best mini-lp editions with all the care to make them just like the original LPs. But even with that history with Prog Rock we don't have many Prog Rock Japanese bands, in fact there are just a few I can remember. Samurai, Far East Family Band, Shingetsu, Ars Nova, Vermillion Sands, Ain Soph, Kenso, Asturias, Teru's Symphonia and why not, Kitaro and Tomita, are names that come to my mind, but not all of them are well known to everybody. Unfortunately, the graphics in TEE's Trans-Europe Expression (2012) doesn't reach the same level as this re-editions, but the music?

TEE is a band that follows the original melodic 70's tradition, especially from Italian bands like PFM and Area. The band was founded in in 2005 and Trans-Europe Expression (2012) is their second full-length album. The album was released in January 2012 by Musea Records and produced by the band. TEE has the musicians Kenji Imai (flutes), Ryuji Yonekura (keyboards), Takayuki Asada (drums), Yukio Iigahama (bass) and Katsumi Yoneda (guitars) in their line-up.

Before the album starts I noticed one interesting thing. Both of TEE albums are named after the band's name. Their first album was The Earth Explorer (2009) and this is Trans-Europe Expression (2012), which means TEE in both cases. In the latter it can be also a reference to the German band Kraftwerk and their album Trans Europa Express (1977).

Trans-Europe Expression (2012) kicks in with the track 'Stromboli' and it just shows how great TEE is, from the very beginning to the very end of the album. It's quite easy to spot one thing that is very important to the band's sound: Kenji Imai's flutes. This just makes their strong Italian Prog influence stronger. 'Second track 'Rhodanus (River To The Ocean)' has a special attention in the arrangements details and instrument sounds. In fact, the whole album has. This track is a little bit like a traditional Japanese tune and the guitars of Katsumi Yoneda are always beautifully melodic. But once again, the star is Kenji Imai. Just beautiful.

TEE is an instrumental band, but in the third track they have the vocals by Lucy Koyama to help them out. 'Intersection' is complex and almost weird in a way, but it is a superb piece of music. Ryuji Yonekura's keyboards also have an important role in their music, especially here. But so do Yukio Iigahama's great bass lines and Takayuki Asada's solid drums. It is important to notice that every instrument in Trans-Europe Expression (2012) has an important role. There are no weak links in their music.

'Flying Roses' is enigmatic and atmospheric, mainly because of Katsumi guitars, but also because the way the chords progress. In this track the keyboards are the main characters and by the time the flute comes in we're lost inside a great track. In the second half of the song they knew exactly how to use their synthesizers and they should definitely explore it more on the next record. Great track. 'Gordes' is the longest track on the album with 11'37. Here bass and drums are synchronized, piano lays the main melody while flutes and guitars 'sing'. After 2 minutes of song we have some martial music and I can see lots of influence from the great Japanese video games music composers. In fact, the whole track is a kind of homage to the amazing music games have had over the years and very often they are forgotten. Pay close attention to the weird time signature that drums and bass are playing towards the end.

'Endeavour' closes the album and once again we have a video game kind of song. But very soon the piano that comes in changes everything. Second half of the song is charged with great emotion and a pulsating rhythm. Great way of finishing a great record.

TEE's Trans-Europe Expression (2012) is a perfect example of flawless album.

They're Exceptionaly Exquisite!

(Originally posted on

ProgShine | 5/5 |


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