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Wappa Gappa - Gappa CD (album) cover


Wappa Gappa


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.49 | 19 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Not really extravagant but weird, Wappa Gappa's style delivers a special type of progressive jazz friendly with the combination of symphonic prog overall harmonic orchestrations and neo-prog refined melodic structures. The band's repertoire is full of hooks and pompous energy, with the recurrent jazzy rhythmic cadences serving as providers of a rare swing to the melodic developments. All in all, the jazzy factor isn't limited to the rhythm department: in fact, it embraces the essential core of many tracks in "Gappa". So far, I am only familiar with this album, the band's third effort, which I find absolutely splendid in terms of writing and arrangements. The opener 'Souk' epitomizes the aforesaid general description quite well: the sung sections bear a neo dynamics with an extra funky feel, while the instrumental interlude states a punchy jazz-rock approach in the rhythm duo and the lead guitar's phrases, and the keyboardist delivers some majestic symphonic oriented ornaments and solos. 'Kirmes' is clearly related to the influences from Tribal tech and Allan Holdsworth, as well as "Five Evolved from 9"-era Ain Soph. Yamamoto's singing style fits better the symphonic framework than the jazz-rock, but sure she can move fluidly with her lines through the frame elaborated by her fellow members. This second track finds the keyboardist displaying flourishes a-la Keith Emerson. He turns to the George Duke-influence for the following piece, 'Ranja'. This semi-ballad finds Yamamoto toying effectively with her higher pitch. During almost 11 minutes, 'The Golden Apples of the Sun' is the longest track in the album. After the cosmic interlude, the band states a full frontal extroverted vibe. Guitarist Tachibana states his leads and harmonics in a Holdsworth-meets- Gary Moore style, very efficiently indeed. The jams are exciting yet controlled and well-ordained: the fireworks are there, but the track is not over-saturating. Next comes the lyrically melancholic 'To Soldiers': the track builds a sort of gradual crescendo, with the guitarist performing what arguably are his best leads in the album. The keyboard stuff may remind us a bit of classic Marillion, but the interactions between Tachibana, Endo and Mineo keep the jazz factor tightly rooted in the band's sound. 'Exquisite Blue' reinforces the jazz-rock essence in Nagaike's playing, while 'Escher' states an alternation of symphonic prog and jazz around Nagake's deliveries. These two pieces allow the album to preserve a very interesting vibration before the arrival of the 9 minute long closure 'Etranger'. It is a very reflective song, equaling the lyricism (not the intensity) of 'To Soldiers'. Anyway, the powerful combination of keyboard layers and a clever rhythm section makes this track show off the band's good taste on arrangements and organic sense. The climax is very polished, and so are the incendiary guitar solos. "Gappa" is an excellent item of jazz-prog for the new millennium - let's hope for more from Wappa Gappa.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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