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Bi Kyo Ran - Bi Kyo Ran CD (album) cover


Bi Kyo Ran


Heavy Prog

3.56 | 52 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Bi Kyo Ran is undoubtedly the most enthusiastically Crimsonian band from Japan. The band's origins date back in the mid-70s as a psychedelic rock band, but eventually it shifted toward a heavily Crimson- influenced sort of heavy prog, with special emphasis on the 73-75 era, but also hints to "Lizard"-era. This approach is abundantly clear but not totally exclusive, since guitarist/leader Suma's compositions also give room to traces of jazz-rock, space-rock and electric blues. Suma's tenor timber can lead him to become a "Japanese Geddy Lee" at times, and that may be shocking to a number of listeners, but at the end of the day, the performative qualities of Bi Kyo Ran as a whole ensemble should prevail in the listener's perception. In fact, when this debut album was released in 1982, the band had already developed a controlled style and a focused strategy in its instrumental travels, and that's the main point of its contribution ot the prog genre. The album kicks off with 'Double', whose 14 minutes are full of polished roughness, with convenient, not-too-drastic mood shifts revolving around a well defined recurrent motif. The violin and guitar leads that go emerging along the way bring a certain air of mystery to the track's development. 'Cynthia' makes a radical transition to the bucolic realms of pastoral serenity, pretty much inspired by Renaissance music: the sweetly driven classical guitar arpeggios are beautifully ornamented by the violin and the recorder. 'Pycho (Part II)' is a lovely yet too short instrumental whose framework mixes "Red"-era KC and jazz-fusion in a very dynamic way. 'Monologue' emphasizes the most aggressive side of Bi Kyo Ran, although it also preserves the jazz element in the rhythm duo's delivery. The Frippian tricks on guitar emerge with power but not overwhelmingly - the spoken lyrics seem to be mostly humorous. The last track lasts 14 172 minutes, just like the opener - it is called 'Warning'. Its first half is languid and melancholic, becoming the only lyrical sung passage in the album. The guitar and violin flourishes state an amazing eerie ambience. The second half turns into yet another display of Crimsonian heavy prog, reiterating the prominence of the "Red" influence. This section includes a captivating percussive section in full ethnic splendor, as well as a soaring coda on synth. I happen to enjoy this album more than "Parallax" (my first Bi Kyo Ran buy), since it comprises a more diverse trend. In perspective, both albums bring the prog researcher an important view of the heavy prog sound delivered in Japan's avant-garde rock scene in the 80s, years ahead of currently celebrated bands from the same country. In short, both Bi Kyo Ran and the "Bi Kyo Ran" albums are excellent beyond doubt.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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