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Deja-Vu - Baroque In The Future CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.32 | 28 ratings

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4 stars "Deja-Va" was a Japanese symphonic progressive rock trio from 80s which is well-known as first step to great career of highly skilled keyboards virtuoso Motoi Sakuraba. This formation lasted only few years and they were able to record only one album in 1988 called "Baroque In The Future". Music which filled this disk can be described as keyboard-led and often pompous prog-rock in the vain of "ELP", "Trace", "Tritonus" or even some solo work of Rick Wakeman. However compared with later days power trios from Japan like "Social Tension", "Ars Nova" and (re-formed as trio in 90') "Gerard", music of "Deja-Vu" isn't so much retro-sounding. Motoi Sakuraba's gear mainly consists of 80s era digital keyboards so Hammond organ sounds are used only occasionally (no Moog or mellotron here). So if you are devoted fan of vintage equipment, I rather suggest you to check Sakuraba's solo output (especially his phenomenal concert albums), but if you like any kind of keys-oriented prog (even 80s-sounding, like early Geard, Teru's Symphonia, Vienna etc.), you will surely love Deja-Vu's material.

1. "Prelude" - quite nice introduction to the album. Very symphonic melodies played on synthesizers with supportive piano work. However it sounds a bit too "cold" for me, maybe because of those rather goofy sounding chorus-imitating keyboards or rather "inhuman" drum beat.

2. "Next World" - more aggressive composition with entertaining vocal duels between Tetsuya Nagatsuma & Genta Kudoh. But the most important factor is of course very precise Motoi's keyboard work. He uses many different synth sounds to obtain satisfying level of ELPish bombastic effect. I especially like guitar-like synthesizer and explosive organ solo (Sakuraba never played real Hammond, but his Korg CX-3 organ sounds almost the same).

3. "Baroque in the Future" - really fantastic instrumental filled with heavy Korg organ riffs and razor-sharp synthesizers, but my favorite fragment is played on pipe organ (electronic version). Goosebumps all the way! I'm sure female trio "Ars Nova" was inspired by this track quite much.

4. "Daydream" - composition begins with swirling Emerson-influenced organ fragment but after that vocal section appears and it's not so hot. Fortunately solos presented in the middle of the song are good as usual, wide range of different keyboard effects is used here so everybody should be satisfied. In general this track reminds me UK's material quite much (especially UK's debut).

5. "Flash!" - tremendously energetic instrumental loaded with speedy synthesizers extravaganza and sparkling piano melodies. Genta Kudoh's drum work is crunching and Tetsuya Nagatsuma's bass lines are pulsating as never before. Phenomenal, noisy organ solo a la Toshio Egawa included!

6. "Byzantium" - more restrained composition with many lovely piano moments. References to Rick Wakeman's 70s staff are obvious here. But "Byzantium" includes also more bombastic fragments with pompous fanfare-style keyboards in the vain of late 70s ELP.

7. "Deja Vu" - indistinguishable prog-rock track with rather bland vocal delivery. A bit like another Japanese band called "Vienna", but I still prefer most of Vienna's songs compared with this one. It just lacks any hooks, memorable melodies or serious "kicks". I could image better ending for this album.

All in all Deja-Vu's only LP is a decent prog-rock effort but sometimes doomed by 80s style keyboards and uneven vocal delivery. However I still highly recommend to keyboard-led prog aficionados of such bands as ELP, UK, Trace, Triumvirat, Tritonus, Quill, Gerard, Social Tension, Ars Nova, Little Tragedies and so on. However I'd also like to mention here first Japanese ELPish trio called "Mahoujin", which played in similar style to "Deja-Vu" (although less technical). But I have to admit that I prefer Motoi Sakuraba's solo output which is often neglected by proggers as "only soundtrack music", while in fact it's pure symphonic prog disguised as game soundtrack. Trust me!

BTW, if you're interested in Deja-Vu's live material I suggest you to check concert compilation of various prog-rock bands from Japan called "Progressive's Battle 1988". They play medley of "Prelude" and "Next World" there.

4 stars with minus from ozzy_tom

ozzy_tom | 4/5 |


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