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erik neuteboom
4 stars WOW, this is an amazing debut CD from a Japanese band that has so much to offer and an incredible high level of musicianship!

1. Aircon (11:03): The intro delivers a slow and compelling rhythm with howling electric guitar, then a powerful mid-tempo rhythm with jazzrock overtones and great interplay. Lots of dynamic shiftings moods, pleasant female vocals and great soli on electric guitar, synthesizer and violin (Akihisa Tsuboy from KBB). Their sound reminds me of fellow Japanese band Providence because of the female vocals and jazzrock inspiration.

2. Dayflower (10:04): A slow rhythm with a dreamy atmoshpere featuring awesome violin-Mellotron flights. Gradually the music becomes more lush and dynamic featuring moving, often howling electric guitar runs and a spectacular synthesizer soli. The final part delivers a short piece on classical guitar.

3. Zitensia (8:30): This compositions contains dynamic an powerful interplay (guitar, piano, rhythm-section) and many fiery and howling electric guitar soli (including wah-wah). The level is very high and evokes the excellent jazzrock from Mahavishnu Orchestra, splendid!

4. Koibumi (10:55): A wonderful track with a great build-up, first dreamy with flute-like keyboards, warm female vocals and tender piano runs, then gradually more lush featuring a sensitive electric guitar solo. Again Providence is on my mind because of the powerful female vocals and dynamic interplay. The final part delivers some beautiful classical guitar and just another splendid, very sensitive electric guitar solo.

5. Last Sign (7:16): The atmosphere is dreamy with slow and sensitive jazzy guitar runs, soaring keyboards and strong drums. The music becomes more dynamic with sensational synthesizer flights and fiery electric guitar runs, the rhythm-section sounds strong and propulsive. The second part delivers exciting dynamic music with a swirling Hammond organ solo and harder-edged electric guitar, the interplay is amazing!


Report this review (#68846)
Posted Thursday, February 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars With only one review sofar an overlooked album.

Actually some of the musicians in this japanese band have been playing for some 20 years already under various names and in various configuratons. They were named Interpose earlier in their career but as far as i can tell Interpose+ is the first studio album they released (if not i would be interested in other work they did). Their music is clearly different from other more well known japanese bands as Gerard and Ars Nova ranging over several styles.

Instead of being influenced by ELP keyboards as these 2 bands are, guitar is generally the central element in Interpose's music accompanied by modern sounding synthesizers (no organ or mellotron on this album). The emotional female vocals in japanese language are quite good although they don't quite match the vocals of great singers as for instance Annie Haslam (Renaissance), Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn) or Simona Angelieonie (Aries).

It's not so easy to define the music that Interpose is playing. It ranges from pure symphonic prog to Jazzrock/funk and fusion. The vocal sections are relatively straight forward, but the instrumental interludes have a lot of variation and many melody changes. This is an album that is pleasant on a first listen but to fully appreciate it i feel many listens are required.

Aircon starts off with a wonderful atmospheric guitar/synth solo quickly transposing into a funky riff with fiery guitar breaks, a great opener. The rest of the song is somewhat disappointing, vocals are good but the melody is not as engaging as on the other vocal oriented tracks, i also feel the song goes on for a bit too long.

Dayflower consists of two movements,the first part is outstanding with Aruga's voice battling it out against Tanaka's guitar, the best song vocally. The second is fully instrumental with dense playing of various instruments in a reprise of part 1, it's good but not as interesting as the first part.

Zitensya is rather different from the symphonic atmoshere in the other songs. It's a typically instrumental jazz rock composition starting out slowly with a repeated dominant piano riff with typically jazzy guitar noodling. It really accelerates in the second part with funky guitar riffs and crazy piano, leading into a tremendous fusion like ending. I picked up Inner mountain flame lately and indeed the ending resembles Mahavishnu orchestra as was already pointed out by Erik Neuteboom.

Koibumi has roughly the same structure as the first track, a quiet intrumental intro is followed by a vocal section that is much better in my opinion than the one in the first song, really good.

Last sign, a fully instrumental piece, is my favorite of the album. After a quiet intro we have a duel between spacy high pitched synth and floydian guitar. The song is rounded off perfectly with an authoritive heavy guitar line.

Concluding, this is a really good album without any bad moments. In my opinion the second half of the first and second composition and the first few minutes of the third are somewhat weaker, the rest of the album is truly great. Rating this album is easy, it's a typically 4 star album no up or downgrading involved here.

Report this review (#89332)
Posted Saturday, September 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I've been slowly falling for the Japanese progressive scene for a while and this was one of the records that began to seduce me, as Interpose+ reflect some of the best aspects of that thriving milieu. Part symphonic rock, part jazz fusion and thoroughly sophisticated, this dazzlingly talented group stands up to the big boys and showcases some of the Rising Sun's best recording artists including Ryuji Yonekura on keys, Sayuri Aruga vocals, and on guitar the impressive Kenji Tanaka. This CD improves as it goes, getting hotter and more exuberant with every passing cut until you realize that Japanese musicians are doing something right and seem both liberated and inspired...a condition rare, wonderful and usually short-lived. Find some Japrog to add to your collection before these little earthquakes become truly scarce.
Report this review (#95047)
Posted Thursday, October 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Have you ever been tired of Prog? No, I really mean it! Tired of colourful sleeves, long epics with various shiftings and changes, crafty solos and top-notch drumming? Never? You’re lucky then. Personally I sometimes feel worn out by another pile of CDs of that kind (especially Modern Symphonic albums, which are mostly the same all the time). So, when I’ve chanced to pick this one with an “urban still life” on the cover, I didn’t expected much (it was unpacked more than for a month!). Besides they’re from Japan. I’m not familiar much with Japanese Prog, as it’s mostly avant-related (honorable exception are the Gods of Post-Rock - MONO). Anyway, I gave it a spin. Then another one. And one more again…

My first thought was “take MAGENTA and replace the YES element with CAMEL one”. I also noticed UK-like jazzy patterns and fiery violin solos. But when it came to instrumentals, I’d rather compare INTERPOSE+ with fusion bands (take IQ and force them to play MAHAVISHNU’s stuff – something of that kind)! But any comparing is lame – INTERPOSE+ mix all the abovementioned elements in their own way, supplying GENESIS+UK-like epics with tender female vocals and maturity of performance. Please, don’t repeat my mistake – DO NOT MISS THIS CD! Highly recommended!

Report this review (#123446)
Posted Saturday, May 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not so much to add to the previous reviews, just perhaps a summarization of what it does; it can make you cry. Aircon and Koibumi specifically. That means it touches strings that apparently can't be reached by something else. I know that's personal, you're not me, I'm not you. Still, although the singing is in Japanese, both music and singing talk a universal language that I understand all too well. So, perhaps all in all not a truly unique masterpiece of progressive musique, just only for this capacity to "touch" it deserves the classification four stars.
Report this review (#125330)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. It's funny but i've read of 3 or 4 people who said they had this cd but kept by-passing it for something else. I did the exact same thing for months. I think we all agree that to delay listening to this gem was a foolish mistake. It was Eric's passionante review that moved me to buy this in the first place, and then to see Prog-Jester's review afterwards only confirmed that this must be something special. It is. This is beautiful symphonic music with a Jazz flavour, and I can drink this concoction all day long.The female (Sayuri) vocals are simply gorgeous. I didn't even realize she was singing in Japanese at first, I was so enthralled with her voice.This band has been playing together on and off for 20 years, and this is their first record. There are a couple of guests from fellow Japanese band KBB helping out.

The album starts off with my favourite track "Aircon". It begins slowly with drums, synths and then some Latimer-like guitar. This is heaven man. The guitarist is a gun slinger who is a professional in every sense of the word. He's not a show off, but amazes with his tasteful and melodic play. The pace picks up before 2 minutes as some excellent guitar melodies and drums lead the way. Vocals after 5 minutes with violin right behind. I can't say enough about this song. "Dayflower" reminds me of ANEKDOTEN right away with the mellotron waves. Vocals arrive before 2 minutes. The drums are the most prominant instrument until the wondrous guitar solo 4 1/2 minutes in that goes on and on for about a minute. Nice. Some heaviness 7 1/2 minutes in. I'm so impressed with this band ! What follows is like a swirling mass of beautiful sounds ending with acoustic guitar.

"Zitensya" is a jazzy tune that features some aggressive guitar as the drums pound away. Just a great full sound. The song changes 5 1/2 minutes in as the piano takes the spotlight, that is until the guitar takes it back again 7 minutes in. "Koibumi" is pastoral to begin with as flute-like sounds, light drums and keys create that mood. The bass stands out 2 minutes in, with the tempo picking up speed soon after with the guitar leading the way. Vocals before 4 minutes as piano accompanies her. The song does build back up with Sayuri still singing. The tempo continues to shift. Check out the tasteful guitar solo. Great song. "Last Sign" begins with a 2 minute mellow passage before the pace picks up with some fantastic synth and drum work. The guitar after 3 minutes comes and goes. It reminds me of how it sounded at times on "Aircon".The drumming and guitar melodies shine brightly 6 1/2 minutes in. The organ to follow is quite powerful.

It's difficult not to give this a full 5 stars, please check out this amazing debut.

Report this review (#152002)
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
3 stars My first impression for the album interpose+ is that Kenji Tanaka's guitars are always running in high and Sayuri Aruga's voice sounds a bit painful.

Mixture of two contrary stuffs - electric noises and graceful, laidback guitar solo - at the same time, open the curtain in front of us. Kneji's guitar sounds, one by one, can go well smoothly and flexibly like a queen butterfly, and Katsu Sato's drum & percussion, the basis of this outfit, can keep the rhythm strict and steady. Of course, Ryuji Yonekura's keyboard can be refined and polished even in rock flavour, and the bassist Toshiyuki Koike should be a wonderful pacesetter. These four talented men can play fantastically and conceptually five long stories without any rest. Each song is so dramatic and vivid that in spite of ourselves we should lean forward to the song. Yes, please listen to two instrumental songs here. First, Zitensya (bicycle) may show that a bicycle might go dizzily up and down on an animal road. The guitar solo can go vertiginous and dizzying for such a complex tune, by the strict drumming engine named Natsu. Their power is terrific, with driving on this dirty, unrefined trail. On the contrary the last track Last Sign is a streaming and smoothly-going song here. Each player can, naturally and without hesitating, enjoy playing his own role in this drama. We can feel they are real fantasians. Maybe, sorry maybe Sayuri can sing with changing an octave and a voice type, to others' aggressive, phantasmagoric and kaleidoscopic play - simultaneously suffering from them - I always feel. Her voice sounds short, painful, and a bit out of tune - at least for me. In a sense, we could say her tottery voice be lovely. How do you feel?

My evaluation for this album is...umm, indeed difficult but here are rock fantasia and phantasmagoria.

P.S. This interpose+ was recommended to me by David aka Atavachron, the Art Rock Specialist. Thanks David!

Report this review (#225386)
Posted Thursday, July 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm not much familiar with Japanese scene, but this one is a pleasant surprise. Actually more than pleasant.

This one is a good starter for discovering Japanese scene. Because it's good. Because no matter what your taste is, it will haunt you with something.

Basically, it's a mixture of the lighter side of symphonic prog (CAMEL might do as a point of comparison) and modern jazz - rock / fusion.

Modern, clear production, modern keyboards...great musicianship...some aspects that might present you what kind of music is this. However, there are a few other tricks up the sleeve: the female vocal, which is beautiful, with haunting melodies, with great violin section, and with very fast and technical show-off of electric guitar, just for the sake of it:) But only in one track, otherwise it's tastefully dosed. In fact, that can be said about all the instruments - there's not much of pretentiousness, I mean, not much pretentiousness from a technical prog rock band point of view. Solos are more like brief and effective. Yeah, that's the term. Brief and effective. However, songs are longish, and they're all some kind of slow thematic development(s) but they drag a bit. Hence, this will not the highest rating. But apart of that, it's so ENJOYABLE!

Report this review (#238498)
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permalink

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