Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

ASTURIAS

Neo-Prog • Japan


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Asturias picture
Asturias biography
Founded in 1987 - Disbanded in 1993 - Reformed as "Acoustic Asturias" in 2003 and as "Electric Asturias" in 2009

Japanese outfit ASTURIAS started out as the solo project of multi-instrumentalist and composer Yoh Ohyama. He started writing material for an album in 1987, and in 1988 the debut album Circle in the Forest was issued on King Records, one of the major record labels in Japan. The sophomore effort Brilliant Streams followed in 1990, and the third and eventually last installment in this series of solo albums were Cryptogam Illusion issued in 1993.

By this time Ohyama had received much praise for his albums as well as his live performances; and had established himself as a Japanese answer to - or version of - Mike Oldfield. However, despite the artistic merits of his work and the praise his creations received sales weren't satisfactory for his record label; and the Asturias project was put on hiatus.

In the following years Ohyama establishes himself as a well known independent composer, arranger, producer and recording engineer. However, the Asturias project isn't forgotten, and in 2003 Ohyama decides to ressurect it, this time as an acoustic quartet. Together with Yoshihiro Kawagoe (piano), Misa Kitatsuji (violin) and Kaori Tsutsui (clarinet, recorder) a new album is made, released in 2004 as Bird's Eye View.

The album explores a style of music more symphonic than the past efforts released under the Asturias moniker, and also gets a higher degree of attention. A direct result of the success is a new album, Marching Grass on the Hill, issued in 2006. On this creation Ohyama brings in one new musician; Ito Kyoko (violin); in place of Kitatsuji.

Following these two succesfull acoustic creations, Ohyama decides to create a solo album again, revisiting the Oldfield influences from the first three albums. With a plethora of guest musicians involved, this 4th solo album and 6th album issued using the Asturias moniker sees the light of day in 2008; named In Search of the Soul Trees. It is issued by Poseidon Records in Japan while legendary French label Musea Records has seen to it that the production is available in most other parts of the world.

When looking for more information on this artist; or trying to locate the various albums, one should note that the solo albums may be listed as Electric Asturias, while the band albums may be found sorted under Acoustic Asturias.

ASTURIAS forum topics / tours, shows & news


ASTURIAS forum topics Create a topic now
ASTURIAS tours, shows & news
No topics found for : "asturias"
Post an entries now

ASTURIAS Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to ASTURIAS

Buy ASTURIAS Music


In Search of the Soul TreesIn Search of the Soul Trees
Asturias 2014
$21.99
At the Edge of the WorldAt the Edge of the World
Asturias 2016
$20.10
$35.78 (used)
Missing Piece of My LifeMissing Piece of My Life
Asturias 2015
$21.99

More places to buy ASTURIAS music online Buy ASTURIAS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

ASTURIAS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ASTURIAS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.70 | 39 ratings
Circle In The Forest
1988
3.63 | 36 ratings
Brilliant Streams
1990
3.54 | 27 ratings
Cryptogam Illusion
1993
4.15 | 46 ratings
Acoustic Asturias: Bird Eyes View
2004
4.09 | 24 ratings
Acoustic Asturias: Marching Grass On The Hill
2006
4.05 | 51 ratings
In Search Of The Soul Trees
2008
3.92 | 24 ratings
Acoustic Asturias: Legend Of Gold Wind
2011
4.16 | 68 ratings
Electric Asturias: Fractals
2011
4.37 | 43 ratings
Electric Asturias: Elementals
2014
4.16 | 49 ratings
Missing Piece Of My Life
2015
4.12 | 25 ratings
At The Edge Of The World
2016
3.94 | 62 ratings
Across The Ridge To Heaven
2018
4.27 | 74 ratings
Electric Asturias: Trinity
2019

ASTURIAS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ASTURIAS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ASTURIAS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ASTURIAS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ASTURIAS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Electric Asturias: Trinity by ASTURIAS album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.27 | 74 ratings

BUY
Electric Asturias: Trinity
Asturias Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars My first question is: How, and I'm serious, HOW can someone rate this album a one star effort?!! It's not even a matter of taste, one cannot help but recognize and, hopefully, acknowledge the mastery on display here.

My follow-up second question is: How many one star raters here can compose and play at this level of proficiency??

1. "Closed World" (7:13) opens with some aggressive classical piano arpeggi before full rock band joins in with violin repeating the same opening sequence of arpeggi. The melodic pattern is engaging enough to keep the listener pinned while other instruments take turns soloing with variations on the main theme or, with stops and starts, going into other movements. The weaves of the three lead instruments gets clever with harmonized threads and chords. Very pleasant, clean, interesting, and engaging song start to finish with, of course, very high caliber skills in the composition and musicianship departments. (13.5/15)

2. "Wuthering Heights" (5:54) bouncy, peppy, though a little straightforward with melodies that become a little tiresome no matter how many different ways they play them. sounds like a song from GENESIS And Then There Were Three... without the lyrics, of course. (8.25/10)

3. "Skelter"(4:38) opens with a reversed piano chord á la YES 1972 before the band comes crashing through like a train out of a tunnel travelling at top speed. Great melodies from Tei Sena and support play--especially from the piano of Yoshihiro Kawagoe. The soloing skills of guitarist Satoshi Hirata are great though his lines aren't quite as melodic or emotional as Sena's. (Is it just the nature of the instrument? I think not.) (9.25/10)

4. "Crow" (8:08) sounding part classical, part jazz, and part country from the very start, this one could be a song from Edgar Meyer's Goat Rodeo or Jean-Luc Ponty's less electric albums. The weave begun at 1:29 is awesome but the rhythmic emphasis in the section beginning at 1:46 is amazing! Such skill! Such beauty! All this and the real meat of the song doesn't begin to reveal itself until 3:18 and 3:49! Great bass sound. Great whole-band weave. And then there's the awesome tension build in the second half of the sixth minute before the gentle tease and full dénouement for the seventh minute. Could've gone higher, but, still, I am happy with the gentle, gorgeous ending. Probably the best song on the album! (14.25/15)

5. "Rogus" (8:46) strings and tango-jazzy piano open this one before full band join in and electric guitar establishes the lead melody with violin playing second fiddle. The two trade variations on the melodic theme established first by the guitar over the first couple minutes as bass, piano, and drums float like waves in support. A quiet section exposes the piano for another tango-like movement as chunky bass solos in time with drums. Nice! I love the piano play! Dirty guitar enters to solo. Quite skilled and jazzy if still not as emotional as the violin or piano. There are a lot of similarities to this guitar sound and play to MIREK GIL and STEVE HACKETT. It gets better and more under your skin as the song progresses. Great song! Just love that tango-piano foundation! (18/20)

- Suite Of "Gorgon" : 6. I - Medusa (5:11) slow chord shifting church organ opens this one before bells join in. Ominous and awesome! Then about a minute in the full band jumps in with its own classical Phantom of the Opera-like theme music. Very Italian in it's dramatic set up. (Except for the organ opening, this could be either LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO or INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE here). (8.9/10)

7. II - Sthenno (7:30) opening with heavily distorted bass, delicate cymbal play, and then violin before piano introduces the real pace and form at 0:50. The song is very chunky, very thick like WOBBLER and angular like ÄNGLAGĹRD. The dirty violin solo in the fourth minute is very wild and frenetic. The KOTEBEL-like music that follows ushers in the return of the heavily distorted bass as the violin seems to dance around it. Then, at 4:45 there is an emptying as the bass is allowed to repeat the opening section. Great complex and tightly performed symphonic prog song. (13.25/15)

8. III - Euryale (8:51) opens with some deliciously supported violin play--amazingly gorgeous melodies. The music switches to a little more chop in the second minute--including in the violin and guitar melody play. It's good, just quite as powerful as the opening section. Very nice technically-demanding weave in the fourth minute. The violin puts on a show in the fifth minute while the band beneath gets heavier and switches to minor chords for a little bit. I take it that the violin is representing Perseus and the electric guitar the gorgon. Quite a struggle! Won, of course, by the violin--which leads to a final section in which the powerful and plaintive melody of the opening section are repeated and reinforced. (18/20)

Total time 56:11

Five stars; a minor masterpiece of beautiful, technically skilled jazz fusion/progressive rock music.

 Electric Asturias: Trinity by ASTURIAS album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.27 | 74 ratings

BUY
Electric Asturias: Trinity
Asturias Neo-Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars Japanese project Asturias has had an unpredictable history, initially forming around multi-instrumentalist and composer Yoh Ohyama in the late Eighties, with a reworked line-up appearing about fifteen years ago. Since that comeback in 2003, the predominantly instrumental group jumps between `Acoustic' and `Electric' Asturias discs, and like other bands from the same country - Ain Soph and Ptf instantly come to mind - the band/s combine a symphonic grandiosity with the dynamic fire of jazz/fusion, and their latest work under the `Electric' banner, 2019's `Trinity' offers violin and piano constantly met with electric guitar and keyboard colour, all delivered with a cracking energy, nuanced emotion and supreme technical musical precision.

Opener `Closed World' sets much of a template for the disc, unleashing Tei Sena's constantly ravishing violin, Yoshihiro Kawagoe's whirring keyboards and Satoshi Hirata's red-hot guitar races, all torn through at great speed with a dazzling urgency. Taking its title from Emily Brontë's influential novel, `Wuthering Heights' taps into that Mike Oldfield-like sweeping fancy and instrumental diversity that has long been a constant Asturias influence. `Skelter' was originally written for a fight scene in a video game, and appropriately the piece holds plenty of duelling guitar, violin and keyboard soloing passages throughout its victorious up-tempo momentum.

`Crow', inspired by a late period painting from Vincent van Gogh, slows things down for a sombre reflection on `a talented but unrewarded life', and the observation that van Gogh himself felt he was `like a bird in a cage' of his own personal demons contributes to the melancholic yet defiant piano, bass and violin musings so prominent throughout the piece. `Rogus' also hails from a late Eighties video game, and it's a prog-rock workout of icy synths, Yoh's coursing thick bass and Kiyotaka Tanabe's rumbling drums powering behind crisp electric guitar themes and sprightly piano.

No prog-related album should be without a multi-part epic, and the three-part `Gorgon' suite that closes the disc is an ambitious, twenty one-plus minute interpretation of three mythical female creatures with snakes for hair of ancient Greek literature! Opening chamber-prog passage `Medusa' offers a gloriously gothic atmosphere built around imposing church organ and spectral synths that are ultimately ripped apart with searing violin strains and snapping drumming. Fans of Zeuhl originators Magma will love one of the most violent and frantic Asturias pieces to date, `Stheno's mud-thick grumbling 'n' grubby Jannick Top-like bass oppressiveness, skittering percussion and devilish piano mania suitably sound-tracking the most independent and ferocious of the three gorgons! The tale of third sister `Euryale', known for her bellowing cries, is carefully set to highly emotional music with its sorrowful yet achingly beautiful violin strains and thoughtful guitar ruminations that rise to freeing heights for a refined and uplifting farewell.

`Trinity's cultured approach to often adapting classic literature and art means it always remains evocative and sophisticated, and the album remains endlessly melodic at all times without ever sacrificing technicality and ambitiousness. Trinity' is dramatic and intelligent instrumental music at its very finest, and is not only the third stunning Electric Asturias work to date, but already one of the standout progressive music releases of 2019.

Five stars.

Note - Electric Asturias are currently performing on the 2019 Cruise to the Edge tour, and attendees would be highly recommended to skip looking in on some of the `bigger names' if it means a chance to witness this first-rate band in action - a group who will quite literally blow most of the other bands out of the water! ;)

 Electric Asturias: Elementals by ASTURIAS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.37 | 43 ratings

BUY
Electric Asturias: Elementals
Asturias Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars First of all, this is NOT neo-prog in any sense of the term, wrong label and labels suck when they are patently false. Japanese veterans Asturias released "Elementals" , a 2014 album that was very highly rated and having already their first two albums ("Circle in the Forest" and "Brilliant Streams") in my collection, I was intrigued enough to take a slight gamble on their newer stuff and spend the money. I am very delighted in my foresight though I had a pretty good idea of what was going to be in store. Masterful instrumental performances from a slew of ridiculously talented pros, led by the enigmatic multi-instrumentalist Yoh Ohyama. "Elementals" leaves very little to complain about, a blistering fusion of powerful jazzy compositions, spiced by some creative meanderings that hearken back to more classical styled experimentation, namely the prominence of the violin, that absurdly majestic instrument that defines so many different styles of music from all around the globe. Yoh handles the bass guitar with gusto, my favorite anchor in all forms of expressive music, and he certainly keeps the low end interesting and exploratory.

While evidently a jazz-rock outfit, there are numerous influences at play here, the leadership of the Tei Sana's luxurious violin notwithstanding, there are plenty of King Crimson-styled moments that keep surfacing here and there, armed with scorching guitar pirouettes from Satoshi Hirata, dexterous piano additions played by Yoshihiro Kanagoe and polyrhythmic beats from masterful drummer Kiyotaka Tanabe. They have the chops, believe you me! For technical music like this to be successful, the composing needs to be first-rate, deliberately steering away from rambling noodling tendencies and focusing stringently on mood creation. Keeping sections vibrating and fresh, with occasional and unexpected instrumental sniper fire from the soloists, is what makes or breaks an album like this.

All the tracks from the scorching opener "Deadlock Triangle", as well as 3 follow-up tracks that prepare for the 4 part Elemental Suite that spans , are blistering compositions played with perfection as well as deadly speed , that will leave the listener enthralled, mystified and utterly spent. That does not mean that it's all 'strum und drang' bombast, as the violin in particular takes a few romantic exits from the whirlwind and wallow in some deep romanticism, as expressed on the second track, the voluptuous 9 minute "Time Traveler", that veers off into some delicate piano work before morphing into the classic King Crimson 'bicycle' math-rock, clicking with intricate guitar phrasings that defy logic or gravity. The jazzy onslaught is pure hard-fusion, perhaps closer to fellow Japanese proggers Kenso but ornamented with some softer pools of reflection and groove.

Falsely creating the impression that this might be a Tangerine Dream-like electronic workout, "Tangram Paradox" is a tortuous, polyrhythmic convulsion that hurls at Mach 3 speed, both into conventional and experimental zones that gain defy the norm. Again, this is no Neo, sorry Matrix fans! The sheer delirium espoused by all soloists is mayhem, but of a controlled kind. The bass and drum work impress to the nth degree and the 3 soloists are just all guns ablaze! "Honeycomb Structure" is a musical maze of labyrinthine proportions, fluid violin in the lead, screeching while the guitar scorches, rambling organ undertow, while the bass and drum duo wallop and bruise. Another piano solo takes this straight into Chick and Herbie territory, very jazz and very much controlled fury. But the clincher is the rollicking, blues- infested guitar flip out from Satoshi Hirata, a pure marvel to behold.

Things get decidedly more orchestral and symphonic with the nearly 29 minute suite, as the violin continues to guide the pack, a flawless example of how 5 rock musicians with classical and jazz backgrounds can compose music that is both vivaciously contemporary, yet still retain all the qualities of timeless classical legend. Defiantly effortless and concise, heavily loaded up on melody and technique, the quintet smolders like a radioactive fire, sizzling fusion of styles and sounds that mark their muse with incomparable gusto. Hard then soft, majestic and sub-atomic, swift and measured, this is simply phenomenal, whatever your musical taste might be limited to. Funny how a repetitive piano chord can provide the platform for a sumptuous violin waltz that is easy to master in terms of accessibility, yet still complex and technically proficient. The second part (the aptly named "Salamander") flies straight into the darker clouds of heavy symphonic bombast, with trilling synthesizer runs, fiery violin forays, brooding organ runs and monster rhythmic gymnastics. A roller coaster of rippling notes and dense arrangements make this quite a breathless ride. Dive into the volcanic flow and come out on the other side, unscathed but exhilarated. The third section is "Sylphide" and it showcases the gentler romanticism of melody and passionate musical discourse, an arsenal of keys keeping the carpet rolling for some gorgeous violin runs from Tei Sena, enveloped in mellotron waves and ethereal beauty. Occasionally playful, often serene, the soloists keep the tense fusion of sounds within a very linear furrow that refuses to back down and kneel at the shrine. The bass guitar takes over and leads with uncommon valor and spunk. Just beautiful.

The finale "Gnome" chooses a more playful theme, altering the melody only slightly, thus providing reassurance and yet adventure on a different plane. Choppy, intense and explosive, the masters empty their creative juices with abandon , giving the impression that this complex music is only second nature to them, a true sign of genius, in my opinion. This band played on the 2014 and 2017 version of Cruise to the Edge and blew the audiences away, same at Rosfest 2013. Perhaps the most underrated artist in the prog world, Asturias deserves huge recognition and massive applause. Getting "Fractals" next!

An easy 5, my dear Watson!

 Missing Piece Of My Life by ASTURIAS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.16 | 49 ratings

BUY
Missing Piece Of My Life
Asturias Neo-Prog

Review by chikinn

5 stars Another instrumental masterpiece from Ohyama's Asturias.

Asturias' music falls roughly into four areas: Classical - Rock - Synth driven - Other acoustic

This album is something like 50% classical, 20% rock, 20% synth, 10% acoustic. To a typical prog rock fan, it may come off as dull and heavy on the violin, piano, and woodwinds. But if you have a classical background you'll love it.

Don't get me wrong, though, there's some bitchin' guitar. My favorite track is "Sign", which culminates in a harmonically rich (if only somewhat technical) electric solo in 7/4. Don't give up until you get this far! It's only the third track but the intros before it are slow. "Journey" is the happiest point of the album, featuring chipper recorder and majestic electric guitar in major key.

"Lost" (another wonderful track) rounds out the first half and sets a melancholy tone for the rest of the album. The transition to the second half is downright depressing. Listen to "Alone" and you'll understand the album title.

"Rebirth" recalls some of Sign's intensity, but "Wandering" and "Missing Piece" continue to be contemplative. "Resolution" is a bit of a misnomer. The final track itself is a disappointment, and its tone is sad to match. Appropriately, there's no triumphant ending or sense of closure -- you might say the missing piece is never found.

Beautiful music, but not uplifting.

 Cryptogam Illusion by ASTURIAS album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.54 | 27 ratings

BUY
Cryptogam Illusion
Asturias Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars On his third album album with Asturias composer Yoh Ohyama would make a slight stylistical turn.Akira Hanamoto was no longer a member of the band, instead Ohyama introduced two string instrumentalists, Udai Shika on cello and Tatsuya Murayamy on viola.The new album, titled ''Cryptogram illusion'', was released at the fall of 1993 on the King label.

The sound of the band remains fairly orchestral and continues to recall of the melodious and dreamy works of MIKE OLDFIELD, JEAN-PASCAL BOFFO and STEVE HACKETT, containing symphonic overtones and ethereal soundscapes.But this time the introduction of strings leads to some comparisons with compatriots OUTER LIMITS, although Asturias had a less virtuosic and dramatic approach, often flavored by some New Age-like arrangements.Moreover a few tracks are almost entirely based on strings, bassoon and piano, having a certain Chamber Music feel akin to AFTER CRYING.Other pieces, basically those containing a fair amount of electric guitars and synthesizer, come closer to instrumental Symphonic Rock with delicate breaks and interplays, their quality is often lowered by the choice Ohyama to use some programmed sounds and the somewhat average sound of keyboards, but the arrangements are fully elegant with lovely variations between electric-, keyboard- and string-based textures.The couple of synthetic moves, like on ''Glacier'' and ''Mistral island'', are not my cup of tea, very computer-based orchestrations with some MIKE OLDFIELD references, but the fake echoes of flute and the likes are certainly a turndown.Fortunately even the shortest guitar solo of Yoh Ohyama has something good to propose plus the trully interesting themes in here are much more than the questionable ones.

A pretty accurate work on the mellow, dreamy Prog Rock lines with a certain Mike Oldfield atmosphere.Not as good as the previous one, because programmed sounds are a bit too much on use, still very pleasant and entertaining.Recommended.

 Electric Asturias: Fractals by ASTURIAS album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.16 | 68 ratings

BUY
Electric Asturias: Fractals
Asturias Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Japanese project ASTURIAS have been around for a quarter of a century or thereabouts at this point, and appears to be the creative vehicle of composer and musician Yoh Ohyama more than anything else. The Asturias albums range from productions that basically comes across as solo albums to productions were it's fairly obvious that we're dealing with a full fledged band effort. "Fractals" is the most recent album to be released under the Asturias moniker at the time of writing, and was issued in 2011.

When you read up a bit about Asturias, a phrase that has been connected to this project is that this is the Japanese answer to Mike Oldfield. Presumably a description given a few years ago rather than to this specific album, as "Fractals" is a creation that doesn't have too many similarities with Oldfield, at leas as I know him. There is one common denominator however, the style explored resides fairly safely within the boundaries of the instrumental part of the progressive rock universe.

Positive, uplifting and fairly elegant compositions blending elements from symphonic art rock and jazzrock is the type of music explored in the majority of the material at hand, with Ohyama's bass guitar a a rock solid presence beneath delicate but spirited violin motifs, soaring and elegant keyboard textures and longing guitar solo escapades. The violin in something of a star role, especially in the first half or so of this production, with ample room for two or more solo instruments hitting off on a more intricate, harmonized run and even a few call and answer routines. Organ and violin combinations and violin and guitar combinations two of the more striking combinations given ample room and opportunity to hit it off. When the guitar isn't on a soloing run dampened riffs and occasionally funk-oriented light toned guitar licks are utilized as a supplemental detail, and there's also room here for calmer, intermediate phases and some instances of individual instrument solo inserts. All of it combined into a tight, compact package, and executed in a manner that indicates that the level of musicianship here is on a very high level indeed.

Apart from many songs that mix details from the stylistic expressions mentioned in a manner that makes it hard to point to similarities towards other bands, Moondawn is the odd one out that does include some fairly obvious details that at least for me carry similarities with bands such as Camel and Eloy. With a more purebred jazz-oriented sequence included though. Otherwise the main exceptions in terms of style and expression appears towards the end of the album, as the three part feature Suite of fate opens with a distinctly classical music inspires fugue, followed by a more purebred jazzrock composition and then concluding with a piece that again blends elements of jazzrock and symphonic art rock.

All in all "Fractals" comes across as a rock solid production through and through. Strong and distinct moods and atmospheres, excellently performed and produced. Those with a strong affection for instrumental progressive rock in general and who enjoy artists that blend symphonic art rock and jazzrock in particular should take the time to check out this production. I'm fairly certain that the greater majority of that specific audience will treasure this album greatly.

 Brilliant Streams by ASTURIAS album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.63 | 36 ratings

BUY
Brilliant Streams
Asturias Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 1990 Asturias' Yoh Ohyama released the second album of his project, entitled ''Brilliant streams''.Next to the familiar line-up of Haruhiko Tsuda, Akira Hanamoto, Yoko Ueno and Kazumi Sakurai we find two pianists, Tamami Furuta and Hiromi Sakuma, along with To[&*!#]sugu Inoue on bassoon.The recordings followed the same process as the previous release, the album was recorded between August and November 89' at the Phonogenic Studio in Tokyo and released again on the Crime label.

Structurally this one follows the same path as ''Circle in the forest'', three mid-length instrumental tracks are the the first menu, giving space to the 22-min. title-track.An even more mature album compared to the previous one, ''Brilliant streams'' actually recalls the music of MINIMUM VITAL around the same period, an electrified Progressive Rock with balanced use of guitars and keyboards/piano, characterized by the superb breaks into more dreamy soundscapes, filled with melodious textures and deep atmospheres.Basic inspirations come from Progressive Rock, Electronic/Orchestral Music and a touch of New Age and Ethnic Music, thus Mr. Ohyama has been fairly compared to MIKE OLDFIELD.The compositions are never boring, containing plenty of changing climates with some lovely keyboard interludes and piano lines, while Ohyama's and Tsuda's work on electric guitars is excellent, offering a pallette of diverse colors.Lots of dramatic segments with grandiose musicianship as well as a fair dose of elegant, symphonic themes with piano, flutes, choirs and bassoon are the absolute highlights of the long epic of the album, which stands as one of the best Prog arrangements of a hard time.

Very good, dreamy instrumental Progressive Rock.Melodic, intricate and full of different shapes.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Electric Asturias: Fractals by ASTURIAS album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.16 | 68 ratings

BUY
Electric Asturias: Fractals
Asturias Neo-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

4 stars We can call this album as an excitement springing out, can't we? According to what Yoh's said to me, looks like ELECTRIC ASTURIAS, a Japanese Neo-Prog pride, could touch and attract the audience in RoSfest 2013 ... and we've easily understood this pleasant matter via their album "Fractals", that has more brilliant complexity, more comfortable aggression, and more definite "antipop" sense than previous works as ASTURIAS.

Yes, in this album, we cannot avoid the main instrumental dish Tei's violin, that might have got cheered up and brought out by Yoh's composition and arrangement I guess. As if the violin sounds would tear our brain out with the musical gene coreS entangled together, they launch gemmy enthusiasm, the ingredient of the first shot "Double Helix", followed by "Voice From Darkness", characterized by more powerful and darker bass, guitar, drum footsteps. Of course all instrumental parts, especially the rhythm section, play so solidly and dramatically that such a perfect opening can be born. Can be said as the most suitable for the first explosions in this album.

The middle three stuffs are pretty good too. "Castle In The Mist" has three sections- the first and the last are impressive in eccentric melodies created by Tei's heavy, rigid weapon, and as for the middle one, we can get immersed in Yoshihiro's beautiful piano play and psychedelic endeavour, just like the title says. "Moondawn" sounds like a dim light over the sound horizon solidified with hard massive rock symphony.In "Silent Tears - Cyber Transmission" mellow guitar-, dreamy violin-based rock fantasy seasoned with a bit acoustic flavour ... easily digested by the audience methinks.

On the other hand, the last meaningful "fateful" suite "Fate" has another melodic and solemn theatricalism, veiled firstly into synthesizer-based pipe organ silk and electric guitar divine beauty in the first part "Fugue", leaning toward their origin ACOUSTIC ASTURIAS. The second "Argus Last Stand" is a heavy killer along with heavy rhythms, heavy guitar machineguns, heavy keyboard beams, and heavy violin complex-fracture-organization. Reminds us something dramatic like Neo pioneers. The latest "The Lancer" is the true worth of ELECTRIC ASTURIAS featuring their original "rock" motivation and procedure ... keeping melodious-ism, dramatism, theatricalism, and enthusiasm in their inner minds.

Superb album really, let me recommend as one of the musts in Japanese Neo-Prog scene.

 Electric Asturias: Fractals by ASTURIAS album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.16 | 68 ratings

BUY
Electric Asturias: Fractals
Asturias Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Also billed as being by "Electric Asturias" - the name Asturias take on for their electric releases - Fractals is a fascinating collection of instrumental prog numbers which remind me of what might have happened if A Word In Your Eye-era The Lens had taken on a really dynamite violinist and the rest of the band amped up the complexity of their compositions to suit. Project founder Yoh Ohyama sticks to bass guitar rather than playing a wider variety of instruments this time around, which shows that he knows when to step back and let the other instrumentalists take the spotlight a bit; in particular, Tei Sena's violin work on here is absolutely incredible, and Yoshihiro Kawagoe does sterling work on keyboards too.
 Electric Asturias: Fractals by ASTURIAS album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.16 | 68 ratings

BUY
Electric Asturias: Fractals
Asturias Neo-Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars I'm not going to lie, it upsets me greatly when an outstanding progressive album such as this seems to fly completely under the radar and goes almost totally unnoticed - you've all been warned! Although listed as Neo-prog, Asturias has a number of jazz-fusion and classical elements worked into their take on instrumental progressive rock, with great focus on furious and passionate violin by the stunning Tei Sena that gives this band a definite unique sound of their own. `Fractals' is overloaded with memorable instrumental melodies and stunning musicianship, with not a single moment of filler amongst the wonderful compositions offered here.

Opener `Double Helix' is a frantic crash of uptempo neo-prog styled keyboards, commanding violin and winding guitar. Amongst the classical sound there's a snappy aggression to the performance, especially the driving drum-work. The band sounds so confident charging in with this one! The suitably titled `Voice From Darkness' has a more somber dramatic mood, heavier and displaying even occasionally brief sinister moments. Very stirring and darkly sophisticated, nice hypnotic synths and bass throughout too. `Castle In The Mist' is the first epic, with a lovely reflective violin theme at the start and end of the piece, a heartfelt piano/bass middle section, and a powerful main guitar theme reprised throughout with a fiery solo to end on too. The punchy `Moondawn has very neo-prog electric guitar melodies and matching synth runs, with a nice playful jazzy improv section in the middle. A shorter track, it serves as a nice break between the longer pieces. The second epic `Silent Tears' opens with an endless emotional guitar melody and solo, playing in a lonely Santana style with lots of sustained notes that makes it quite heart-wrenching. A weeping violin soon comes in with the rest of the band playing the same melody, but even just the single instrument change dramatically alters the mood. The band then heads in a jazzy fusion direction with piano and full band, the violin and guitar play the exact same melody but take turns to briefly solo - a wonderful and tasteful duel!

Now we come to the three part epic `Suite Of Fate" - We prog fans do love a good multi-part suite! `i. Fugue' is a darkly classical short instrumental performed on church organ and electric guitar. Little bits of Genesis and ELP in this, as well as fellow Japanese band Ars Nova but with less bombastic aggression! The highlights of the upbeat `ii. Argus Last Stand' are jazzy piano, a couple of cool synth solos and a busy drum showdown flying around the dancing violin. After a misleading delicate piano intro, `iii. The Lancer' is a great snappy and energetic number where all members get rapid-fire solos and standout moments.

The album seems to be only available as an expensive imported Japanese CD, but is worth every cent. Not sure if it's hard to come by already, but I urge listeners who are impressed with online sample tracks to get themselves a copy. This album is credited to Electric Asturias to differentiate from the project's acoustic albums. While I love the visually simple but striking front cover artwork, I'm a little conflicted about the the CD's bright pink spine, but at least it's easy to find on the CD shelf!

Easy to listen to, but full of subtlety, hidden complexity and surprising depth, `Fractals' offers the perfect balance of restrained talented musicians knowing when to hold back and let the music breathe, while still impressing with their technical prowess and ear for good memorable hooks. This incredibly energetic, intense and inventive album is a complete joy to listen to, and exactly the reason why we listen to progressive rock in the first place. I'm glad to see several raters have also awarded the album the highest rating.

Along with the most recent `Kotobel - Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble', this one offers some of the finest instrumental progressive rock music of recent years, really raising the bar for other bands. Couldn't be more highly recommended, and I couldn't imagine my collection without it.

Five stars.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives