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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Futari

Beyond

Review by Gary Hill

When writing the review for this CD I've focused on what things sound like, so you'll see percussion mentioned frequently, and it actually is accurate, but probably not in the way you would think. You see, there are two musicians here, Taiko Saito who plays vibraphone and Satoko Fujii who plays piano. Now, both of those instruments technically qualify as percussion, so really it's all percussion. Still, they use their instruments in unusual and creative ways. I swear at times that I hear other things. This music is not progressive rock in a traditional sense, but it is both progressive and art music. There are space qualities. I know they are considered jazz, but the form of jazz they play is much more free-form and experimental than what most people would consider jazz. This is unique and odd music, but it's also very compelling.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Molecular
This comes in very ambient and tentative. Eventually it rises up just a little via tuned percussion. That percussion gives way to a short piece of silence before it rises back upward by itself. Then the earlier sonic elements emerge again as the piece moves forward. The arrangement is open and sparse. It does get more involved and louder before it's over.
Proliferation
There is an almost spooky or menacing element to this. It's again a percussion-based number. It's also still very free-form. It's perhaps a little less sparse, though. There is piano in the number, too, later. It gets pretty driving in an odd way.
Todokanai Tegami
Freaky music based around the piano and ambient elements gets this going. There is a real space art music texture to this piece. This piece gets much more melodic via the piano as it continues. There is an echoey darkness to it. It feels like something that would be at home on a horror soundtrack. This is very classy and one of the highlights of the disc.
Beyond
The early portions of the title track are very ambient. It grows to more powered up sections later. It's packed full of tasty weirdness, but piano leads the way in this second conception.
On The Road
Fast paced piano brings this into being. The vibes on the tune bring some extra sonic angles. This does move more toward jazz zones, but it's also classical and art music based. This cut makes me think of early King Crimson in some ways. It's very freeform and among the most energetic things here.
Mizube
Another that has quite a bit of energy at times, there is a great contrast between mellower and louder modes on this piece. Piano and spacey elements both play a strong role here.
Ame No Ato
This piece is crazed, noisy, chaotic and so cool. I'd argue that it's more art music meets classical than it is jazz. It's driving, tastefully strange and one of the strongest cuts here. It's largely piano-based.
Mobius Loop
The contrast between mellower and louder is pretty stark on this. The mix of jazz, classical, art music and space is also impressive. This gets pretty crazed before it's over.
Spectrum
Another spacey, trippy piece, I love the echoey nature of this.
 
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