Exposé Online banner

Ars Nova — Chrysalis
(Musea FGBG 4644, 2005, CD)

by Roel Steverink, Published 2007-03-01

Chrysalis Cover artI know this band from The Goddess of Darkness and Book of the Dead, both from the 90s. The Goddess of Darkness is a near masterpiece of bombastic prog. Despite several changes in line up, Ars Nova always stayed a girls’ band, but now one man has joined them, Satoshi Handa. The nucleus is still Keiko Kumagai (all sorts of keyboards and composer), on this outing augmented by Shinko Shibata (bass), Masuhiro Goto (drums), and the previously mentioned Handa on electric guitar. For this album Kumagai sought out six pieces from the whole career of the band and then the whole band played these pieces anew live in the studio. Goddess surprisee me with each track (none of the tracks of Goddess were chosen), do the tracks on Chrysalis do the same? All the pieces here are of later date than Goddess, and I’m afraid that the surprise is gone; I just miss that sniff of brilliancy Kumagai back then had. The guitar chops here remind me of Dream Theater and in the keyboard melodies I hear the Italian band Goblin. What I already noticed on Book of the Dead is over the top bombast (Goddness still left space to breathe); Chrysalis adds a bit of metal-esque atmosphere to the familiar. Although I haven’t heard the orginals, I don’t expect them to be too different from the new interpretations. Nevertheless the music is superbly played, arrangements are strong and the solos and themes are emotionally charged. Seems that Kumagai ran out of ideas after her near masterpiece and sadly this compilation proves it.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Ars Nova

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

The Underground Railroad - The Origin of Consciousness – I found the Underground Railroad’s debut CD to be an uneven affair. Some parts were very good, others less interesting, and in general, the band seemed to be in search of a direction. With their...  (2006) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues