Exposé Online banner

Il Berlione — Il Berlione
(Belle Antique 9229, 1992, CD)

by Mike Ezzo, 1996-03-01:

Il Berlione Cover art

It must have been 1991 or so when I received a tape from a friend of this group. Dutifully impressed to say the least, I couldn't believe that they had no CD releases yet. But finally, after a few private demo tapes, and an appearance on Lost Years in Labyrinth, Belle Antique had them record an entire album made up of new works, plus a few reworkings of pieces from their cassettes. What you get on Il Berlione is one of the most impressive-sounding albums from any Japanese band. Imagine an RIO-type approach, melded to a level of virtuosity found in fusion, and tempered to perfection by a sensitivity to progressive rock, and melodic structures. They manage to avoid any of the excesses of either RIO (noise) or jazz-fusion (soloing). This group really turned the tide around stylistically, and played an important role in shaping the course of Japanese prog in the 90s. I believe Il Berlione may have been influenced by Kenso's music. But they have given it a spicy twist, and on this album have an uncanny knack at sidestepping any particular genre. This is some of Japan's most unique music.


by Peter Thelen, 1993-10-01:

No, this is not another lost 70s Italian reissue, but instead a powerful new Japanese quintet featureing guitar, bass, saxes, keys and drums. Their sound could best be described as a canterbury/RIO influenced rock with a healthy dose of mid-period King Crimson. There are strong jazz elements, comparable to the Hopper/Dean period of Soft Machine, and the angularity and moodiness of Univers Zero. Guitarist Naoya Idonuma dominates many of the tracks with his ever finger-blistering leads, playing in a multitude of textures, reminding at times of Beck, Fripp, even Zappa and Santana, but the similarities are more event driven than any sort of conscious emulation, fitting a style to the moment. Hiroo Takano (saxes) generally works in close conjunction with Naoya, but does split off from time to time for some eloquent solos. More than anything else, it is his saxes and the restless rhythm section that connects their sound to the Canterbury/RIO style. Keyboardist Hirofumi Taniguchi maintains All taken, this is one excellent album, especially considering it's their first! Fans of Soft Machine, Crimson, National Health and Henry Cow will most certainly enjoy this one.

Filed under: New releases , Issue 1 , 1992 releases

Related artist(s): Il Berlione

More info

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Blackmore's Night - Secret Voyage – The partnership of guitar god Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow) and Candace Night (skimpy bodice) has been going strong for 10 years, and — despite the Ren Faire and LARP associations —...  (2009) » Read more

Pip Pyle's Equip' Out - Up! – Recorded in fall 1991, the second release from Pip Pyle’s pet project has only recently seen the light of day on the US import market. On the occasion of Pip’s recent trip to the US and...  (1996) » Read more

Urban Sax - Urban Sax à Jakarta – For those unfamiliar with Urban Sax, check out the reviews of their earlier albums in issue #5 for all the background information. This four-track mini-CD (eighteen minutes total) captures a live...  (1996) » Read more

Various Artists - 70's West Japanese Rock Scene – Apart from the Tokyo scene in the 70s, there were many progressive bands operating in the Kansai region, outside of Tokyo and in the west of Japan, in places like Osaka, Kyoto, and elsewhere. 70's...  (1996) » Read more

Various Artists - Electroacoustic Music #5 – In these days where electronic music is generally thought of as mindless dance beats with sampled accents, it’s important to remember that the pedigree of electronic music goes back many decades...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues