Pneuma — Psychabuse
(Belle Antique 9588, 1985/1995, CD)
by Mike Ezzo, 1996-03-01:
The release of Pneuma's CD represents a much-needed effort at filling the gaps in the huge hole that has opened up in Japan with this genre: that of the solo electronic / synth. artist. For other than Kitaro, Akira Ito, and Fumio Miyashita, I can think of only a few scattered remnants of this style over the last ten or fifteen years. Cosmic electronic music just doesn't seem to be in big demand in Japan. Currently the leader of Trembling Strain, Hiroyuki Shimada went by the monicker "Pneuma" during the 80s, when most of this music was recorded. However it sat unreleased until now. There is quite a lot of music on Psychabuse: a couple pieces near the twenty-minute mark, plus three more at about eleven minutes each. "Symbiophony" and "Penumbra of Passed Phases" seem to recall Klaus Schulze in his Mirage era, a little too repetitive. But later, on "Moment of Awakening," he presents a different perspective, that includes some acoustics: hand drums and flutes, etc. This is where Pneuma's uniqueness shines the most, closer to the territory of his Trembling Strain project. As the album progresses he introduces Japanese melodies and it really blossoms into a truly Japan-esque work. It's refreshing to see the synthesizer music medium finally acknowledged in Japan. Kudos to Pneuma, and to Belle Antique for unearthing this one.
by Peter Thelen, 1995-07-01:
A repetitive pattern recalling the spirit of "Tubular Bells" introduces the listener, continuing long after its worn out it's welcome, creating a nervous tension – nothing could go on this way forever, something has to happen here – and indeed it finally does, like a blossoming flower, intoxicating pulsating waves pushing in and out like the tides, as colorful synthetic patterns dance across a pastel sky. Finally, the gongs and hand drums kick in, offering some earthly substance as a tether for your cerebral meanderings. So goes the opener "Symbiophony" on the latest release by Japanese cosmic/trance wizard Pneuma. He plays an array of synthesizers, sequencers, rhythm machines, and other electronic devices, as well as acoustic instruments (gongs, tabla, santoor, e-bow, bottle percussion, ocarina) and voices. The five tracks range from ten to twenty minutes each, mysterious and compelling soundscapes that develop and change gradually over time, yet each is unique unto itself. Fans of early Rich, Schulze and Lightwave are sure to appreciate where Pneuma is coming from. Although these tracks were originally recorded in the period from 1979-85, this is the first time they've seen official release. Recommended!
Related artist(s): Pneuma
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more
Anoushka Shankar / Karsh Kale - Breathing under Water – Acclaimed sitar master Anoushka Shankar and ex-Tabla Beat Science techno beat master Karsh Kale teamed up for one of the surprise East-meets-West collaborations of last year. The two musicians are... (2009) » Read more