Exposé Online banner

Shingetsu — Live
(Musea FGBG-4571, 1979/2004, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2005-09-01

Live Cover art

I haven’t heard Shingetsu’s studio album, so this concert recording is my introduction to their music, and it’s quite a surprise. And like many surprises, it has both good and bad aspects. The good is the music itself – this is very tasty stuff, firmly in the footsteps of the English masters of prog, especially Genesis, but with enough originality and personality to lift it above mere emulation. The bad is the recording quality – I’ve heard audience boots better than this. But through the distorted drum sounds and the overloaded bass, you can tell this band was really cooking. They have a lot going for them. Vocalist Makoto Kitayama has a strong, somewhat androgynous sound nothing like any other singer I can think of. Haruhito Tsuda is a very versatile guitarist, able to handle delicate passages as well as scream out a solo. Keyboards are quite prominent, with band member Akira Hanamoto joined by guest Takashi Kokubo for walls of organ, piano, Mellotron, and synthesizers. The rhythm section (Shizuo Suzuki on bass and Naoya Takahashi on drums) provide muscular backing for the tunes – no wimpy artsiness here. They even have a few surprises up their sleeves, like the aggressive rock tune “She Can’t Return Home,” with its driving beat, tricky unison breaks, and a middle section with a strange synthetic voice. There are also occasional flashes of Japanese flavor, further distinguishing Shingetsu from the English bands. From the tiny pictures included, this must have been quite a spectacular show.

[Note: This release is from the same concert as the Belle Antique CD Akai Me No Kagami, with bonus tracks added.]


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 32, 2004 releases, 1979 recordings

Related artist(s): Shingetsu

Latest news

2018-02-18
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

2018-02-15
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

2018-02-14
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

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tom Heasley - Desert Tryptich – On his previous recordings Where the Earth Meets the Sky and On the Sensations of Tone (reviewed in #23 and #26 respectively), Heasley’s floating ambient epics were created with the tuba as the...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues