Various Artists — Kings' Boards
(MCD 2918, 1990, CD)
by Dan Casey, Published 1994-05-01
This compilation disc features a single cut from each of five budding young Japanese synthesists, who are backed by various members of White Fang, Seilane, and Social Tension. The backing support is mostly bass and drums (no guitar), and they generally play adequately but stay well out of the way of the featured artists. Motoi Sakuraba's entry is a whirling piano-driven piece full of strong melodies and syncopated runs, similar to Minimum Vital or Kit Watkins. Shigetomo Hashimoto offers a light wispy number with lots of flute-like lead lines and punchy brass hits, but the energy level is so low here, and the rhythm section so basic that the song fails to generate much emotion. Stepping out from her band Rosalia, Naomi Miura's track is the gem of the album – she proves herself very capable in a heavily male-dominated genre. Based on a recurring, unusual lopsided groove she sprinkles killer CX-3 organ lines all over the place. Even though the obligatory Emerson references abound, the music is still fresh and full of life, all the while maintaining a very distinct analog feel. The last two cuts, by Manabu Kokado and Kodomo Endoh respectively, are rather weak in comparison. Manabu's piece is a virtual Tony Banks rip-off and Kodomo's is so basic and amateurish it sounds like Kitaro trying to go prog-rock. All in all, the most surprising thing about Kings' Boards is the virtual lack of all-stops-out soloing. With the exception of the first and third tracks, the keyboards are only used to provide melodies and lead lines but the music constantly begs for more. Fortunately, two of the artists deliver the goods. With some reservations, this album should appeal to keyboard aficionados but it's not as strong as its reputation and certainly not in the same league as some of the other young Japanese artists like Il Berlione or Happy Family.
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more