Exposé Online banner

Various Artists — Tokyo Symphonic Syndrome
(Belle Antique 9464, 1994, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 1994-10-01:

Tokyo Symphonic Syndrome Cover art Japanese progressive compilations are always an interesting listen, and this one's no exception — a collection of groups that never made an album but performed live in Tokyo in what sounds like the early 80s. The Made in Japan Session band is up first, with their "Babylonia," a lush and rich symphonic track that immediately moves into high gear with a brilliant Kit Watkins like keys solo. Moving through upbeat and mellow phases, this is a great way to start off this collection — dynamic emotional, and compelling. Time Unit's track "The Clap" starts out with a Crimson like feel — similar in style to bands like Bi Kyo Ran, Arachnoid, or Shylock, with picked angular chords over a solid rhythm base. This long track shows Crimson influence in various ways, especially in the Larks' Tongues era, and moves in various phases from driving Ain Soph like jams to mellow atmospheric parts. This one grows on you over listens. Aquapolis' self titled suite is the compilation's gem, although unfortunately the sound quality gets a bit hissy throughout it. While it almost sounds like it was pieced together posthumously, the 15 minutes works well as a suite. This is a very picturesque track, one of the most lush and vivid I have heard. The bubbling, twittering intro is very effective, giving a very good underwater impression. The music moves from spacey to upbeat back to Vangelis like melodic synth over its course, and it works great. I'd like to hear more by this group. Green's "Miyako" is possibly a distillation of the previous three into five or six minutes, a dense web of progressive with a decidedly Italian flavor to it similar to Kenso — complex, innovative, and surprising.

by Peter Thelen, 1996-03-01:

The Japanese symphonic rock scene didn't really pick up steam until the mid-80s, at least as far as record releases were concerned. Numerous bands existed prior to that time but were generally ignored by the Japanese labels, many releasing only demo tapes or flexi-discs. A few of the uncompromising outfits (like Shingetsu, for example) were picked up by majors, but quickly dropped when their albums didn't sell well, while others, like Novela, had to moderate their albums with more commercially viable material. The CD release Tokyo Symphonic Syndrome on Belle Antique attempts to document the studio recordings of four of Tokyo's most uncompromising bands who never made it to a proper album release. The Made In Japan session band is first up, a four-piece featuring members of Outer Limits and two other bands in a special studio side-project from 1981, and the only track on this compilation featuring vocals. Next up is Time Unit, featuring Takeshi Naganuma who would later go on to Lacrymosa and Golden Avant Garde; their contribution, the heavily Crimson influenced "The Clap" was originally released on a flexi in 1982. Aquapolis offers their "Aquapolis Suite," a sixteen-minute epic from mid-1981 that has never seen release in any form until now. Likewise with Green, offering the collection's shortest track at six minutes, "Miyako" exhibits a high degree of originality, fusing intense ELP like keyboards with an almost-Magma-esque rhythm section. Since most of the material here was taken from old tapes or flexis, the sound quality tends to be a little substandard, but is more than made up for by the inspired performances.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 9 , 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Various Artists

More info

Latest news

2021-01-18
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

2020-12-09
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

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
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

2020-10-06
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


Previously in Exposé...

Tony Levin - Pieces of the Sun – Tony Levin’s newest release is a true band effort, the direct result of touring after his previous CD, Waters of Eden (previously reviewed). He remains on the Narada label, though (even more...  (2002) » Read more

Mani Neumeier - Sketches – When you hear the name Mani Neumeier you think of his body of work with Guru Guru and his zaniness in concert. In addition, when you hear that he has released his first solo album, Sketches, which he...  (2008) » Read more

Jon Rose - The Hyperstring Project (New Dynamic of Rogue Counterpoint) – I’m not even going to try to explain how this music was made – check out the web site for details. Just take it as given that Jon Rose has created a monster with violin ancestry, and...  (2001) » Read more

Celeste - Celeste (AKA Principe di un Giorno) – Celeste's first album, also known as Principe di un Giorno, is an absolute gem, an overlooked classic that deserves a place among the best Italian releases of the classic period. Originally...  (1995) » Read more

Satori - Tick – This is one of those albums that seems rather irrelevant in the scheme of things. Not that it's bad, but there are tons of ambient albums even with prominent guitar that are much better. This...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues