Exposé Online banner

Yuka and Chronoship — Dino Rocket Oxygen
(Musea MP 3271, 2013, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 2014-06-20:

Dino Rocket Oxygen Cover art

Two years after their debut release, Yuka and Chronoship are back with Dino Rocket Oxygen. There is a marked improvement in composition and musicianship. The music is more sophisticated, not dominated by the same keyboard sounds, and the guitar work is vastly superior. While Water Reincarnation was primarily a vehicle for band founder and keyboardist Yuka Funakoshi, Dino Rocket Oxygen showcases a maturing band performing as an integrated unit. Dino Rocket Oxygen is a collection of three separate suites: “Dinosaurs,” “R Is for Rocket,” and “Oxygen.” Each suite is further broken down into separate tracks, a total of 11 for the disc. The “Dinosaurs” suite is orchestral with lots of Mellotron, bubbly guitar arpeggios, organ, and synths that combine elements of 70s Italian prog and progressive jazz. The three movements segue nicely from one to the next. If you are a long time science fiction fan, you will remember that Ray Bradbury published in 1960 a collection of short stories titled R Is for Rocket. The second suite is dedicated to Ray Bradbury and it is more a collection of musical vignettes than one long piece, each exploring different styles ranging from experimental to 80s electronic music. A case in point is “Stargazer,” which could have been a standalone track. This is a poppy synth track reminiscent of Jean Michel Jarre and Mike Oldfield. And the short (1:49) “An Arrow of Glittering Music” begins with a bit of classical music on the radio in a room and then Takashi Miyazawa sounds like he is practicing his guitar in his home studio. Half way through the sound clarifies and the music becomes more sophisticated and I detect a slight Close to the Edge vibe. The third suite has three parts: “O,” “O2,” and “O3.” Overall, the “Oxygen” suite has a more percussive approach but also incorporates church organ, sweeping orchestral themes, Mellotron, and doubled guitars. Dino Rocket Oxygen is a vast improvement and demonstrates a band honing its skills.


by Jon Davis, 2014-04-13:

I'll admit to reservations coming into this one. While the idea of a keyboard-centered band led by a Japanese woman doesn't by itself promise bad results, in my preparations I searched for videos and other materials online, and didn't find them promising. Happily, Dino Rocket Oxygen defies those expectations and is quite enjoyable. While it's true that Yuka Funakoshi and her cohorts don't present anything groundbreaking or mindblowing, they do give a prog fan a good set of music to enjoy that harkens to many of the highlights of the past without being simply derivative. The first of the CD's three suites ("Dinosaurs," "R Is for Rocket," and "Oxygen") begins with the brief atmospheric introduction called "Which Came First, the Dinosaur or the Egg?" after which we get "Dance with Dinosaurs," which has some fine work on organ, synth, and piano. I particularly like the dissonant clusters she throws in at the ends of some of the phrases, like a big dino foot smashing the keys. And guitarist Takashi Miyazawa gets in some good bits too, with some interesting distorted tones to contrast with the generous dose of keyboards. So if you're thinking the world didn't need another Ars Nova, you'll be pleased that Yuka and Chronoship is distinctly different. Funakoshi's keyboards are less aggressive and showoffy than Keiko Kumagai's, with lyrical themes and good textures, not as reminiscent of Keith Emerson. And while the vast majority of the album is instrumental, there are vocal moments, with wordless chords and melodies appearing in "Skygazer" (a tune where one of the melodies is a variation on "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"). Lyrics first appear about halfway through, though they are electronically processed almost beyond recognition; more straightforward singing appears later, but this music is never really about the singing. I've got to say that such overt lyricism and soaring melodies would normally leave my attention wavering, but this works. The "Oxygen" suite presents a much more percussive sound, further endearing me to the band by bringing in something new, and cementing my recommendation. Fans of classic melodic progressive rock should eat this up, and even a skeptic like me can enjoy the flavors.


Filed under: New releases , 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Yuka & Chronoship

More info

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Richie Havens - Nobody Left to Crown – If one hasn't listened to anything new by Richie Havens since the 60s or 70s, perhaps it’s time to listen again. If anything, this latest offering from the respected singer-songwriter is as good as...  (2009) » Read more

Hawkwind - Golden Void 1969-1979 – Hey look, it's another Hawkwind compilation! I hope they got paid for this one. For your information, the band is as unhappy as the fans about the crop of Hawkwind reissue albums that pop up,...  (1999) » Read more

Colour Haze - Tempel – While there are numerous bands out there breaking new ground and never looking back, there are just as many others breathing new life into tried and true styles of decades long gone. For vintage...  (2007) » Read more

Audra & Voltaire - Audra & Almost Human – Audra captures the factory sound of the late 70s, of bands like Bauhaus and Joy Division. Their debut CD opens with a tasty little bit of nostalgia. “In All Our Androgyny” features an...  (2001) » Read more

Anthony Phillips - Private Parts and Pieces I & II – Released in 1978 and 1980 respectively (though recorded earlier), when acoustic music was anything but in vogue, the first two Private Parts & Pieces collections set the tone for much of...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues