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martes, 19 de abril de 2016

Wappa Gappa - A Myth (1999)


Alucinante banda japonesa de rock progresivo de los 90s. Solamente sacaron 3 discos. Acá Wan los pasa as presentar el progresivo mongol, sí, mongol, de Wappa Gappa. Por favor, no me pregunten cómo es que conocía tantas bandas raras, a ésta no la conocía y nos la presenta nuestro amigo Wan, yo sólo reseño el disco.

Artista: Wappa Gappa
Álbum: A Myth
Año: 1999
Género: Jazz fusion, rock progresivo
Duración: 60:55
Nacionalidad: Japón


Lista de Temas:
1. The lion Hearted King (Shishi-Oh)
2. The banquet (Utage)
3. No mercy (Mujou)
4. The underground (Chikatetsu)
5. A myth (Shinwa)
6. Pilgrimage of Water (Mizu No Junrei)
7. The one and only (Yui Itsu)
8. Floating Ice (Ryuhyo)

Alineación:
- Keizo Endo / bass
- Yasuhiro Tachibana / guitars
- Hirishi Mineo / drums
- Hideaki Nagaike / keyboards
- Tamami Ya mamomto / vocals




En medio de una escena japonesa, escena que el Mago Alberto ya presentó en gran medida pero siempre continuar la recorrida. Es un placer que nos encontremos con la música de Wappa Gappa que mantienen la llama del mejor rock sinfónico, junto a las japonesitas de Ars Nova (tengo varias cosas de ellas para traer), Gerard o Kenso.
Ahora nos toca el turno de presentar a una banda japonesa de rock progresivo. Solamente llegaron a sacar tres discos ("Yamataikoku", "A Myth" y
"Gappa"). En esta ocasión les presentaré su segundo disco.
Esta banda tuvo bastante popularidad en los 90s y es consideranda entre las mejores en el mundo nipón, aunque fue bastante ignorada fuera de su país de origen.
A diferencia de los grupos cuyos miembros han conocido desde la infancia o los "supergrupos" formados por miembros de formaciones disueltas, Wappa Gappa fue una reunión de músicos profesionales y de diversos orígenes,ensamblados desde cero por un productor de jazz y su bajista, sin premeditación por el estilo musical que emprendería el grupo, la naturaleza progresiva de su música nació al poner en marcha su proyecto, fue el estilo que les salió en su ensable como músicos. Suena genial su música y como ellos mismos dicen, lo hacen porque les encanta hacerlo. Aunque ha decir verdad no me cierra del todo la voz. Este disco es difícil (imposible) de conseguir y acá lo compartimos en este espacio cabezón.


Wappa Gappa ha cultivado un estilo propio alejado de las tendencias de moda, ofreciendo sólo 3 álbumes en 10 años. Este disco es la evidencia de que el grupo fue capaz de lograr cohesión, la formación es en realidad la misma en todos los álbumes y casi no han tenido movimiento de personal. La instrumentación es adecuada a su estilo, los músicos son muy competentes, tienen una excelente base, y cuidan en todo momento de dar unidad al conjunto, y la voz va entre lo encantador y lo detestable, musicalmente nos entragan una mezcla de jazz fusión, bastante sofisticado, con toques sinfónicos y de neo-progresivo, siempre al servicio de melodías y cuidando de no caer en la instrumentación hueca. Una de las características del grupo son algunas disgresiones inesperados en el medio de una canción, generalmente en base a buenos solos de una guitarra con sentimiento y sensibilidad.
Los músicos son muy buenos donde resalta un guitarrista excelente, en cuanto al tema vocal es un punto aparte porque si bien me resulta algo irritante, lo cierto es que es muy buena y capaz de dominar incluso las líneas vocales más difíciles con una elegancia extrema
Algo muy positivo, es que siempre expresan su identidad japonesa, por suerte. Iniciativa exitosa que lamentablemente no es tan común entre los grupos nipones; enseguida toman la iconografía occidental para ilustrar sus tapas de discos, recuerden las tapas de Novela, Gerard, Outer Limits, etc. etc... Musicalmente Wappa Gappa es pura grandilocuencia nipona. Además de sus excelentes habilidades de los miembros de la banda, que proporcionan el virtuosismo y la complejidad necesaria hace que todo suene muy homogéneo y poco artificioso.
Wappa Gappa es un proyecto definitivamente japonés y ecléctico, con una producción limpia y un sonido bastante peculiar, expresivo, donde los músicos brillan tanto en grupo como individualmente. Su canto en japonés inspira un aire cautivador, mientras los temas pintan cuadros de colores vivos y poéticos inspirados en antiguas leyendas japonesas, mitos plasmados en el arte pictórico japonés que ilustran los grabados de la tapa del disco. La paleta de colores de los temas pasar por un abanico de colores bastante amplio: jazz rock, sinfonismo y hasta canciones sencillas y melancolícas más cercanas a la balada melódica. Las ideas y los arreglos de las canciones son muy amplias, por lo que no se van a aburrir con la gran variedad de sonidos queencontrarán aquí.
Así es como presentamos, en el blog cabezón, a otro grupo japonés que se suma a la materia Japón que inauguró el Mago Alberto en su escuelita de rock. Wappa Gappa fue una gras banda muy en serio que no tuvo el éxito merecido pero que en el blog cabezón reivindicamos como se merece.

Y si las banda les gusta, me avisan que veo si podemos encontrar más de sus discos.


Ahora vamos con los comentarios en inglés, no he encontrado comentarios en castellano:

I saw this band in Verviers (spirit of 66 ) as a part of a duo with another band ( it was not Ars Nova) that I cannot recall but it must've been Japanese also. If I remember them and not the other one , it is either good or bad . Actually I think of them as pretty good musicians doing slightly different music from the Japan standart prog band - this makes me think of Kenso or Bi Kyo Ran to a lesser extant. Another way would be to classify them in Canterbury , but the music on here is not very fun. They all excell as musicians in technicallity and dexterity , but lack inspiration and inventiveness. This band in concert was lead by the bassist , and I don't remember that much vocals.
Sean Trane

I dont hear much Canterbury here, a little bit of Kenso (in the instrumental passages) but not as intense. Very enjoyable music though. At times they rock pretty good and fall into a nice groove which keeps it interesting. The vocals in Japanese are pretty good and I like her voice, they also do not dominate the music which is nice.....the well thought out instrumental passages carry the majority of the disc. For me this is to a lesser extant the typical Neo Prog thing and leans ever so slightly in the fusion/symphonic realm!! Make sense?
Shon M. Walter

It always seems with many of the Japanese progressive bands, that you really have to take quite a bit of time to ingest the music, this being for a few reasons. One being that they seem to have a whole different ideal for what progressive rock is, and the other is that many of the bands have a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde personality to them, meaning, in the case of Wappa Gappa amoung others, if you were to sample a few songs, you might be left with the impression that they are a fairly straight forward, female fronted band that sings in Japanese, and move along. Yet with persistant listening, you will find yourself looking at your player source to make sure the artist title has not changed. Take the first song on this cd, it starts with beautiful female singing in Japanese, this goes on for a while, and then this great instrumental breakout session begins, complete with stellar guitar playing and furious drumming, as if some hard fusion band just took over.
That is the true beauty of this cd, it's not some old formula for progressive rock, nor does it tend to imitate anything that is considered the norm for todays' prog. It's as if they are either a vocal band with great instrumetations, or an instrumental band that invites a bit of singing to counter the balances. Now I have little or no understanding of the Japanese language, but with a band like this, I don't feel to need to be abreast of the lyrical content, the music is enough to pique my listening gratification. And the singers tone is pleasant and melodic to the point of providing enough harmonic accompaniment to compliment the great music that is going on.
As is the case for many of these great Japanese bands, it's an aquired taste, and one that many prospective listeners may have a hard time being patient for. If you feel the challenge of hearing a female singer in Japanese, in front of a group of intense musicians, especially when they are going from one extreme to another is beyond you threshold for patience, move along to other things, for those that do like these descriptions, A Myth, or Wappa Gappa in general are a very interesting band, toss them into a similar camp with Marge Litch, Mr. Sirius or Pageant
M. J. Brady

The basic sound of A Myth (Musea FGBG 4250.AR) follows the formula coined by Japanese symphonic groups in the 1980s: strong guitars, big synths and bigger melodies crowned with powerful female vocals, simpler than classic symphonic prog yet more extreme in almost every way than the British neo-progressive rock. The musicians are supposedly originally from Mongolia, however, so they don't follow this already well-established formula to the letter. Guitarist Yasuhiro Tachibana adopts a somewhat raunchier-than-average guitar tone and also supplements his powerchords and lyrical leads with an occasional bluesy solo and acid-spiced sonority that project the music back to the late-1960s psychedelic rock, beyond the usual time frame that Japanese symphonic bands tend to draw from. Similarly, vocalist Tamami Yamamoto's very capable voice stretches from graceful high-register gliding to assertive rock utterance, but on "The Banquet (Utage)" she adopts a reedy tone and an undulating verse melody of Asian modality that is more grating to an ear attuned to Western popular music than the skittish riffs and psychedelic wah-wah guitar solos that underlie it. "The Underground (Chikatetsu)" has pop vocal melodies on what is essentially Rainbow-style hard rock with a bit more progressive-style solos from Tachibana and keyboardist Hideaki Nagaike.
Most of the longer tracks are still on the symphonic pipeline established in Kansai in the early-1980s: bigger-than-life vocal episodes, ranging from precious to powerful, alternate with instrumental solos and limited ensemble action. Most of the transitions work pretty seamlessly and without too much artificiality, even if some of Nagaike's brass patches raze the eardrums unnecessarily. Bassist Keizo Endo, on the other hand, provides two of the most stylish solos on the album, the fretless melodising on "The Lion Hearted King (Shishi-Oh)" and a brief growling coda on "The One and Only (Yui Itsu)". The elegantly underplayed ballad "Pilgrimage of Water (Mizu No Junrei)" allows him room for a few more lovely fretless lines and blossoms briefly into a keyboard-swelled vocal rhapsodising whose effect even the slightly heavy-handed guitar solo cannot evaporate. The finale, "Floating Ice (Ryuhyo)", is also notable for the elegance of its vocal lines and rich keyboard work (Hammond and various silky and spacey synthesizer tones), which elevate tremendously what could otherwise have been a rather ordinary neo-progressive powerballad.
Overall this album brings a bit of variation into the Japanese symphonic subgenre, even though not all those experiments are beneficial. Not the best and by no means the worst of its kind.
Kai Karmanheimo

Wappa Gappa is a band of Mongolian musicians, founded in 1992. Their first album was released in 1996 and this year Musea released their second effort, a CD which got the translated title A Myth.
The Lion Hearted King (Shishi-Oh) (8.41) is a wonderful piece in which energetic parts and quieter parts with vocals and fretless bass alternate. The vocals are very good on this one and the track also features some wonderful guitar solo's. Great melodies as well as various tempo changes.
The Banquet (Utage) (6.02) is less accessible than the previous track and has rather weird vocals. The vocal melody is clearly Asian on this one and less enjoyable (to be honest, it annoys the hell out of me). Clearly not one of my favourites. The music itself is fine though.
No Mercy (Mujou) (5.57) is a beautiful gentle ballad.
The Underground (Chikatetsu) (6.46) is another energetic tune with more rock oriented vocals. It's got a great catchy riff as well. One of my favourites on the album.
A Myth (Shinwa) (12.43) starts with a vocal part with a lyricless melody followed by a slightly Yes-like sequence. After the first lyrical part a keyboard solo and another vocal part with string keyboards follow. The vocals in this part are more opera-like, tending towards a Kate Bush style. The next part is has a completely different style again and is dominated by a bluesy guitar solo. The song ends with something which is either a children's choir (what else did you expect ?) or a lot of vacal overdubs. Very interesting track with lots of variations.
Pilgrimage of Water (Mizu No Junrei) (5.44) is a very quiet, laid back song which gets a bit more 'body' later on when more prominent keyboards are added. This song again features lyricless vocal melodies. To top it off, a Floydian guitar solo is present as well.
The One and Only (Yui Itsu) (7.03) starts with acoustic guitar and quiet vocals in once again a new vocal style. It's very impressive to hear the variations in Tamami Yamamoto's voice throughout the album. Later on the song gets more heavy with a complicated rhythm, opera-like vocals and a ripping guitar solo. This track is less accessible than most of the other tracks on the album. Not one of my favourites.
The intro of the last track, Floating Ice (Ryuhyo) (7.34), can easily be compared to the intro of Marillion's King of Sunset Town. The song proceeds as a ballad and also features a keyboard solo in Don Airey-like style. The melody of the chorus is very good.
Wappa Gappa is a very impressive band with very talented musicians, good melodies, many tempo changes and tight rhythms. The female vocalist has a whole range of styles and although not all if them really match my taste, they are no less impressive.
Don't be misleaded by the English song titles and lyrics in the booklet; the actual singing is in Japanese. These Japanese vocals don't disturb me at all (except for those on the second track) since the melodies are so well. As far as that's concerned, I like this band in the same way I like Quidam, and some of the songs wouldn't have been out of place on one of their albums.
The album is very well produced. The 12 page booklet contains translated lyrics, an introduction to Wappa Gappa and pictures of all band members.
Definitely an album to check out !
Conclusion: 8+ out of 10.
Ed Sander

A Myth is the second album from Wappa Gappa (Musea (France) FGBG4250.AR, 1998). The album contains eight symphonically-oriented progressive rock tracks. Production quality is improved substantially over the first album, primarily in the vocal mix, and is evident from the opening track "The Lion Hearted King" (Shishi-Oh). One will immediately notice how the instrumentals are knocked down when Tamami Yamamoto's vocal begins. Instrumental arrangements are more delicately produced with imaging much improved over the band's debut (reviewed above). The booklet accompanying the compact disc contains stunning photographs of the band's members and English translation of the songs' lyrics.
Wappa Gappa's passion for soaring excursions during instrumental bridge featuring guitar and keyboard solos and time signature changes continues into A Myth. From Progression, "Female vocalist Tamami Yamamoto has a sweet earnestness about her delivery that's quite endearing. While everything is sung in Japanese, her sense of conviction shines through." Vocal work is stunning in all respects, however, the strong Asian influence in "The Banquet" (Utage) does not seem to fit into the style of the rest of the album.
While comparisons have been made to Quidam and Nexus in the music press, this is no more evident than in the orchestrally arranged ballad "No Mercy" (Mujou) which grows with passion during the song's choruses. The style is equally apparent in the soaring vocalise of "Pilgrimmage of Water" (Mizu No Junrei), with Tamami's incredibly clear lead vocal. This delicate style is also present in the acoustic guitar-based introduction to "The One and Only" (Yui Itsu) before the heavy electronic instrumental arrangement begins. Powerful soaring vocals seem to perfectly compliment the arrangement. "The Underground" is an impressive progressive rocker driven by thick guitar and somewhat subdued vocals. Melody and time signature variations add to the track's interest.
The epic 12+ minute title track is somewhat reminscent of Renaissance, combining Annie Haslam-style vocals with Yes-like instrumental arrangements. Very enjoyable as a progressive instrumental with loads of variation within its construction, the track features equally stunning soaring crystalline vocals by Tamami Yamamoto. A Myth concludes with the symphonic track "Floating Ice" (Rhuhyo). An atmospheric and ballad-like vocal introduction ultimately surrenders to a more dynamic progressive rock sound with typical Wappa Gappa time signature changes and instrumental excursions.
You can order Wappa Gappa's A Myth from amazon.com here. Their debut album appears to be available through the band's own website.
Wappa Gappa appear to stand apart from their Japanese contemporaries (eg, Providence and August); this is most evident in their songwriting and the symphonic textures produced in their arrangements. The group have also emphasised Tamami Yamamoto's vocals in the tracks, and this is especially apparent in their second ablum. The album will clearly appeal to female vocal enthusiasts and fans of progressive bands Quidam (Poland), Nexus (Argentina), Sagrado (Brazil) and Vermillion Sands (Japan). Certain to appeal to a broad range of progressive rock enthusiasts, their second album joins their first and—worth a cross country journey—is a must listen!
Musical Discoveries

Espero que les guste esta joyita compartida por Wan, imagino que ya saben donde pueden escuchar el disco, y sino, antes que pregunten, les cuento que si quieren algo más de lo publicado aquí, deben suscribirse en la lista de correo cabezona. las instrucciones para ello están aquí...


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