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jueves, 29 de septiembre de 2016

Ars Nova - Lacrimaria (2001)

Un mini disc de edición limitadísisma de las japonesitas ELP. Alguna vez alguien nos pidió que publiquemos todo lo que tengamos de ellas, así que vamos a traer un par de discos que nos estaban faltando. Imagino que no hace falta hablar más de ellas y que todos los cabezones las conocen, no es muy usual un grupo femenino de rock sinfónico a lo Emerson, Lake and Palmer y menos de todas japonesas que poseen una técnica instrumental envidiable, puro rock sinfónico explosivo generado por estas niponas talentosas en un registro inconseguible.

Artista: Ars Nova
Álbum: Lacrimaria
Año: 2001
Género: Rock sinfónico
Duración: 39:59
Nacionalidad: Japón

Lista de Temas:
1. Lacrimaria
2. Resurgence of Fata Morgana
3. Isis
4. Mother
5. Ainsel
6. Pairi-Daeza
07. The Gorgons - Sahara 2001 - Dance Macabre - The Gorgons (Live Version)
08. Chase (Live Version)

- Keiko Kumagai / synthesizers, organ, computer programming
- Mika Nakajima / vocals, synthesizers
- Akiko Takahashi / drums
Other musicians:
Kyoko Kamasawa / bass
Reina / vocals
Numero Uno / vocals

Desde siempre la banda giró en torno a la teclista Keiko Kumagai que potencia esa imagen sensual (y casi sexual) un tanto oscura e inquietante. Su música prácticamente instrumental roza la exactitud mecánica y la épica desmedida entre el inicial rock sinfónico de sus primeros discos con tendencia cada vez más metalera a medida que fueron avanzando sus producciones.

De este disco, solo puedo decir que es una absoluta tragedia que haya una edicion tan limitada. yo tuve la suerte de que keiko me regalo una copia despues de su presentaci{on en orion Studios, de Baltimore, y está supremo. Lo mejor que han hecho estas tres diminutas niponesas. Aseguro que si le mandan correo a Ars Nova, pidiendo el material, esto las hará reaccionar e ir a imprimir más.
Luis Nasser

No pretendo hacer un comentario minucioso, ni aún evaluativo del disco, principalmente porque aún lo sigo escuchando, pero viene en el estilo clásico que ya conocemos de la banda que quizás a algunos les pueda aburrir por sonarles monótona su vertiginosa falta de variaciones compositivas y desarrollos instrumentales, mientras que a otros enloquece sus estructuras complicadísimas y enloquecidamente enrolladas y su virtuosismo a toda prueba. Sea como sea, estas son las japonesitas ELP y viven en el blog cabezón, como no podía ser de otra manera.

Ars Nova es un grupo japonés de rock progresivo instrumental liderado por la teclista Keiko Kumagai. En sus orígenes se dedicaban a versionar a Emerson, Lake and Palmer, influencia que queda patente en todos sus discos.
He escuchado unos cuantos y la verdad es que no me han convencido demasiado, a excepción de "Lacrimaria" que es un poco más escuchable y melódico que el resto.
La música de Ars Nova es abstracta, con poca melodía y difícil de digerir, y con un tono épico que está casi siempre presente y con pocas variaciones en el sonido, lo que hace que resulte un poco monótono.
Esta moza es Keiko.
J. C. Alonso

Como compensación a que no hago un review del disco, aquí dejo algo para que vayan leyendo algún comentario en inglés que nunca falta...

Japanese keyboard trio Ars Nova may well be only the second ever all-female prog band to record and release albums. They began in 1983, at a time when Japan was starting to produce a lot of quality symphonic rock, but by the time their first album Fear & Anxiety (Made In Japan Records MJC-1007) came out in 1992, they were one of the few active champions of the style in Japan. This album lays down the foundations for their aggressive instrumental style, though in many ways it is still a tentative effort. The keyboard player/composer Keiko Kumagai works her keyboard arsenal with great skill, imagination and power: while Keith Emerson influences are obvious in lot of her Hammond and Mini-Moog licks, she also displays angular, minor-key melodicism and dark symphonic imagery which owe more to the melodic attacks and horror movie atmospherics of Italian bands Goblin and Il Balletto di Bronzo than they do to ELP. Like these and other 70's Italian prog bands, Kumagai already shows her ability to smoothly combine intense assaults with brooding lyricism, and to construct rich symphonic arrangements with constant layering and deployment of various keyboard sounds from piano and Hammond to digital synth pads and Mellotron-styled textures. In contrast, bassist Kyoko Kanazawa introduces a traditionally twangy Rickenbacker tone to the mix. While she shows that she can offer a busy counterpoint to Kumagai's keyboards, both her parts and Yumiko Saito's competent drumming are often too subdued (probably more because of the production than playing) to give the music the extra energy boost it requires. So while it has good songs like "House of Ben" and the two-part "Fata Morgana", Fear & Anxiety can be seen as a strong display of intentions that are not yet fully realised. It was later re-released by the British label AMP Records (AMP-CD038) with a live bonus track "Nova" padding out the album's scant 31-minute duration.

Ars Nova's second album Transi (Made In Japan MJC-1006) is generally held in high regard, but not having heard it, I can't comment on it. However, their third album, The Goddess of Darkness (Made In Japan MJC-1014), is certainly a magnificent piece of music. Here Kumagai has shaken off the most obvious Emersonisms and refined both her playing and compositions. She fingers out multiple layers of busy and often sinister classical-styled riffs, blistering solo runs and occasionally frenzied symphonic fanfares with whirlwind-like intensity. Kanazawa's bulky Rickenbacker lines offer a perfect counterpoint to the keyboard rampage, while the new drummer Akiko Takahashi shows she can perfectly follow the wildly fluctuating time signatures with busy ease or lay down a heavy and precise beat when necessary. The only respite is provided by the brooding keyboards-only number "Ainsel", full of spiky piano, screeching metallic samples and unsettling sound effects. Overall the album may produce a chaotic effect, as the songs flash past in ever-mutating, fiery fragments, rather than develop through gradual repetition and variation, but the fury of the delivery is the key to the album's power. While not a perfect classic, The Goddess of Darkness blazes with dark fire that distinguishes it from most of the 1990's symphonic rock albums. Note that from here on Ars Nova's discography bifurcates, as each album comes in both Japanese and French versions with different covers and at least one different track between them.
By the time of Ars Nova's next album, The Book of the Dead (Musea FGBG 4255.AR), Kanazawa had left, and bass duties were handled by guest musician Ken Ishita (ex-Deja Vu). While his playing is just as good as Kanazawa's, he is somewhat less prominent in the mix, which serves to highlight Kumagai's dominance. While most of the album's five long tracks have structural similarity that lends them slight air of sameness, Kumagai keeps stretching the capabilities of her keyboards to come up with new sounds and striking combinations; noteworthy examples include the chiasma of weird synth sounds in "The Judgement of Osiris" and the marimba-like lead line played against the thick chordal backdrop resembling Mellotron string patch in "Ani's Heart and Maat's Feather". There are also more traditional symphonic-styled synth leads and interludes than before, which makes this album a bit more immediately accessible than its predecessor. A host of brief "interludes" offer respite between the intensity of the main tracks, a few of them being suggestive of the Egyptian motifs of the title. The Japanese version goes under the title Reu Nu Pert Em Hru (Made In Japan MJC-1018), and there is even a double vinyl version (Black Widow Records BWRLP 032) with two live bonus tracks.
Unable to find a permanent replacement for Kanazawa, Ars Nova opted for a second keyboard player instead. This was at first Naomi Miura (ex-Rosalia, ex-After The Rain), but Mika Nakajima eventually filled the post on Android Domina (Musea FGBG 4347.AR). Though there is guest bass on two tracks, the album has a slightly lighter and less driving sound, with less emphasis on burning solos all over the place and more emphasis on grand melodies and symphonic sweep. I find the approach a success, as songs like "Horla Rising" and "Bizarro Ballo di Maschera" have some of the most darkly resplendent melodies that the band have ever committed to plastic, and there is still well enough multi-linear complexity to the keyboard arrangements, even if the sounds include more and more harsh percussive samples and fewer traditional analog tones. Nakajima also contributes a bit of clear vocalise and, on the title track, a brief sung verse, all of which enhances the material. As a whole, Android Domina is stronger than The Book of the Dead, and while it doesn't match the energy of The Goddess of Darkness, it largely makes up in melodic splendour. Like their fellow keyboard trio Gerard (with whom they appeared on the Keyboards Triangle tribute disc), Ars Nova have crafted and mastered a distinct style of their own, but unlike Gerard they seem to effect slight but constant change in that sound, probably well aware of the danger of getting stuck in the same groove. -- Kai Karmanheimo GEPR

This mini album is a collection of existing numbers and some unreleased ones.
The problem is that the track choices is not very fortunate I'm afraid : Isis from The Godess Of Darkness and Mother from Android Domina do not belong to their best symphonic style.
The weakest of all is "Ainsel". Totally childish and boring music. Is this Japanese classic? I don't know, but you should better press next to avoid boredom.
There is also a reworking of an old track featured on their debut album "Resurgence Of Fata Morgana". But I can't say that I'm blown away with this version.
The only interesting song is the long "Pairi Daesa" (over ten minutes). It was already featured on another collector album ("Across The World" released in 2001 as well). One can discover the same pleasant Far Eastern influences than on their previous full album "Android Domina" (their best album IMO).
At least this song is not too close to their major source of inspiration ("ELP" of course). But the bombastic style of the band will totally explode during the second part of this song. The highlight of this release which is just a collector item.
Two stars.

Y ya tendremos otra sorpresita de estas chicas, que las disfruten!

2 comentarios:

  1. Esto se ve muy interesante, de dónde puedo sacar el material?? SALUDOS!!

    1. Hola Daniel.
      Tenés que suscribirte a la lista de correo, aquí te dice cómo hacerlo:


      Cualquier problema, nos avisas. Saludos


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Este espacio se reserva el derecho de publicar sobre cualquier tema que parezca interesante a su staff, no solamente referidos a la cuestión musical sino también a lo político y social.
Si no estás de acuerdo con lo expresado podrás dejar tu comentario siempre que no sea ofensivo, discriminador o violento...

Y no te confundas, no nos interesa la piratería, lo nuestro es simplemente desobediencia civil y resistencia cultural a favor del libre acceso al conocimiento (nuestra música es, entre otras tantas cosas, conocimiento).


Este espacio se reserva el derecho de publicar sobre cualquier tema que parezca interesante a su staff, no solamente referidos a la cuestión musical sino también a lo político y social.
Si no estás de acuerdo con lo expresado podrás dejar tu comentario siempre que no sea ofensivo, discriminador o violento...

Y no te confundas, no nos interesa la piratería, lo nuestro es simplemente desobediencia civil y resistencia cultural a favor del libre acceso al conocimiento (nuestra música es, entre otras tantas cosas, conocimiento).