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Thread: Is japanese band ars nova dead?

  1. #76
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Dreamer View Post
    Gerard released some 80's albums that I'm not keen on (they had a guitarist and at times an American singer, more poppish)
    Robin G. Suchy. I think he was from Ireland. Or did I dream it?

  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Dreamer View Post
    They do sound similar on the Keyboards Triangle album(s) (they made two) but on their originals I hear a lot more fire and dynamics and melodies in Gerard's music. Ars Nova's albums I just found unremarkable. Not bad, just... "there." Gerard released some 80's albums that I'm not keen on (they had a guitarist and at times an American singer, more poppish) but their 90's and on stuff is 3-piece keyboard stuff. Gerard will have maybe one or two Japanese vocal parts on their 3-piece albums (not sure who's singing) but there's plenty of instrumental stuff. You can tell the keyboardist is a big fan of UK as he does these Jobson-like glissandos (is that the right word?).
    Actually, Gerard's 80s and early-90s releases had the above-mentioned Yukihiro Fujimura on guitar and Japanese vocals (with a stray English phrase thrown in here and there). The Canadian singer Robin G. Suchy only appeared on 1996's The Pendulum and on the two next releases. The vocals never bothered me, though I lost interest in Gerard after Sighs of the Water.

    You're right that they have, at their best, incredible energy and really powerful, catchy melodies. So much so, that you tend to overlook how simple some of their stuff is. I think it stems from Egawa's background in Novela and hard rock in general (or is Earthshaker more of a metal band?). Which is quite different from Ars Nova. Who tend to be less organic. If Egawa is happy stringing together a couple of themes with hurricane soloing, Kumagai's problem seems to be throwing a lot of riffs and themes together without much development. And yes, doing the same thing again and again. Which is part of the reason why I didn't keep up with either group.

    That said, I think Transi and Goddess of Darkness are still good for just their energy, abundance of ideas (not all of them good) and the (sometimes hokey) darkish vibe. I lost interest after Android Domina, which I thought was better than its predecessor for trying something a bit different, though not always succeeding. The lack of really memorable themes and the clunkiness, at least compared to Gerard, is what fails them in the longevity stakes. And what I heard of later albums, progressive metal seemed the order of the day and metal has never been my thing.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    Cool!
    Yes, symphonic is as good a sub-category for Kenso as you're likely to get. But as with a lot of categorization, I think this misses their very strong fusion slant, and the fact that their take on "Symphonic Prog" has a hell of a lot more teeth and depth than most of the fluff that gets tossed in this sort of "catch all" category. In any case, even a casual listen of Kenso II or III would be enough to know you're not in Marillion territory.

    Bill
    Agreed, though I think Kenso's fusion influence was at its strongest on the albums after the two releases Trane sampled. Though, I suspect that those albums would still sound too 80s for his tastes, as would (the quite nice, but no more, IMO) Hat and Field, even though it has a strong Canterbury vibe. Perhaps (shudder) Esoptron with its at times Focus-like vibe might go down better?

  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    Agreed, though I think Kenso's fusion influence was at its strongest on the albums after the two releases Trane sampled. Though, I suspect that those albums would still sound too 80s for his tastes, as would (the quite nice, but no more, IMO) Hat and Field, even though it has a strong Canterbury vibe. Perhaps (shudder) Esoptron with its at times Focus-like vibe might go down better?
    I think Trane will like it even less. I would submit Yume No Oka as his "test." If he doesn't like that, then Kenso's not his bag.

  5. #80
    Quote Originally Posted by dropforge View Post
    I think Trane will like it even less. I would submit Yume No Oka as his "test." If he doesn't like that, then Kenso's not his bag.
    I concur with this.

  6. #81
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vis4victor View Post
    while we r discussing japanese prog why not this guy?
    I really enjoyed that, thx.



    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dropforge View Post
    I think Trane will like it even less. I would submit Yume No Oka as his "test." If he doesn't like that, then Kenso's not his bag.
    I concur with this.
    Not looking for more of that kind of stuff, thx
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

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    Quote Originally Posted by dropforge View Post
    I think Trane will like it even less. I would submit Yume No Oka as his "test." If he doesn't like that, then Kenso's not his bag.
    Yup.
    Prog's Not Dead

  8. #83
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Not looking for more of that kind of stuff, thx
    Not looking for more Bruford-esque jazz-rock fusion? Well, suit yourself.

  9. #84
    Wow! That was quick! I've been off the site for a bit. Thought I'd come back & poke around. Keiko from Ars Nova's a long-time pal, so this thread intrigued me. Little did I suspect this was a "shit on the band" thread. Have fun, folks! Catch ya later!
    Sleeping at home is killing the hotel business!

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilcox660 View Post
    Wow! That was quick! I've been off the site for a bit. Thought I'd come back & poke around. Keiko from Ars Nova's a long-time pal, so this thread intrigued me. Little did I suspect this was a "shit on the band" thread. Have fun, folks! Catch ya later!
    Not everyone's a party pooper.

  11. #86
    OMG, news are just in that not only are they dead, they're:
    evil-dead-japan-4.jpg
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilcox660 View Post
    Wow! That was quick! I've been off the site for a bit. Thought I'd come back & poke around. Keiko from Ars Nova's a long-time pal, so this thread intrigued me. Little did I suspect this was a "shit on the band" thread. Have fun, folks! Catch ya later!
    Not from me.

  13. #88
    Quote Originally Posted by wilcox660 View Post
    Wow! That was quick! I've been off the site for a bit. Thought I'd come back & poke around. Keiko from Ars Nova's a long-time pal, so this thread intrigued me. Little did I suspect this was a "shit on the band" thread. Have fun, folks! Catch ya later!
    Well, I stood up for them, or tried to. I definitely disagree with those who write them off as “just an ELP clone.” They have more influences than that, such as horror-movie soundtracks (Goblin, in particular, is an obvious and pervasive influence). I applaud them for not going the easy route of cheesy classical adaptations, instead writing 100% original material. That said, I do agree that their sound is pretty homogeneous. I thought Transi was an excellent album, but everything I’ve heard by them since (the more recent metal-flavored stuff notwithstanding) pretty much repeats the formula with varying degrees of success. For what it’s worth, I played the first few minutes of Transi to a friend of mine who’s a classically-trained organist, and he was pretty bowled-over. Not to mention, Ars Nova managed to find something of an audience (albeit not necessarily a large one) outside the prog underground. Can The Flower Kings claim the same?
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    Well, I stood up for them, or tried to. I definitely disagree with those who write them off as “just an ELP clone.” They have more influences than that, such as horror-movie soundtracks (Goblin, in particular, is an obvious and pervasive influence). I applaud them for not going the easy route of cheesy classical adaptations, instead writing 100% original material. That said, I do agree that their sound is pretty homogeneous. I thought Transi was an excellent album, but everything I’ve heard by them since (the more recent metal-flavored stuff notwithstanding) pretty much repeats the formula with varying degrees of success. For what it’s worth, I played the first few minutes of Transi to a friend of mine who’s a classically-trained organist, and he was pretty bowled-over. Not to mention, Ars Nova managed to find something of an audience (albeit not necessarily a large one) outside the prog underground. Can The Flower Kings claim the same?
    Played Transi the other day and realized how much this is Halloween type music. Should have played it at Halloween. Cover fits the music.

  15. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    Well, I stood up for them, or tried to. I definitely disagree with those who write them off as “just an ELP clone.” They have more influences than that, such as horror-movie soundtracks (Goblin, in particular, is an obvious and pervasive influence). I applaud them for not going the easy route of cheesy classical adaptations, instead writing 100% original material. That said, I do agree that their sound is pretty homogeneous. I thought Transi was an excellent album, but everything I’ve heard by them since (the more recent metal-flavored stuff notwithstanding) pretty much repeats the formula with varying degrees of success. For what it’s worth, I played the first few minutes of Transi to a friend of mine who’s a classically-trained organist, and he was pretty bowled-over. Not to mention, Ars Nova managed to find something of an audience (albeit not necessarily a large one) outside the prog underground. Can The Flower Kings claim the same?
    It's safe to say Transi, Goddess of Darkness and Book of the Dead represent their best three-album arc. Add the dyn-o-mite live Across the World to that mix. I also like Fear & Anxiety a lot. They were gettin' their groove on. And yes, I do like Android Domina. So there's the six-pack I'd recommend to anybody who likes heavy-duty keyboards-centric instrumental prog.

    Back in '95, Transi made me an insta-fan.

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  17. #92
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    I really think the first album Fear & Anxiety is great. It's one that has held up well over the years, and a couple of recent listens have only enhanced my experience.

    My recollection is that Transi was even better, but it's been too long since I last heard my CD to defend that position.

    I dutifully picked up Goddess of Darkness (even got suckered in to buy the plastic hard cover design thingy - it was at ProgDay 96 in fact - anyone else get this version?) as well as Book of the Dead, but I just haven't heard either of the CDs in over 20 years. They're here, so I'm sure I will eventually, but I recall each becoming more predictable than the last, and I stopped accumulating at that point.

    In recent years I've picked up Android Domina and Seventh Hell on the cheap. I decided to sell the former. It's good for sure, but I have enough stuff like that in the collection. Seventh Hell on the other hand seemed better. I don't have any notes to support that, but I'm keeping it for now. I haven't heard any of their other recordings.

  18. #93
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  19. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by dropforge View Post
    Cool! Love the bass player's short scale Fender!

    Quote Originally Posted by ashratom View Post
    I really think the first album Fear & Anxiety is great. It's one that has held up well over the years, and a couple of recent listens have only enhanced my experience.
    I agree, as I said earlier I think this one gets unfairly overlooked and might actually appeal to folks who don't stuff like Goddess of Darkness. It has a somewhat different overall feel.

    Quote Originally Posted by ashratom View Post
    My recollection is that Transi was even better, but it's been too long since I last heard my CD to defend that position.
    I'm not sure why, but I never got that into Transi and it is my least favorite of the first four. I need to give it another spin.

    I'd suggest you give Book of the Dead another spin. That's the album the video track above is from, and I really like the compositions on this album, and how they're separated by little acoustic interludes which gives the album a somewhat more organic feel. This is my favorite of theirs.

    Bill

  20. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post

    I'd suggest you give Book of the Dead another spin. That's the album the video track above is from, and I really like the compositions on this album, and how they're separated by little acoustic interludes which gives the album a somewhat more organic feel. This is my favorite of theirs.

    Bill
    Good to know and will do!

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    Wow! I just stumbled onto this thread and am surprised at the opinions here. Yeah, they were never the most original band in the world but I don't want that all the time. Sometimes I just want some damned comfort Prog, man! Ars Nova fits the bill for me. That said, I really like all their LP's with The Goddess Of Darkness being my favorite. Fun stuff.

    And Kenso is not Neo-Prog. But all of you (with one exception) already knew that!!!
    Prog's Not Dead

  22. #97
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    They did at least one album with vocals. Never heard it so canít comment on it. Was that the last album they made and was there more than one with vocals?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  23. #98
    Quote Originally Posted by wilcox660 View Post
    Wow! That was quick! I've been off the site for a bit. Thought I'd come back & poke around. Keiko from Ars Nova's a long-time pal, so this thread intrigued me. Little did I suspect this was a "shit on the band" thread. Have fun, folks! Catch ya later!
    An update from the source might have been useful - still active? - Thnx!

    v

  24. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by vmartell View Post
    An update from the source might have been useful - still active? - Thnx!

    v
    The band is still an item, they performed at a Japanese Prog Festival in April..

  25. #100
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    ^The only Ars Nova trio member who has never shown up since leaving — if you don't count Yumiko, the drummer on Fear & Anxiety — is bassist Kyoko Kanazawa. Everyone else has played together recently.

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