Exposé Online banner

Ars Nova — Chrysalis
(Musea FGBG 4644, 2005, CD)

by Roel Steverink, Published 2007-03-01

Chrysalis Cover art

I know this band from The Goddess of Darkness and Book of the Dead, both from the 90s. The Goddess of Darkness is a near masterpiece of bombastic prog. Despite several changes in line up, Ars Nova always stayed a girls’ band, but now one man has joined them, Satoshi Handa. The nucleus is still Keiko Kumagai (all sorts of keyboards and composer), on this outing augmented by Shinko Shibata (bass), Masuhiro Goto (drums), and the previously mentioned Handa on electric guitar. For this album Kumagai sought out six pieces from the whole career of the band and then the whole band played these pieces anew live in the studio. Goddess surprised me with each track (none of the tracks of Goddess were chosen), do the tracks on Chrysalis do the same? All the pieces here are of later date than Goddess, and I’m afraid that the surprise is gone; I just miss that sniff of brilliancy Kumagai back then had. The guitar chops here remind me of Dream Theater and in the keyboard melodies I hear the Italian band Goblin. What I already noticed on Book of the Dead is over the top bombast (Goddess still left space to breathe); Chrysalis adds a bit of metal-esque atmosphere to the familiar. Although I haven’t heard the orginals, I don’t expect them to be too different from the new interpretations. Nevertheless the music is superbly played, arrangements are strong and the solos and themes are emotionally charged. Seems that Kumagai ran out of ideas after her near masterpiece and sadly this compilation proves it.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Ars Nova

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Box of Crayons - Colorblind Chameleon – This one took me several listens before I could even begin to pin it down enough to write a review. Covering a wide spectrum of art rock, Box of Crayons are certainly interesting. Their starting point...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues