Ars Nova — Chrysalis
(Musea FGBG 4644, 2005, CD)
by Roel Steverink, Published 2007-03-01I 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 surprisee 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 (Goddness 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.
Related artist(s): Ars Nova
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
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more