Exposé Online banner

Bellaphon — Firefly
(Musea FGBG 4194.AR, 1987/1996, CD)

Bellaphon — Delphi
(Belle Antique 95140, 1986/1995, CD)

by Steve Robey, 1997-02-01:

Firefly Cover artDelphi Cover art

Bellaphon are a four-piece from Japan, consisting of the standard guitar / bass / keys / drums lineup. Their arrangements are heavy on the keyboards, with Camel-like guitar breaks providing the contrasts. As a purely instrumental units, they eschew vocals in favor of the soloing strengths of Toshihiro Tanaka (guitar) and Mitsutaka Kaki (keys), which are quite impressive. Even better is when Tanaka whips out the acoustic guitar and picks out some lovely progressions. Occasional meter changes from 4/4 to 6/8 are also a plus, as on the title track, which also introduces a Hammond organ sound (albeit a digital-sounding one) and a typically lyrical guitar solo.

While this set is certainly accomplished, there is nothing too distinctive or memorable about it. The flowing instrumentals and solos seem to be not the means to an end, but an end itself. In other words, they just don't dig any deeper than skin-deep. I'm sure this is just a matter of taste; thus, I urge you to judge for yourself. The energetic instrumentals do leave a lot of room for interpretation for the listener.


by Peter Thelen, 1996-03-01:

Probably best known for their 1987 album, Firefly, this instrumental four-piece existed from around 1982, and co-existed with the mid-80s Ain Soph, keyboardist Mitsutaka Kaki and drummer Taiqui Tomiie being members of both bands, and Ain Soph bassist Masahiro Torigaki was involved in the earliest formation of Bellaphon. Their sound could be compared at times to early Camel, circa Moonmadness, with a strong emphasis on melodic content and heavy interplay between keyboards and guitars. Symphonic touches abound, and the compositions are quite good, yet sometimes lack some of the thematic development that might make the material classic. Other comparisons might be Finch in their Galleons of Passion period, or Sebastian Hardie, due to the prominently featured guitar and keyboard soloing.

Delphi is an album's worth of early recordings that pre-date the Firefly LP by several years, some from as early as 1982. The collection includes four studio takes and two live, a couple of which survived in rearranged form into the Firefly period. In fact these early recordings stand quite strong, probably taken from early demo tapes, and many are at least equal to the material that was eventually released on the LP. Sound quality on the studio material is good, while just average on the live recordings. Overall a good release, although for the newcomer I would recommend investigating Ain Soph and Kenso first.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 9 , 1996 releases, 1987 releases, 1995 releases, 1986 releases

Related artist(s): Bellaphon

More info

Latest news

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Secret Oyster - Live in the USA 2007 – And that’s the way it was! This is the NEARfest Friday show from June 22, 2007, featuring three original members (saxophonist Karsten Vogel, drummer Ole Streenberg, and guitarist Claus Bøhling)...  (2009) » Read more

Peter Hammill with Stuart Gordon - Veracious – Now that VdGG reunion has come and gone it’s clear that Hammill has taken the nudge to jump back into a smaller configuration to present his solo material. These live duo performances have not been...  (2007) » Read more

Hábitat - Baúl Repleto de Sugerencias – Hábitat is the Argentine duet of Aldo Pinelli (vocals, bass, guitars, percussion) and Sergio Raffaghello (keyboards), with the assistance of Enrique Hittos (guitars, keys), Roberto Sambrizzi...  (2001) » Read more

Rasha - Let Me Be – Go to your favorite record store, to the world music (or international as some of them call it) section and look for Africa. Most of them will have a fair number of CDs, usually separated by country...  (2001) » Read more

David Cross - Exiles – Treading on the remnants of your Crimson past can be a vain attempt to recapture or rejuvenate interest in your modern endeavors. Happily I can relate David Cross' new solo work, Exiles does not...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues