Lu7 — L'Esprit de l'Exil
(Musea FGBG 4572.AR, 2004, CD)
by Sean McFee, Published 2006-05-01
Japan’s Intermusic and Musea have been teaming up on a number of releases in the past few years, allowing some obscure Japanese artists to get a somewhat wider audience. One such group is Lu7, the duo of Luna Umegaki (keyboards, programming) and Tsutomu Kurihara (guitar). Umegaki composes slightly more than half the material, but both have a role. Guests perform on bagpipe, Stick, bass, and violin. Most of the drum parts are programmed, but real drums appear on a few tracks; the drum programming is not bad though. The style of music is instrumental fusion, of that glossy digital style we get a lot from Japanese prog groups post 1980. This can give the music a certain smoothness; even the guitar tone used is quite clean and everything is polished. The compositions are interesting, though, and this never sounds like an excursion into slick banalities or a technical exercise, two common problems in fusion. It is the increased use of modal harmonies and worldbeat sounds that helps accomplish this. The music is fairly cinematic and orchestral at times; those readers who have heard bands like Mr. Sirius will hardly be surprised. I would hesitate to call Lu7 essential, but this is a nice release in the Japanese fusion tradition.
Related artist(s): Lu7
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