Various Artists — Lost Years in Labyrinth
(Belle Antique 9119, 1991, CD)
by Mike Ezzo, Published 1996-03-01
This album was just what the doctor ordered back in 1991. Finally someone saw fit to start focusing on other styles besides the symphonic rock that the eighties were glutted with. Featured here are four bands, each unique, yet all embracing styles which could loosely be termed fusion, or chamber rock. At one end you have Zypressen, the most classical sounding of the bunch. Their orchestration focuses mostly on acoustic instruments like cello and glockenspiel, to conjure up a sound not dissimilar to what Univers Zero might do, albeit on a much brighter day. At the other end is Soft Weed Factor, who take the Ain Soph sound a little further towards the jazz end. Soft Machine fans ought to be interested here. Somewhere between the two is Lacrymosa, finally making a recorded appearance after a decade of inactivity. Led by bassist Chihiro Saito they play a powerful chamber-rock music descendent from Magma, but with a much richer sense of harmony; more dense and chromatic, with nice instrumental interludes spotlighting Saito's melodic bass, and pointillistic piano work from Marquee's own Naohiro Yamazaki. The fourth entry, Il Berlione, needs no introduction here. All three songs by them are from their pre-cd cassette release. And they are just as good.
A compilation like this was long overdue from Japan; I only wish they could have persuaded Zypressen to come up with a full album's worth of material. There is no one else like them in Japan. This compilation I highly recommend.
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