Cherry Red 2015
Continuing their time travel, intrepid explorers venture into the history of our piece of rock.
Skipping from orbit to orbit, keyboardist Yuka Funakoshi’s band have been closing in on this mortal soil for two albums now and, upon their landing, turn in a tremendous collection of aural mementos that zigzag along the milestones of human deeds. The selection of these may seem rather random at first glance yet closer look reveals the ship’s trajectory: an ascension to the stars. That’s why the four-part “Birth Of The Earth” – scattered across the record – has its start at the point of “Collision” and it final destination is set as “Embryonic Planet” to circle back in time, the former a new-age piano throb and the latter a prog tour de force.
Shot through with Yuka’s wordless vocals, a fragile and delicate thread keeping a narrative together, the album is full of wide-eyed wonderment at the history of man. But if “Stone Age” is initially painted in broad strokes, as sparse guitar and sax lines swirl on the synthesizer’s canvas’ swell, tribal drums up the tension and introduce a sonic reflection of a particular era. Still, once a flute has added a lyrical layer to the riffs and bared a rock surface of the planet’s ways, a new dimension opens where Takashi Miyazawa’s strum can caress and then press down the ivories’ run, thus creating a natural grandeur for the “Galileo” theme that’s awash with orchestral drama of a Renaissance stripe.
But while one would expect “Age Of Steam” to bear some clang, the song – its lyrics complementing instrumental delicacy – demonstrates folk sensibility that even ensuing heaviness can’t hide in a burst of organ and wah-wah, although the slider work on “Wright Flyer 1903” is only logical for the air glide the piece is depicting. And when it comes to “E = C#m” with its energy formula, the vigor on there is organically passed from acoustic palette to electric only to get confused in a fusion fuzz as if to sum up the evolution of thought.
Dance groove pitching playful mood towards the end of the trip, the record’s expanse is of cosmic proportions, yet there’s no sense of time or space being wasted here. A fantastic warp.