Sunday, 25 May 2014

Negasphere - Castle in the Air (Japanese classic prog from 1984)

From our pnf friend Apps, rateyourmusic:

"Among the lesser known names of the Japanese prog scene, Negasphere started in 1977 under the guidance of bassist/keyboardist Kawasaki Kaoru.In 1981 they were joined by Majima Hiroyoshi and Kaoru devoted himself only to the keyboard parts.Reputedly the band had a self-titled live cassette out around the time.Problems with the line-up prevented the band from recording an official LP and the problem was solved with the addition of ex-Mahojin Sugano Shiro on drums, Yata Toru on keys and Tokutake Hiroshi on bass.Finally a LP entitled ''Castle in the Air'' saw the light in 1984 on L.L.E. Records.

The sound of Negasphere was exactly in the middle of GENESIS-inspired mellow Symphonic Rock and the more fiery Symph/Fusion style of U.K. with good arrangements, extended instrumental parts but also a very mediocre recording quality.The band keeps a nice balance between vocal moments and long professional instrumental sections and there is always a mood for changing themes throughout.So a calm, mostly symphonic section with dreamy keyboard work and sensitive guitar parts is often followed by sharp and often double synth attacks, dynamic interplays and powerful grooves with an evident HOLDSWORTH edge on the guitar solos and a sound close to WAPPA GAPPA or MONGOL.Vocals were never the strong point of Japanse bands and Negasphere make no exception.Still the lyrics are sung in English with a bearable performance by Hiroyoshi.The biggest flaws come from the below average production and the plastic sound of electric drumming.

A very rare record by Negasphere yet a recommended release for fans of 80's Japanese Prog and all those who love the combination of 70's Classic Prog with Fusion."

Just a quick note, indeed there is a highly collectible live album from 1981 this one:
Needless to say-- it's their best work by far, but the sound is not very good.  Strongly recommended.

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