Happy Family - Happy Family

Year of Release: 1995
Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalog Number: Rune 73
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:39:00

This self-titled CD, which has been released by American avantgarde label Cuneiform is the first release by this incredible Japanese instrumental quartet hailing from Tokyo. As is often the case with prog rock in Japan, the style leans very heavily towards the technical ability of the individual bandmembers which sometimes is reminiscent of King Crimson around the Red era.

Happy Family consists of an interesting blend of musical influences through which they have filtered their own unique concept thus creating a one-off wall of sound.

Main composer and keyboard player Kenichi Morimoto's musical taste leans towards jazz-rock, chamber-rock and the overall sound of the avant-garde as known by bands such as Univers Zero, Magma, Area and Henry Cow. Guitarist Shigeru Makino finds his interest mainly in the heavy metal and death metal vein, whilst his favourite listening pleasure goes towards classical music! The electric fretless bass is courtesy of Tatsuya Miyano, a guy who's been massively influenced by the "zeuhl" style of Magma bassists Jannik Top (later to join top French "chanteuse" France Gall!) and Bernard Paganotti. Miyano is also a member of the band Mekanik Kommandoh, a Magma cover band. Finally there's the ardent drums of Keilchi Nagase whose rhythmic complexity is the valuable backbone for all of the band's original compositions.

Happy Family describe their music as chamber jazz-rock driven by hard rock's fast and heavy rhythms. They perform about six times a year, usually at the Silver Elephant venue in Tokyo. Their debut album, clocking in at 52:40, is one ball of energy, exploring paths no other band has ever explored before! Opener "Rock & Young" is almost avant-garde punk, as it's driving drum sets the pace for an overwhelming piece of music. Again very dark and metal-like is "Shige Et Osanna" with weird keyboard sounds from Morimoto. The same metal-driven guitar is present in "Kaiten (Ningen Gyorai)," which splendidly blends with the samples of broken glass and the demolishing power of the drums. Jewel in the crown however is the 19-minute epic "Naked King," which is often walking in the backyard of the once famous UK.

All in all a stunning piece of music from Happy Family, the Dream Theater of chamber rock, which will leave you all speechless! Oh, before I go, one piece of advice: if you put this CD in the CD-player of your car, don't play track one or you might end up with a severe speeding ticket! You have been warned!

Rock & Young (6:39) / Shige Et Osanna (4:51) / Partei (7:05) / Rolling The Law Court (4:53) / Kaiten (Ningen Gyorai) (8:22) / Naked King (19:03) / Drums Whisper Spacy (1:33)

Kenichi Morimoto - keyboards
Tatsuya Miyano - bass
Shigeru Makino - guitar
Keiichi Nagase - drums

Happy Family (1995)
Toscco (1997)

Genre: Zuehl

Origin JP

Added: April 19th 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 841
Language: english


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