Outer Limits - The Scene Of Pale Blue

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Musea Records
Catalog Number: FGBG 4290.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 61:19:00

I know nothing about Outer Limits but what I can tell you from this disk. The Scene Of Pale Blue is a Musea rerelease of an album that came out in 1987 ... or at least most of it did. The band is Japanese, but you wouldn't really guess that from listening to it. Vocalist Tomoki Ueno has a voice that is at times deep and operatic and at others light ... it is in these lighter moments that I hear simliarities to many progressive bands of the late 70s/early 80s - mainly non-UK progressive bands. Actually, the thought that occurs to me is that they sound an awful lot like Asia Minor. Ueno's accented voice sounds more European than Asian ... but maybe that's what he was trying for.

The more I listen to this, the more I like it. The vocals will still be a barrier to loving it, as is true of my feelings about Asia Minor, and other similar progressive groups. But, given this is a more instrumental than vocal piece, it's a small barrier.

The instrumental "Platonic Syndrome" is pretty good, verging on great, stuff. Intricate, varied, dynamic. On the mostly instrumental "Anti Podean," Ueno gets so deep, and sounds so serious, its almost comical. Not unique, as I've had that thought about a lot of prog. The violin here, played by Takashi Kawaguchi, is very sweet sounding; high, sustained notes. But, this is all building to what's next.

Epic sound ... church like choir ... gentle violin floating over a quiet, understated keys (Shusei Tsukamoto) ... an ethereal atmsophere ... drama, suspense ... a classical feel ... all this is the title track. All with lyrics with obscure meanings and references ... understood on an interpretive level rather than a literal level. The more you read 'em, the more you get 'em, but you don't need to get 'em to enjoy the track itself. This is truly great stuff ... well worth the admission price.

Vocals aside, this will appeal to those of us who can appreciate complex arrangments, great dynamics in sound and texture, and good playing.

Seems they have had about six releases beginning in 1981, and reading the credits ... well, I'm wondering if Tomoki Ueno is also the fellow listed here as Numero Ueno (probably, or they're related [Numero is Shingo Ueno -ed]). Numero Ueno produced the (also reviewed) Ars Nova disk The Book Of The Dead.

The first track on this disk, "Marionette's Lament" is excerpted from a 12" EP released in 1987, the middle four tracks form the bulk of this disk's original 1987 release, and the final track is excerpt from a various artists sampler called Out Of Works and "released" in 1990.

The best stuff is that middle section, and recommended on that basis alone.

Marionette's Lament (7:03) / Mixer (5:39) / Platonic Syndrome (7:30) / Anti Podean (12:09) / The Scene Of Pale Blue (20:30) / Pteridophyte (8:28)

Shusei Tsukamoto - keyboards
Takashi Kawaguchi - violin
Takashi Aramaki - guitars
Tadashi Ishikawa - bass
Nobuyuki Sakurai - drums
Tomoki Ueno - vocals
Hideki Kadoya, Fumiaki Ikoma, Seiichi Furukawa - chorus

Made In Japan (with Kanzeon) (1981)
Misty Moon (1985/1997)
A Boy Playing, The Magical Bugle Horn (1986)
The Scene Of Pale Blue (1987/1999*) The Silver Apples On The Moon (1989/1997)
Indies Collection (Best of) (1989)
Outermania (1993)

*expanded reissue

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin JP

Added: September 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.amy.hi-ho.ne.jp/alan/outerlimits/e/index.html
Hits: 1486
Language: english


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