Friday, March 17, 2006

Ain Soph - A Story Of Mysterious Forest (1980)

Here's your chance to check out one of the most revered Japanese psychedelic rock albums. Recorded in 1980, this is an almost classical concept piece with some superb musicianship that takes in various genres along the way, and does indeed include some quite trippy intervals. Plenty of Moogs and mellotrons to give it a somewhat progressive feel and the 18 minute title track features stunning Floyd like guitar work. Highly Enjoyable. Freak Emporium

Ain Soph is surely among the most beloved Japanese prog bands, and A Story of Mysterious Forest is deservedly considered their finest album. With other albums bearing titles like Hat & Field and Ride on a Camel, it's clear where this band's influences lie. A heavy Canterbury flavor permeates the proceedings here, and along with some symphonic touches, as Ain Soph maintains a competent jazz-rock approach throughout. With all that said however, this album leaves me a little cold. The whole affair strikes me as having a sort of middle-of-the-road feel and is a little too lightweight, with few truly raging climaxes. Additionally, there seems to be little to set this band apart from the many other bands treading similar ground, among them countrymen Kenso, the Estonian Kaseke (about whom I have similar qualms), Atlas, Crucis, Finch, etc. Admittedly, Ain Soph probably loses points with me, in comparison to some of those other bands, due to a slight 80s production aesth etic, which, perhaps more than anything, lends the album a quality of fluffy, sonic wallpaper.
Granted, the musicianship here couldn't be better. The guitarist, in particular, rips, but as we all know, musicianship ain't everything. "Variations on a Theme by Brian Smith" is one of the only pieces that manages a truly engaging melodic theme, but even there the piece is padded out with some rather bland instrumental noodling. The lengthy title track manages some impressive moments in its 19 minutes, but not enough to make me want to play this album very often. This may be a stylistic thing for me more than anything, because, as I said before, A Story of Mysterious Forest is one of the most highly regarded Japanese prog albums. Jazz-rock, fusion and Canterbury diehards may get quite a bit of mileage out of this one, but it doesn't really push any of my buttons.. - Greg Northrup



flyedblain said...

great collection of wonderful obscurity. 10 years ago I could not have imagined getting the chance to hear this stuff, and now it is an embarassment of riches. i can't keep up. Everyday I find a great new site, but yours is definitely one of the best. Now that I've buttered you up - do you have a working password for the Ainsoph ? The one posted below it does not seem to work. Thanks

jhayun said...

Please, if possible, can you reupload this album?

Many thanks in advance.

Hugs from Brazil.