Sunday, July 01, 2007

Mahojin - Babylonia Suite (1978)

Very little is known about this obscure band. While progressive music was modestly popular in Japan even in the latter 60s (and particularly psychedelic music), few Japanese bands emerged prior to the mid-70s, and by then interest in the genre was temporarily waning throughout Europe and the Americas. Like many early Japanese progressive bands, MAHOUJIN’s single release was completely instrumental, with heavy use of keyboards and synthesized percussion. The album features Hammond, mellotron and moog as well as electric and traditional piano. The band’s sound has been most compared to ELP.
Drummer Shiro Sugano would resurface several years later as a member of the fusion group KBB, but little else is known about the rest of the band. While there has been a small surge in recent years of reissued early Japanese progressive records on CD, many of them remixed and with additional tracks, this very early organic Japanese effort has yet to be targeted for re-release.

MAHOUJIN deserves consideration for inclusion in the progressive archives largely on the strength of their sole studio effort, which combines layered keyboard structures with complex constructions and epic-length compositions. The band appeared only briefly and marked no new ground in progressive music, but their legacy as one of the first progressive bands to emerge from Japan is worth noting.

Bob Moore (ClemofNazareth)

Rate Your Music



spidergoat said...

By the way, the cover art on this album is from a painting by Spanish surrealist Remedios Varo. She's one of my favorite surrealist artists. This one is called "Woman Leaving the Psychoanalyst", 1961.

Anonymous said...

Hey, another Remedios Varo fan! I was just about to leave a comment also pointing out the origin of this cover art. She's one of my favourite artists, too. Amazing woman. I look forward to hearing this Mahoujin album. I thought I knew all the Japanese 70's prog bands, but I guess not!