Saturday, April 16, 2016

Ain Soph - 1993 - 5 Or 9 - Five Evolved From Nine

Ain Soph 
5 Or 9 - Five Evolved From Nine

01. Villa Adriana
02. The Two Orders of Image
03. Fragments from the Pass
04. Ancient Museum
05. Seascape (Little Pieces Part 4)
06. The Valley of Lutha
07. Shadow Picture
08. Little Wind
09. Stonehenge

- Yozox / guitars
- Kikuo Fujikawa / keyboards
- Masahiro Torigaki / bass
- Taiqui Tomiie / drums

5 or 9 opens promisingly with Villa Adriana, a building theme backed by pounding drums. Unfortunately, The Two Orders Of Image reveals that the Ain Soph sound had by this stage taken on a more high-tech 80’s sheen, with bright and vulgar brass textures, modern keyboard voices and ultra-polished slick fusion stylings. Gone are most of the prog leanings, opting for the jazzier end of the Canterbury school, but lacking the quirky whimsy of the acknowledged masters.

As ever, the musicianship is consummate and impressive, and these nine instrumental workouts are a pleasurable experience if relaxing, light jazz fusion is your bag. There’s nothing offensive or horrendous here, but the creative spark seems somewhat diminished, making this more of a by-numbers affair than a truly compelling CD.

There is some nice music here: Fragments From The Pass is a gentle acoustic piece; Ancient Museum has a swaggering lilt and some terrific jazz piano/synth soloing; and Shadow Picture is the best of the bunch, adding a wistful atmosphere, and gentle acoustic texturing to the brew for a thoroughly satisfying piece, marred only slightly by brassy keyboard interjections –there’s a terrific guitar theme at around the 7 minute mark- this track is one to immerse yourself in.

But tracks like The Valley of Lutha and the gentle piano showcase Seascape are probably too polite and safe to capture the imagination of prog rock fans. If you’re looking for a mellow respite from your usual listening, you may find something to enjoy, but it’s not going to be top of the list for many of you.

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