my favorites (2001~)

To show my taste of music, I deposit the list of my favorite albums and tunes on this blog at first.
I prefer melodic and symphonic music to the so-called avant-garde or experimental kind of progressive rock, hence I'd tend to write mainly about melodious rock.

My favorite albums after 2001
♪KARNATAKA / Delicate Flame of Desire (2003)
♪MOSTLY AUTUMN / The Last Bright Light (2001)
♪KNIGHT AREA / Realm of Shadows (2009)
♪PENDRAGON / Believe (2005)
♪PANIC ROOM / Skin (2012)
♪YAK / Journey of the YAK (2008)
♪KVAZAR / A Giant's Lullaby (2005)
♪FRANC ALBIR / hoc (2013)
♪MOONRISE / Stopover-Life (2012)

Titles of my favorite music after 2001 (album title )
♪PANIC ROOM / Satellite ("Satellite")
♪KARNATAKA / Strange Behaviour ("Delicate Flame of Desire")
♪MOSTLY AUTUMN / Top of the World ("Ghost Moon Orchestra")
♪WITHIN TEMPTATION / In Perfect Harmony ("Mother Earth")
♪BREATHING SPACE / Questioning Eyes ("Below the Radar")
♪LEAP DAY / Secret Gardener ("Awaking the Muse")
♪OPETH / Burden ("Watershed")
♪WALLY / Giving ("Montpelier")
♪MYSTERY / Snowhite ("Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face")
♪PETER PAN / Days ("Days")

I'll write how I like each items after tomorrow.


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KARNATAKA / Delicate Flame of Desire

This album is the masterpiece of mastermieces in melodic and symphonic rock.
If you would not fall for this album, I comment that you cannot go well with that kind of music.
I seriously disappointed that divorce of Joneses had led them to be disbanded (formed again).
Short introduction titled "Karnataka" is followed by "Time Stands Still", which takes me in a trance with the beautiful voice of Rachel Jones.
"Strange Behaviour" strokes my worn-out mind calmly and tenderly.
I often hear about comparison between Rachel Jones and Ann-Marie Helder, but I think that the sophisticated back-vocal support of Ann-Marie Helder gives us splendor of this album.
And I want to describe that the guitar tone played by Paul Davies raises this album to the heavenly stage.
When Paul's guitar upsets in "The Right Time", tears overflow my eyes.

"Karnataka"と題された短いイントロに続く"Time Stands Still"は、Rachel Jonesの美声によって私を忘我の境地に酔わせてくれます。
"Strange Behaviour"は、疲弊した私の心を穏やかに優しく撫でていきます。
Rachel JonesとAnn-Marie Helderを比較する記事をネットでよく見かけますが、Ann-Marie Helderの秀逸なバック・ボーカルがこのアルバムに輝きを与えているように私は思います。
Paul Daviesのギターもこのアルバムを引き立たせています。
"The Right Time"でPaulのギターが裏返るとき、涙が私の目に溢れます。

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MOSTLY AUTUMN / The Last Bright Light

This is their third album I like the best as they have been gradually leaving from my taste after this album, and is full of pop sensibility such as the tunes, "Half the Mountain", "The Dark before the Dawn", "Hollow", "Never the Rainbow", "Shrinking Violet", "Mother Nature", all of which are pearls of good songs.
The violinist left the band, so celtic fashion would have been slightly faded and the rock mood was strengthened.
In accordance with the album title, splendid sunlight spreads over pastoral scenery and tranquil atmosphere produced by delicate tones of the accoustic guitar and the flute coexists with the bold and powerful gauitar played by Bryan Josh.
About at the time when this album was issued, they went around a live tour with BLACKMORE'S NIGHT and the "Hanging Tree" illustration painted by the vocalist Heather Findley appears in the brochure enclosed within the album "Fires at Midnight" of BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW, which is described in the Wikipedia.

彼らの3枚めのアルバムですが、このアルバム以降私の趣味から離れてくるので、私が最も好むアルバムです。ポップ・センスに溢れていて、"Half the Mountain","The Dark before the Dawn","Hollow","Never the Rainbow","Shrinking Violet","Mother Nature"などの珠玉の名曲揃いです。
アルバム・タイトル通り、光り輝く陽光が田園風景に広がり、繊細なアコギとフルートが醸し出すのどかな雰囲気がBryan Joshの演奏する野太いギターと共存しています。
このアルバムが発表された頃、彼らは、BLACKMORE'S NIGHT とともにライブツアーを回っていて、BLACKMORE'S RAINBOWのアルバム"Fires at Midnight"に付属している冊子にはvocalistのHeather Findleyが描いた"Hanging Tree"の絵が載っています(Wikipediaに書かれています)。

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KNIGHT AREA / Realm of Shadows

They have already released four studio albums, all of which are high-quality progressive rock, so I waver the choice of their best album.
Formerly, I listend many times to "Two of a Kind" on the progressive rock radio : morow .com included in the album "Realm of Shadows".
When I listened to this album for the first time, I was surprised and deeply impressed same as TEMPUS FUGIT 1st album "Tales form a Forgotten World", and it was this album to guide me in the discussion on the Internet about progressive rock once again.
Tidy vocal style, flowing sound of keyboards, solid as well as lyrical guitar, singing bass and dramatic development with Gothic taste conduct sometimes rough, other-time beutiful and brilliant melody lines, and is constructing a completed symphonic world.

いずれも完成度が高く甲乙つけ難いのですが、以前、morow.comで"Two of a Kind"をよく聴いたので、この曲が収録されいている3rdを挙げて起きます。
このアルバムを最初に聴いたとき、TEMPUS FUGITの1st "Tales from a Forgotten World"を聴いたときのあの驚きと感動が蘇ってきました。

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This is the first album which they would try to switch from the fantasic melodic course to the hard-symphonic course.
I suppose that they might have consider the drummer: Fudge Smith who had been criticized for his mild drumming I think to be suitable for the melodic and symphonic rock, so in this album the rhythm roughness was intensified while the acooustic guitar was used a lot for the melodic-oriented listeners, but he has withdrawed from the band.
His name also disappears in HENRY FOOL's second album "Men Singing" (2013).
Dreamy euphoria in the album "World" or "Window of Life" was replaced with a gloomy atmosphere exuding from this album, which might have shown the change of Nick Barrett's mind.

思うに、軟弱ドラマー(メロディック・シンフォには合っていたと私は思います)と批判されていたFudge Smithへの配慮があるような気がしますが、このアルバムではリズムの激しさが強化されています。一方で、メロディック派にも配慮して、アコギが多用されています。
ですが、Fudge Smithはバンドを脱退してしまいました。2013年のHENRY FOOLの2ndアルバム"Men Singing"にも彼の名前は見えません。
"World"や"Window of Life"の頃のドリーミーな幸福感は、本アルバムからにじみ出てくる暗い雰囲気に入れ替わりました。Nick Barettの心境変化を映すものかも知れません。

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This is the 3rd album of PANIC ROOM which was formed by four members of KARNATAKA excpet Rachel and Ian Jones who had got divorced.
I felt that the direction to proceed was obscure in the 1st, and the 2nd which were a little experimental and trying to various things, but in this album I think accompaniment of the string music and gloomy arrangement would have built one style.
Synthesizer part goes down in comparison with 1st, 2nd, and the guitar played by Paul Davies expanded the activity area, however after this album was issued, he has withdrawn.
I was so shocked that I worried whether another guitarist should join the band or the direction of the band should be changed again in future, as Paul Davies is an indivisual melodic guitarist with hard effort to look for a substitute for him.
The darkness of this work exceeds the grief of shadow, and reaches to a bitter tragedy, was it conscious to Gothic-metal, or was it the sense of Ann-Marie Helder writing lyrics?

離婚してしまったJones夫妻を除くKARNATAKAの4人のメンバーによって結成されたPANIC ROOMの3rdアルバムです。
1st,2ndに比べると、シンセが引っ込んで、Paul Daviesのギターが活躍の場を広げています。しかしながら、アルバム発表後、彼は脱退してしまいました。
別のギタリストが加入するのか、バンドの方向性が再び変わって行くのか、わかりませんが、Paul Daviesは個性的なメロディック・ロック・ギタリストなので、代役を探すのは難しそうで、残念でなりません。
この作品の暗さは、悲しみの影を通り越して、悲壮感が漂います。Gothic metalを意識しているのか、歌詞を書いているAnn-Marie Helderの感覚なのでしょうか?

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PANIC ROOMのホームページへ
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YAK / Journey of the YAK

YAK is not so popular, is "YAK" connected with "YACC"?
The title song was played on morow.com so frequetly, and got me fascinated.
This is a full-instrumental album leaded by a hammond, but dreamy and beautiful melody lines drawn by graceful and relieved guitar sound (no guitarist information) would impress you with intelligent self-assertion that sometimes peaceful and mild, or other times sad and dim air would flow in the narrative development arranging fast running part and slow wandering part.
Martin Morgan who is the chief plotter of YAK concept seems to have worked hard to produce this album, so I would like to support them as mch as I can, but I also have a hard labor.

YAKのコンセプトの首謀者であるMartin Morganは本アルバムを制作する上で随分と苦労したようで、できる限り応援したくなりますが、私の方も大変な仕事を抱えてまして.....。

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KVAZAR / A Giant's Lullaby

Similar to KNIGHT AREA, YAK etc., listening to "Choir of Life" on internet radio: morow.com got me fascinated with a little ethnic flavor of balmy melodic symphonic rock.
This album has been taken up on several websites in Japan, seems to be appreciated because it has an element of the Jazz rock.
As for me, some kind of incomprehensible Jazz rock taste found in this album is not the matter, but the dramatic development, tight performance with vigorous power, nevertheless what is GENESIS-CAMEL-like and sweetly flowing Celts atmosphere have been satisfying me enough.
Most of my favorite albums are mild music, as I like the symphonic rock, but I think that this album should be one of the best progressive album in the decade of 2000 as a solid serious work as ANEKDOTEN etc. in northern Europe.
Written also on other websites, there might be parts evoking KING CRIMSON such as "Desert Blues", and it is slightly regrettable that the recording would have been more technical.
After this work issued, why has there been no news of them, and has the link to their homepage broken?

my favorites albumsは、私のシンフォ好きということもあり、穏和な音楽が多いのですが、このアルバムは、ANEKDOTENなどと並ぶ北欧硬派として、私の趣味と離れても2000~2010の傑作の一つと言えると思います。
他の人も書いてますが、"Desert Blues"とか、KING CRIMSONを思わせる部分もあります、録音がイマイチなのが残念かな?

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FRANC ALBIR is a Catalan band in whose sounds I feel wishes for Catalan independence movement in Spain.
I think that their music has a unique splendor like mild Mediterranean sunlight shining white-painted walls which probably reflects traditional culture of Catalonia and their song has Catalan lyrics.
Their sound is superb melodic symophonic rock, and more PENDRAGON-like than PENDRAGON, I could believe even if this album would be said to be the new work of PENDRAGON, but it may be a little brighter than PENDRAGON, and partially like AOR.
As for the keyboard, it is not so splendid as Clive Nolan, but sobbing guitar play resembles Nick Barrett closely.
They might have started band performance from the 80s.
Considering from the sound source of the 90s, I think that they seems to have been originally a fusion-style band.
This is my most recommendable album in those relesed recently.

FRANC ALBIRはスペインで独立運動を起こしているカタルーニャのバンドです。
キーボードはClive Nolanほど華麗ではないですが、ギターが泣きじゃくるあたりは、Nick Barrettに非常によく似ています。

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IAMTHEMORNING is the project of substantially two person based on Petersburg in Russia.
They published a sound source on their homepage, and the assertive strategy that a buyer decides the download price gave effectively their first album of unique titie "~" the second position of Progarchives 2012 album ranking, in the higher of which there are not a few albums that are beyond my understanding.
This album is worth succeeding excellently in performing melodic symphonic rock without electric instruments (with drums), which I feel could be said not to be the rock music.
Their music has an considerably indivisual style, but the style plays an influent and beautiful melody line not to spoil a soothing atmosphere.
In short, it is what should be said if what Spanish progressive rock band AMAROK performed in "Gibra Ara" wold have been sublimer.
Its acoustic guitar with a lean tone is also my favorite, but the strength of IAMTHEMORNING is as good as AMAROK.
I feel common essence both in folk-origin music with woman vocals.

一言で言えば、スペインのAMAROKの"Gibra Ara"あたりをもっと壮絶にやるとどうなるか、という感じです。

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stjohnsav (Kunihiko Hirashima)

Author:stjohnsav (Kunihiko Hirashima)
Welcome to my music site. I am wating for your next visit.
A girl of the upper image is my daughter Yurie 13 years ago. Now her surname is Yuuki to whom I have no relation. She graduated from Hibiya Senior High School in 2010 and entered the Waseda University school of law. She has sent no email for more than two years. If you know how she is, please let me know secretly.