Reviewed by Nuno on 09 Sep 2003
With their second release, Japanese Progsters/Fusioneers KBB are quickly reaching for a deserved place in the sun. This because the band shows a notable maturity and a powerful performance that, no doubt, will capture the full attention of those who will have the luck of getting their hands on this cd!
KBB’s music is dynamic, sometimes mindblowing and surely captivating, providing the listener with a lively experience in jazz-rock and inventive progressive music.
Based in a brilliant rhythmic section that works as a tapestry upon which both guitar and violin rise to provide full blossomed demonstrations of virtuoso soloing, still the music only works as a solo unit, making perfect sense because of the flawless combination of the whole assemble of instrumentations.
There is a fair selection of different approaches here, for the music can be aggressive and hard fusioned in some tracks (Kraken’s Brain Is Blasting), only to become more introspective and symphonic in the next (Horobi No Kawa). This diversity is an extra point in favor of this release, for it allows us to appreciate the full capacity of this excellent band by looking at it from the most varied angles, each and every one with very fruitful results.
Pinpointing the musicality of this band, it stands somewhere in the vast fields where Outer Limits, Jean-Luc Ponty and Mahavishnu Orchestra make their crops. And despite the obvious reminiscences, to none it must pay homage, for Four Corner's Sky can match the aforementioned band’s works in terms of quality and ability playing.
Just to mention one, the violin playing by Tsuboy (also with Strings Arguments) is a real must here and urges to be properly appreciated by the fans of this instrument.
Summing all parts, this is a release that will surely find a lot of praise amongst those who like Fusion, excellent violin playing, are fans of the bands I mentioned or simply like arousing music with a good dose of craftsmanship. If you ask me, it comes highly recommended!
Reviewed by MJBrady on 10 Sep 2003
KBB is a band that progrock and fusion fans alike should get hold of. The bands first "Lost and Found" cd showed more than enough polish to get attention in various progressive circle by playing violin based progressive rock that echoed the likes of Kansas, The Dregs, and UK. And now with the new cd "Four Corner's Sky", they have left that mark only to embark on a slightly newer, yet no less progressive direction.
Where "Lost and Found" stops, "Four Corner's Sky" begins, I full agreement with my friend Nuno the music has adopted a huge Fusion feel this time around, but this is the kind of fusion that progressive fans feel is part of the prog family of musics. Nuno was dead on with his comparisons as well, Jean-Luc Ponty during his most progressive era, Mahavishnu during the Goodman/Ponty sessions, I'd even like to add Didier Lockwood, particulary what he did on the hard fusion Surya album, or even some of the vintage Michael Urbaniak and Zbignew Siefert recordings. These artists are being referred to large in part because of the fact that KBB has a large emphasis on the violin as it's main voice.
Akihisa Tsuboy is the bands violinist, and he proves that he has been a diligent student of the violin's presence in both progressive rock's and fusion's most storied era. And he tastefully recreates those very tonal qualities on 7 glorious tracks of progressive/fusion music. I enjoyed the first KBB cd immensely, what the band did as an all-instrumental expression of well conceived progressive rock on that recording made it a contender for one of the best instrumental progrock releases of the year. Now with a subtle change of direction, the band is exploring yet another aspect of why the 70's will remain a heralded time for some of the more innovative music of modern history. Fusion was in many ways paralelling progressive rock during the same time frame, each genre were seeing artists reaching beyond the set standards of simplicity and/or popularity to push musicianship and compositional complexity to heights yet unseen. And what KBB seems to be doing here is reflecting on the very essence of both of the genre's most recognized attributes.
As good of an impression the first KBB cd made on the lucky listeners, I trust that this new offering by the band will garner the same reaction from both the old fans, and hopefully the new fans that are yet to discover this great Japanese band.