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5 Mar 2017

Mahoujin “Babylonia Suite” 1978 Japan Prog Symphonic

Mahoujin “Babylonia Suite” 1978 Japan Prog Symphonic
Mahoujin - Babylonia Suite. 1991 Made in Japan. CD archival release of a 1978 studio recording.

Mahoujin was quite a discovery for Made in Japan back in the early 90s. Probably the best of their archival finds (another title from this series that we recently featured is Round House). Mahoujin are quite simply an instrumental progressive rock band performed by a keyboard trio. It runs the gamut of similarly minded trios starting with the obvious - ELP - and moving on to Trace, Egg, Triumvirat and even Le Orme. Plenty of polysynths and mellotron to absorb. The music never really takes off, or gets chaotic. However it is highly melodic, and the pace varies enough to hold the attention span in check. I've owned this CD for 20 years, and it's always a good one for a revisit.

RYM lists the group as Mahojin, though the spine of the CD marks it as Mahoujin. Probably another lost in translation situation. As well, the cover scan I've provided comes from RYM, and it's been doctored. The original CD cover is not as colorful - more like a typical medieval European painting which is what the cover emulates......

Babylonia Suite is another edition of the diverse symphonic prog scene in Japan. Mahoujin is a trio in typical Emerson, Lake & Palmer cast, and in this direction they work extensively.

The boss in the ring is clearly a keyboarder, who mainly uses the organ and synthesizer, sometimes also sits on the piano and - but rarely - sometimes used a Mellotron. With nervous keyboard prog of the brand Ars Nova or Gerard, this album does not have much in common. Of course, the musicians, above all the keyboard man, want to prove their abilities, but luckily, this is not just a display of their own dexterity, because they paid attention in the arrangements that the factor melody is not missing out.

The compositions have their charm, but the album does not have a typical Japanese touch. It could equally well be one of the many Italian trio formations. Mahoujin's music is likely to be enjoyed by fans of Emerson and other musicians, but it is not enough for these potential buyers.

What weaken the overall positive impression is the unfortunately surprisingly poor sound quality. Noise and soundwatchers are not necessarily what I expected on CD. This may be due to the fact that the original album is from 1978 and the collector should be satisfied that this rarity is on CD at all. Okay, be it.

By the way, if you have produced this album, the experienced Japan prog-fan will of course already know. Sure, Mr. Numero Ueno, who else? And if there is still somewhere of baby blue should stand ... that must be Babylonia  Jürgen Meurer..........

- Shiga Atsushi - keyboards, Hammond, mellotron, moog, piano
- Okada Yasushi - bass
- Shiro Sugano - drums

Songs / Tracks Listing:
01. Babylonia Suite (21:12)
a) Introduction
b) New Babylonia I
c) New Babylonia II
d) Last City B.C.538
e) Epilogue
02. Cariot (5:40)
03. Tower of Babel (3:35)
04. Festival (6:27)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





Cassete Deck

Cassete Deck