Mike McLatchey    20-Jan-2001 Five Evolved From Nine

This Japanese band has been around for a while and has put out some pretty damn good music. Unabashedly Canterbury influenced (album titles: Hat & Field, Ride On A Camel), it seems that Ain Soph are trying to break away from that into a more original style. Their new album is quite good, and much more jazzy than you'd expect and seems a bit more like A Story From Mysterious Forest than the last one Marine Menagerie. Make of that what you will!

(Originally published in Exposť #1, p. 9, Edited for Gnosis 1/19/01)

Sjef Oellers 7-Mar-2001 Ride on a Camel

Ride on a Camel is a compilation of old live tracks from the mid 70s. The tracks "Ride on A camel" and "Aria" really sound very much like the English band Camel, as both the keyboard and guitar playing could be lifted directly from one of the early Camel albums. On the other tracks they still remain in "symphonic prog meets fusion" territory, but references to Camel are less obvious. Their style is also quite similar to Kenso, although Ain Soph have a less dense, more lightweight sound. The highlight of the album is an early 25 minute version of "A Story of Mysterious Forest", which definitely shows signs of their own style developing.

Dan Casey    12-March-2001 Hat And Field

Ain Soph - "Hat And Field" (Nexus KICS 2514, 1986/1993, CD)

Ain Soph are a post-Canterbury Japanese quartet who have certainly paid their dues, and whose Hat and Field album marks their return to the progressive/jazz scene from a six-year hiatus since their 1980 classic A Story Of Mysterious Forest. The music on this album is perhaps more subtle and subdued than their recent work, 5 Evolved From 9, but is also more consistent. While they are still guilty of occasionally dabbling in virtually new age territory, it works better on this album because of the more mellow atmosphere. Which is not to say they don't heat it up -- on "Suite: Hat and Field" there is some blazing guitar/synth harmony lines which surprise the listener with their intricacy and accuracy. The drummer and bassist take more of a supporting role than is usually heard in this style, but they do it well. The drummer is light and quick, and the bassist moves nimbly through rapid chord changes to provide a solid rhythmical backdrop for the lead lines to work against. Fans of Chick Corea, Caravan, Pat Metheney, and National Health will all find a lot to enjoy on this album, which is overall more solid than anything Ain Soph have done since. Furthermore, for symphonic or neo-prog fans wanting to explore new realms, Hat and Field represents the Canterbury genre very well.

(Originally published in Exposť #3, p. 14-15)

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