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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lalena (Rareinya), Japan

Lalena - s/t. 1982 Better Days / Nippon Columbia

This one came about via the CD-R Revisit project. This was originally sent to me by MM way back in the 2007/2008 time frame (speaking of MM, I just received a fresh batch of goodies from him - so more for all of us to look forward to!). What's most interesting about this, from a personal perspective anyway, is that I didn't have it rated anywhere (Gnosis, RYM, or even here on the CDRWL), OK, that's odd... Perhaps even stranger is that I'd never even heard the album yet! So this wasn't a revisit, but rather the first visit. How did that happen? The clue came to me while researching the album - and it turns out that RYM lists a CD for it from 2002. So I promptly moved it to a different stack.... and then I must have just filed it without a listen! Good grief, Tom... While I don't doubt the existence of the CD, finding details about it is proving to be a challenge. So at the very least, it appears the CD is rarer than the LP. With that - we introduce Lalena into the CDRWL (and ratings have already been applied where necessary).

Before getting into my own review, I found the following notes from ProgArchives Japanese music expert Damo, and he gives us some background on this mysterious group as published on a public chat board: "LALENA were originally formed as an amateurish college band in Kansai University (Osaka, Japan), and reborn as a progressive fusion one with recruiting Furukawa Brothers - Hatsuho (keyboards) and Nozomi (guitar) in early 1980s. In December 1981, LALENA recorded some material for their eponymous (and only one) album released in the following year, where Furukawa Brothers' splendid plays, especially Nozomi's guitar solo as a Holdsworth follower, could be much approved by Japanese progressive rock fans, but sadly soon after that they were disbanded without playing away from the suburbs of Osaka. Furukawa Brothers have been active as session musicians or a five-piece fusion project FURUKAWA KYODAI formed as a five-piece fusion project in 2002."

My own notes follow: Lalena starts promisingly enough in the Bi Kyo Ran / King Crimson "Red" genre, before tapping into more predictable light and slick fusion with soprano sax, cheap synthesizers, and thudding percussion. But the story doesn't end there fortunately and there are many killer guitar solos, as if David Torn stepped into the studio and laid it to waste. In other places, the choppy electronic piano drives the music forward in an exciting way. Brand X seems to be a major influence throughout as well. However, the album never strays too far from Cheeseville, ensuring its place in the hallowed halls of obscurity.

Priority: 3


nnknsh said...

Amazon.jp entry for the CD

The CD was done by Daiki Sound, one of the larger independent CD distribution company here.

It was easily available through larger store (which have large enough Jazz / fusion section) at the time it came out, but now long oop (as you can guess).

(no mention on the Laleyna CD though).

Tom said...

Thanks Nobuhisa for the information!