Ars Nova - Fear & Anxiety. 1992 Japan


The all-female keyboard trio Ars Nova were a breath of fresh air that blew into the landscape in the early 90s. They proudly followed other such acts like Deja-Vu, Social Tension, Motoi Sakuraba, as well as the various acts that contributed to the Kings Boards compilation. It is this sampler where we find Naomi Miura's (Rosalia's keyboardist - Rosalia incidentally is an all-female progressive pop band) brilliant instrumental piece 'Corde Spirale'. This track, no doubt, provided the inspiration for Fear & Anxiety (Naomi is mentioned in the credits). Keyboardist Keiko Kumagai displays an enormous amount of talent and creativity as she composes all the songs and obviously directs the course of each track. Though she plays a myriad of modern day digital synthesizers, the centerpiece of her sound comes from those wonderful old analog machines - the Hammond organ and the Mini Moog. 'Dark Clouds' opens the album rather ominously with minimalist piano, and haunting synth voices. Then the rhythm section kicks in courtesy of the Saito sisters, Yumiko and Kyoko, and we're off into keyboard trio nirvana with '[dziha:d]' (I think something got lost in translation here...). Ars Nova consistently play with angst and passion! On 'House of Ben' Keiko produces a sound Black Sabbath would be proud of. 'Prominence' and the two part 'Fata Morgana' finish this work with a similar display of imagination and performance. Fear & Anxiety is strongly recommended for those into the aforementioned Japanese groups, legends such as ELP and Supersister, as well as anybody into innovative progressive rock.

Personal collection
CD: 1992 Made in Japan

After waiting for some years for someone to upload the original CD cover, I finally did it myself yesterday on Discogs. I bought this CD upon release. The album was reissued in 1994, and that's the common cover you see (second scan).

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