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There are two incredible things about Improg: first, that the music is entirely improvised, not written; second, that half of it comes from Daimonji's first-ever concert. The concept behind Hoppy Kamiyama, Tatsuya Yoshida, and Nasuno Mitsuru's group is "improvised progressive rock." But the resulting music doesn't sound like avant-prog with pockets of free improvisation thrown in, or like wild, deconstructed Rock-In-Opposition tunes. It sounds like structurally and metrically, highly-complex progressive rock, period. The most familiar reference is Yoshida's duo, Ruins, although the music on Improg is less frantic and has a stronger jazz-rock flavor. The other familiar reference -- and one of Ruins' main influences -- is Magma, especially post-Kohntarkosz: operatic vocal passages, jazzy electric piano solos, groovy jazz-rock developments. The experience is exhilarating by itself, but imagining that the trio improvised the whole thing is mind-boggling. Improg consists of four extended pieces, between 15- and 20-minutes each in duration. "Glimpse" and "Mongo Iian Bandits" were recorded at what is said to be the group's first live performance, January 5, 2002. The accelerando finale of "Glimpse," over a vocal motif sung by Kamiyama and Yoshida (a rare clue of improvisation as they struggle to agree on the choice of syllables), provides a highlight. "Night Dust" and "Ombre Moned" were also recorded live five months later. In the latter, Kamiyama deploys his complete arsenal, from Chopin-esque piano chords to mad synthesizer soloing. The number of twists and turns in this last piece is enough to absorb the most difficult prog rock fan. Those who find Ruins' music too hardcore or extreme should give Improg a try.

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