Tipographica

Tipographica

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Tipographica is the creation of guitarist Tsuneo Imahori, who also writes all the compositions and does the arranging, as well as handling production duties. It quickly becomes clear that Imahori practically worships Frank Zappa. Every track carries the stamp of Zappa's melodic sensibilities, although the rhythm section sometimes feels like an early-'70s Miles Davis band. The arrangements are extremely complex, scored for sax, trombone, keyboards, guitar, bass, and drums. The melodies are usually doubled on xylophone for that unmistakable Zappa flavor. Although you can't miss the influence from the opening bars, it isn't until the first guitar solo in "Blue Heaven But Be Unsolved" that one realizes the extent of Imahori's Zappa fetish. Not only has he mastered the guitar playing vocabulary of Zappa, but he's one of the few to even come close to Zappa's unique tone. As is the case in Zappa's music, when it's time for a solo, the arrangements tend to open up and simplify, giving everyone in the band room to blow. In fact, each player is a great soloist, with special notice given to drummer Akira Sotoyama, who doesn't solo per se, but is dazzling nonetheless on drums and percussion. He makes the obviously difficult time signatures swing. Occasionally Imahori's compositions sound a little forced, more like an exercise in writing Frank Zappa music, but when it all comes together on tunes like "Blue Heaven But Be Unsolved" and "The Turf Have Disordered Gravity," the results are spectacular.

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