I saw this advertised as using lots of keyboards old and new and I must have
been in an adventurous mood as something made me decide to order it. I did first
I look for reviews and the only one I found put me off a bit as it mentioned
the sleeve notes talking about time changes and stuff. It seemed to think it
was unnecessarily complex. I decided to order it anyway and I am glad I did.
It is a very good album. I am not into prog music as such so it is very hard
for me to find good music with keyboards and a solo keyboard player can be even
trickier. I have only got into Rick Wakeman and more recently Erik Norlander.
Apart from that I can think of no one, unless you count someone like Graham
Bond from the sixties Blues/Jazz scene.
Before I move to track level and see what enters my head I should also mention
I was put off because this was supposed to be music for games and films. I was
worried the music wouldn’t stand up on it’s own and would be to atmospheric/non
music for me. No such problem, each track is proper music. Overall I think it
makes me think of the Holst’s The Planets pieces Rick guested on. I think the
title was Beyond The Planets but I don’t recall the main artist.
It is very interesting to see the album has Artist and producer notes. Something
Erik Norlander does on his album’s and something which Arjen Lucassen from Ayreon
(and the fans) like too. I hope this is a growing trend. Even if the ones here
are way to technical for me in places.
The album is keyboard drums and guitar. Sometimes I get the impression the
drums are programmed but a drummer is credited, interestingly before the guitarist.
The album as a whole is very multi-layered.
Persistence of Hope – This first tracks rhythm and piano playing reminds me
of all sorts. Yes and ELP certainly. It has very unusual rhythms and seems a
bit Jazzy. There is Hammond, Moog, Piano and lots of other interesting sounds.
The notes for this track are the bit the other reviewer commented on. They are
classic! "The middle almost classical section, which starts with a diminished
scale is put together with a 5/8 + 5/8, (1/8 + 10/16 + 3/8) + (1/8 + 10/16 +
3/8) + 1/8 + 7/16 + 5/8)’ ‘ 2, (1/8 + 10/16 + 6/8) structure but when you listen
to it,’ it really doesn’t sound that complex". And it is true. I will ask
Erik later what it means!
There is a good hook at the start that goes from general keyboard sound to
Hammond and back. Then a moog section happens. There is probably harpsichord
to. The Piano is a bit Jazzy but it also sounds a bit Rick like is some of it’s
runs. There is a nice dirty sounding voice used just before the middle bit that
we all understand. Then the middle reminds me a bit of a middle period ELO tune.
I can’t think what. About 5.20 you think it is all over but no it has just gone
quiet and then the piano does the original hook and it gets back to the first
section again. I am currently on about listen 8 to this album and I took an
instant liking to the album from track one. It is bouncy complex, lots of instrument
voices and lots to listen too.
Force To Arms! – Another 5/8 piece apparently. I will have to set the going
on my sequencer to get a better understanding of it not that it matters here.
To my ears it is just and interesting beat again. I think it is a certain keyboard
sound that is reminding me of Beyond the Planets. There is a low range keyboard
that reminds me of Rick. Another strong hook line on top with quieter interludes
on lighter keyboards. This bit reminds me a bit of Rick’s Crimes of passion
actually. Then there is some guitar that reminds me of Steve Howe. The Hammond
is used on this too. There are Journey type crescendos and decrescendos on one
of the voices. Sorry I can’t think how to express this perhaps like turning
a siren on and off.
A Light To Lead The Way – This is the first track that really makes me think
Beyond The Planets. It uses "Ah" voices and harp type plucking. Chordy
percussion and uplifting main themes apparently are Sparkling Bright Brass then
later strings. There is some really good Moog on this. This is an early favourite
track. The backing rhythms are perhaps more Softsword like.
Strive Against The Dark – This is a bit of a chaotic none musical start. Apparently
this is completely free rhythm. Oh is that it. It is just a scene setter for
the next track
Bulzome Rising – This starts with Hammond, which is used, in a very ELP like
way to me. There are the uplifting themes again perhaps on guitar this time.
There are some nice guitar treatments in the middle. Then a lower range keyboard
part that sounds a bit bubbly. Mmm then a bit of an ELO feel again. Interesting
I hadn’t thought of that link before today. I think it reminds me of ‘The Whale’
from ‘Out of the Blue’. It seems the song is cycling through each of the little
sections. Good Stuff
Traveller’s Respite – The notes say this is similar to Bolero with an Oboe
sound starting things off. It soon gets extra keyboards with it but at lesser
volumes. He also manages get moog to work in this slow paced piece. There is
good low-end range on this album. It has to be said the notes are far easier
reading after the first song. Towards the end we get "Ah" sounds then
it wraps up as it started.
Tides of History – We start off with a flute sound on this gentle piece. It
too uses some Ah’s. They are more choir like though. There is some good Rick
like piano with again a good bass keyboard pattern going on beneath it. The
end Ah’s, which are more single person, have a little keyboard part under it,
which reminds me of Tubular Bells.
Force On The Move – We get a Marching type feel to this one. Again reminds
me of Beyond The Planets. I am very impressed at how many layers there are to
these simple main hooks. I wish Rick would tackle something with this depth
of instrumentation again. Perhaps he will, if he is moving to film work too.
Sanctity – This was is an really nice tune. Apparently sad and haunting but
I never pick up on that sort of thing in music. Again there is a great variety
of keyboard sounds from Moog to strings and lots of others I can’t label. Actually
the initial and ending themes remind me of Children Of Chernobyl from Rick’s
No Expense Spared
The Lever To Move The World – A faster track to end the disc. The return of
the strange beats. The guitar sound is apparently King Crimson like. Lots of
In one of the tunes I have thought a couple of times that something reminded
me of something of Rick’s Criminal Record but I didn’t notice it today.
Overall I really love this album. I wonder if I will get tired of the top hooks
being quite so repetitive but I think the depth of the arrangements will keep
me going. I highly recommend you give this a go if the sort of thing I am commenting
on sounds the sort of stuff you like.
I fully expect I will be trying out something more from Motoi once I have had
suitable time to digest this.
If anyone has this or gets it please let me know what you think.
1 thought on “Motoi Sakuraba – Force Of Light”
It is fascinating reading reviews from so long ago. As I added this into the Blog format I was struck that I liked it so much. I would be very surprised if I had played this in the last 10 years. I can see what I was talking about in the review what surprised me now in 2011 is that I liked it. Now I consider this too prog like and complex for me. I like something a bit more rocking now. Perhaps I will give this a few more spins. I have absolutely no memory it at present.
And even more to my surprise I have just discovered I did get a 2nd album buy him. How interesting.
I like having the website in Blog format as I can now comment on my on reviews. Yes I know I am sad.