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Progressive Rock: The 7 Samurai – The Ultimate Epic

This has somehow slipped past my radar, but let it be known now that last October the music labels Colossus and Musea presented a progressive rock album called The 7 Samurai – The Ultimate Epic. I actually found out about this all by chance while doing my usual rounds checking what sort of Kurosawa items are being sold around the world.

I cannot personally say much about the album, as my requests for a review copy have not been replied to by the companies in question. However, here is the product description that usually appears attached to the work:

Responding to the big demand, the joint-venture between Colossus (The Finnish Progressive Music Association) and Musea (Kalevala, The Spaghetti Epic, The Colossus of Rhodes…) proudly presents its brand new concept-album: The Seven Samurai – The Ultimate Epic!

Here’s a Progressive rock concept-album inspired by the famous film by Akira Kurosawa (1954). The story has been divided in three chapters, and Tempano (Venezuela), Consorzio Acqua Potabile (Italy) and Taproban (Italy) have been chosen to interpret one track [each]. The total length of each suite is around 25 minutes.

The sound remains faithful to the spirit of the Seventies Progressive rock music: original keyboards (Hammond organ, Moog, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, Grand Piano etc.) are favoured, and the bands avoid loops, drum machines or other Eighties and Nineties digital sounds. The three groups involved have composed three magnificent Progressive rok epics, reminding all the Seventies masters (Genesis and Jethro Tull for the first named, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso or King Crimson for the second one, Emerson, Lake & Palmer for the last one, amongst others…), but each piece is also faithful to every band’s style and personality. Brilliant!

The track listing is the following:

1. Alla Corte Degli Eroi – 1550, Periodo Sengoku (I. Shimada Kambei/II. Kikuchiyo: Il Volo/III. Crepusculo – Parte Uno/IV. Il Vecchio Mulino/V. Katayama Gorobei: Le Sete Spade/VI. Fa Che Io Sia: Il Dono)

2. The Farmers (I. Farewell To The Season/II. The Lone Samurai/III. Despair, Shout !/IV. The Blind Crow)

3. The Bandits (I. First Ride/II. Eagle’s Peak Pyre/III. The Flaming Lady/IV. Last Ride)

The CD is currently available at Amazon.com for $14.90. It may of course be cheaper elsewhere.


Discussion

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Jeremy Quintanilla

I’ll check it out today, and get back to you, thats if I can find the album or download it from a place am familiar with

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Ben

Well if I come upon it and am able to listen I will, but that is unlikely.
I must say the album cover is pretty cool. They actually got the likeness of everyone down except, perhaps, Shimura/Kambei.

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Jeremy Quintanilla

Well it was hard, trying to find this album, it appears no store catalog has any information about the artist. I luckily came across a musician friend that is a walking encyclopedia of musical information. He didnt have a clue, but with his determination to know everything music, and me having curiosity getting the better of me, we search for the elusive album. After a few hours and many rare album stores, we hit a store that the owner recalled a number “7” being on a album cover and a cartoon drawing, after a few minutes of searching-he found it! I was excited, but it didn’t last long.

I dont know how to really review a song or album very well so bare with.

I would call it more “world” music then “progressive”. The music to me is generic at best, nothing I havent heard before, nothing to really get my attention. Only small areas can you guess of a scene from the movie, then right as you get the imagine a instrument comes and destroys it. I cant find any rhythm or general following of the movie. I thought that since they are all over 20 minutes long, you could basically follow the movie, but there is too much odd noises, distraction and wrong pacing to do so.

Forgive my ignorance but I cant determine the language of some of the songs, at times it appears Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and something else. The Farmers track is mostly English however and The Bandits have a small amount that is hard to understand.

I thought since the music to me doesn’t follow the movie, perhaps some of the English lyrics would make sense.

From the track “The Farmers”—“will the samurai ever come?”; “….the fields were full of grain, year after year, their take is all of ours”; “Our death granted slowly” I cant make it all out too well but thats the general lyrics. Its repeated in different fashions over and over, to music I dont find fitting, about the only inspired by the movie lyrics I could find. The rest of “The Farmers” again is just generic progressive/world music

From the track “The Bandits” its mostly what I think is Italian and from what I think am hearing is a rough translation. “…we(or they) used to live so simply, we go take their..(?)”. I think it trying to get across they(the bandits) take from them(the farmers) because they are simple. Once again about the only roughly inspire by the movie lyrics I could find.

In the end—Disappointing

Hopefully some else can chime in about it, I’ll try to give it another listen but its nearly 90 minutes and I dont really care for it.

Vili, I dont think there is a problem writing down a few lyrics of a album, but if you think so, just delete at will.

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BMWRider

I own this, and I love it. It is an Italian progressive rock album. Italian prog is an interesting sub-genre that never really interested me, too operatic for my tastes, but my love of the movie colors my opinion of this work. C.A.P. has the strongest track on the CD. I have seen both C.A.P. and Tempano live, and they are interesting groups to say the least. I have used Mindawn and they are a good vendor. They guy who owns the comapny seems to be a nice enough person. Remember though that ogg is a lossy format.

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Vili Maunula

Thanks for the comments, guys! I think I’ll get the album sooner or later, as what you have written makes me curious.

BMWRider: I couldn’t find FLAC downloads for the album at Mindawn, or maybe I just can’t read their website properly?

Jeremy, you really seem to have gone literally out of your way to get this album! ­čÖé

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Jeremy Quintanilla

BMWRider, I can tell we have different taste in music, so I cant argue with your love for it and my dislike.
I take it as well, you find that it mirrors the movie correctly. I am a bit curious as to how you think it does so. Upon a second listen, once again I get the image of certain scenes of the films, that last for a few seconds, then a interruption and change of pace that throws it all off, also the lyrics to me are a bit lame. I was able to translate more of the Italian, since its very close to Spanish, and just found them, well lame.

Just a curious inquiry not a attack on your opinion. I just feel if your going to call your group the Seven Samurai and mention it work mirrors the movie, it should at least come close to being able to replace the soundtrack, with a modern approach.

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BMWRider

Actually the group is not called the Seven Samurai. These are three different groups. I am not sure why they were presented as such. I am particularly fond of the first piece. Though it does not reflect the movie as a whole, I feel it reflects the spirit of the movie. I did not approach this as I did Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, which is certainly faithful, but more like Bo Hansson’s Lord of the Rings. As a tribute to a great story.

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Jeremy Quintanilla

I did pickup that they were different groups that join to do a CD under the Seven Samurai. Perhaps I should of seen it as a tribute rather then a faithful following, also no being a fan of the music in general am sure added to my dislike. I dont know what I was expecting, but it just didnt deliver for me.

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