Sjef Oellers 11-April-2001 Parallax

Bi Kyo Ran is a Japanese band who has released many albums. So far I have only purchased Parallax from 1982. The album features three long tracks with the centerpiece being the 22 minute "Suite Ran". On this album, Bi Kyo Ran reminds me of mostly Arachnoid and King Crimson. Occasionally they also remind me a bit of A Story of Mysterious Forest by Ain Soph and early Kenso, although Bi Kyo Ran is less fusion influenced than those bands. The few vocals are rather weak, but don't get in the way of the music. The band is basically a guitar-bass-drums trio, but guests help out on keyboards, violin, cello and trumpet. The guitar playing refers more than once to Fripp's style on Red, but the album as a whole is distinctly different from the ferocious Red. "Suite Ran" showcases at its best the variety of styles that the band uses. Some passages are rather dreamy, melancholic symphonic progressive. There is an intricate section with trumpet that even sounds a bit like Tipographica. About halfway through, a heavy guitar/mellotron-driven section comes up that is the most direct reference to King Crimson around Lark's Tongues in Aspic/Red. The last part of "Suite Ran" is a quiet, mellotron-drenched piece of romantic progressive music featuring violin and cello. Altogether, a very good album.

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