Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.
Although admittedly a posthumous release, I was very surprised at the rather dismissive tenor of many of the reviews of this album to date. Hopefully this record will be reappraised soon as being a release worthy of anyone's consideration as I feel it does enhance an already rich legacy left behind by this very fine and innovative band. (So what if Charisma wanted to ride the slipstream of the lucrative ELP juggernaut?)
Coban and his four comrades are smugglers who live in the bleak, inaccesable mountains. They are hard, pitiless men like the county they live in, whose daily commerce is in greed, danger, betrayal and murder.
In Okayama in the mid-1930s, Kiroku attends high school and boards with a Catholic family whose daughter, Michiko, captures his heart. He must, however, hide his ardor and other aspects of his emerging sexuality, focusing his energy on a gang he joins, breaking school rules, and getting into scuffles (he tells her, "Oh, Michiko, I don't masturbate, I fight"). He comes under the influence of a young tough nicknamed Terrapin, and together they lead fights against rival gangs. Gradually, Kiroku and Terrapin align themselves with the right-wing Kita Ikki, and Kiroku becomes a stand-in for the attitudes of Japanese youth who embraced the imperialism leading to World War II.
Ayako becomes the mistress of her boss, Mr. Asai, so she can pay her father's debt, and prevent him from going to prison for embezzlement. She also sends money to her brother Hiroshi to pay his university tuition, but her father intercepts it. She tricks Mr. Fujino into giving her money so that she can marry her boyfriend Nishimura, but Fujino calls in the police.
Simon Armitage has written seven new poems about World War I that form the centre of his latest television documentary. Armitage visits French beaches, German prison camps, so-called 'thankful' villages and remote corners of the Scottish Highlands as he considers the death of over 700,000 British soldiers in the conflict and tells seven real-life war stories. He learns of those who lived and died through it, those who worked and grieved and cried through it, and even those who tunnelled to freedom beneath its very soil. Each story culminates in a poem inspired by Armitage's research. Featuring readings by both the poet himself and the surviving relatives of those whose stories he tells, this film offers an opportunity to reflect again on that catastrophic loss of life, and to think about how we commemorate the dead for the next 100 years.