ROVO and SYSTEM 7
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ROVO are a popular Japanese progressive rock/jam band. They feature two drummers, funky bass and innovative keyboards and are fronted by guitarist Seichi Yamamoto (formerly with The Boredoms) and masterful electric violinist Yuji Katsui.
SYSTEM 7 is the dance music project of Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy, presenting a unique combination of tech-house beats and live musicianship, who have had a strong influence on the development of psychedelic ambient and electronica.
PHOENIX RISING live is a combined show of System 7 and ROVO playing together, sometimes using the techno beats as the rhythmic basic and sometimes using the live drums, seamlessly morphing from one to the other.
The concert will showcase some of the most sophisticated blends of electronic beats and live playing ever produced, made possible by the skilled musicianship of eight players. Fans of System 7’s Steve Hillage can be assured that in the format of Phoenix Rising his masterful electric guitar style is fully unleashed, with extensive soloing and duets with the electric violin of ROVO’s Yuji Katsui.
After a groundbreaking tour of Japan in 2011 and a successful Tokyo show at O-East, System 7 and ROVO decided to take the project further by recording a Phoenix Rising studio album.
The album was recorded in Tokyo in September 2012, and was completed in January and February 2013 with overdubs in Steve Hillage’s London studio, with final mixing in Tokyo.
The album is released on 23rd September 2013. The first single, “Hinotori”, is released on 3rd June 2013 as a digital download (on iTunes etc) and as a Ltd Edition CD/EP.
Phoenix Rising features original collaborations from System 7 and ROVO. It also includes a new arrangement of Meeting of the Spirits by the Mahavishnu Orchestra – a perfect showcase for the album’s astonishing blend of guitar and electric violin.
ALBUM TRACK-BY -TRACK
Hinotori (Album Version) - a reworking of the brilliant Rovo live rock adaptation of System 7’s “Hinotori”, fully based on the live band with soaring guitar and violin solos.
Love for the Phoenix - A techno tour de force loosely based on the classic System 7 track “Habibi” from the first System 7 album (1991) but made with a completely new beat and overlayed with live playing and violin. A powerful emotion is employed that evokes the suffering and spirit of rebirth in Japan’s recent national tragedy, and the heart-based symbolism of the Phoenix.
Meeting of the Spirits - a simplified cover version of the iconic Mahavishnu Orchestra track, showcasing the fantastic blend of lead guitar and electric violin, and also displaying the extraordinary beats of the two Rovo drummers.
Cisco (Phoenix Rising) - an epic live Rovo track in the “Krautrock” spirit of Can and Neu, with one of the trippiest tempo changes of all time, and featuring an intricate middle section composed by Steve Hillage.
Unbroken - an electro/breakbeat track composed by System 7 that starts completely programmed and switches to completely live playing around the same theme, with another Mahavishnu-style guitar and electric violin melody
Sino Dub (Phoenix Rising) - another live Rovo track combined for Phoenix Rising with a techno trance programmed beat in typical System 7 style.
Unseen Onsen - A floating ambient track with lush live playing, composed by Miquette Giraudy in the Mirror System style.
The Phoenix (in its Asian equivalent) is a national symbol of Japan. It’s a universal concept of the Bird of Fire that rises again and it has particular resonance after the terrible events in March 2011 that continue to place a dark shadow over Japan.
This project promotes Japan’s rebirth, and is supported by Rumiko Tezuka whose father Osamu Tezuka created the iconic manga series Hi No Tori (literally Bird of Fire in Japanese),
and also features elaborate artwork and video visuals created by Mood Magic (who made the System 7 videos) and video animator and artist Koji Morimoto (Animatrix).
PHOENIX RISING – MUSICIANS
Steve Hillage [Guitar – Programming]
Miquette Giraudy [Synthesiser]
Yuji Katsui [Electric Violin]
Seiichi Yamamoto [Guitar]
Yasuhiro Yoshigaki [Drums]
Yoichi Okabe [Drums – Percussion]
Jin Harada [Bass Guitar]
Masuko Tatsuki [Keyboards]