Uncle G’s FUN Music Reviews
Spotlight: Masheen Messiah – Another Page (2019 Masheen Messiah Records)
By Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Imagines provided by Masheen Messiah
Drummers are in essence, born to be wild. As they age comes not only skill, but they also play with grace and precision. Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inducted members Phil Collins, Neil Peart, and Alan White come to mind.
Speaking of drummers, I met, Tommy Lee. He could not have been any cooler, the very short amount of time that we were together. It was at a meet and greet in, Houston TX, more than a decade ago. Tommy was promoting a solo CD; Tommyland: The Ride. It was a thrill to have gone. I have a picture of us together. And an autograph. Not that I’m not a fanboy of, anyone. It was just a cool thing to do, one night.
Weird way to start off chatting about the relatively new album, by a modern-day progressive rock band, out of, Japan. A band whose music routinely contains both catchy melodies and dramatic arrangements. But it does lead me down the path to which I can confess that the drummer in the band being spotlighted, Masheen Messiah, is a good friend of mine. His name is, Mark Murdock.
Back in the late 20th century, Mark introduced himself to me by sending me an email via, Yahoo Groups. For the semi-older folks reading this now, demographics age 50 to 65; remember when Yahoo Groups was popular? I was very active. Made good friends, and solid enemies. Back then, I would use dial-up /America Online to gain excess to the world wide web. Oh, how I don’t fucking miss that. It would take for what seemed an entirety, just to hear the words after signing in; You got mail. And then one day: “You got a virus.” It’s mind-blowing how far advanced the Internet and computers have gotten since then. And the games nowadays are so much better than, Pong (Atari). It makes me wonder. Are the people who masturbate frequently, Solitaire players? You would think, right?
At the tail end of the 1990s, I was helping a guitarist that Mark used to work with, publish a newsletter about himself. It was a very cool experience. Not a discussion group, as Yahoo Groups was famous for. And how Mark and I at first, got to know each other. My title; coordinator. What I was doing, centered around a founding member of; Yes. The man should have been…should be inducted, on his own merits, in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Used it three times. I emphasize the word; should. It could also be called; the hall of shameful acts. Oh well…that’s another story for another day. The brilliant guitarist’s name is; Peter Banks. Younger folks today are finding out about Peter Banks, akin to the 1970s teens, getting turned onto, Jimi Hendrix. Way cool! Peter’s guitar solos, were epic in scale…sometimes. He was capable of also just getting the job done. Showing up, doing his thing, and then cutting out. Is said to have done just that, on a Lionel Richie hit song. In his autobio, he stated that he never did meet, Lionel. He went into a studio, and cut his solo. Got paid. I think Peter liked that last part in which I described, the best.
Mark Murdock (drums) and Peter Banks (guitar) were together in a band called; Empire. Unfortunately, the group never left the studio. Music has been archived over the years, and recordings have been made available to the public. Most of which, I think, I have in my own personal collection. Worth seeking out.
In All Honesty
Long story short, if Mark participated in something that I thought sucked a noodle up one’s nose, then I would just ignore whatever it was he was in, and write about something else. As I readily admitted…we’re friends. I’ll also make public that I’m not into everything Mark, has played on. Vice versa. Mark’s out there making a living as a professional musician. I’m a freelance writer. I cover more than one, topic. Mark’s a professional musician and is capable of playing more than one style of music. He’s not into everything I write about. I don’t expect him to be. In general, we both respect each others professions. When I worked in the labor unions, back in the 1990s, if describing Mark to someone I would say something like: “He’s a good man. Solid musician.”
This article about a wonderful new studio album, where it just so happens Mark shines as a drummer/percussionist, is because I straight up, enjoy what I’m hearing. In truth, that’s all it takes to ignite a spark under my butt cheeks, and get me to write something. It’s been hard lately, especially with all the world is going thru, nowadays. Back to myself, I have a solid reputation. Character traits that include; integrity. I swear to tell the truth and actually do. A result of childhood years spent being an altar boy, and boy scout. My early years, and a part of what makes me who I am, today.
“Uncle G” Discusses…Masheen Messiah – Another Page
If I was to give a thirty second sample that was of the whole band, Masheen Messiah, all jamming together as one, you would first think that they were out of, America. Or perhaps the United Kingdom, with a strong American influence. I really can’t compare to what’s coming out of their country, that’s in the same style (album-oriented rock) because I’m 5,569 miles away, give or take. You know. The distance between Las Vegas, NV, USA and the great country of Japan. That information is provided to me, by what I call, the mechanical woman. She resides somewhere in the land of, Google. In a sense, an internet, spokeswoman. Most people don’t use another search engine. The female voice you hear come out of your speaker(s) when on the Internet. She can answer just about any question, typed in or spoken. If I’m guessing I’d say about 98 percent of them. Including the kinky ones, people ask at three am.
Back to business. Throughout this new album, I hear traces of other musicians/bands that I, really like, and or are into. One example; Asia. I purchased their debut album, the vinyl with the cool Roger Dean drawing, the date it was released. Back in a time period I don’t remember too well, called the ‘80s. The founding members excelled at what they did. As a result, Asia sold a lot of records. I saw the band, last Summer. All this time they amassed an outstanding song catalog. Still going strong.
The group, Masheen Messiah, is keyboard-heavy at times. In my book, there’s nothing wrong with that. Long electric guitar solos. A vocalist whose vocals I can tolerate, and is a plus to the rest of the band’s contributions. Solid harmonies. And includes a rhythm section that appears to effortlessly jell it all together. All this is just great! But what about the music?
Songwriting is taken for granted, by the average music consumer. They hear a song, and associate it with who they see, playing it. Not the one(s) who wrote it. Songwriters can make a shitload of money. They get the last laugh. That said, I found the lyrics on the second and newest studio from Masheen Messiah, as either well-written poetry, or storytelling. Nine tracks in total. Songs about struggle, and hope. Battles and victories. Songwriting credit goes to the whole band. Good results can happen when everyone plays together as a team. As long as it doesn’t become maddening. Ask Dr. Bill Bruford about his days with, Yes.
Masheen Messiah – Another Page, the groups’ second studio album, begins with a majestic instrumental opener, which sets the tone for the rest of the recording. The proceeding eight tracks, all have lyrics encompassed with music that my eardrums, more than welcome.
Uncle G’s Favorite Tracks
Keep in mind, when I play an album/CD, I listen to the songs, in the order, they were presented. That said, many of the songs found on Masheen Messiah – Another Page, deserve repeat plays, just on their own merit. I, therefore, suggest listening to the whole recording in its entirety, a few times, and then skipping around tracks.
The third track, Flying High (Learn to Be Afraid) rocks a tad more than the previous track, Fanfare for The Eastern Feast. That’s a cool keyboard-heavy tune. Lovely instrumental passages, as does this one. At the 3:39 mark comes a nice change-up. The guitarist stands out. As he (Tatsuo ‘Michael’ Inoue) does on all the tracks. Reminds me of Steve Howe some.
I love the opening of the next song: The Greatest Ride. The rest of the song is an excellent example of fusion where rock meets contemporary jazz, with a reggae twist. A tale of patience and possible rewards. That’s my take away. I guess, without analyzing it too hard. Be on the alert. Eargasm time. This was the first song off, Masheen Messiah – Another Page, that stuck in my head.
Track five, A New Beginning, includes a pleasant-sounding flute throughout. It gets a little, Moody Blues, sounding at times. Well done! And a nice showcase for the vocalist; Matsumi ‘Gonzales’ Tanamura. A well-done group effort. With a little help from their friend; Kenji Imai (flute player).
The 7th number, New Day Messiah is a fun tune from start to finish. For me, the keyboards are music to my ears. Overall, it’s a very proggy song. Uplifting, it reminds me of Magellan, a bit. The number before this one, I Will Hold On, in places sounded like Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe…to me. Same energy. I imagine there are a ton of bands and musicians that all five members of Masheen Messiah admire. Who influenced, and shaped the career of each musician.
Includes a most righteous, and epic closing composition. The title song; Another Page. I would recommend listening to, with a good pair of headphones.
“Uncle G” RATES…Masheen Messiah – Another Page (2019)
Using a five-star rating system whereas one star means it unworthy of one’s time, to five stars which means you can play publicly without being embarrassed or ashamed, your favorite “Uncle G”, rates Masheen Messiah – Another Page…5 stars! Nice job, guys!
Masheen Messiah: History Lesson (in 53 words or less)
At the turn of a new century, Masheen Messiah started off as a, Yes cover band. Over the years the current line up, formed. In 2016, the band released its first studio album; For the Light Unseen. Their second release, Another Page, as mentioned, coming out at the tail end of last year.
Masheen Messiah (personnel)
Bass, Vocals – Yasushi ‘Yasai’ Tsuruma
Drums, Percussion – Mark Murdock
Guitar [Guitars], Vocals – Tatsuo ‘Michael’ Inoue
Keyboards, Vocals – Produced, Mixed, Mastered by – Yoshihide ‘Kame’ Akiyama
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Matsumi ‘Gonzales’ Tanamura
Masheen Messiah – Another Page: Written, Arranged, Performed, Recorded by – Masheen Messiah
Mazheen Mezziah Official Website – http://masheen-messiah.com/
Masheen Messiah Official Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/MasheenMessiah/
Bonus Picture – Gary “Uncle G” Brown – Tommy Lee (2005 in Houston TX USA)