ASIA discography (top albums), MP3, videos and reviews .
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Asia biographyASIA were formed in 1981 by: Steve HOWE (YES) John WETTON (KING CRIMSON, URIAH HEEP, UK ETC.) Geoff DOWNES (YES, BUGGLES, and Carl PALMER (ELP). They were of course immediately dubbed a supergroup (in the way as CREAM, EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER etc. were). Over the years the line up has gone through constant changes, with DOWNES being the only founding member still present (although even he has not been ever present). Greg LAKE passed though the ranks briefly in 1983 replacing WETTON, but his voice did not suite the material, and he left before recording any studio albums with the band.WETTON's return in 1984 resurrected previous conflicts with HOWE, who left to be replaced by Mandy METER (KROKUS). ASIA effectively ceased to exist between 1985 and 1987, when DOWNES and WETTON attempted to rekindle the flame. They recorded a few tracks together, but WETTON soon moved on again, and DOWNES started working with John PAYNE on alternative projects. In 1989, WETTON and PALMER got back together forming yet another line up with John YOUNG and Alan DARBY. The line up changes continued into the 1990's, with DOWNES soon rejoining and bringing in the since long serving John PAYNE. By 1991, the band still only released three studio albums. With the release of Aqua in 1992, there started a relatively settled period for ASIA in as much as the band became very much a DOWNES/PAYNE project, with other musicians being brought in for recording or touring as required. A reunion of the original line up appears to have almost happened in the late 1990's, but the momentum was lost, and it never materialised.With such well known names in the original ASIA , expectations were high that the new band would produce high quality prog rock in it's truest form. ASIA however had different ideas, and went for a far more direct and commercial sound. The quality of the musicianship was undoubted, but many fans of the source bands were left disappointed by the self titled debut album. Commercially, the venture was enormously successful, with the band enjoying both singles and album chart success. Asia alone has sold over nine million copies world-wide.The output from the band has been surprisingly consistent considering all the turmoil they have experienced. They have moved through AOR/melodic rock (Asia, Alpha) through a more symphonic sound Astra, towards power metal (Aria), verging on prog (Arena) before arriving at Aura, while leaning towards thei... ASIA were formed in 1981 by: Steve HOWE (YES) John WETTON (KING CRIMSON, URIAH HEEP, UK ETC.) Geoff DOWNES (YES, BUGGLES, and Carl PALMER (ELP). They were of course immediately dubbed a supergroup (in the way as CREAM, EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER etc. were). Over the years the line up has gone through constant changes, with DOWNES being the only founding member still present (although even he has not been ever present). Greg LAKE passed though the ranks briefly in 1983 replacing WETTON, but his voice did not suite the material, and he left before recording any studio albums with the band.WETTON's return in 1984 resurrected previous conflicts with HOWE, who left to be replaced by Mandy METER (KROKUS). ASIA effectively ceased to exist between 1985 and 1987, when DOWNES and WETTON attempted to rekindle the flame. They recorded a few tracks together, but WETTON soon moved on again, and DOWNES started working with John PAYNE on alternative projects. In 1989, WETTON and PALMER got back together forming yet another line up with John YOUNG and Alan DARBY. The line up changes continued into the 1990's, with DOWNES soon rejoining and bringing in the since long serving John PAYNE. By 1991, the band still only released three studio albums. With the release of Aqua in 1992, there started a relatively settled period for ASIA in as much as the band became very much a DOWNES/PAYNE project, with other musicians being brought in for recording or touring as required. A reunion of the original line up appears to have almost happened in the late 1990's, but the momentum was lost, and it never materialised.With such well known names in the original ASIA , expectations were high that the new band would produce high quality prog rock in it's truest form. ASIA however had different ideas, and went for a far more direct and commercial sound. The quality of the musicianship was undoubted, but many fans of the source bands were left disappointed by the self titled debut album. Commercially, the venture was enormously successful, with the band enjoying both singles and album chart success. Asia alone has sold over nine million copies world-wide.The output from the band has been surprisingly consistent considering all the turmoil they have experienced. They have moved through AOR/melodic rock (Asia, Alpha) through a more symphonic sound Astra, towards power metal (Aria), verging on prog (Arena) before arriving at Aura, while leaning towards their lighter style, neatly ties together many of the bands former directions. The 2004 album Silent Nation, breaks with tradition by moving away from the established practice of every album title starting and finishing with the letter A. At time of writing, it has yet to be released.For those hearing ASIA as a new band, and those willing to put aside their preconceptions of what ASIA should be all about, there is much to enjoy on their albums. In terms of prog rock, the music is light-weight, with only occasion forays into slightly more complex song structures scaricare dvd shrink 2008 gratis italiano. The songs are generally short, but are of a very high quality, with a distinctive sound, and fine melodies.: : : Bob McBeath, SCOTLAND (with due acknowledgement to the official ASIA website) read moreAsia official websiteTime and time againSince the original line-up of Asia reunited in 2006 they have flooded the market with live albums. Itstarted in 2007 with Fantasia - Live In Tokyo, an excellent DVD (and double CD), and the only one that youwill need. Fantasia was recorded before the release of the studio album Phoenix and featured a verystrong set list containing not only every track from the band's self-titled 1982 debut album, but alsosongs originally recorded by King Crimson, Yes, Emerson Lake Palmer, and The Buggles.Following 2008's Phoenix, the band then released another live album/video called Spirit Of The Night -The Phoenix Tour Live In Cambridge 2009. This one was still good but it featured a considerably lessinteresting set list, especially with Fantasia already out there. Gone were most of the songs from themembers individual pasts. After the next studio release - 2010's Omega - yet another live albumappeared, called Resonance. The track list once again featured almost the same songs from the band'sfirst two albums plus several songs from Phoenix and Omega.This brings us to the present album which is yet another double disc set with the same line-up recordedon tour in support of the XXX (triple X) album. Once again we get to hear a very predictable set of songsincluding standards like Only Time Will Tell, Time Again, Don't Cry, The Smile Has Left Your Eyes, SoleSurvivor, and the ultra-tedious Heat Of The Moment. These songs have been played so many times andbeen included on countless live albums. The newer songs are not awful, but also not too exciting. I wishthey had done something less predictable and included more rare songs and songs from the membersindividual pasts.The inclusion of the early, non-album B-side Ride Easy would have been more interesting had it notalready been included on the aforementioned Fantasia. However, the version featured here is somewhatdifferent making it worthy of mention. Something else worthy of mention is Steve Howe's acoustic set,which is always nice.Like I have said before, Fantasia - Live In Tokyo is the only live release you need from the reunited Asia.The subsequent several live releases are just too similar and offer too few surprises to be of muchadditional interest even for fans of the band.I was quite disappointed when I first got this album on its release. At that point I'd only ever heard Asia's debutalbum, which I quite liked. I was intrigued by the Roger Dean cover, which - contrary to the album's musicalcontent - is quite beautiful, so I decided to buy it. Seeing as I hadn't heard any of Asia's material from the 30 yearsin between, I was in for quite the surprise when I heard an album even less progressive than their debut.Themajority of the album is pop rock and soft rock and is largely forgettable and unappealing. There are a select fewquality moments, such as the opener, Tomorrow The World, which isn't unlike something that may haveappeared on the band's debut, and Steve Howe's solo in Faithful, which reminds me a little bit of WildestDreams. So unless you're a die-hard fan of modern Asia, this album will be little more than $20 you'll wish youcould get back.Unlike Asia's self-titled debut, Alpha cannot be let away from the proghead-driven hate bandwagon so easily.While Asia retained at least some of each group members' stylistic approaches and more open, progressivestructures, Alpha dropped the ball. A far greater percentage of the album's content is generic pop fare and thegroup members' individuality doesn't shine through nearly as well. Really, there isn't any reason at all to give thisalbum a listen unless you're a devout fan of 80's AOR and pop rock. I would, however, encourage any fan ofRoger Dean's artwork to go and buy a copy (or at least a print) of the cover because it is a very fine painting of his.Mine currently sits beautifully on my shelf and makes for great eye candy when I listen to early 70's Yes, which themusic on Alpha does not resemble in the slightest.Progheads tend to give this album, and band, a hard time and that's completely understandable. Putting myself inthe shoes of an original prog fan whose upbringing was blessed by the classic incarnations of the genre's giantslike King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd et al and then waking up one day to find your favourite musicianscollaborating together, promoted under the art of Roger Dean and hearing little more than AOR and 80'ssynthpop, it's agonizing! If I had lived out that experience myself I know I would have developed some major trustissues. However, being a younger (i.e. younger than 40) prog fan and unswayed by the powerful forces of 70'snostalgia, I feel that I can shine a brighter light on an album that's, frankly, pretty darn good.ASIA's mainselling point is its lineup it is a supergroup after all. Steve Howe is on it, though it's no Close To The Edge. CarlPalmer is on it, though it's no Tarkus. John Wetton is on it, though it is most certainly no Larks' Tongues InAspic scaricare dvd shrink 2008 gratis italiano. What these three, plus Geoff Downes, who featured on Yes' Drama, do create, however, is a fresher,more sophisticated alternative to the generally uninspired genre of 80's AOR. Several of the tracks on side 1, suchas Heat of the Moment and One Step Closer, are fairly typical 80's rock fare and make for friendly radio tracks.There aren't too remarkable, though Sole Survivor and Time Again are great songs that make use of the band'stalents in a format that is very accessible to new listeners. Time Again in particular is one of the album's strongesttracks and features quality, though short, jazz-based soloing from Steve Howe. The album's second side, while notveering too far from standard rock song structures, does allow for slightly more instrumental exploration, especiallyon the ballad Without You and Cutting It Fine. Wildest Dreams is one of the album's highlights, featuring somegreat drum soloing by Carl Palmer and political-yet-emotive lyrics that are spine-chilling at times.Asia, whilenot pure progressive rock, makes for good crossover material and serves as a good introduction to certainelements of the genre for those who find it difficult to access. This makes the album a good recommendation forpeople who aren't quite into 70's symphonic prog but would like to get there eventually. Asia isn't just for progbeginners, though there are aspects of it that a seasoned prog veteran can appreciate.Progressive rock canbe described as many things. Emotional? Certainly! Ambitious? No doubt. Breathtaking? Of course! Exploratory?Perhaps. But one category that you probably won't find Lizard or Tales From Topographic Oceans chalkedunder is fun. Sure, serious, intelligent music is great to listen to in many situations but it's very difficult to enjoy allits facets when you're out for a night on the town with your buds or living it up at a house party. Asia, however, ismusic that you can crank up loud when you're cruising the main drag on a summer evening while not degradinginto lifeless, brain-dead pop. Is it a masterpiece in the pantheon of prog triumphs? Probably not. But Asia is still aquality rock record that's easy to digest, so set aside your prejudices and give it a try.AmoebaI've seen this album listed as a proper studio album by Asia rather than as a compilation, but it is probably best left outwhen listing Asia's regular studio output in virtue of the radically different nature of the music found here. Even thoughthis was released as under the Asia name it actually has a lot more to do musically with Geoffrey Downes' solo career andhis New Dance Orchestra releases in particular. Like Downes' The World Service album which was released in the sameyear, Rare is an all instrumental album. It consists of many brief instrumentals, some of which were originally intended fora nature documentary and the others for a computer game. I'm guessing that the two tracks The Journey Begins and TheJourney Ends mark the start and the finish of the nature documentary material and the rest of the tracks are the computergame tracks, but I'm not sure about this.The only two musicians credited are Geoff Downes and John Payne. There are no lead vocals at all but Payne does addsome choir vocals. There are some occasional drums and guitars.While I do find some value in at least some of these compositions, the fact that this music was intended to beaccompanied by pictures is evident and it rarely stands on its own feet. It is not bad as background music, but it doessound somewhat incomplete and even unfinished at times. Some of Geoff Downes' solo albums are much better examplesof his instrumental side. Rare is for fans only.This is the review of the video and not the audio. I had to watch this to know that if you want to buythis other live album, you don't really need the video. Frontier Records has released many livealbums of Asia in the past tours. A band that had a long career despite the inconsistency of theirmusic. Some that don't like this music will say that this Pop, AOR kind of music has never beeninteresting. But i am sure at the time the band released their first album, the progressive rockcommunity was intrigued to know what quality of music can play those great musicians. At the time,it was a deception, because Progressive Rocks fans were use to hear Progressive Rock music. Aftersome line-up changes, it was worst, not only it was not more Progressive, but the songs were not asgood as their first album. But, i think the band has made some better songs in the late 90's andenough good songs in their last albums to make a decent set list on this new live album.I said that the video portion was not needed to appreciate this live recording, because of the lackof visuals. The picture and the sound are ok, and for those musicians that seemed operating onautomatic pilot, you won't hear many mistakes. As you might expect, this is not a essential albumfor your collection.This is one of those controverted bands featured here in ProgArchives, because their musictends more to be under the pop-rock scene than the progressive rock one, despite it wasformed by prog rock musicians. For some people, Asia was the first successful supergroup inmusical history, for others, it was a project meant to earn millions of dollars, but anyway, theycreated themselves a career with some highs and lows, but they have prevailed in the hearts oftheir solid fan base.I am not a fan of Asia, however, I do like some of their songs and have a special feelingtowards their Then Now compilation, because it was one of the first best-of-albums I everbought, and sadly, one of the first I ever exchanged with a stranger. So as you can imagine, thisalbum features some of the best known songs (a.k.a. hits) from the band, which was releasedin 1990, in a time when Asia themselves was changing.So basically, what you will find here is a nice, maybe not necessary, but not bad compilation ofAOR/prog-pop/rock/whatever music with 10 songs that range from 3-5 minutes. For aprogressive rock fan it should be a pleasure to listen a band with Wetton, Palmer and Downestogether (along with Howe, of course) but this might be disappointing. Songs that reachedpopular charts, songs that are well composed but have a truly catchy and poppy tendency,songs for a completely different audience.Some of the hits you will find here are Only Time Will Tell, Heat of the Moment, Don't Cryand Am I in Love? Songs that you might listen at a radio station, or if you prefer, in this CD/LPon your collection.Enjoy it!The debut album by the band that every serious progger loves to hate, yeah, i'm talking 'boutASIA which finds John Wetton (King Crimson, Family, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, UK, WishboneAsh), Steve Howe (Yes), Geoff Downes (Yes, The Buggles) and Carl Palmer (ELP, CrazyWorld Of Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster) synergizing their lengthy prog resumes into a progpower pop album that not only sent a shock wave throughout the prog world but furtherintensified it by becoming a huuuuge hit on the pop charts (hitting #1 on Billboard and evengenerating a #4 single with Heat Of The Moment). This was new territory. Polished progrefined to pop and enjoying heavy rotation on MTV alongside the likes of the Gogos, Men AtWork, Toto, Survivor and Olivia Newton-John. Well, how could they?!!!!!This album actually has its roots in the Drama album by Yes where the band was looking toupdate their sound into an 80s radio friendly style without seriously sacrificing the progaspects that their loyal 70s followers craved. With Yes veterans working with new wavers suchas Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes they concocted a new mix of the old and new in a style thatalienated some old fans who didn't want to move into new territory and picked up neweryounger fans who were a little more keen on experiments.While Drama faired well in the UK, elsewhere it was a bit of a miss. Yes decided to take abreak from each other and split into two camps. One branch which included Jon Anderson,Trevor Rabin and Chris Squire went on to create a band called Cinema which for somereason changed the name back to Yes for their 1983 album 90125 and the other branchformed ASIA. Both albums took the approach of Drama and seriously de-progged it. Actuallyi should say they condensed the prog into pop-like song structures making this one of themost surreal albums of the entire 80s. These two albums actually sound related as the guitarriffs of Heat Of The Moment and Owner Of A Lonely Heart sound very similar. This wouldalso be the album where ASIA took over Roger Dean's artwork for their albums and Yes wouldabandon them for the rather uninspiring simplicity that would continue for a while.Personally i find this album quite entertaining. You hear all the characteristics of full-blownsymphonic prog on board with the lush keyboard sweeps, the intricate guitar solos, frenziedtime signatures, bombastic deliveries and jazz-tinged drum rolls but they occur in the contextof a song structured in the popular music of the day. The music is complex in its minutia butstructured melodically to be very catchy and ear-worm generating. The musicianship soundsover-the-top for such simple songs but somehow this album works for me.Although not one i indulge in on a regular basis i find the efforts to be seductive andintroducing a new marriage of styles that hadn't been so successfully fulfilled. I really don'tunderstand the contempt for this one. It has beautiful melodies, strong musical deliveries andoh yeah! Maybe it's the banal lyrics. I can understand that one. Maybe if they were singingabout psilocybin enemas, nonsensical verbose meanderings or included unintelligibleutterings this would have been better received. Who knows, but despite the Oooo baby lyricsthat tend to dominate i find it gives this a light fluffy feel for a prog pop album. Overall thisalbum is hardly the best ever to grace either the prog or pop world but it is good piece ofexactly what it is trying to be. 3.5 but rounded up because it doesn't get enough love in thesehere parts :)Released a year on from the self-titled debut, Asia's 1983 album `Alpha' saw thesupergroup - comprised of John Wetton (King Crimson), Carl Palmer (E.L.P), GeoffDownes and Steve Howe (both of Yes) delivering another round of streamlined and gutsyarena pop/rock with very slight progressive rock flourishes. The debut offered snappyproggy playing worked into catchy rock/pop arrangements, but much of the light progressivetouches have already been removed, meaning that most of the ten tracks here are fairlystraight-forward and often AOR styled. But even if the production is a bit stale and clinical,and you avoid reading too much into the clichéd and `woe-is-my-relationship' lyrics, there'sstill cool playing trying to get through, and at worst it's a reliable collection of solid rocktunes.Steve Howe seems almost totally absent from the opening two numbers, just providingmiddling playing that doesn't stand out at all. They're John Wetton driven tracks, the basicbut brash rocker `Don't Cry' that improves on repeated listens, and `The Smile Has LeftYour Eyes', a slushy power ballad. Thankfully the album starts to pick up a bit more steamfrom here. `Never In A Million Years' has more powerful chugging guitar driven verses withnice group harmonies in the chorus. The fourth track `My Own Time' is the first time on thedisc that band seems to come to life, with rambunctious drumming from Carl Palmer,Howe starting to take flight, and the boisterous chorus is catchy and chest-beating. `TheHeat Goes On' is pretty mindless, but there's a foot-tapping up-tempo strut charging it, withan aggressive and tasty Hammond organ run from Geoff Downes in the middle.`Eye to Eye' opens the second side, racing through in just over three minutes, energized byslightly loopy and manic synths and rippling electric guitar duels, with memorable falsettovocals from Wetton at the end of each line. `The Last To Know' is a solemn piano balladwith a power chorus. Howe seems to be about to erupt in guitar solo flight after a bit ofgrunt throughout it, but never really takes off. `True Colours' is heavy with thick synths andbashing ferocious drumming with a bombastic chorus. Despite having verses that are alittle dull, `Midnight Sun' more than delivers with it's emotive and dreamy chorus, and finallyHowe lets rip with an inspired lengthier guitar solo. At over six minutes, `Open Your Eyes' isthe longest piece here, and its definitely the best showcase for the talent of the four players.An upbeat and memorable joyous chorus repeats around colorful synth washes, a drivingbeat and wailing guitar fills, and this time you can almost hear Wetton's chunky bass tryingto break through.In all honesty, even the best songs on `Alpha' probably aren't half as catchy and strong asanything off the debut album, nor is the same energy and need to impress present fromthere either. It's kind of `more of the same', just not quite as good, and the fairly cold, flatproduction certainly doesn't do much to impress. Asia are an easy target of ridicule formany prog fans, but if you don't mind well-played straight-forward rock by a bunch of first-rate musicians and you're forgiving of the style they chose to play in, there's still worthwhilemusic to enjoy on a surface level throughout `Alpha'.Two and a half stars, barely rounded up to three.When this album first came out, I was very disappointed. The original line-up was back, but for me,they failed to capture that prog-lite sound of the initial first releases. It was heavily (andadmittedly) dominated by Wetton and Downes led songs with very little input from Howe, and Palmerseemed to fade into the background as just another session drummer. Had I reviewed this when it wasfirst released, a 1 star, maybe 2 is where I was at. With the release of Gravitas, I've dusted offall my original Asia discs and listened to them a number of times. Phoenix has come out of the packof last four albums as a bit of a leader. I am hearing more of that keyboard led sound that Imissed initially having compared it to the first Asia release of 1982, Downes shines on Phoenix. Tothe newer releases Phoenix is the one I would lean toward and enjoy the most. I will always supportthese leaders and musicians of the prog world, live concerts are still amazing and I will be stuckin the 80's with my favorite Asia releases. Phoenix gets a bump up on the enjoyment chart and Iwon't be afraid to listen to it in the future.
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