Ars Nova is a unique female All-instrumental Prog band with an obvious homage to Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
In 1983, Yumiko Saito (drums), Kyoko Kanazawa (bass) and Keiko Tsubata (keyboards), met at the University in Tokyo and began playing the music of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Trace. They played in clubs and other venture in Japan's underground scene.
In 1985, Keiko Tsubata left the band to get married (only lasting one gig), and Keiko Kumagai stepped in to replacement her on keyboards. Keiko Kumagai began her musical training on classical piano at a very young age. In 1982, she started to play progressive rock and some hard rock music. She was influenced how to play the keyboards by Toshio Egawa when she started to listen to Japanese progressive rock. She joined Sylphied in 1983.
In 1990, Made In Japan producer, Numero Ueno, met the band and encouraged them to reform and record- hence- `Fear And Anxiety,' was released in 1992, showing the bands raw talent and closely resembling an ELP album.
`Transi' was released in 1994). Arrangements became stronger both compositionally and artistically. The album sold very well in Japan and Ars Nova performed at their first US gig during Progfest '95 in Los Angeles. The show was video recorded and was released on Pgrogfest `95 Day One. Their performance received high marks.
In 1996, ARSNOVA released their third album `The Goddess of Darkness,' which showed a greater influence by the Italian Prog band- Goblin influence as well as: Il Balleto Di Bronzo, Deja-yu and Social Tension.
Promoting at home and abroad, they did a USA tour starting with "Progday '96, in North Carolina, and covered major east coast cities performing in support of Mastermind. They also toured France and Germany.
Their second European tour began in 1997 and started in London, then the "Uden Festival" in Uden, Holland and finishing in Stuttgart, Germany in July. Trycle Records- a major Japanese label signed the band and released a compilation album `The Six Singular Impressions,' July '97.
Kyoko Kanazawa left the band and the group started recording a new album with Ken Ishita (Bass/ex-Deja- Vu) as guest player.
The new album- `Reu Nu Pert Em Hru,' or `Book of the Dead,' (originating from Egyptian Ancient history) was released in September 1998. They performed a world tour in 1998 to support the album, appearing in 15 - 17 cities across Italy, France, Holland, Germany, Poland, Sweden and England and the US in the fall with the lineup of Keiko, Akiko and Naomi Miura (keys ex-Rosalia as a support player).
Recently, Ars Nova finished recording for a progressive rock tribute album, recording ELP's "Tarkus", Trace's "King Bird", "Buree" and an Il Balletto di Bronzo song and in Feb. 25 2001, the band released- `Android Domina' which has a colder feel and the bands' style sports a kinkier S & M look. For the album, the band's line-up included: Keiko Kumagai (Hammond, synthesizers and synth programming, Mika (voices, synthesizers, piano, organ and Akiko Takahashi on drums and percussion.
Guest musicians on the album included: Ken Ishita and Noboru Nakajima (bass) and Numero Uno - (voice).
About the various themes that Ars Nova has explored... Keyboardist and composer- Keiko explains: "I choose the theme in each album. I have always taken a theme in which I am interested in. I usually examine something, reading books, seeing movies, watching TV, go to the art museum, look at the pictures, go to concerts ... I just match some imagination to the theme and then I go ... and sometime a great idea comes to me."
In 2005, drummer Goto left the band and was replaced by Hazime. Handa became a member of the band and played on the next studio album.
Ars Nova Discography
1992: Fear and Anxiety
1996: The Goddess of Darkness
1997: The Six Singular Impressions (compilation)
1998: The Book of the Dead (Reu Nu Pert Em Hru)
2001: Android Domina
2001: Lacrimaria (recorded 1992, released 2001)
2003: Biogenesis Project
2005: Chrysalis - Force for the Fourth
2009: Seventh Hell
2011: Official Bootleg Live Female Trio 1996-2010 (Live)