Ars Nova - Fear & Anxiety. 1992 Made in Japan
Note that the top cover is the original and is a die-cut. The second cover is a later press and about the only one you see on the internet. I bought it when it first came out, and thus own the top one.
Over on UMR, I featured a couple of reviews I had originally written for I/E magazine back in the early 90s. I also reviewed this album, before Ars Nova became a relatively more well-known name via the progressive rock festival circuit of the mid 1990s and beyond. While this may not be their best work, I still think it's great. The review below is the updated version of the original 1993 review.
...As for the music, the all female keyboard trio Ars Nova proudly follows Deja-Vu, Social Tension and, perhaps more to the point, Motoi Sakuraba's "Gikyokuonsou" as well as the "Kings Boards" various artists compilation. It is this sampler where we find Naomi Miura's (Rosalia's keyboardist - Rosalia incidentally is an all-female progressive pop band) brilliant instrumental piece 'Corde Spirale'. This track, no doubt, provided the inspiration for "Fear & Anxiety" (Naomi is mentioned in the credits). Keyboardist Keiko Kumagai displays an enormous amount of talent and creativity as she composes all the songs and obviously directs the course of each track. Though she plays a myriad of modern day digital synthesizers, the centerpiece of her sound comes from those wonderful old analog machines - the Hammond organ and the Mini Moog. 'Dark Clouds' opens the album rather ominously with minimalistic piano and haunting synth voices. Then the rhythm section kicks in courtesy of the Saito sisters, Yumiko and Kyoko, and we're off into keyboard trio nirvana with '[dziha:d]' (I think something got lost in translation here!). For those of you out there who are wondering if this is wimpy girl rock, fear not, as Ars Nova play consistently with angst and passion. On 'House of Ben' Keiko produces a sound Black Sabbath would be proud of. 'Prominence' and the two part 'Fata Morgana' finish this work with a similar display of imagination and performance. "Fear & Anxiety" is strongly recommended for those into the aforementioned Japanese groups, legends such as ELP and Supersister, as well as anybody into innovative progressive rock.
Worth noting that Kyoko Saito changed her name to Kyoko Kanazawa on subsequent albums.