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2014 : VOLUME 03
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REVIEWS IN THIS ISSUE:



Taylor's Universe - Evidence
Taylor's Universe - Evidence
Country of Origin:Denmark
Format:CD
Record Label:Marvel of Beauty Records
Catalogue #:MOBCD024
Year of Release:2013
Time:43:51
Info:Taylor's Universe
Samples:Click Here
Tracklist: Buildings (14:55), Red afternoon (11:52), Marie Marolle (9:22), Forever and a Day (7:48)

As 2013 comes to a close Taylor's Universe record another album, Evidence, which dropped through my door and put a big smile on my face. Now 2013 has been a year of some fantastic releases, and Taylor's Universe has been part of that already with the release of Worn Out. I went on record stating that Worn Out was "a perfect example of how great Robin Taylor's musical mind works". Evidence as an album reinforces that statement.

Quite often instrumental albums get lost in their achievement, ideas becoming thin, continuity and style being lost and, in some cases, this type of album can end up turning in on itself and imploding to become nothing more than a "look at me / us" exercise. That is certainly not the case here, not one iota. Evidence contains everything that I, or anyone else, could ask or look for in an instrumental album; musicians that symbiotically interact to create damn near perfection with character, invention, lilting melodies and stunningly emotive guitar work. Musically the passages travel with passion and meaning, music that climbs to climactic crescendos, heartfelt dalliances, frenetic dexterity and powerful duelling interactions that have purpose and design that caress the listeners heart and mind offering reassurance and comfort.

From the opening Buildings, the longest track, through to the album closer and shortest track Forever and a Day the band put not one foot wrong. Each track conveys its storyline with perfection, offering the listener the opportunity to envisage their own interpretations of what those stories are and create their own images from the sensory textures which can at times be chaotic. All four tracks are trademarked with exquisite solos and this is complex music to die for...what more could anyone ask for?

Ordinarily when reviewing, standout tracks would be selected; here we are offered four tracks, all baring their souls and all extremely likeable. They all have their own uniqueness, differing approaches and personalities which stop them from becoming insipid and dull. For me if you are going to listen to just one instrumental album this year Evidence is the album. Mind you, Worn Out comes a very close second.

Evidence is truly a fantastic album. I tip my hat to Robin and the band; I hope that they keep producing such quality.

Conclusion: 10 out of 10

JOHN O'BOYLE

From the DPRP Archives...
Previous Taylor's Universe Recommended CD Reviews:-
Artificial Joy
(2009
"...a skilful and enjoyable blend of very melodic and more exploratory rock-jazz fusion."
(Alex Torres, 8/10)
Kind Of Red
(2012)
"It may not be an immediate album as it takes time to get to know each little nuance, but once you do hit that moment of realisation, you are in for a real treat."
(John O'Boyle, 8/10)
Worn Out
(2013)
"...a perfect combination of musicians that have seriously achieved their goal to create a highly addictive and intelligent album."
(John O'Boyle, 9/10)

Other CD Reviews:-


Taylor's Universe (1994)Pork (1996)Experimental Health (1998)
Certain Undiscoveries (2006)Terra Nova (2007)Return To Whatever (2009)



Mind:Soul - The Way It Should Be
Mind:Soul - The Way It Should Be
Country of Origin:The Netherlands
Format:CD
Record Label:Layered Reality
Catalogue #:LRP-CDMIS003
Year of Release:2013
Time:66:29
Info:Mind:Soul
Samples:Click Here
Tracklist: Breakpoint Hour (5:11), Novae (5:11), Sequence #1 (Post-Utopian) (1:35), Pillow Talk (4:47), Drowning Together (3:59), Caught (In The Pressure Cooker) (8:58), Sequence #2 (Post-Dystopian) (1:28), I Tried To Help (5:08), Over (6:35), Sequence #3 (Embrace Of Liberation) (2:51), Forever (6:27), Sequence #4 (Mind Reset) (1:39), One Night Alone)(12:40)

Although active for a few years now, The Way It Should Be is Mind:Soul's first full album so a paragraph on their history seems a good idea. The band started off in 2010 and is the brainchild of Tom de Wit, also known for his great work as a singer and composer for TDW.

Mind:Soul produced two EPs, Patterns and Patterns 1.5, which received a favourable review on DPRP, and have been on stage several times. One of these gigs is available on the Breaking The Layers 2012 DVD. The song Caught (In the Pressure Cooker), the sixth track on The Way It Should Be, already appeared on the Patterns 1.5 EP in a live version.

Three out of the five band members that worked on The Way It Should Be have unfortunately left the band recently: Roland le Fèvre (piano & synths), Jim O.S. Ilden (guitars) and Raul Tamas (drums). Quite a blast. Now we have 'Mister Subtleness' Joey Klerkx (bass guitars & grunts), Stefan van Leeuwenstijn (guitars), Tom de Wit (vocals, guitars, synths, orchestrations) and the quartet found a new drummer in Inca César.

And what about the full album? I think these men did a fantastic job. First, The Way It Should Be is a concept album with a great storyline and secondly the album is a flow of great prog metal songs, some focussed on true progressive compositions, others on the melodic metal side with every now and then a well-dosed shot of tech metal. The whole thing is gloriously glued together. The story is about two people falling in love but are unable to make it work because of things that happened in the past, thus they are going through some troubles together. The compositions echo the moods of the story accurately and the final epic track One Night Alone closes the album in style with startling fireworks.

Tom's usual style of singing is still there and I am very glad that on this album his vocals prove to be able to go beyond that. Although Tom's voice sometimes might have been a bit monotonous in the past, he succeeds in solving that perfectly on this album. I praise the many vocal variations he tries and successfully achieves! Mind:Soul have grown a lot as a band and produced a very enjoyable and intelligent album, still keeping their very own footprint and style. This is quite an achievement in the area in which they operate.

The storyline is brought to us in an ingenious, clever and clarifying way through the song lyrics themselves as well as by the conversations between the two main characters during or in between the separate songs. And although the compositions can be listened to separately as well, the album is written to be listened to as a whole. Beautiful. Great work. In fact the only piece of criticism that I have is a minor one, maybe the concept would have been better if it were 10 minutes shorter as not everyone in this age and time has the patience to hear it all in one go.

The Way It Should Be stands for the excellent use of all instruments; piano parts, awesome keys, drums, bass and thrilling pieces of exploding riffs. I particularly like the addition of various short synth and guitar sessions, which make the songs pretty lively and a joy to listen to. This might grow beyond the Dutch borders.

The album was released on December 11th, 2013 and the band can be seen live at de Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Holland on January 18th this year for free, so go see and enjoy 'em!

Conclusion: 8 out of 10

ANDRÉ DE BOER

From the DPRP Archives...
Previous Mind:Soul CD Reviews:-
Patterns 1.5 [EP]
(2012)
"This is an EP that gives you a fine insight in what Mind:Soul has to offer. "
(André De Boer, 8/10)



RedRocks - Supernova
RedRocks - Supernova
Country of Origin:France
Format:CD
Record Label:Independent
Catalogue #:n/a
Year of Release:2013
Time:51:49
Info:RedRocks
Samples:Click Here
Tracklist: Supernova (5:29), Call in the air (4:32), Complaint (4:47), Beast me (5:10), Maze (5:42), Maniac (5:48), Ghost Driving (4:33), Better be Blind (3:56), Tides (6:25), Cosmic Dream (5:29)

In the year 2011 four musicians decide that they'd like to start a new project enabling them to combine their musical talents and influences. Right now I am listening to their first full length effort. They named the band in question RedRocks and the members are Quentin Hoogaert (vocals), Guiliaume Boudou (bass), Steve Marsala (guitars) and Jean Prat (drums/piano).

Amazing is the first word that came up when I started listening to this album. A real treat. From the first track until the last the listener is treated with a mixture of music that is a cross between Faith No More, Coheed and Cambria and Red Hot Chilli Peppers to name a few. You will never know what to expect with each new song.

Yes it rocks and I love every second of this album despite being very reluctant the first time I heard the album completely. I honestly thought I was never going to grasp the music, but since then it has been growing and growing on me, in the end not leaving the CD player in my car for two consecutive weeks resulting in this short but very favourable review. Listen to the music for yourself and be surprised by what a combination of electronic, Psychedelic, alternative and progressive can do with the music. It is simply astounding in my humble opinion.

I hope I will have the pleasure of seeing these guys perform this interesting music in the very near future, and sure hope that they keep doing what they are right now - making beautiful and uncompromising music. It is some kind of Supernova indeed.

Conclusion: 7.5 out of 10

GERT HULSHOF


Corvus Stone - Corvus Stone
Corvus Stone - Corvus Stone
Country of Origin:International
Format:CD
Record Label:Melodic Revolution Records
Catalogue #:MRRCD 22013
Year of Release:2012
Time:79:59
Info:Corvus Stone
Samples:Click Here
Tracklist: The Curtain Rises (1:32), October Sad Song (4:58), Highway to Emptiness (2:28), Ice King (3:11), I'll Leave It All Behind (3:36), Corvus Stone (8:20), Moron Season (3:27), Horizon (1:51), Intermission (0:41), Moustaches in Massachusetts (4:17), Pilgrims (5:17), JussiPussi (2:45), Iron Pillows (5:17), After Solstice (4:05), The Rusty Wolff Attack (2:34), Lost and Found (2:15), Scary Movie (4:22), Cinema (10:50), You're So Wrong (3:52), Ice King (3:10), Ten Inch Lisa (0:31)

Corvus Stone is an increasingly common band format, in so much as it's an international musical project convened via social media.

It began with Swedish-based musician Colin Tench lending some guitar work to one of keyboardist Pasi Koivu's compositions. This led to a series of interaction from which bassist Petri Lemmy Lindström got involved. In a matter of weeks the trio had finalised a handful of compositions. Initially just for the fun, they suddenly realised they all had a new band.

As the project evolved, more networking saw the recruitment of vocalist and occasional lyricist Blake Carpenter and Corvus Stone's self-titled debut album was digitally released in the Autumn of 2012. A CD edition followed and an album's worth of material for the follow-up is already in place.

It was through a social network that I first came across Corvus Stone. The band had a track on the 13th edition of the Progstravaganza compilations that we have been reviewing here on DPRP recently. I described the six-minute track Cinema as a "gentle, well-produced and played proggy cinematic instrumental".

More networking and Colin contacted me via Facebook and not only this but a review for his other project, Oceans 5, was born. Corvus Stone is one of those discs that is impossible to categorise as it pretty much covers all bases; RIO, '70s blues-based hard rock, crossover Prog, Zappa, horror Prog and even a drum solo! Jussi Pussi is, I guess, a tribute to Finnish bread? Overall it's the musical equivalent of a Bedouin souk done in a '60s style.

The music is cleverly arranged and exceptionally performed. Tench's guitar and some of Lindström's bass runs are amazing. Best of all it really sounds like they are having fun.

The downside of a social network band is the lack of cohesion. It sounds like a record created by swapping sound files as opposed to working together in a studio. A lot of the songs have an improvised style to them - not always going in exactly the same direction. A few of the songs feel uncompleted or have nice ideas which should have been developed further.

It is also very long for an instrumental CD. At one second short of 80 minutes it could not be any longer. Some corporate trimming of the excess fat and bits that don't work so well would have left a much leaner 55 minute record.

Not progressive in the traditional sense but Corvus Stone is an album that will be enjoyed by those who relish instrumental music not bound by any restrictions.

Conclusion: 7 out of 10

ANDY READ


Here & Now - Live In London
Here & Now - Live In London
Country of Origin:U.K.
Format:CD
Record Label:4Zero
Catalogue #:FZ012
Year of Release:2013
Time:58:03
Info:Here & Now
Samples:Click Here
Tracklist: Intro (6:59), Touched By Time (6:42), Love Of This World (4:31), Crazy Lives (5:50), Telly Song (6:31), Moonrise (5:36), Underground Dub (5:14), Rattle The Cage (4:43), Only Way (4:41), Near And How (7:16)

Evolving out of the mid-'70s squat and free festival scene, a fluid line up of Here & Now eventually settled down to leader Keith The Bass, guitarist Steffe Sharpstrings, drummer Kif Kif Le Batteur, synth player Twink (not the Pink Fairies Twink!), and last but by no means least, dancer/singer Suze The Blues who sadly is no longer with us. By 1977 they were reinvigorated and accepted by the punk movement, and I can vaguely recall some free concerts from back then being energetic, wild and stoned affairs, and bloody good fun!

Ahem...anyway, this album, recorded live at Camden Dingwalls a mere 30 years later in 2007 features two of that seminal line-up, namely Keith and Steffe, with long time member Steve Cassidy on drums, Gwyo Zepix on synth, keyboards and vocals, and on Intro Joie Hinton on synth and keyboards. Keith and Steffe take turns at lead vocals.

The band always had close links with Gong, and indeed straight after this concert they were joined by Daevid Allen to give what, according to the press release may be the last ever performance of Planet Gong.

Steffe employs a similar guitar style to Steve Hillage-era classic Gong, and the whole shebang is rooted in spacerock, occasionally fired by punky mores, or propelled along with Keith's sonic boom reggae bass; Underground Dub sounds like Jah Wobble has got up on stage to jam.

Having lost track of Here & Now many moons ago this is like picking up a conversation with a long gone friend years later as if nothing had happened. The tracks here, we are told, are previously unreleased songs going right back to their '70s Stonehenge days, some new songs, and three from 1991 album UFOasis, the first to feature Steve "I-Dread" Cassidy as he was known back then, on the drums.

The first track was recorded at Exeter's Phoenix Arts Centre with ex-Ozrics and Eat Static man Joie Hinton behind the synth, and it fits perfectly with the rest. The sound quality is superb, and the playing exemplary. Some great jams, especially on the explosive closer Near And How, rub shoulders with agit-pop lyrics and compact songwriting. Steffe and Keith were both on a good one that night, and the rest of the band are no slouches either.

As Here & Now were inspired by the punk scene you won't find laid back half hour meanders into the cosmos here, it's all (relatively) short and punchy. I remember Here & Now as hippies you could pogo to, and they do not appear to have slowed down, and more power to them!

This is a must for fans of Gong and all its offshoots, Ozrics, OSC, and spacerock in general. Marvellous stuff!

Conclusion: 7 out of 10

ROGER TRENWITH


Elysium Theory - Event Horizon
Elysium Theory - Event Horizon
Country of Origin:U.S.A.
Format:CD
Record Label:Just For Kicks
Catalogue #:16052
Year of Release:2013
Time:64:38
Info:Elysium Theory
Samples:Click Here
Tracklist: B'AK'TUM 13 (1:47), Long Count (5:48), Clockwork Earth (8:04), Illuminated (5:01), Halo (0:58), Pictures In The Sand (5:56), The Arrival (0:40), Travelers In Time (8:32), Church Of The Serpents (5:10), Transmission Alpha (6:10), Cask Of Amontillado [I. The Insult (4:59), II. The Carnival (3:21), III. Coat Of Arms (1:22), IV. The Catacombs (6:42)]

Elysium Theory are from upstate New York and Event Horizon is their second album. They worked on it for two years following their debut album Modern Alchemy. On the info sheet the stated influences are Riverside, Dream Theater and Pink Floyd but personally I think they sound a lot like Enchant as the style is more neo-prog rather than progressive metal as suggested by the previously mentioned influences. The lyrics deal with topics like religion, science, prophecy and Extra Terrestrials and the album ends with a unified epic of seventeen minutes, Cask Of Amontillado, which is based on a story by Edgar Alan Poe.

The start of the album does not really grab me, a nice intro but the song Long Count is a bit messy. That is where I personally feel the connection with Enchant, nice music but to me it is somewhat incoherent. Clockwork Earth is a better song, some nice long soloing and a well-crafted, compact sound. Illuminated is a darker and more atmospheric song. I must say that the vocals in the darker parts could use a stronger, lower voice than that of Daniel Peterson, his being thin, high and lacking some depth. Pictures in the Sand has the same problem but after that Travelers In Time is a step up, a very progressive song with many layers and a lot more power than the rest of the album. Church Of The Serpent is very strange, a church-like 'hallelujah' song with a bluesy, swinging guitar melody but hardly any progressive elements although there is some very nice keyboard stuff. At first I did not like it but it is a song that kind of sticks in your head. Transmission Alpha keeps up the level and the latter part of the album is the better half with great pace and structure with some great soloing. The combined epic at the end of the album is what best suits Elysium Theory with no boundaries in song structure, just good music with nice melodies.

At first when I played the album I was a bit underwhelmed. I Played it a couple of times and then started writing this review and during that time I started to like the album more and more. Like many neo-prog albums this one is a grower and in these circumstances it does not help that the best part of the album is the latter half. It is a grower but overall it has some flaws with O.K. to good parts. This is no prog gem but I will certainly go back to it from time to time.

Conclusion: 7 out of 10

EDWIN ROOSJEN

From the DPRP Archives...
Previous Elysium Theory CD Reviews:-
Modern Alchemy
(2010)
"Although being sold as a full album, I can recommend Modern Alchemy as nothing more than an interesting demo."
(Andy Read, 5/10)



Spaltklang - In Between
Splatklang - In Between
Country of Origin:International
Format:CD
Record Label:AltrOck
Catalogue #:ALT037
Year of Release:2013
Time:58:42
Info:Spaltklang
Samples:n/a

Tracklist: Look for... (12:58), In Between (9:32), 4 Elements (12:54), A Suite (in memory of Cleo) (10:03), Ural Fragment (13:15)

Some time ago I reviewed the avant-improv collaboration between Italian guitarist Francesco Zago and Swiss saxophonist Markus Stauss that was Notturno/Leise Im Wind by Zauss, and here we have Stauss' main band Spaltklang with their third album to date.

Along with Stauss' soprano and tenor saxes, the other front line instrument is Austrian Richard Koch's trumpet. The seemingly never resting Zago appears again here with his guitar, this time in a largely supporting role. Providing sturdy rhythmic back up is Rémy Sträuli on the drums and the double bass of Christian Weber.

Rooted in jazz, these partly improvised long pieces veer towards the boundaries of rock, taking in medieval mid-European musical tradition along the way. The first track Look for... alone goes through enough changes to more than keep my interest, ending in a contrapuntal marching beat, the trumpet and sax firing off one another just the right side of dissonance.

Zago takes centre stage for the dirty fuzz guitar line that introduces In Between, before it becomes becalmed, the low moan of the tenor sax and the reprise of the sprightly main theme on the trumpet fading out again as fast as it came in. Various themes rush in and out of the nervous quietude, the state of "in between" established, on trembling foundations. The drums eventually anchor down a discordant and angrily buzzing guitar flurry from Francesco as the tune lurches to a conclusion. Spaltklang translates roughly as "gap sound", so the ethos expressed on the titular In Between can be taking as the band's calling card.

This is music for the head, and not for those of a more melodious preference, as you've no doubt worked out by now. This ain't "prog" but it most certainly is progressive, and I'll happily put it in my pipe and smoke it.

A brief burst of angry Frippian soloing surfaces from Zago on 4 Elements, which for the most part is a jazz-prog tour de force, recalling Islands-era Crim without the foreboding, and the interplay between the sax and trumpet is quite wonderful. The improvisation on this piece is at the heart of the song, the sax in particular entering free jazz territory. With three minutes left the main theme reappears and the band dance off over the horizon in a tight but loose jazz-prog quickstep. Marvellous!

A Suite is a more contemplative affair, as its bracketed subtitle might attest, and it serves to bring down the intensity levels ready for the album closer, Ural Fragment. Starting off tight as a nut, some fine ensemble playing involving every band member soon strips down to a mournful trumpet and double bass atmospheric scene setter, later joined by the tenor sax. Themes establish themselves, and when the band lock down they hit a tempestuous groove, Zago buzzing around again for a rare full solo spot.

Closer to jazz than rock, and probably the most "jazz" album to come out on AltrOck yet, this is primarily an album for those of you who enjoy the sound of sax and trumpet, and occasionally guitar letting rip with the confidence that only musicians in full control of their instruments in a semi-improvised setting can achieve.

Conclusion: 7 out of 10

ROGER TRENWITH

From the DPRP Archives...
Previous Spaltklang CD Reviews:-
En Suite
(2009)
"The beauty of the music created here is that it hasn't tried to emulate anyone, but create a diverse polyrhythmic musical forum that oscillates its emotions never revisiting the same theme or approach twice."
(John O'Boyle, 8/10)



La Théorie Des Cordes - Singes Electriques
La Théorie Des Cordes - Singes Electriques
Country of Origin:France
Format:2CD
Record Label:Vocation Records
Catalogue #:VOC3921
Year of Release:2012
Time:CD 1 - 50:17
CD 2 - 49:55
Info:La Théorie Des Cordes
Samples:Click Here
Tracklist:
CD 1 - L'Oeuf Schizo - part 1 (8:38), Le Procès du Temps (16:16), I.T. (10:18), Circus (14:59)
CD 2 - Paysages Urbains (14:08), Nomad's Land (15:45), L'Oeuf Schizo - part 2 (6:54), Sasha Grey (13:00)

Two years on from their debut, the relatively inexperienced but highly skilled French space-jazz-fusion band La Théorie Des Cordes (String Theory) unleash their sophomore album, and this time any sense of constraint has disappeared over the event horizon. Singes Electriques (Electric Monkeys) is a massive double album with a total running time of 12 seconds over 100 minutes, and it's an album to get lost in.

There is a large amount of inspiration taken from Frank Zappa, and a soupçon from the jazzier hemisphere of Planet Gong, with the lengthy tracks allowing for extended instrumental workouts that are part structured, part jamming.

The undoubted star of the show is guitarist Mathieu Torres, obviously a big Zappa fan, who is more than ably assisted by Stephanie Arnaud on piano, Julien Langlois on saxophone, Fah Pigny on drums, and Alexandre Henri on bass.

The mostly frantic pace of the first two tracks is broken up nicely by the jazz-prog-ballad I.T., which soon became my favourite song on the album. The more relaxed vibe continues with the languid chops of Circus, where the sax and guitar trade some nice solos, and the piano takes the spotlight later, not wanting to be left out.

At the beginning of Paysages Urbains (Cityscapes) we are taken on an atmospheric excursion through the yellow night-glow of Anytown, with a nicely building and appropriately melancholy theme that eventually takes hold, smoky sax and later piano wafting out of the club on the corner. All quite evocative, but like most of the tunes on this album it needs some editing.

Nomad's Land is a dancing carnivale of celebratory composed passages where the improvisational impulse is largely kept in check. Stephanie's understated jazz piano solo in the middle takes the theme down. Eventually Mathieu pops up with a very Torture Never Stops guitar sound on a slow languid solo.

Taken on its own, and the same can be said for any of these individual pieces, this song is the sound of a highly confident band that are obviously in love with their muse. As a whole however, I find the album is harder work than it need be, simply because there is so much of it. A bit like over indulging in a gourmet restaurant, you just wish you had not gorged on that last course when it keeps you awake later that same night.

The booklet for the first album, Premières Vibrations, was full of poetry and insights from Mathieu, with some nice artwork, too. Unfortunately as is increasingly the way these days, I'm reviewing from a download so I do not know if the high production values in the packaging have been continued. If the cover shot is anything to go by I can only assume that the good work in that area continues.

Also, I do not have a press release, but I have read elsewhere that this was recorded "live in the studio", which may well explain the sometimes over-long compositions.

When I reviewed their debut I wondered how the band would develop their style without simply producing more of the same fluid and admittedly well played fusion music. Singes Electriques has managed to progress in that the arrangements are more involving, but when it gets down to it, this album is indeed "more of the same", and maybe at 100 minutes, too much more. I will return to this album at some point, the never diminishing pile of "reviews to do" permitting, but I doubt I'll be playing it all the way through in one sitting.

With some judicious editing the band could have produced a highly decent 70 minute CD, but this is just too much in my opinion. Hence my mark is one lower than it otherwise would have been. Having said that, fans of Zappa should love it!

Conclusion: 6.5 out of 10

ROGER TRENWITH

From the DPRP Archives...
Previous La Théorie Des Cordes CD Reviews:-
Premières Vibrations
(2011)
"Fans of Jeff Beck and Pat Metheny and jazz rock in general will find this album an enjoyable if not overly challenging listen, although it is difficult to see how the group can further develop this sound without producing more of the same."
(Roger Trenwith, 6/10)



Il Rumore Bianco - Mediocrazia [EP]
Il Rumore Bianco - Mediocrazia [EP]
Country of Origin:Italy
Format:CD
Record Label:Independent
Catalogue #:n/a
Year of Release:2013
Time:27:53
Info:Il Rumore Bianco
Samples:Click Here
Tracklist: Tutto un Sogno (parte 1) (6:15), Il Vestito Buono (6:21), Il Primo Attore (6:13), Tutto un Sogno (parte 2) (9:05)

Two years ago, I reviewed two promising EPs from a fantastic if little-known Italian group called Side C. I, perhaps naively, gave the band two 10/10s because I was so impressed that a small time band could hit the mark so perfectly. I'd still recommend both EPs to fans of Italian progressive rock, but I'd be wary about giving them such a high score if I were to re-rate them. It appears that, in the intervening time, Side C folded when their lead singer Laura Bressan moved to London, but rising from the ashes is the new progressive group Il Rumore Bianco, which literally translates as 'White Noise'. Specifically, Thomas Pessina (keyboards, vocals), Michele Zanotti (guitars, tenor sax) and Alessandro Danzi (bass) have returned in the new band and are joined by Eddy Fiorio (lead vocals, synths), Federico Lonardi (guitars) and Umberto Sartori (drums).

As before, the band have decided to release a four-track EP lasting just under half an hour, and just like before, it's chock full of interesting and well-composed music. From the rhythmic intricacies of the first part of Tutto un Sogno, the track that bookends this disc, to the jazz-inflected Il Primo Attore, there is really not that much that can be faulted on this short but sweet EP.

And yet it's not what I hoped it would be. Why is this? Perhaps I'm disappointed because I had very high expectations left over from when I first reviewed the original band; expectations that haven't been met here. I think it's more likely that, within the realm of Rock Progresivo Italiano, Il Rumore Bianco unfortunately fall a bit short. Last year, I had the great pleasure of hearing such great Italian bands as La Coscienza di Zeno and Doracor, not forgetting the rather different The National Orchestra of the United Kingdom of Goats; in comparison to these bands, the songs of Il Rumore Bianco are simply not as strong. What the band lack is a strong melodic section, instead relying too heavily on sounding 'retro' and 'proggy'. Putting it simply, these songs are neither hummable nor particularly memorable, although they do contain interesting ideas.

While I enjoy and appreciate the band's approach on this album, especially in the dark repetitive stretch on the second part of Tutto un Sogno, I have to be honest when I say that it simply doesn't capture my imagination, or indeed my attention, as strongly as other albums of this genre. However, for a band that have had to start over, it's a promising restart, and I will keep my eye on them in the hope that they will more fully mature as a group. It's not inconceivable that you, dear reader, might like it, so why not at least give it a try via the group's Bandcamp page - what's the worst that could happen?

Conclusion: 6 out of 10

BASIL FRANCIS


Eyevory - Euphobia
Eyevory - Euphobia
Country of Origin:Germany
Format:CD
Record Label:Independent
Catalogue #:n/a
Year of Release:2013
Time:54:41
Info:Eyevory
Samples:Click Here
Tracklist: Sacrifice (4:18), I Trust In You (5:13), Monster (5:11), On My Way To Bliss (3:31), Black Bird (5:24), In My Dream (5:02), Torn (4:04), 1001 Nights (5:00), Good Times Are Now (4:26), Requiem Aeternam (9:09), Euphoria (3:23)

Eyevory have created eleven tunes that seamlessly straddle a number of styles including melodic rock, progressive rock and euro pop. The abundance of accessible melodies in Euphobia have a pleasing and immediately enticing nature. This to a large extent is achieved by the warm and attractive vocal abilities of Jana Frank and Kaja Fischer. Frank provides lead vocals for many of the songs. Despite some pop sensibilities which some may dislike, her voice is expressive and conveys much feeling. A number of the vocal parts are shared and, as such, there are some delightful vocal harmonies throughout. Whilst not always remarkable, the vocal parts are never less than pleasing.

In contrast, the seemingly obligatory occurrence of classic rock guitar riffs within the majority of the songs, creates a somewhat predictable character to the release as a whole. In spite of this, I enjoyed many of the guitar solos which, within the context of the songs worked effectively. For example, the instrumental section and subsequent guitar solo in Sacrifice adeptly enhance the song. The solo and ensemble playing transform this track from an unremarkable but alluring pop song into a much more complete and therefore satisfying listening experience.

One of the most attractive features of Euphobia is undoubtedly the very effective and ample use of the flute. The copious flute flurries and rich sounding accompaniments give the songs an initial appeal which I found satisfying. Fischer's flute parts are a key component of Eyevory's music and they significantly and positively embellish the more progressive moments on offer. In this respect, the skilfully arranged use of the flute enables much of the music to move beyond its euro pop and more predictable qualities. Nevertheless, the structure of the majority of the songs might make this a less than appealing release for those who enjoy greater intricacy in their music.

However, there are some notable exceptions. For example, 1001 Nights is inventive in much of its vision and delivery. It begins with a percussive and synthesized sitar introduction that is accompanied by a flute motif. This creates a mood not too dissimilar to Molly Bloom's introduction to 50,000 Camels from their self- titled release. The ethnic feel continues to build, with percussive elements that carry on, emulating in some way the style of the late Collin Walcott. The introduction of atmospheric and wistful vocals, add effectively to the mysterious ambience that is created in the opening parts of the piece. The instrumental section that connects the chorus of "welcome to your dream" and its refrain continues the capricious character of the composition. It is carefully constructed and ends at the three minute mark with a pleasing guitar solo. The euro pop-style chorus, whilst patently catchy, might nonetheless be considered one of the weakest aspects of the track. Certainly, the chorus detracts to some extent from the more satisfying aspects of 1001 Nights.

Unpredictably, in Monster and Requiem Aeternam, rap style vocals make an unexpected appearance. Whilst I personally found this aspect unappealing, it provided some contrast within the album. It is also evidence that Eyevory's music might have some appeal to those that enjoy music that combines elements from a number of different genres.

Surprisingly, given my preference for instrumental fusion music, I found the mostly acoustic but jazz tinged Torn to be the most satisfying composition in all of its aspects. Without doubt it is the most immediately accessible piece on offer. With the correct exposure and marketing it is not difficult to imagine Torn getting some airplay on commercial radio. Lyrically uplifting and reflective, it is elegant in its simple beauty. Torn is characterised by a memorable melody and its excellent piano, flute and acoustic guitar parts. Torn remains a track that I have returned to on numerous occasions and will continue to do so.

On the whole though, Euphobia is not a release that I think I will return to frequently. I certainly enjoyed many aspects of the music and found the experience enjoyable and worthwhile. However, much of what was on offer was, to my ears, too formulaic to withstand repeated listening. At times beautiful and uplifting, but neither progressive nor pop, Euphobia without doubt transcends musical boundaries. Nevertheless, in the final analysis, it does not completely satisfy within any genre and as such, remains something of an enigma.

Conclusion: 6 out of 10

OWEN DAVIES

From the DPRP Archives...
Previous Eyevory CD Reviews:-
Eyevory
(2012)
"...those who enjoy accessible melodic rock with a heavy reliance on classic riffs and flute will find much to enjoy here."
(Andy Read, 7/10)




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Published 11th January 2014

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