Reviews in this issue:
Yes - The Ladder
|Country of Origin:||UK|
|Record Label:||Eagle Records|
|Catalogue #:||EDL EAG 236-2|
|Year of Release:||1999|
Tracklist: Homeworld (9:32); It Will Be A Good Day (4:53); Lightning Strikes
(4:35); Can I? (1:31); Face To Face (5:02); If Only You Knew (5:12); To Be Alive (5:07);
Finally (6:01); The Messenger (5:12); New Language (9:19); Nine Voices (3:22)
After the highly critisized Open Your Eyes, Yes knew it would be difficult to regain
the confidence of their fans. But, with a new, talented keyboard-player, an experienced
producer and a return to the wonderful paintings by Roger Dean, they already added three
essential ingredients that had sadly been missed. The Ladder was the result. Question is:
is this the way up, or the way down for Yes? Here's my opinion:
Homeworld (The Ladder). This track was originally titled The Ladder, but this changed at the final stage
of production, maybe because it's featured in a PC Game with the title Home World. A nice
demo of this game is also featured on this CD (see end note). I think Homeworld is a great song
and really a yes-classic. One of their best in years. It sounds great, features many
changes, great bass-lines, a remarkably nice keyboard-part by newcomer Igor Khoroshev
and a wonderful Jon Anderson. The song starts very atmospheric and end in a romantic way
with just a piano and vocals, but in between this song build to a great climax, with
bombastic choruses and room enough for solos.
It Will Be A Good Day (The River). This song starts very nice with a repeating theme and a romantic atmosphere. The vocals,
especially the combination with the backing vocals are very nice. It's not a very special
song, just a love-ballad, but it's done in a nice way. It has all classic Yes-ingredients,
including Howe's sweeping guitar and the classic 'give me one good reason'-phrase. As I
said: simple but effective and nice.
Lightning Strikes. This song starts off in a strange way with flutes and a cha-cha-cha rhythm, but after a
few seconds a guitar comes in a faster rhythm and an echoing voice. After one verse, the
rest of the band joins in and this turns out to be a fun Caribbean-track including a brass
section. This may sound awful, but to be honest I really love the song. In the middle
there's a break, followed by a great bass-line and a return to the main theme. It reminds
me of 'Teakbois' a bit, but this is much better. One of the best tracks on the
album, but I'm sure opinions will differ on this one!
Can I?. This is a short bridge with 'vocal'-exercises and ethnic sounds (including a
didgeridoo). This funniest thing is the 'We Have Heaven'-part (from the Fragile-album) that
returns. This track leads into Face To Face.
Face To Face. It starts with a funny electronic loop. It's fun to hear Yes experimenting with these kind
of things. There's a great bass-riff on top of it. At first sight this isn't a very special
song, but there are some interesting things in this up-tempo track. There are some breaks (where
the loop returns) and some 'shake me up'-parts that really remind me of old-time Yes. An
a-capella bit starts a part that sounds very Yes-album-like.
If Only You Knew. This song is another love-ballad, with "Anderson" written all over it. I think the band
really supports him here with a beautiful tapestry of sounds. You can hear how important
good production is. All instruments are very audible and yet they form a wall of sound.
This song is a lovely sing-a-long ballad, with a string-like key-part towards the end,
which keeps the song interesting just when you thing it's getting boring. A nice love song,
but not the kind of song classic Yes-fans are waiting for, probably.
To Be Alive (Hep Yadda). Despite the (again) promising intro, including sitar, this song doesn't really move me.
It's almost a gospel song, but it hasn't the melodic strength of 'If Only You Knew'
and 'It Will Be A Good Day'. Khoroshev's pile of strange sounds doesn't mask this
deficit. 'Hep Yadda' isn't a new Star Wars character but the kind of words that make up the
choruses. I think I've said enough
Finally. This aggressive song really grabs me by the throat! Squire's wonderful bass and Howe's
guitar remind me of Dangerous (from Union) a lot. But at least this is 'real' Yes.
This is a very straightforward rock song with everything you want: riffs, breaks and solos.
But halfway the song this changes dramatically it turns into a very atmospheric, romantic
part, in the vein of 'Soon' or 'Awaken'. The combination of these two opposite moods in one
song is really nice.
The Messenger. A deep bass and a wah-wah guitar open this song. An acoustic guitar plays on top of it.
This time, unlike the Open Your Eyes-album, Yes managed to let Howe and Sherwood play
something different. They have their own position now, and they're not longer fighting
'against' each other.
This song is, again, a slower song, but different from the others. This seems a typical
powerful Squire-ballad to me. Think of 'Hearts' (from 90125) and 'Saving My Heart' (from
Union), that kind of songs. After 4 minutes the song changes, and multi-vocal part ends
the track. I'm sure this is a great one live, because of its bombastic nature.
New Language. This track is the other epic on the album and it's almost as great as the first one
(Homeworld). It start with a church-organ, followed by a very fast and hectic instrumental
part. Yes, they still can do these things! Squire and White form a perfect base for Howe
and Khoroshev to play solos. It almost seems as if these guys have heard Spock's Beard's
latest album. After two minutes a nice organ-sound accompanies Anderson when he comes in
to 'tell his tale'. From this point, New Language builds to the 'chorus', which features
Squire on backing vocals very prominently. Howe plays a very typical solo. After another
chorus, Howe returns to do what we all love to hear: play a fast acoustic solo on top of
very strange chords. Don't try to "air-guitar" this: you'll fail! Squire's bass leads us
back to the chorus. Great!
Nine Voices (Long Walker). This sounds pretty much as a remake of Your Move (from The Yes Album), even including
the typical 'doo-doop-doo-doop'-phrase. This time it also features and sitar and the
melody changes a bit, but overall there's strong resemblance. It's for you to decide
whether you like it or not.
This is not a return to classic Yes and it's not a classic new Yes-album, but it's
certainly a step in the right direction. Personally I wasn't very enthousiastic (to say the
least) about Talk and Open Your Eyes. Both albums missed too many essential Yes-ingredients.
On the other hand, there were the (sometimes) brilliant compositions on Keys To Ascension
(I & II), such as Mind Drive. I still regret the fact that Yes didn't release
all studio-track on KTA as one, new album.
The Ladder is somewhere in between. It has the same clear way of production as Keys To
Ascension, but also is very song-oriented. Some tracks could have been on one of Anderson's
solo-albums. The Ladder combines some great songs like Homeworld, New Language,
Finally and Lighting Strikes with more 'ordinary' love-song like It Will Be A
Good Day and If Only You Knew. But also these tracks are made to beautiful ones
by the strong production of the album by Bruce Fairbairn, who died during the mastering of
the album. With a powerful Anderson, a great-sounding Squire and a remarkably good
Khoroshev. Yes is back on it's way.. up The Ladder! But I think they can even climb higher
Conclusion: 8 out of 10.
Jan-Jaap de Haan
End note: Seemingly there are different versions of The Ladder. The CD with catalogue
number EAGCD088 features the demo of Home World. The version with number EAGLT088 is
a limited edition European version without the demo but with a carton slipcase (like
the two Keys to Ascension albums) and a small poster of Fairnbairn's track list
ReGenesis - Here It Comes Again
|Country of Origin:||UK|
|Record Label:||Mystic Records|
|Catalogue #:||MYS CD 126|
|Year of Release:||1998|
Tracklist: Back in NYC (6:17); The Musical Box (10:57); The Return of the Giant
Hogweed (8:20); Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (7:51); Afterglow (4:54); The Cinema Show
(13:48); Los Endos (5:53); The Knife (9:48)
When I heard about ReGenesis for the first time a few years ago, I knew I had to see
them. What they brought, was beyond my imagination. Not many cover bands are so good, that
they can release a CD. ReGenesis is that good. Here It Comes Again is their second
Here It comes Again starts with an aggressive version of Back IN N.Y.C.. Singer
Glyn Protheroe sings at the top of his voice, but to be honest I think this song never was
Gabriel's strongest performance as well. Drums (Nigel Appleton) and keyboards (Doug
Melbourne) are very close to the original, the latter being much more audible than on the
original. The weird interlude is very nice as well. Next is The Musical Box. This
is 'prime time' for Steve Marsh, who does a great job on the guitars, both in the softer
parts and the heavy ending. This is a great version, which builds from romantic to
aggressive, just the way it should. It's nice to hear the audience as well indeed: "here it
The Return of the Giant Hogweed shows how well these boys play together, every
single instrument has its own place and yet the inter-play between the band members is
perfect. The middle, instrumental part is really delicious and has a certain drive I hadn't
In Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, Guy Protheroe shows that he really sounds
like Gabriel at some points, especially in the slower, softer parts he is very convincing.
But I think it's not honest to just compare ReGenesis with the original. They have
something of their own and that's OK, because if it was only a copy of the original, there
wasn't something surprising. And with all the costumes (pity you cannot see those on a CD)
they create a very special Genesis-atmosphere, without losing their own identity.
The first of the two post-Gabriel songs on this album is Afterglow, personally
one of my all-time favourites. I don't know if it's also Protheroe singing here, but it
certainly isn't Collins. However the essence of the song - the on-going crescendo -
remains. The bass (Andy Hyam) in the beginning is wonderful and the keyboards towards the
end are superb.
Cinema Show regrettably isn't sung along by the audience, which normally gives
great atmosphere live. Or maybe it is, but the people are a bit low in the mix in this
song. But if you would hear only the middle part of this track, you'd swear it's the
original, but despite a genuine drum-duet it isn't. But don't let this spoil the fun,
because this is a another highlight of the CD. Leading into the drum duet, which leads
into Los Endos, this version is pretty close to the Seconds Out version. Sweeping
guitars, heavy bass, it's all there! Simply great. As an encore, you get The Knife.
If anyone is in doubt if Genesis was a rock-band, you're sure he's never heard this song.
Great organ, powerful guitar, and aggressive vocals and, on top of that: the whistle!
Perfect ending to this CD.
Of course you can always ask: why should I buy an album with Genesis-song played by a
different band? Well, there are several reasons. Personally, I just wanted to have it as a
souvenir to remember the great gig they played. Second, these guys need all the support to
make these kind of revivals possible and finally: it's a great album by really talented
guys. To be very honest: I prefer these guys to the originals nowadays.
Conclusion: 7 out of 10.
Jan-Jaap de Haan
Porcupine Tree - Stranger by the Minute
|Country of Origin:||UK|
|Catalogue #:||SMASCD 107|
|Year of Release:||1999|
|Time:||11:15 plus enhanced CD section|
Tracklist: Audio: Stranger by the Minute (edit) (3.44), Even Less (part 2) (7.20).
Video: Piano Lessons (3.30).
As far as I can remember this is just the second time that a CD Single gets a review on DPRP.
Normally CD Singles are not that interesting because they just contain songs that are already
on the album and furthermore there's not a lot of prog rock bands that release them.
This new Porcupine Tree CD is an exception. Taken from the Stupid Dream
album, which was released early 1999 and has since grown to be my favourite disc of the year so far,
this is the second single taken from the new album (the first one being Piano Lessons).
Assuming that you already have the album, Stranger by the Minute itself is probably
the least interesting thing about this CD. It is an edited version which is almost a minute
shorter than the original.
The real treat on this CD is Even Less (part 2). Those of you who have seen certain
concerts during Porcupine Tree's 1998 and 1999 tours will remember a marvellous long song of
about 15-20 minutes long. This song, Even Less was supposed to be included on the
Stupid Dream. In the end only the first half made it on the album since such a long
track it would probably be out of place among the shorter ones.
I personally was a bit disappointed by that but the promise of a mini CD which would feature
the full length version did a lot of good. This plan also turned out a bit different and the
second half of the tune ended up on this CD Single.
The first four minutes feature an incredible instrumental section where one by one keyboards,
drums, bass and guitar build up the tension, followed by a typical Wilson guitar solo. Then
the song proceeds with lyrics which are even darker than those of the first half (Fuck
you and your book too, you can have it back). The vocal part and riff sounds even
harsher than in part 1. Great stuff ! (Even though it should have been one track).
And then there's another extra surprise on the disc. For those of you with a CD-Rom drive
(which are probably most of you) there's an enhanced section on the CD. When you start it
you first ar treated to the video of Piano Lessons, the edited version of the
previous single. The video is a bit tedious to watch since it's one of those 'a shot per
second' things. It probably takes a while to get used to. Fortunately, the screen has been
equipped with buttons which enable you to pause, slowly rewind and slowly forward the
video, so you can explore it a bit.
As far as the video itself is concerned, it features the band with weird masks, holding
signs which tell you that your listening to the guitar solo, chorus, etc as well as signs
that, together with the visuals, seem to be meant as puns on marketing terms like 'target
market' and 'positioning'. The guy in the radiation suit with the CD that appeared on the
cover of Stupid Dream is present as well (just like on the cover of this CD Single).
After watching the CD you get a menu with options to view 9 artistic photographs of the band,
scroll through their discography, read the lyrics of the three songs on the CD (including
both parts of Even Less) and see the addresses of various Porcupine Tree related
web sites. Quite useful for those who are relatively new to the band.
Compared to normal CD Singles the packaging is done very well. The CD comes in a normal
jewel case including transparant tray and back cover. The artwork features a couple of
stills of the Piano Lessons video.
All in all a very nice release. How often is it that you see a prog video and get such a
marvellous bonus track ?
The CD Single will be released on the 4th of October.
Conclusion: 8 out of 10.
Desforme - Souk Souk
|Country of Origin:||France|
|Record Label:||Musea Parallele|
|Catalogue #:||MP 3032.AR|
|Year of Release:||1998|
Tracklist: Souk Souk (4:00), Brake Blues (11:57), Rien Encore (7:45),
Be D'Enfer Pop (9:09), Rue De Jade (8:09), Virginie (7:06), Ysapelpas (7:48).
"Jazz is not dead", Frank Zappa is quoted on the cover of this disc.
Desforme try and prove that. It's not a very encouraging invitation when you
expect to be reviewing progressive rock CDs. The line-up holds players (four guys with
the surname Desforme) for drums, keyboards, bass, and saxophone. No vocals, no guitars -
I'm up to something weird here!
And what's so strange about this?! I've heard a lot worse. I could even say there are some
very nice things in the music of Desforme. The opening track is an up-tempo piece,
that reminded me of some old Van Der Graaf Generator, for example Killer.
Bombastic, pumping, and full. Mind you, Killer is not VDGG's best song - it
takes a lot more come near a momument like Lemmings. A Moog solo also raises my
interest in hearing this again!
Brake Blues is jazz. Some structureless parts, with piano and saxophone whistling
and screeching. Too jazzy for me. Other parts are real slow and quiet. The end of Rien
Encore has that busy, frantic play that VDGG also has. However, in the case of
VDGG, things are more diverse, while Desforme are leaning too much on the
saxophone, the sound of which I do not particularly enjoy for too long. The influence
Desforme took from Frank Zappa is also not the thing I like best in the man' music.
Seemingly hitting piano keys at random is not my idea of prog or symphonic music. It's
simply too jazzy for me.
Musea Parallele has released some very strange CDs. I remember a CD full of saxophone
music, which got a very low mark from a fellow reviewer. I haven't heard that one, but
Desforme certainly have something. Not your typical prog, obviously, but when
Desforme start playing loud, things are getting interesting. Not for too long,
however, according to those prog-minded ears of mine.
Conclusion: 5 out of 10.
Jerry van Kooten
Tibet - Tibet
|Country of Origin:||Germany|
|Catalogue #:||FGBG 4115.AR|
|Year of Release:||1994|
|Info:||Musea web site|
Tracklist: Fight Back (4:59), City By The Sea (4:24), White Ships And Icebergs
(6:15), Seaside Evening (4:13), Take What's Yours (7:23), Eagles (6:05), No More Time (5:30)
Aha, this is my cup of tea! Old rock, heavy guitars, pumping organs... The kind of music
you heard in the late Sixties and early Seventies. In the booklet it's said that the
original LP didn't do a lot, which is not surprising, considering the fact that it was
released in 1979, a great year for punk music. Does that affect my review? Hm, not really.
Why should it? Like anybody else's music, it is made through influences, and unlike some
other music, Tibet's music is not copied from others'. But now at least you know what kind
of music to expect. Sort of...
Musea re-issued this disc in 1994. Quite a long time ago. That was even before DPRP ever
started, so we could never have done a review. But we received this CD, even five years
after its re-release, so we're going to review it. Why shouldn't we? It's our job to keep
you informed of music, especially music you have not heard before. And I guess there is a
fair chance you haven't heard this one.
There are some very positive things to say about this album. The first is very subjective,
and that is that I simply like this kind of music. Based on blues / rock, powered by guitar
riffs and organ boosts. Another thing is less objective, and that is that the singer has a
very clear voice, the songs are quite diverse, and the musicians enjoy their playing.
The singer knows what he is singing, has no accent, and knows his limitations. He has a
clear and high voice, a difference when compared to some othe bands in the same genre,
where the vocals are deep and sometimes growling. Some vocal melody lines are quite
inventive, but overall, the vocals get a bit long-winded, because it's too much of the
same. I also have to say that the music is not as powerful as some other bands that moved
in this field of music. The music is very nice indeed, but does not manage to maintain my
interest throughout the CD. It could have used a bit more power.
In short, this is a good CD with fine playing and singing, but it is also obviously an
album by a young band (at the time of recording). At the moment, twenty years after its
first release, a second Tibet album is in the making, and I am very interested in hearing
Conclusion: 7 out of 10.
Jerry van Kooten