Album Reviews

Issue 2024-003

Here at DPRP towers, we frequently receive some interesting albums that whilst not strictly "prog", would be of interest to many of our readers. We sometimes receive albums that have been released in previous years. Also, with so many albums submitted, it is not always possible to find a writer with the time to give every release our usual in-depth review.

So how best can we still bring you news of such releases?

This is an edition of Prog Bites. Each still has all the usual album information and links to samples and videos (where available), but the reviews are much shorter, and we do not award any score.

We hope you will find some great music that you think deserves further investigation.

Antimatter — A Profusion Of Thought

UK
2022
68:49
Antimatter - A Profusion Of Thought
No Contact (5:25), Paranoid Carbon (5:17), Heathen (5:59), Templates (5:16), Fold (5:11), Redshift (5:34), Fools Gold (7:22), Entheogen (5:48), Breaking The Machine (3:45), Kick The Dog (4:24), Redshift (remix) (6:35), Breaking The Machine (acoustic) (3:45), Sleep (4:58)
Mark Hughes

Earlier this year Antimatter released their ninth studio album A Profusion Of Thought, an album that maintained the group's, or rather main man Mick Moss', high quality threshold and justifiably achieving a DPRP recommended rating. A double vinyl edition of the album has just been released that contains three unique tracks on its fourth side.

The remix of Redshift is quite dramatic, with the original largely acoustic piece being augmented by a heavy beat that pushes the vocals into the background and completely removes the acoustic guitar. The result is dramatic, giving the piece a darker and more ominous presence. Various electronic and keyboard inserts add drama although the delightful saxophone solo has been retained. The remix is a transformation of the original to the extent that it could almost be considered a new piece of music.

The acoustic version of Breaking The Machine is less transformative, largely because the original was largely acoustic itself. This new version does not contain the drums that are present towards the end of the original and also removes the keyboard parts that can be heard in the background. Instead, there are some lovely string and flute parts, undoubtedly synthesiser derived, that mellows out the composition. Both of these new versions retain the original vocals (in fact playing both versions of Breaking The Machine simultaneously is quite an auditory experience, providing a third version of the song that I probably rate higher than either of the individual tracks!).

Sleep, the third bonus track is a totally new instrumental that is very low-key and appropriately somnambulistic. It is not until two-thirds of the way through when a saxophone breaks through that the minimalist nature of the piece is disturbed. All-in-all it is great that Moss is providing extra material to make use of the space on this double vinyl release but for fans who long ago abandoned their turntables (if indeed they ever had them) it is comforting that the three bonus tracks are nothing truly essential to the Antimatter collector.

Lorenzo Cellupica — In a Haunted House

Italy
2023
51:42
Lorenzo Cellupica - In a Haunted House
Incipit (0:41), A Piece of Cale (6:13), Spider (5:14), Hide and Seek (6:15), We Can Work it Out (5:18), Eleventh Avenue (4:23), Round Midday (6:19), In a Haunted House (5:01), Anything to Say (5:44), Egg Dance (6:28)
Owen Davies

Lorenzo Cellupica is probably best known in prog circles for his involvement as the keyboard player in the excellent Möbius Strip (whose eponymous album and Time Lag I reviewed here on DPRP.net).

In A Haunted House sees Cellupica travel in a different direction as he displays his prowess using only the piano. The fact that this type of album can hold a listeners attention from its beginning to its end, is a great testament to Cellupica's skill as a composer and as a performer.

The album paints many different scenes and stories over the course of its ten tunes. This makes it a wonderful experience. The tunes flow and flutter with heartfelt emotion. Cellupica is more than capable of being able to take the listener along on a riveting journey incorporating a variety of tempos and a range of moods.

I found that much of In A Haunted House is an album to listen to against the low-lit flicker of a dwindling candle flame. In this respect, Round Midday and Anything To Say stand out in their gorgeous ability to delicately soothe and stroke the senses.

The title track would probably be most appealing to fans of prog. It carries many different themes within its relatively short running time. I would love to see it developed into a longer piece by Möbius Strip.

The album concludes with the jaunty Egg Dance. In this piece, Cellupica somehow, manages to deliver a large sounding tune on a standalone piano. It is a composition that just invites a listener to tread water and splash in time, to its frothing crests and buoyant swells.

When I wish to refresh my senses, I play In A Haunted House frequently. It never ceases to satisfy.

Inui — Murmuration

France
2023
20:11
Inui - Murmuration
Incendie (3:57), Aria (4:49), Murmuration (3:52), Les Sirènes (4:38),Primitives (2:53)
Owen Davies

Do you want to hear something quite different? Then massage and tingle your ears with the unusual and inventive soundscape of Murmuration.

If you have any interest bands and composers such as Ikarus, Elull Noomi, Gazelle Twin or perhaps even Meredith Monk, then much of Murmuration will probably appeal.

Their unique use of the human voice as an instrument accompanied by synths, electronic effects and drums ensures that this album has an almost primeval pull. It is both visceral and charming by turns, and its effect upon the senses is mesmerising.

The vocalists improvise and innovate to offer an unimaginable array of timbres and tones. The use of dynamics play a large part in the impact that the tracks generate and provide several of the tunes with dramatic changes in volume. The tunes ripple and cascade in periods of reflection and intensity, to provide a feeling of excitement, mystery and anticipation.

The use of a range of vocal effects draws comparisons with the work of Gazelle Twin. Although the opening of Les Serenes makes a good attempt to shiver neck hairs, it is undoubtedly not as unsettling as Twin's Unflesh album.

The music is not all about the performance of the vocalists though, both drums and a synthesised bass effect play a significant part in the inventive and quite outstanding Incendie. Aria is much more minimalist, whispered voices and melodic warbling all have a part to play. This piece is stylistically close to the work of the Swiss band Ikarus.

The players of Inui should be commended for pursuing their art in such a progressive manner.

Murmuration probably will not sell many copies, or get much media attention, but gosh, its daring, its brave and at times it is downright irresistible.

I hope that your ears tingle as well!

Red32 — Red32

USA
2023
46:56
Red32 - Red32
Burn Into The Sun (4:54), Evil Never Sleeps (5:38), A Place To Call Home (5:06), Light Bearing Creatures (4:17), Flow (6:18), The Very First Band In Space (5:36), Mean (4:06), Slow Burn (5:13), Space Rider (3:42), Tribute (2:03)
5
Ignacio Bernaola

Red32 is a new formed band from Oregon, USA. Their Bandcamp site says it all started while the main man behind the band was throwing ideas for his new solo album under the name of Tony Romero's Vortex. The rest of the musicians working with him were also contributing as they used to do in the past but during the recording process it became clear that was being created felt different from the original solo project. They agreed the new music was sounding like a band itself, so they decided to release all that new music under the name of Red32.

I must confess I hadn't listened to any of the previous albums of Tony Romero's Vortex, but now I have I can say that project is in fact quite different from Red32. I think it's not only different but, to me, it is also better, specially the album Noise Machine, which I recommend. On that album, we can also find Steve Bonino and Robert Schindler, so it's almost the same team but adding Eric Confer on guitar.

Red32 describe their music as an amalgam of styles: rock, pop rock, progressive rock, art rock with a touch of ambient thrown into the mix. A very ambitious description after having listened the album several times. You can in fact recognise some of those elements but the result is not what one can expect after reading that. The thing is that the first song called Burn Into The Sun caught my attention on a first listening with its vibrant rhythm.

It could remind of those semi electronic vibes of the interesting band O.S.I., so I was expecting to discover another great album. My joy lasted only that song because I couldn't find anything memorable in the next nine songs. I'm not saying the songs are bad, but I guess you know what I'm talking about if I say I found myself having finished the album not knowing what I had listened to. I have nothing against programmed drums but here they make the album a bit monotonous. I tried it a few more times and trying to focus in each song but the final verdict was always the same: I wasn't enjoying it, and even after discovering some interesting touches here and there, I don't think I'm going to check this album again, while I will listen to Tony Romero's Vortex. Perhaps better, next time.

Vitral — Os Loucos

Brazil
2023
48:35
Vitral - Os Loucos
O grande exército pagão (4:50), Ciclopes (6:36), Via Appia (6:13), Sete povos das missões (5:36), Reinos do norte (6:11), Montezuma (8:19), Nas asas de Horus (2:53), Os loucos (5:47)
Owen Davies

Os Loucos wears its influences and its prog badge of honour proudly and boy it does it very well.

Vitral's latest release contains no jazz inspired improvisation to distort its identity, nor at any point does it give way to discordance to befuddle and challenge the senses. Instead, what you get are eight well-constructed tunes that lovers of prog will find much to admire and enjoy.

Tracks such as, Ciclopes with its up-tempo beat, synth led melodies, flute interludes and expressive guitar solo hits all the right spots. If you enjoy the music of Camel then Vitral's brand of gentle, expressive prog will undoubtedly be favourably received.

The extensive and excellent use of the flute ensures that the album has its own identity and occupies its own melodic ground. The enchanting flute parts which flutter and hover alongside the impressive keyboard patterns of Eduard Aguillar, offer a perfect foil to the excellent guitar work of Bruno Moscatiello.

There were several occasions when the exchanges between keys, flute and guitar was reminiscent of the style of Solaris. For example, the recorder in the excellent Reinos do norte is used in a similar manner to Attila Kollar, and provided just the sort of contrast to the robust guitar parts. It is a fine tune.

I particularly enjoyed Sete povos das missões, it has some exquisite changes of pace. However, the standout piece is undoubtedly Montezuma. It is the longest piece on the album and this gives the band an opportunity to shuffle things around and explore a range of interesting, changes of pace, textures, and moods. The playing is impressive, Moscatiello and flautist Marco Aureh excel.

I reviewed the band's previous album in 2018. The stunning title track lasted over fifty-two minutes! When I saw the relatively short duration of the tracks of Os loucos, I thought I would miss this aspect of the bands work. However, during Montezuma the band show that a lengthy extended piece is not necessary, to successfully explore a wide variety of moods.

Overall Os Loucos is an excellent album. It should be warmly received by anybody who appreciates prog. For once, I took off my jazz party hat, and I am glad that I did. I simply adore this release!

Album Reviews