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 Sphére by FAFARD, ANTOINE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.30 | 9 ratings

Antoine Fafard Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars He's back! Bassist extraordinaire Antoine Fafard returns with another stellar Jazz Fusion album--this time using drumming legend GARY HUSBAND (LEVEL 42, ALLAN HOLDSWORTH, JOHN McLAUGHLIN), along with long-time collaborator JERRY DE VILLIERS, JR on guitar. Though I truly appreciate the creativity in the song performances coming from such virtuosi of their respective instruments, the album does come up a little short of the heights of Antoine's previous album, Ad Perpetuum (2014).

1. "Reminiscence" (5:56) is a nice, even paced song quite reminiscent of Antoine's last album, Ad Perpetuum, except for the more open turn-taking of the bass solo. Nice keyboard solo from Gary Husband in the fifth minute. Not a bad song, just not anything really new. (8/10)

2. "Renaissance Man" (5:16) starts out sounding like a slowed down version of the previous song. The title may refer to Gary for his dual role as percussionist and keyboard track artist. He is truly extraordinary at both. (8/10)

3. "Facta Non Verba" (5:51) a commendable song for Jerry's attempts at going outside his usual style and breakneck speeds. The stop-and-start rhythm construction is okay for a while, but it gets old. (8/10)

4. "Fur & Axes - Part II" (5:05) opens with some sounds and chords that hold a lot of potential--unresolved angst. The band manages to retain some of this tension over the opening discourse, and even into the first shift, but then at 1:30, when everything quiets down, it is lost; it becomes soft and pretty, even comforting; the tension cannot be regained--even despite Jerry's best efforts in the third and fourth minutes. Still, I'd like to hear more songs like this one. (9/10)

5. "Still Invictus" (7:58) my favorite song on the album. It has great variety shifting right and left, using multiple paces and chord foundations. I get quite a thrill hearing the opening and then following all of the instruments throughout the course of this great song. (10/10)

6. "Cherishing" (4:33) ventures into more atmospheric jazz a la EBERHARD WEBER. This is the kind of variety that I like to here more of from Antoine. Really nice drum and piano work from Gary. I especially like the feeling that the drum is not the rhythm keeper but a lead instrument--really cool! (10/10)

7. "No-Brainer" (5:19) is a little more laid back, world music/jazz oriented (I like the Latin AL DI MEOLA feel to it) though the drumming feels like the same old same old. Excellent fretless bass play (and soli!) with some really nice JAN HAMMER-like synth soloing as well. Even Jerry's Holdsworth-like solo is welcome (cuz it comes late in the song-- and cuz it duels with Gary's synth), but the key to this success is, IMO, due to Antoine's restraint on the bass in the second half of the song. (9/10)

8. "Celestial Roots" (6:00) has an edgy, bluesy, almost raunchy CORVUS STONE-like feel to it (though the drumming is, once again, same old same ole). Even Antoine's solo in the second & third minutes is 'different'--more earthy. Solid song but nothing that leaves me wanting more. (8/10)

9. "Bubonic Groove" (6:06) opens with a polyrhythmic weave of syncopated arpeggi similar to KING CRIMSON Discipline music. The rhythm guitar strums that enter after 30 seconds sound like Andy Summers (THE POLICE) and then Jerry De Villiers' guitar--and, later, Gary Husband's synth soloing--takes one out of KC thinking altogether and back to jazz fusion world. I feel as if I am listening to Jan Hammer, Jean-Luc Ponty's long time bass player (Ralphe Armstrong comes to mind but it could've been Randy Jackson), and Allan Holdsworth together. The song fails to rise to the heights that the beginning of the second minute seems to promise. It seems that the breakdowns in song flow or group weave in order to make room for soloists--which is the traditional jazz way--works against Antoine's music for some reason. Great bass solo at the end of the fourth minute/beginning of the fifth. (9/10)

Where Sphère comes up short is in fresh sounds. As amazing a guitarist as Jerry De Villiers is (I think he is better than the man to whom he is most compared, Allan Holdsworth), one begins to become innured to his one guitar sound. (I have the exact same problem with Allan Holdsworth.) I am thankful for his attempts to temper and vary his sound and style but I think the music misses the counterbalancing inputs of the keyboards and saxophones that Antoine's previous album had. Gary Husband is a great drummer--a great drummer--but, let's face it, any drumming would be a let down when compared to Vinnie Colaiuta's drumming of the last album--which is, in my opinion, one of the greatest whole-album performances by a drummer that I have ever heard.


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 Contrapasso by SEVEN IMPALE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.93 | 18 ratings

Seven Impale Eclectic Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars I was reading a review from another reviewer that mentioned groups like Beardfish and Van Der Graaf Generator, so I was immediately intrigued since those are two favorites of mine. I gravitate towards eclectic stuff since I find it interesting, but I also still love a good symphonic piece. Contrapasso is a very good album on it's own, but it is more experimental than the superb City Of The Sun. I actually hear many similarities to Motorpsycho, another Eclectic Progressive Rock band from Norway. There are times like listening to the track Inertia, where I could stick that right in the middle of The Death Defying Unicorn. There is also an injection of space rock in the mix. The vocals are very different on Contrapasso, with a deeper darker tone than the more softer singing approach on City Of The Sun. Contrapasso is a worthy addition to any prog lovers catalog. If you are new to Seven Impale, I would start with City Of The Sun first.


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 Tempi Migliori by PENSIERO NOMADE album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.10 | 2 ratings

Tempi Migliori
Pensiero Nomade Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Last spring I received all the five PENSIERO NOMADE albums and reviewed three of them back then. This one is the second release, and continuing the path of the debut (2008), its music is almost entirely created by Salvo Lazzara alone. The composer plays guitas, bass and programming. "Tempi Migliori" -- the title means either Better Times or Better Weathers -- is an our long instrumental work in 16 pieces, the shortest ones being approximately 1½ minutes and only one exceeding 5½ minutes.

This is peaceful and introspective ambient music, concentrating on the spatial, thoughtful textures (soundscapes) themselves, not particularily caring about compositional progression or wide dynamics, or things like drama, excitement, surprise effects, etc. This is naturally both the strength and the weakness of this album, depending totally on the listener and things (s)he wants to get from music. Without a doubt, a casual rock/pop listener would get very bored during these 60 minutes. The more appropriate target audience may be aware of artists such as BRIAN ENO, JON HASSELL, JON MARK, STEVE ROACH... It also helps if the listener has some interest towards so called New Age music (a term I don't like because of the spiritual connotations). I hope you get my point nevertheless: one can use this music in order to empty one's mind from daily stress and responsibilities; to have the music on the background while you make silent coversations with your inner feelings. Another musical association for me were recordings on the Windham Hill label -- if you happen to know it, instrumentally and acoustically oriented peaceful music mainly from 80's and 90's, fairly unknown artists such as Alex De Grassi, Michael Hedges, William Ackerman and John Gorka.

But honestly. Compared to some other Pensiore Nomade albums, this one is rather unspectacular, or how would I put it, too calm, minimalistic and lame for its own good. It's very difficult to tell the tracks from each other and to pick up special favourites. Minimalistic approach can truly be emotionally deep, but with this album I frankly don't get strong emotional sensations. The package features serene landscape pictures with ancient ruins, and that's just about it when it comes to my own imagery: like I was on a long retreat vacation, comfortably numb, perhaps gathering myself after some traumatic events, and doing nothing more dramatic than having talks with the olive trees and feeling the soft breeze on my face.

Instead of making corrections on the album info, I make it clear here that the flute of Alessandro Toniolo is featured only on tracks 3, 13 and 14, and the drums of Davide Guidoni on tracks 4, 5 and 13. Their participation does very good for Lazzara's soundscapes that are woven around acoustic guitar and bass, and I wish it had been notably larger. That said, I prefer Pensiore Nomade's later albums, especially "Imperfetta Solitudine" which I warmly recommend. My rating of only two stars -- that I generally use all too rarely, in fact -- feels a bit cruel, since also this album is very sincere, introspective musical statement.


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 F E A R (F*** Everyone And Run) by MARILLION album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.75 | 62 ratings

F E A R (F*** Everyone And Run)
Marillion Neo-Prog

Review by Progresearcher

2 stars The new Marillion album, "FEAR", has been compared to "Brave" and very early Marillion. In fact, however, it sounds like "Afraid of Sunlight" (or even "This Strange Engine") Part 2, artificially constructed as an epic. The music is either slow or very slow and is unpretentious, most of the time reminding me of symphonic Ambient with vocals. There are few purely instrumental arrangements (none of which exceed 1 minute in duration), and they're as boring as the mixed ones, Hogarth really whining this time around, throughout the album, no matter what he whines about, i.e., the lyrics are more than merely decent overall. Sans the concluding one, The New Kings, all the epic-length songs are just pseudo-epic in construction. Either way, while being the best track here, The New Kings is also dissatisfying from a progressive rock perspective, strongly inferior to 'The King' from the aforementioned "This Strange Engine". IMO, any progressive rock song should be created on the basis of instrumental arrangements (as it was in the case of "Brave", for instance), rather than by using the vocal lines as a 'starting point' for composing music, but "FEAR" is characterized exactly by the latter approach. To be objective, I must add that the album is by no means devoid of what we've used to call "atmosphere", which is more often dramatic than romantic (indeed, it would've been really strange had it been otherwise), but never really dark, let alone fearful. So, if you consider "Brave" the best Marillion album (as I do), avoid "FEAR", because there's too little here to please even a 'classic' neo-prog fan, let alone those who prefer profound progressive rock.


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 Invention of Knowledge by ANDERSON/STOLT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.84 | 136 ratings

Invention of Knowledge
Anderson/Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars The prolific Jon Anderson has been quite a busy man lately, having recovered from illness with a new found energy and passion, a trait that disproves the long held misconception that rock music is the governance of the young and only the young. Beyond 71 years of age, he continues to voyage into unfamiliar territories such as his long delayed cooperation with Jean-Luc Ponty, a thoroughly successful venture that yielded the aptly named 'Better Late than Never' album and subsequent well-applauded tour. Here, he has teamed up with Swedish mastermind Roine Stolt of the Flower Kings and Transatlantic fame, to create a very Yes-like opus that proves only that the creative juices that inspired him in the glory days of progressive rock, still has a resonating voice and audience today. Sadly, the judgmental universe that we now live in will give way to some unfair and foolish criticism from shameless detractors who need to fuel their pill-fed apathy (to stay awake at the keyboard at the very least) by puncturing this symphonic opus with brazen detritus. Well, like they say at the hardware store: screw them! If you no like, move the hell on!

Gathering a rather stellar crew of familiar faces from both the FK, such as bassist extraordinaire Jonas Reingold, drummer Felix Lehrmann and former FK bassman Michael Stolt) and from the Yes side, Tom Brislin, whilst including the supremely talented Swedish keyboardist Lalle Larsson, the two protagonists certainly have aimed precisely at what they wanted to achieve, a classic sounding Progressive Rock album. Both Anderson and Stolt have never sounded better and more confident, and truth be said, you can hear the enthusiasm displayed throughout. Let us be honest first of all, this collaboration has more musical width and breath than anything spewed by Yes since , my goodness' since Relayer!

That being said, the nine tracks do flow into one another rather seamlessly, a very linear sounding series of arrangements within each piece that get busy one moment and quite atmospheric the next, as on the end of 'Knowledge', where the swirling effects really take hold. As with the Ponty collaboration, the music is totally uplifting, spirited if not necessarily overtly spiritual, spiced by occasional bursts of energetic gusto and dazzling playing by all instrumentalists. Roine can carve with the best of them, a talented guitarist who can infuse a variety of styles that span the gamut of influences, from Howe, Hackett and Gilmour to more oblique talents such as Allan Holdsworth. He can play fast, controlled and delirious when prompted. While Squire has always been a giant, Reingold is one hell of a player, seeing him live seals the deal. A monster.

I also cannot help noticing that three songs contain the sound NO (as opposed to'Yes) in Know, Knowledge and Knowing. Coincidence? Nah, must be my meds. Yeah, I know (no). In fact, all the titles have a positive spin and message. Eat that Steve Wilson!

The glorious track 'Knowing' is an 11 minute celestial epic that reeks the most of 'Close to the Edge', owner of a skilled melody and some complex orchestrations, Lalle's divine grand piano, screeching synth swirls and a fully determined vocal performance that is easily among the very best ever captured by a microphone. The two follow up pieces 'Chase & Harmony' and 'Everybody Heals' are equally masterful expressions of musical craftsmanship and passionate delivery. Shorter ditties offer hope and salvation, 'Better by Far' and 'Golden Light', a lovely diversion that goes straight to the owner of lonely Heartstrings and pulls on them delicately. The jazzy, windswept and airy 'Know' is an 11 minute tropical paradise of topographic ocean breezes, Jon's voice a warm zephyr that soothes the soul and medicates the mind, a beach with grandiose piano, shuffling bass, brushed cymbals and a laid back, laissez-faire attitude. 'An answer to a promise that delivered you' as Roine swirls his guitar like Carlos Santana. Totally delicious.

I enjoyed the whole enchilada, an album that will need made more listens and new details to discover, so dense this is. I was expecting something a bit lamer I guess and I was wrong. The cover artwork, booklet and inlay are truly first-class and worth the eye candy.

4.5 Devices of Awareness


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 The Great Unknown by GIANNOTTI album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.95 | 2 ratings

The Great Unknown
Giannotti Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Well, this "Great Unknown" would have remained such, had it not been for the intervention of my esteemed friend and colleague Jean "The Cat" Roby, a gentleman of impeccable credentials in both prog music and literature, with whom I exchange intense long distance as well as face to face encounters. We also enjoy discussing our latest sonic discoveries as well as sourcing current events, politics, religion and the still sorry state of humankind. He briskly suggested I hunt down this unknown pearl, thinking I just might like the sucker. Well, Jean, you were wrong, I absolutely love it. Robert Giannotti is not some RPI maestro toiling in one of Italy's many gorgeous towns but rather an accomplished American multi-instrumentalist who once worked with the semi-obscure Jasper Wrath. While he performs masterfully on vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass and drums, his limpid flute work really pushes his craft over the top, adorning the languid compositions with breathtaking excursions that immediately appeal to the highest senses. Jean suggested parallels with another magnificent American musician that I have enjoyed and reviewed in the past, David Minasian. So I took the plunge.

This is a phenomenal album, released in 2014 to little or no critical comment, which is a sad state of affairs, as this just may be one of the craftiest US-based prog releases in recent years. An expressive album cover with adventurous artwork really makes the grade, and the music inside is squarely in the symphonic mold, sublimely atmospheric but also quite pulsating, propulsive and at times, pugnacious. An hour's worth of exciting music, expertly carved, refined and polished and ultimately after a few spins, utterly convincing! The one thing that really stands out beyond the intricate instrumental work is the sheer quality of the melodies, richly resonant, wholly overwhelming and fully integrated into the arrangements, the work of a mature mind creating symphonic prog of the finest pedigree.

"Intentions/Letting Go" set the windswept sails forward, with a splashing display of blistering electric guitar as the rudder carves deep into the densely orchestral waves. Classical violins meeting electricity is always a delight especially when done with such aplomb, the perfect set up for the plaintive lead vocal from Robert Giannotti and an overall, exciting introduction to this thrilling hour long effort. Drummer George Clini drives the arrangement forward with masterful pace. The mid-tempo strains really shine luminously on the epic 8 minute "Voyage", a potent confluence of acoustic guitars and flute, blended with screaming electric guitar contemplation, tight rhythmic support and heavenly vocals, Robert adding a Justin Hayward-like gleam over the sonic crests to wondrous effects, blazing mellotron voices in the background. The acoustic guitar-led "Dance of the Gnome" has an early John Barleycorn Must Die feel to it, before deviating into a flute ramble that winks at a distant Ian Anderson, rotund bass notes notwithstanding. A wonderful pastoral and bucolic intermezzo of the highest order until mid-way through, when it blooms into this thunderous axe expedition, sounding like Martin Barre had just showed up unforeseen. Tremendous piece. Things just get even more delirious with the title track, a nearly 12 minute colossus of intensity, flair and breath. A brooding, rhythmically challenging introduction sets the stage for an inspired vocal, intricately weaving the story. Chunky symphonics provide a deep and adhesive foundation on which to perform a variety of moods, accompanied by heavy drums pounding a la Jerry Marotta, the dreamy voice both sullen and urgent. Robert peels off a few sulfurous axe licks thus adding even more fuel to the raging inferno. Ornate piano from guest Michael Soldan greets the listener on "Sacred Ground", profoundly melancholic and intense, elegantly enhancing a rapturous melody. Sweet guitar strains evolved into a blistering electric solo, trembling with overt fluidity as the obese bass wobbles underneath, undeterred. The magical flute adds its two cents worth, fluctuating wildly like some meandering torrent of sound. But it's the "Here now, upon this Sacred Ground" chorus that seeps deep into the recesses of the sonic cranium. The spooky "Corridor of Doors" is perhaps my favorite track, a threatening diversion of effects, nuances and outright pleasure that ensures a sense of confusion, adventure and enigma. Echoing acoustic picking, strings in the forefront and a weaving flute dancing in the moonlit night, this is a highly addictive and perplexing piece, especially when the Gregorian chants kicks in, amid the cannonading drum beats. The highlighted mood is traversed by some epic acoustic guitar work and a wall of choral sighs, a truly unique sense of drama and urgency leap to attention. Phenomenal. The disc ends with "A World Away", another tightly woven mini-symphony, this time incorporating a series of backing vocalists and a female lead (Nicole Tanner) depicting a story relating to the age of wisdom, where one can hear the minstrel play. Acoustic guitar and flute dominate but it's the mandola that takes center stage, a delightful solo that possesses a distinct Mediterranean feel.

All in all, this opus represents one of those typical, 'under the radar' jewels that we fans constantly forage for, rewarding our passionate hunt with the wondrous sense of discovery and contentment. No problem, 5 massive mysteries


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 Last Fair Deal Gone Down by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.56 | 24 ratings

Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars For my tastes this is where KATATONIA finally found their sound and could do no wrong. Yes "Discouraged Ones" will always be one of my top albums by this band but that was a unique album in that it was an incredibly sad record and also a transitionary recording as well, and these are not a negative things at all in my opinion. Everything about this album trumps the previous record "Tonight's Decision". There's better vocals and song writing from Jonas as I feel he has finally hit his potential here. Also the sound here couldn't be better, crystal clear as they say and this is also much more dynamic and powerful as they really do kick some ass on this album. Oh and as a bonus Anders the long time guitarist decided to use mellotron on this record which really adds a lot to the sound. Travis Smith is back doing the cover art and his bleak style fits the music perfectly.

I can't do a top three as eight of the eleven songs on here are incredible and I really like the other three, so yes five stars seems appropriate. "Dispossession" sounds incredible when it kicks into gear before 30 seconds. Such a deep and powerful sound as the guitar starts to solo over top. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in as it settles, mellotron too. Love the contrasts between the powerful and mellow sections. A cool passage starts after 4 minutes with atmosphere and strummed guitar, almost psychedelic sounding then it kicks back in before 5 minutes. Nice. "Chrome" is a great track and probably my favourite. Check out that melancholic guitar intro which is promptly blown away before a minute with power. The drumming impresses here. Reserved vocals and sound 1 1/2 minutes in then it kicks in hard after 2 minutes as the vocals continue. He sings "Burn down my house, make something happen, stab me in the heart... 'cause I'm so distracted, I am slightly shocked by how things keep going like a dead man's clock."

"We Must Bury You" has some disturbing lyrics but man what a great tune. Strummed guitar and vocals lead the way early and we get some mellotron before it kicks in hard before a minute. Jonas sings with passion "We must bury you, we must bury you, we must bury you so deep that none can find you." I skipped writing down the disturbing lyrics from earlier in the song. The contrasts between the powerful and mellow are so good! "Teargas" hits us with an all out assault quickly but it settles down just as fast with reserved vocals. The chorus is intense and moving as Jonas sings "What is it in my eyes, a piece of glass. Is this the time I should be on my knees for you, is this your way telling another has been found. Now I know teargas in my eyes." Gulp.

"I Transpire" hits the ground running then it calms right down after a minute with mellotron, vocals and more. How good is the chorus as it kicks back in. Contrasts continue. He sings "Do they know I'm afraid, so afraid. They depend on my worries so I know I'm awake, I'm right in the circle now, I am with them." Hair-raising imagery. "Tonight's Music" is another good one as they contrast the heavy and mellow sections well. Such a sad tune lyrically but then Jonas has this gift for writing melancholic music. "Clean Today" has some cool lyrics about hope. Some heavy riffs in this one as well which surprised me the first time I heard it.

"The Future Of Speech" opens with mellotron and picked guitar in this atmospheric intro. It kicks in hard with vocals arriving just before a minute. The laid back intro with mellotron returns as this continues to be contrasted with the powerful passages. Guitar only before 4 minutes then it kicks back in. So good as Jonas sings with emotion "A brand new day it can't get worse, hear myself say it can't get worse." "Passing Bird" is different as he tells a story about a girl. A melodic and mid-paced tune with the focus on the relaxed vocals. I really dig the lyrics, mellotron and depth of sound here. "Sweet Nurse" is another good story about a girl. I'm touched by this one and I really like the chorus, it's so uplifting. "Don't Tell A Soul" ends it and it starts with laid back guitar, bass and a beat as the mellotron joins in. Riffs follow around a minute in then vocals. I like the drumming here and the ripping guitar before 4 minutes as the vocals stop. Riffs and vocals return around 5 minutes in.

A top three album for me for 2001. A really good place to start as well in my opinion with this band.


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 Cosmic Ground III by COSMIC GROUND album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

Cosmic Ground III
Cosmic Ground Progressive Electronic

Review by Einwahn

— First review of this album —
4 stars 'Cosmic Ground III' already... how time flies. Mind you, Tangerine Dream believed that Zeit was motionless and only existed in our own minds. If that sounds implausible, try listening to this album in a dark room.

I found Bandcamp's email alert about this album just after listening to Airbag's first album, 'Identity' and it set me thinking about 'mimic' bands. For those who don't know, Cosmic Ground is to Tangerine Dream what Airbag is to Pink Floyd. On the one hand, it is easy to disparage mimic bands, but on the other (and this is how I feel) they provide refreshing exposure to sounds we love from the Old Masters. And both Airbag and Cosmic Ground have taught me the same thing - the depth of invention of the Old Masters in elaborating their compositions. Because this extra dimension is absent in the Airbag/Cosmic Ground compositions - both bands recreate the Old Masters' sounds continuously but develop them less. I don't know if that makes sense or if I have been listening to 'CG III' too long now.

To get to my assessment, 'CG III' is another very definite four-star album in this series. Because of the lesser symphonic overlay compared to Tangerine Dream (see above), all Cosmic Ground tracks are even more hypnotic - and actually sustain their mystery in repeated plays because of the relative lack of landmark episodes. And the recreation of the phonic infrastructure is very, very impressive.

Verdict: If you liked the first two albums, you will like this one - without feeling it repeats material.


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 Crimson Moon by JANSCH, BERT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.00 | 2 ratings

Crimson Moon
Bert Jansch Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars The of first of the "appreciation of Bert Jansch by younger fans" albums, Crimson Moon, recorded at Bert's new digital home recording studio in 2000, is a warm, mellow, and extremely atmospheric album that conjures up images of Scotland (Caledonia), lovelorn ex lovers (Crimson Moon and Looking for Love) and a few good old tales of murder (the traditional song Omie Wise). There's even a rare comment from Bert about the ecology on the song Neptune's Daughter, about a mermaid-like woman who relates the tales of her dead relatives that killed by a black plague (an oil slick that poisons their ocean.)

What make Crimson Moon different from other later era Jansch albums is his more liberal use of electric guitar played by himself along with guests like Johnny Hodge and Bernard Butler. There's no "shred fests" going on here, but it is a welcome change from Jansch's amazing run of acoustic guitar based albums up until this point. As others have stated, Jansch has nothing more to prove in regard to his guitar playing skills, but has focused on songwriting, which has always been his strong suit when he's been inspired. And it seems that the appreciation of younger artists like Johnny Marr and Beth Orton has done just that with his compositions on Crimson Moon. Not an essential for Jansch fans, but Crimson Moon still quite an enjoyable listen. 3 stars.


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 Dust And Dreams by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.66 | 433 ratings

Dust And Dreams
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review Nº 86

"Dust And Dreams" is the eleventh studio album of Camel and was released in 1991. After the release of their second live album "Pressure Points" in the late of 1984, the band disappeared from the media without ads. For a few years Andrew Latimer was fighting with lawyers to get some due royalties and to resolve the problems with their former manager. Both, Latimer and Decca, amicably agreed to put an end to their contract, which was made on April 10th, 1985. After the end of the contract with Decca, Latimer wasn't interested in other record labels. To avoid more waste of time and energy, Latimer and his wife Susan Hoover decided to sell his London's house and moved from England to California. So, Camel was able to create their own record label, which was called Camel Productions. He used the money from the sales of his house to build a small studio where "Dust And Dreams" was recorded and produced.

The line up of the album is Andrew Latimer (vocals, guitar, flute and keyboards), Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards), Colin Bass (bass) and Paul Burgess (drums). The album has also the participation of some other musicians: David Paton (vocals), Mae McKenna (vocals), Don Harriss (keyboards), Christopher Bock (drums), Neil Panton (oboe), John Burton (French horn) and Kim Venaas (harmonica and timpani).

So, after seven years of a hiatus of time, Latimer revived Camel and recorded this conceptual album "Dust And Dreams", an evocation of "The Grapes Of Wrath", the great literary oeuvre of the famous American writer John Steinbeck. For those who aren't familiarized with the book, it's important to write few lines about it. "The Grapes Of Wrath" is a novel which was published in 1939 and was awarded with the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and the Nobel Prize in 1962. The oeuvre was also immortalized by the beautiful movie, with the same name, directed by John Ford in 1940 and starring the great American actor Henry Fonda. This American classic comes to the effects of the Great Depression of small family farms of the American West. It tells us the story of a poor family in the state of Oklahoma, who during the Great Depression of 1929 was forced to abandon the lands occupied by them for decades, on a sharecropper regime, due to the arrival of the progress and including the purchase of tractors and machinery for the owners of those lands, and the born of a new property regime of lands. This factor has made obsolete the manual labour of plowing and planting the land and forced them to head toward the false Eden, called California, in search of a better way of life.

"Dust And Dreams" is another very emotional album with excellent compositions and nice melodies. With this album, we are brought back to the early Camel's sound and to their great quality musical level. As happened with "Nude", "Dust And Dreams" initially divides its time between songs and instrumentals before ceding halfway, through purely instrumental music. The music is largely kept very quiet, and there are only four vocal tracks. As a conceptual album, the eighteen tracks are all interconnected as if it's only a single theme. "Dust And Dreams" can most likely be regarded as a mixture of elements of two previous Camel's albums, "The Snow Goose" and "Nude". Not in the sense that the old ideas are new warmed up, but the stylistic elements are somehow similar. Most on the album are keyboards in the foreground, not bombastic, but always attentive and appropriate to the original novel, mostly of the melancholy kind. There are many beautiful songs here, all of them with instrumental pieces in between. In fact, the album finishes with several fine instrumental sequences. Again Latimer, as a producer, a composer, a guitarist, a keyboardist and a singer, did a fine job. His guitar playing always brings joy to the listener, sometimes invoking the goose bumps and others a big smile on our face. It's a very beautiful album with music for our sense, soul and heart. This is really a fine working.

Conclusion: "Dust And Dreams" represents an amazing and surprising return of Camel to their most progressive routes, after a long period of silence and less good albums. Camel has their best and most symphonic musical period in the 70's, with their four first studio albums, "Camel", "Mirage", "The Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness", which correspond to their golden era. These four albums are absolutely fantastic. After that, they released some good albums, some of them are really very good, such as, "Rain Dances" and "Nude", or even "Breathless" and "Stationary Traveller" are also very good. But they also released two weak albums, "I Can See Your House From Here" and especially "The Single" Factor". So, it's with great pleasure that we can see, finally, another great album of Camel. So, somehow we can say that "Dust And Dreams" is the beginning of a new era in Camel's music. It's without any doubt one of their best musical works and represents also the start of a new golden musical era to the group. It looks to me that it represents a different version of Camel, perhaps a more modern version. Camel will be always a great band.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)


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  2. Sean Trane (3159)
  3. ZowieZiggy (2929)
  4. apps79 (2629)
  5. Warthur (2394)
  6. UMUR (1931)
  7. Easy Livin (1928)
  8. b_olariu (1918)
  9. Gatot (1811)
  10. Conor Fynes (1602)
  11. SouthSideoftheSky (1575)
  12. Evolver (1405)
  13. Windhawk (1402)
  14. Bonnek (1332)
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  17. snobb (1216)
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  19. Finnforest (1135)
  20. kenethlevine (1082)
  21. ClemofNazareth (1011)
  22. Cesar Inca (928)
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  24. Matti (904)
  25. loserboy (895)
  26. Rune2000 (869)
  27. octopus-4 (849)
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  29. kev rowland (844)
  30. Marty McFly (834)
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  34. Chris S (753)
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List of all PA collaborators

  1. Close To The Edge
  2. Selling England By The Pound
  3. Thick As A Brick
    Jethro Tull
  4. Wish You Were Here
    Pink Floyd
  5. In The Court Of The Crimson King
    King Crimson
  6. Foxtrot
  7. Dark Side Of The Moon
    Pink Floyd
  8. Red
    King Crimson
  9. Animals
    Pink Floyd
  10. Godbluff
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  11. Fragile
  12. Nursery Cryme
  13. Larks' Tongues In Aspic
    King Crimson
  14. Pawn Hearts
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  15. Moving Pictures
  16. Mirage
  17. Per Un Amico
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  18. Hybris
  19. Moonmadness
  20. Hemispheres
  21. Darwin!
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  22. Relayer
  23. Storia Di Un Minuto
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  24. Io Sono Nato Libero
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  25. In A Glass House
    Gentle Giant
  26. A Farewell To Kings
  27. Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquième Saison
  28. Aqualung
    Jethro Tull
  29. Kind Of Blue
    Miles Davis
  30. Birds Of Fire
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  31. Hot Rats
    Frank Zappa
  32. Meddle
    Pink Floyd
  33. Still Life
  34. Crime Of The Century
  35. Ommadawn
    Mike Oldfield
  36. The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
    Steven Wilson
  37. H To He, Who Am The Only One
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  38. The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
    Peter Hammill
  39. Depois Do Fim
  40. Images And Words
    Dream Theater
  41. Permanent Waves
  42. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
  43. The Yes Album
  44. Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
    Dream Theater
  45. Scheherazade And Other Stories
  46. The Grand Wazoo
    Frank Zappa
  47. The Mothers Of Invention: One Size Fits All
    Frank Zappa
  48. In A Silent Way
    Miles Davis
  49. Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh
  50. The Snow Goose
  51. Hand. Cannot. Erase.
    Steven Wilson
  52. Octopus
    Gentle Giant
  53. The Power And The Glory
    Gentle Giant
  54. Still Life
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  55. A Trick Of The Tail
  56. Free Hand
    Gentle Giant
  57. Zarathustra
    Museo Rosenbach
  58. Rock Bottom
    Robert Wyatt
  59. Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  60. In The Land Of Grey And Pink
  61. Second Life Syndrome
  62. Blackwater Park
  63. The Road Of Bones
  64. In Absentia
    Porcupine Tree
  65. Ghost Reveries
  66. Fear Of A Blank Planet
    Porcupine Tree
  67. Emerson Lake & Palmer
    Emerson Lake & Palmer
  68. Arbeit Macht Frei
  69. Viljans Öga
  70. Spectrum
    Billy Cobham
  71. Acquiring The Taste
    Gentle Giant
  72. Misplaced Childhood
  73. K.A
  74. Hatfield And The North
    Hatfield And The North
  75. If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You
  76. The Inner Mounting Flame
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  77. Space Shanty
  78. Hamburger Concerto
  79. Script For A Jester's Tear
  80. Anabelas
  81. Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
  82. The Perfect Element Part 1
    Pain Of Salvation
  83. Rubycon
    Tangerine Dream
  84. Crimson
    Edge of Sanity
  85. Pale Communion
  86. Lateralus
  87. Remedy Lane
    Pain Of Salvation
  88. Doomsday Afternoon
  89. L'Isola Di Niente
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  90. Voyage Of The Acolyte
    Steve Hackett
  91. Romantic Warrior
    Return To Forever
  92. Elegant Gypsy
    Al Di Meola
  93. Uzed
    Univers Zero
  94. Felona E Sorona
    Le Orme
  95. Grace For Drowning
    Steven Wilson
  96. Bitches Brew
    Miles Davis
  97. Caravanserai
  98. Leftoverture
  99. Part The Second
    Maudlin Of The Well
  100. Sing To God

* Weighted Ratings (aka WR), used for ordering, is cached and re-calculated every 15 minutes.


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