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Solaris - Marsbéli Krónikák (Martian Chronicles) CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.21 | 349 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars I have to thank the Prog Archives for introducing me to so many Hungarian bands, and especially After Crying, Rumblin Orchestra, and Solaris. While each of them has their own distinctive style, all three share a strong emphasis on classically-inspired music that is heavy on piano and keyboards, complex arrangements with elaborate progressions, and cerebral themes.

Solaris is one of my more recent discoveries, and this is the album that really got me hooked. The album is named after Ray Bradbury’s old collection of science fiction stories about the human colonization of Mars and the predictable and symbolic cultural, moral, and physical struggles that resulted from this space-age version of the age-old theme of occupation and cultural conflict. Like Bradbury’s stories, these tracks are loosed coupled by a general theme, but each also encapsulated and has its own sense of cohesion.

This is one of the few bands that managed to make music that is dominated by not one or two, but four keyboardists, with even guitarist the late Istvan Czigman logging time behind a moog. And speaking of the moog and ARP sounds, these were pretty dated instruments by the time Solaris recorded this album, but the sound remains appealing and pleasant to experience even today.

I think one of my earliest introductions to the moog synthesizers was through Gerry Rafferty’s epic release ‘City to City’ very early in 1978. And there are a few arrangements here that remind me a bit of some of that album’s tracks, particularly on the opening three-part “Marsbéli Kronikák” and “Apokalipszis” (apocalypse). And speaking of that track, here again is a song that is supposed to be about a devastating and destructive battle that doesn’t quite come off that way. This is a flute and electric guitar- laden tune that is really more suspenseful than actually devastating, but that’s okay in the context of this album since it is only one of many compositions, and not the underlying theme of the entire album.

Other standout tracks include “E-Moll Elöjátëk” (Prelude in E minor) with its energetic synthesized strings and keyboard effects that are a bit reminiscent of Alan Parsons Project’s own sci-fi themed album “I Robot”; the lush and lively “Legyözhetetlen”; the majestic and almost totally synthesized “Legyözhetetlen”; and the flute-lover’s dream “A sárga kör”.

This is a great album to listen to while reading a good science fiction novel on a quiet Sunday afternoon, which I plan on doing myself today. If this album would have been recorded twenty years later, I suspect it would have made its way into the soundtrack of a computer game somewhere, since it sounds a bit like gaming music but with a much higher caliber of technical skill than most of that type of music usually demonstrates.

There isn’t a bad track anywhere on this album, and for fans of synthesized keyboards, science fiction-themed music, and modern treatments on classically styled arrangements, you really can’t go wrong with this recording. The production quality is excellent as well, so there’s no distractions as there can be with some older recordings of this type. Highly recommended for symphonic music fans, and very close to being a masterpiece. The only thing missing for me personally is that connection to past experiences and memories that I tend to feel for classic albums of the days when I first discovered progressive music. Since I happened upon this band and this album later in life, those connections may well come in time, and I may revisit this one and give it that bump when they do. But for now I’ll give this a very high four stars, and return it to near the top of my heavy rotation list.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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