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Passport - Ataraxia (Sky Blue)  CD (album) cover

ATARAXIA (SKY BLUE)

Passport

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.13 | 29 ratings

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Progfan97402
4 stars Underrated late '70s Passport album, this album found the group with a complete overhaul of their lineup. Gone are Curt Cross, Kristian Schultze and Wolfgang Schmid, with a whole new lineup. Passport has always been Klaus Doldinger's vehicle to begin with, as the first album, Doldinger from 1971 featured a lineup that's completely different from the lineup that gave up Looking Thru up to Iguacu (except for Doldinger, naturally), so this isn't the first time Passport had a complete overhaul of their lineup. Gone is much of the Brazilian style of Iguacu, except for that last cut, "Alegria", instead you get some of that mid '70s Passport style, with a spacy electronic backdrop, and two cuts, "Sky Blue" and "Loco-Motive" bearing more than a passing resemblance to instrumental Alan Parsons Project. I happened to like the direction Passport was heading here. I am particularly fond of the electronic direction they were heading here. "Mandrake", on the other hand is more typical Passport, with that unmistakable sax playing from Klaus Doldinger. This song gets me thinking of a TV game show theme song. I have always been under the impression Doldinger was of two minds, he wanted mainstream acceptance, at the same time he had creative ambitions. Had he not had those ambitions, he could have scarily ended up as the Kenny G of the 1970s. There's at times Passport did border on smooth jazz, and that is most noticeable on "Louisiana". Then there's "Reng Ding Dang Dong". This one just utterly blew me away. Probably the most original piece of music I have ever heard from Passport (a band never known for originality). This is an electronic piece, done really funky of synthesizers. I really love this piece, I can't believe this is really Passport. While Passport in general might not be of interest to lovers of progressive electronic, "Reng Ding Dang Dong" sure does, as it's firmly in that camp! This album is not perfect, "Alegria" is Brazilian-influenced jazz I can do without (seems everyone agrees), and is probably the reason I've been hesitant to get Iguacu. Call me crazy, I found Ataraxia (Sky Blue) more enjoyable than Infinity Machine. Of course Cross Collateral is by far the best Passport album, as far as I'm concerned, but I was really surprised with this album, given if you go by this website, Infinity Machine is their last worthwhile album. For me, it's Ataraxia. Not everything is great here, but I enjoyed it much more than I imagined.
Progfan97402 | 4/5 |

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