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Anton Roolaart - Dreamer CD (album) cover


Anton Roolaart


Symphonic Prog

3.57 | 37 ratings

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4 stars I always have a strong passion to expand my listening horizons in prog music especially with group or artist that I have never heard before or the kind of music that I have not been familiar with - like those of Magma, Universe Zero, Isildurs Bane, Thinking Plague etc. As you know by now, I was trained more on symphonic prog rock kind of music stemming from Yes, Genesis, ELP etc. But when prog was about to die because it was almost swept by the new wave and punk era in early 80s, there was Marillion which brought in the new type of the symphonic prog genre - a neo progressive music. Basically, there is no major different between classic symphonic prog and neo prog except that the latter is a bit simpler in structure and musical arrangements. Under the banner of neo prog, you would hardly find any song with a level of complexity like ELP's "Karn Evil 9" or Toccatta or Yes' "The Ancient" or Genesis' "The Battle of Epping Forest" for example.

Why do I need to give you a bit of background above? It's simply due to the fact that relates to Anton Roolart's debut album which the music is I think much closer to neo progressive music than a symphonic prog. Well, I am really happy to know that Anton is a new comer in prog arena and this is a good news because he might have been a prog lover (as listener only not a recording musician). The way I see him through the introductory notes in the CD sleeve is that he has a strong passion in prog music especially that he also established a despite as being a musician. I salute him for this, in this respect. This is motivating me as well, because who knows in the future there will be a prog album by Gatot Widayanto? I must have been dreaming!

This is a good debut album by Anton Roolaart abacked with talented musicians. The reason I put a neo progressive proximity is that looking at the style and the tempo he presents his music through this album. In terms of tempo, most of them are in relatively slow / mellow style with interludes that offer guitar solo or keyboard. The opening track "Near or Far" starts with symphonic style textured by dynamic bass lines which then bring to the bridge which lets the vocal (by Anton himself) to enter the music. The guitar work at the background of his singing is quite interesting. There are some piano works during transition pieces and they help enriching the music texture. The organ solo work is also nice followed intertwiningly with guitar solo. The next track "On To The Afterglow" is really excellent in terms of melody and musical arrangements. It starts wonderfully with an ambient nuance led by acoustic guitar fills. The keyboard augments the music well so that it helps maintain the flow. I know that this is nothing to do with Symphonic Slam, but I find the similarity in music nuance. The keyboard solo is really excellent. There are sounds of mellotron (or at least mellotron-like) at the background that lifts up the symphonic atmosphere. The guitar demonstrates its solo work followed beautifully with keyboard. I really enjoy the part with acoustic guitar solo in the middle of the track augmented with soft keyboard sound at background. Wow! It's really an excellent track - at least for me personally.

The opening part of "Dreamer" confirms the fact that this is a neo progressive music. It starts with long sustain keyboard work followed beautifully with guitar solo combined with soft riffs. There is, again, excellent pulsating keyboard solo during interlude part combined beautifully with touchy piano work. "Scary Monsters" flows in similar tempo with previous track demonstrating guitar and keyboard work, combined with piano. "Color of Your World" opens with ambient music featuring keyboard and guitar. It flows in slow tempo through vocal and rhythm section in symphonic style. Again, Anton puts the keyboard solo nicely towards the end of the track. Unfortunately the drum work is so empty in this track and also all tracks in this album, so it causes a low density of the music. The drum should actually fill in transition pieces nicely as to avoid the song is becoming a bit boring.

The opening part of "Mid Summer's Day" is quite complex and reminds me to the complex nature of Yes music or any avant-garde arrangement especially with the guitar portion. The song also features long sustain keyboard work during transition piece as well as background. This song is quite tight in terms of composition. The opening part of "Manon" reminds me to Marillion's Fish era music even though it's not close at all, with a bit of Steve Hackett howling guitar nature. The concluding track "The Spider" opening part reminds me to the style of Supertramp music especially through the piano work.

Overall, this is a very good debut album by Anton Roolaart. The strengths of this album are on its composition where Anton has successfully blended the touchy melody with symphonic music arrangements and the overall flow of the music. Some segments of the music on some tracks seem like being forced into the composition so that they do not fit naturally - but overall is still good. Drum is the weakest point of this album because it serves just as beat keeper. Am not saying the drummer is lousy but more on the composition that may not give sufficient room for drums to take acrobatic beats. On vocal, I do not mind with Anton's vocal quality because the most important thing is how he can fit his vocal with the music. Remember Steve Hackett? His vocal quality is much worse than Anton but he still can deliver great "Dark Town" or "Mechanical Bride". On the next album, I expect Anton will write music with varied styles, adding more energy and drive into the music because this album does not offer sufficiat drive like Marillion's "He Knows You Know" (for example) or Pallas' "Beat The Drum". Overall, it's a good work, Anton! Keep going and ..keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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