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Jerzy Antczak - Ego, Georgius CD (album) cover


Jerzy Antczak


Crossover Prog

3.96 | 106 ratings

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5 stars Jerzy Antczak has been leading Polish neo-prog band Albion for quite some time now (1994) , part and parcel of the rather imposing prog scene in Poland that has given us Collage, Satellite, Millenium, Abraxas, Believe, Soma White, State Urge, Corral and many more. On this his first solo outing, Jerzy plots for a much denser sound, perhaps closer to electronica-infused soundtrack music , something compatriots Lebowski do rather well, albeit in a punchier manner. Surrounded by Albion stalwarts Anna Batko on vocals and Rafal Paszcz on drums, as well as adding Millenium bassist Krzysztof Wyrwa, with a few others, Jerzy Antczak really handles most of the splendid guitar work and all the keys, creating an exhilarating electro-tornado that has really caught my attention and certainly deserves to ensnare yours. The music is meant to be listened in one continuous effort, far from any song by song catalog.

An immediate gentle immersion is in order on the opener "Na´ve", a nearly Oriental koto-like feel that permeates the soul, soothing and yet somewhat a tad eerie, as if something is lurking not too far away, in the shadows. Appropriately 'na´ve' vocals collide in sorrow, encapsulated by metallic percussives that hint at John Foxx-like electronica, a modern dirge that spins, whirls and soars on sublime synthesized propellers. This bleeds right into the guitar tempest that is "Bloody George", the same theme just catapulted onto a higher plane, the voice more urgent, the beat firm and the howling backing voices giving the necessary depth with Wyrwa's rumbling undertow flashing the road ahead.

After a fluffy microelectronic intermezzo, "Heaven" unleashes some sequenced horizons that are closer to classic Tangerine Dream, ethereal sounds and melodious motifs that show a gentler side , only to be confronted by some serious rumble on the fantastic bass slap driven "Nebayilhaye", sandstorm of furious sonic frenzy, female Arabic voices whirling amid the male English voiced rage. This is serious progressive rock with quite a bite and a toothy Doberman snarl.

Keeping the foot squarely on the harder pedal, "Don't Need You" sounds almost like Floyd's "Run Like Hell" but snarkier as the bass and drums pack a wallop, only to be crested by a sweeping voodoo guitar solo that prickles nastily, showing Antczak's rather considerable technique. Pooling electro grit, delicate piano and unspecified angst is display on the half-minute "Bottom of My Soul" before the arrival of the colossal 9 minute and 40 second "The Gods of Our Planet", a space/electronic voyage that is deliberately operatic with the pleading vocal, caressed along by forlorn synths and extremely modern and futuristic in scope. Again, the grumbling bass is a terrific feature, moaning like some sycophantic praetorian guard looking to the stars. Sequencers ablaze, thick symphonics and tectonic binary drum rolls, this is simply intoxicating. Jerzy unbridles a blistering axe solo that blasts the speakers far into the celestial galaxy, tense and speedy, emotionally sound.

Hard to believe after so many good pieces that the best is yet to come. "Mermaid's Song" is perhaps the absolute show stopper here, an almost Celtic melodious chant, melopoeia in Latin that winks at Oldfield or Iona in terms of adventurism, as if some Norse drakkar was fording into some misty firth, gulls screeching their fear as they swirl overhead. The fretboard solo is nervy, intricate and most expressive. A truly terrific tune! The wee "Big Deal" emits aromas of a Floyd gone by, especially vocally, before blooming into the rash "Humid Tube" (a great name for a band BTW) which sizzles, fizzles and drizzles brilliantly, as drummer Paszcz manhandles his kit.

The elegant "Waltz" shuts this tremendous work down with a majestic 7 minute epic, all emotion and genuine class, sparkling tiny details reflecting off the gentle waves of sound, an insistent synth egging on an urgent vocal that truly shudders in feeling. The scintillating guitar solo is simply intense and glorious, full of bravado and intent, technique melding with inner love, a true genial finale. I just cannot believe how fabulous this album turned out to be. Just the right amounts of dream and reality.

The artwork gives off a Gothic gleam that instills the perfect image of humility and genius at work here. This is magic. My Polish friends/brothers never cease to amaze me.

5 Gorgeous self-images

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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