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Panta Rhei - Panta Rhei 75-79 (2002) CD (album) cover

PANTA RHEI 75-79 (2002)

Panta Rhei

 

Symphonic Prog

2.22 | 4 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Continental

Confusingly, this album contains different tracks to those which appeared on the band's similarly titled "Misc Recordings (1975-79)" compilation released in 1979. There is one duplication of the track "Mandarin" but this is essentially a completely different set of unreleased material by Panta Rhei. The album was included in a biographical book about the band.

There are 14 tracks in total here, the longest being just 4 minutes, with many of the tracks being recorded as potential or actual singles. The female singer Eniko Acs appears on a number of these songs, including the opening "Oryganyo" and "Csendes Dal" giving the tracks a very light continental feel, and a holiday type atmosphere.

The early tracks are thus very different once again to the official albums by the band, and to other unreleased material subsequently made available. There is nothing here like the magnificent interpretation of the "Peer gynt suite" on "Epilogus", the synthesiser fest of "PR Computer", the ELP cloning of "Bartok", or the Italian prog of the band's self titled album. The diversity of styles adopted by the band throughout their career can be as disconcerting as it is admirable, especially when it veers into unabashed pop territories like it does here. Things actually dip to an astonishing low on "Pogacsalany", a brief romp through the sort of song you'd expect to hear on a European pop show.

Things do improve as the album progresses, the female and male lead vocals on the ballad "Nem Hiszem el" at least being palatable. The version of "Mandarin" here is different to that on "Epilogus", but it remains a decent synth instrumental, sounding all the better in light of what has gone before. This track signals a change of style on the album, with succeeding tracks remaining instrumental, while moving in a generally more ambient, sometimes fusion direction. "Elvarazsolt Erdo" features a pleasing synth like flute sound, while "Jegvirag" sounds very like the type of music which fills the less distinguished albums released by Rick Wakeman. "Alfa Centauri" (sic) finally features the ELP style which dominated the "Bartok" album, the Hammond organ making a welcome appearance.

"Tarsak Kozott" starts off as the most promising track on the album, with acoustic guitar and dynamic synths, but the mood is quickly destroyed by the arrival of vocals which are distinctly lacking in harmony. It is a pity, as the track features some fine keyboard playing and the best lead guitar of the album.

Given that this collection of tracks was not originally intended to be brought together as an album, it is forgivable that there should be an inconsistent and disjointed feel overall. The trick here is to pick out the tracks which appeal, and skip quickly by those which do not. Generally speaking, that will mean heading for the latter part of the album.

Footnote added August 2010. My review was based on the version of the album then available for download via the band's website. I understand that the CD/book version includes the fine "Peer Gynt suite" interpretation mentioned above.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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