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Lyle Holdahl - Prog CD (album) cover


Lyle Holdahl


Symphonic Prog

3.00 | 1 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I first discovered Lyle Holdahl back in the days of Both his Prog and Prog 2 CDs were available from that site. Later or possibly simultaneously Holdahl's music was also available at Big Balloon Music, where he does a number of other musical projects (Fire Monkey and Art & Science Project). I don't know much about Holdahl's musical bio other than he was the keyboardist for Harlequin Mass.

Naming an album after a genre seems like an ambitious idea. At first one has to wonder if this is the mother of all prog albums to deserve such a title. Is this a sampling of everything prog has to offer? Is it an eclectic range of styles all mixed together? Why exactly did Lyle Holdahl give this album such a bold name? As it turns out, Prog was just a collection of extras Holdahl had accumulated for his Fire Monkey project. He consolidated all these progressive bits and pieces and found himself with two albums worth of material. Thus was born Prog and Prog 2.

Since Holdahl is a keyboardist, you would be correct in guessing that this album is very keyboard-oriented. The most noticeable feature of Holdahl's music is a lot, and I mean A LOT, of lush synthesizer soundscapes. His music shows strong influences from Genesis, Camel, Tony Banks, early Marillion, and maybe some traces of new age music. The music sounds like it is chiefly programmed (drums and bass), but I don't find that to be too much of a distraction. The lush synths are intensely beautiful and are often layered upon each other. The effect is stunning, making this a good choice of music to listen to with the lights out.

Holdahl's vocals take a bit of getting used to. He often sounds like a whining and nasal Phil Collins, but not the pop star Phil Collins. He sounds more like Phil Collins singing in a Peter Gabriel-like delivery. Perhaps Holdahl is aware of his weakness in this area as his voice is never overpowering in the mix. It is very much subdued and is often overwhelmed by his powerful synth soundscapes. His best vocal performance is on Maxfield (a Hymn), where it appears more clearer than on the other songs.

Lyle Holdahl's Prog isn't widely known and clearly sounds like an independent release as the production could really be improved. Yet, even so, it's composed and performed quite well (disregarding the programmed feel of it). This could probably have been quite an exceptional release if he had better production, a band behind him, and improved vocals. I like it enough to give it three stars. Good, but not essential, but clearly showing great potential that just needs a more suitable recording environment to be released in.

progaeopteryx | 3/5 |


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