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Jeremy - Celestial City CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.26 | 13 ratings

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4 stars "Celestial City" is a voyage into mellow space, a sonic universe where sweeping synths and soaring guitars coalesce into a sympho-electronic maelstrom that can, for the hardest rockers, give the impression to be a New Age kind of a gig. Well, not quite Yanni as one PA reviewer mentioned but close. The sheer density of the electronics signal a kinship with Austrian composer Gandalf (who happens to have a solid veneration for Steve Hackett), the bliss-out rave flights of early 90s Elektrik Teepee Hawkwind , some obvious Hillagisms, a dash of Kitaro but the closest would be Bjorn Lynne's spaciest recordings (The Void, Colony etc.). That this is labeled as non-committal background music is quite unjust as the textures and moods constantly vary from track to track while remaining firmly in the contemplative realm of electronic prog. There are some standout cuts here that transcend the blah, such as the 10 minute extraordinary excursion "Invisible War" in particular is most expressive with fabulous rays of synthesizers, bolts of fiery lead guitar and even resonating tubular bells, obviously travelling to the classic ultra-instrumental Oldfield dominions. The cosmic orchestrations are peerless wonders of amazement and provide the platform for some incandescent guitar expressions, that one ideally suit a good sci-fi movie and successfully add dimension and depth to the panorama. The very short "Wonderful" does get a little wimpy though, as the lightweight piano sets the table and yields to the sober guitar solo that has a strong Latimer-flavor. "Soaring" reverts to the contemplative introspection that ultimately defines this disc, with a rambling effect-laden guitar sortie that winks close to Hackett's electric style and does so perfectly. What's great here is that it stays nice and terse, coming in as a 4 minute jewel. "Laser Love" is another extended epic 8 minute showcase, bringing in some odd percussion, a colossal fanfare theme playfully symphonized by the array of Moogs, Rolands, Yamahas and ARPs (you would almost swear Tony Banks is guesting). This is pure electronica with severe Genesis overtones; see if you can guess which one! The whopping and relentless guitar solo is animated to the hilt and displays an urgent sense of "celestial" euphoria, a truly memorable piece of cosmic rock. "Cocoon" is oddly a tad dull, a bit like the famous movie of the same name. It just labors without direction, pretty much according to the rather "cramped" title! Strong hints of Vangelis come creeping through on the piano-led "Butterfly", some slithering synth warblings combine with synthetic percussion sounds that create a sense of childish bewilderment yet ultimately nothing here is convincing. The ultra-acoustic gem "Hour Glass" recalls Anthony Phillips while adding some luxuriant string washes that recall the legendary Classical Gas by Mason Williams. "King's Court" is equally pastoral and bucolic, very analogous to the previous piece but with a more medieval intonation. The massive 15 minute "The Door" is certainly a highlight piece, containing all of the above influences and ingredients, all welded together within a tight composition and a gigantic melody that will undoubtedly please the "epic"urians. Dripping synthesized tears, intrepid piano swagger and an elongated guitar intercession make this piece palatable but has a missing "je ne sais quoi" that would have tipped this into the bravo fold. Perhaps a little sweaty grit and subsiding anger would have been better suited for distinction sake; it's just too darn pretty! "Zion" does recommend a more experimental direction but it chooses to meander peacefully within wispy soundscapes , thrusting guitar notes only with venerated timidity. The finale is the title cut, which has a sturdy Genesis feel that I see as a bit pointless, veering very near plagiarism again. "Celestial City" has like many beautiful metropolitan expanses, a few bland neighborhoods but remains a pleasant enough cosmic journey, for the Pilgrim or the Progger. I will be generous because Jeremy seems like a real decent fellow to boot. Pencil in right between Phillips' "Slowdance" and Gandalf's "Gallery of Dreams" for next Sunday morning. 4 fluffy clouds
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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