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Satellite - Nostalgia CD (album) cover

NOSTALGIA

Satellite

 

Neo-Prog

3.58 | 152 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Satellite is like a great restaurant, they keep feeding the clientele with great cuisine, the kitchen staff never changes but the menu always contains some new marvels. Some have begun to find the rather easy road to criticize Wojtek Szadkowski (the chef!) for repeating the same music since the sparkling debut but I beg to differ! Each subsequent album has offered different recipes with "Evening Games" introducing a harsher climate and the previous "Into the Night" even daring to be futuristic (the stellar "Forgiven & Forgotten"). On this new album , there are unending alterations (check out the incredible Santana bliss -out solo on "Afraid of What We Say") to their classic sound, while singer Robert Amirian has never sounded better as one of the best prog vocalists anywhere, Szadkowski is arguably one of the finest drummers in music period, the keyboards are even more luxuriant than ever before , a new solid bassist keeps it all grounded and now guitarist Sarhan Kubeisi has definitely grown into a masterful six-stringer even though the sound is clearly more "nostalgic"! What are we bitching about, hmmmm? Is it too commercial? Well, the debut was pretty ear-friendly and its one of the "neo" jewels, almost universally applauded by the prog illuminati, so I see no point to complain (the disease of our times, everyone's a Lance Ito judge it seems!) about quality music like this! So let's get the CSI lab in here and analyze this sucker, will we? Under the microscope, the record starts off with a long and languid piece -"Every Desert has Its Ocean"- that has all the usual suspects: the choppy orchestral concussions, the marshalling beat pounding forward propelling the melody, Robert singing with conviction especially when he gets soft and sweet and then explode into raging passion, the guitar is now razor sharp, slicing majestically through the maze with unabridged decorum, searching out a new oasis of expressed pleasure (that first solo is breathless!) and elevating the piece to neo-classic status (ooops!) . Again, this is far from wimpy wanderings, so wake up and smell the heady nostalgia! Amazing track, OK! Next up, a slithering synthesizer motif, a synthetic almost trippy drum beat and a "oh so cool" Amirian vocal , this is another breezy affair that induces genuine admiration and the massive orchestrations are exalting, the bass beep-beeping like the Roadrunner, squealing guitar howls from Sarhan "Slowhand" Kubeisi , a strychnine-infused very chill solo and more sweet synths. Oh, I love this, one of my faves, close to previously lauded "Forgiven". The third track is the stunner here, the mega classic "Afraid of What We Say", probably one of the best sonic asteroids this band has ever recorded, pure perfection from the achingly poetic beginning with its pop-blues intonations to the lights-out "Every Step of the Way, Carlos baby" guitar that just takes over the rule like a mad dictatorial junta while Szadkowski does his best "Michael Shrieve in Woodstock fury" imitation. Una maravilla! Hilariously good, I laughed giddily in awe while listening to this the very first time. "I Want You to Know" reverts to the more conventional formula, a guitar-led piece of melancholia that gracefully keeps things simple, as if discussing a simpler, gentler time (the essence of Nostalgia) and gives Amirian that platform to shine, modulating his voice to fit the urgency as the synth dances eagerly in the back ground. Sarhan then tosses in a "classic" prog-guitar solo but the bass is really the prime motivator as it pushes the mood relentlessly forward. The piano takes a predominant role here and that is another new twist on the orbital menu, so much for the stagnation claims! A very pleasant ride, indeed ("songs that I wrote, they always meant so much to me", now that is really not pretentious!). "Over the Horizon" is the HAHA "pop song" here (all 8 minutes of it), twirling synth patter locked in with minimalist drum beats, gloomy moods and drenched atmospheres that suddenly metamorphose into a classic neo delight (yeah, love is the theme, yawn?), with a friendly chorus that does stray very far from the complex experimental sonics some adore (still better than recent Genesis though!). Sombre tones, mournful intonations, crying guitars and sweaty symphonics are the hallmarks of the splendid almost cinematographic "Am I Losing Touch", whispered eloquently by the drunken/drugged vocals that suddenly but not unexpectedly get angry and bitter! The venom gets intense and this again is no wimpy stuff as the lads swerve into bleeding fast runs that showcase their skills, the manic drumming in particular is quite impressive. This is another fantastic piece where Michalski fretless bass really sticks out and the cello patches swoon with the depressed piano lines. Yummy in my tummy! The Satellite crew like to finish off their craft with some placid balladry and there is no omission here, "Is it Over" becomes a bluesy guitar adieu featuring Amarok (Michal Wojtas), who made his name as a deft Mark Knopfler/Mike Oldfield/David Gilmour fan/virtuoso and he gives a nice performance with Sarhan . Pfff! I am a sucker for these long melancholic, painfully teary-eyed bluesy rants and this is no exception. Amazing! The two bonus tracks are worthwhile especially "Relaxed", a cool instrumental track that shows why these guys are so good: it sounds so natural, so er..relaxed! Our Easy Livin is correct in his appreciation that this is one hell of a talented crew, so they have a good restaurant going with lots of famished diners, featuring a great ever-evolving menus, fantastic service, great spirits and a sumptuous décor. Why close the kitchen? 5 orbital reminiscences
tszirmay | 5/5 |

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