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Sunscape - Sunscape CD (album) cover

SUNSCAPE

Sunscape

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.92 | 14 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Where Porcupine Tree meets RPI?

Sunscape was active in the 1990s with some minor releases before their full length CD release in 1999. They should have been perfectly poised to make a big splash. Their timing was right, dropping a very Porcupine Tree styled modern space-prog album at the very time PT would up the stakes commercially. For a debut album this is a very credible and well-produced project. Instead, like many great RPI acts over decades prior, they had plans for a follow-up, and then vanished into thin air.

Sunscape is far from a predictable, easy to box Porcupine Tree wannabe. There is a base of what could be described as late 90's PT but there are also influences of early 70s space-rock, Krautrock, RPI, and ambient sound. PT and Pink Floyd are frequent mentions in writings about this group, but they have less of the commercial songwriting knack of PT and less grand vision for epic-making than say....Animals or DSotM. What they do bring to the table is a meandering (in a good way) and balanced attempt to do all of the above. Very ambitious. There are some catchy, accessible tracks that will remind you of Signify or Lightbulb Sun, or perhaps the band RPWL. There are long, strange interludes of instrumentals that Djam Karet might try. This is the most interesting stuff to me, tracks like the 4-part "Prospettiva" that are just plain mysterious. Or the 12-minute "Consorzio Nettuno" that combine trippy old school space with modern electronica, the latter which seems a bit forced but is still worth a try. Another 12-minute gem follows later ("Schuswassen") which reminds me of the guitarscapes of Durutti Column. Sometimes dreamy Italian vocals (both male and female) drift in and out of the picture, along with ample flute passages that give the album some RPI flavor. Ambient sound effects open the album giving it a soundtrack quality and this vibe returns here and there. Acoustic and electric guitars are well balanced and melodic, with occasional electric solos which are both pretty yet disciplined. The album is tracked with different songs but to me the whole thing feels like one long piece of abstraction, but with enough glue and cohesion to appeal to fans who favor some degree of "normalcy". It's weird, but not so weird as to send family members fleeing the living room. Still, you'd have to listen to it 100 times before you'll have it assimilated enough to not reveal some surprises with each new listen. Performances and execution are very well done across the board.

Bottom line is that you have a sure fire winner for those who love hazy, dreamy, beautiful passages that sometimes feel complete, and other times lead you to the middle of the desert and fade away. A generous lyrics booklet feature artwork that also seems like something Steven Wilson would approve of. Certainly above 3 stars but not quite enough for 4.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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