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Zopp - Zopp CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.06 | 186 ratings

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5 stars Before even soaking up the content, ZOPP offers us a whole program with this symbolic and promising cover that could be the subject of a real essay subject. Indeed, I was immediately attracted by this interesting and intriguing cover. A well-put together origami game shows us how a teapot gradually evolves to transform into a scorpion, how one thing can radically become something else by means of an intelligently illustrated assembly. At the head of this mutant arachnid we have the composer and multi-instrumentalist RYAN STEVENSON, a specialist in film and documentary music, the organist ANDY TILLISON coming straight from THE TANGENT and the percussionist ANDREA MONETA from the group LEVIATHAN. You should not take "Zoop" as a conceptual album, but as a matured and refined collection of songs written and produced over the last ten years by RYAN STEVENSON who is at the center of all the projects. Here we are offered "Canterbury" adjusted to the taste of the day with the instruments of the time, with experimental merging sounds in the jazz and classical atmosphere of the 70 '. Despite the active participation of ANDY TILLISON do not look for similarities with his original group. The claimed influences are EGG, NATIONAL HEALTH, HATFIELD AND THE NORTH, and STRAVINSKY, I would add HAPPY THE MAN, CAMEL or even GENESIS and YES, because the melodies are numerous and the chords turned well. The name of the group comes from the contraction of "Z" from ZAPPA and "Fopp" for the name of a record store that our leader frequented. You will need a few listenings to fully appreciate all the contents of this opus which will prove to be exciting and full of flavors as much in its varieties as in its compositions. Here is a brief overview of my perceptions: We start with "Swedish Love", a sweet and short interlude with keyboards, sung without words in an obsolete way in the manner of HATFIELD AND THE NORTH, it's pretty but it darkens halfway, maybe the suede is not the best example to follow in this area ...? With "Before The Light" we start with a bang like a cavalcade, screaming synth, high-pitched organ, it is rhythmic and leading to the limit of "hard" in certain sections, but without exaggeration. The melodies are incisive and sumptuous, endowed with many contrasting passages, sometimes a tad jazzy and ambient which give this piece a feeling of total success, perfection is not far away! "Eternal Return" takes us into a lyrical and medieval world in a style that is close to GENESIS in its compositions and the instruments used. The whole is enhanced by punctual kinematic effects with impacts, accompanied by connotations ā la ENNIO MORRICONE and some similarities of the Italian group LA BATTERIA, the guitars are more present here in order to ventilate the orchestration, and deliver major chords. .. success stories follow but are not alike! Half classic half jazz start in gala dress for the intro of "Sanger". This poet bard offers us a "Contre-bass" and a classy piano played gently colored with reliefs with evocative silences, to be taken up by brilliant fiery keyboards in the manner of ELP, an overhanging guitar sounds the alarm with a beautiful acoustic in the bangs of MIKE OLDFIELD, the ballad ends as it had started, all in fullness and subtlety. "Sellanrå" is a town taken from a Norwegian novel entitled "Soil Growth" by KNUT HAMSUN. Indeed, we can feel the life in this soil, we can even hear the grass grow as the slowness is taken to the extreme here. This piece offers us a ballad illustrated by keyboards surrounded by special effects transporting us on an atmospheric journey resembling a dream, it's chic and relaxing. The sixth title is a capital "V" for the 22nd letter of the alphabet, the age of RYAN STEVENSON when he composed this song. This "V" sounds like a journey, more exactly a cinematographic journey, a sort of detective story, where fusion and 70s prog blend admirably. The synths are fabulously irradiating there, the jazz / jazzy atmospheres project us into joyful bewitching nostalgia. Warmth with eternal sensations, measured relaxation in the touch of CARAVAN, and ideal accords to the structures of HAPPY THE MAN give this track a real success! "Being And Time" is in my opinion the less detailed piece, to the detriment of a six strings a little too repetitive, less complex and thin compositions ... An intermediate passage and an interesting orchestral acceleration will however save this construction doomy-like. "Zero" is a number that the Romans did not know, or that they did not consider to be a number. To evaluate this title I would use the Greek letter ... pi (3,14), symbol of perfection for a sublime transition at 2:48 with a keystone of an analytical and enjoyable descent and rise of the range, a real demonstration! Keyboards and guitar merge in these places in fast tempos and wrapped in sounds approaching around groups such as GENESIS or WOBBLER ... the comparison is fair and justified! "The Noble Shirker" is a phrase coined by RYAN STEVENSON which can be translated as "the noble dodge" alluding to a simple life carried by the passion of music. This last piece takes on an air that resembles a snub, a sort of orchestrated farandole. There is nothing to throw away, everything is there, you take all the qualities and the positive points mentioned above, you add saxophone solos, keyboard, electric arpeggios, a little well-placed mellotron, one last minute that will fly to a futuristic civilization, and you will discover highly prog music in the noblest sense of the term. This last event alone is worth the purchase of the album! This disc filled with good ideas smells of the revival of the "seventies, and offers us waves of complex harmonic sequences, scaffolded by a shower of synths and organs of all kinds skilfully superimposed in multilayer (see the list attributed to the keyboards) , by acoustisks of all beauties plunging us into melodic, lyrical, cinematic and atmospheric universes. I can say without much being mistaken that this cake will be a reference in the Canterbury scene and in the world of Prog in general. RYAN STEVENSON and his running mates have provided through this album an admirable work, with a real propensity for the exercise of balance by magnifying the music in all its compartments, and by mixing almost all the known genres of Progressive Rock to merge with the amateur jazz community and of classical music. I have placed this accomplished work very high in my collector's items, and I strongly advise you to do the same!
RelayerFr | 5/5 |


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