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Tony Patterson - Equations of Meaning CD (album) cover


Tony Patterson


Crossover Prog

4.87 | 8 ratings

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5 stars If one was bold enough to imagine what the ideal vessel would be for a 2016 version of a progressive Genesis, well, I would like to propose Tony Patterson as the likeliest candidate. Having a voice that is part Gabriel and part Collins is obviously a major attribute as well as the fact that Tony cut his teeth on being ReGenesis' lead vocalist, a band that unabashedly reprised the Prog icon in mostly live settings. I also cannot help to draw parallels to Mike Rutherford's debut (and only truly prog) solo album 'Smallcreep's Day", a personal and much idolized recording in my collection. My germinating interest was only accrued by the recent masterpiece Tony put together with Riversea and Nine Stones Close keyboardist Brendan Eyre, entitled "Northlands", to which I allotted a maximum score as it was a truly epic and genial release.

"Equations of Meaning" simply continues the spirit of Northlands with a similar mood, artwork, and artistic lineup, yet this is a full Patterson solo album, playing most of the instruments himself (guitars, keys, flutes and programming). Guest cameos include keyboardists Nick Magnus and Brendan Eyre, guitarist Adrian Jones, Andy Gray has a solo axe spot and Doug Melbourne on synths. Fred Arlington returns on sax and horns. Tony's voice, while obviously capable of imitating his icons, is starting to develop its own hue and dimension, which is the added bonus one gets with sublimely atmospheric material, that so effectively paints images on the mind. The entire recording is a n utter audio joy, basking in deep clouds of melancholia, celestial wisps of sacral sounds, possessing that uncanny ability to take one into an altered state of contemplation. There is also a sense that this is a very personal effort, deeply rooted in a certain perception of music, decorum, and art, and thus, highly original in its honesty and raison d'etre.

The spectral splendour of "Ghosts" serves as the ideal anesthetic, a mellow yet swelling carpet of synths and strings, both suave and seductive, like a melodic morphine seeping into the veins. Ready to get operated on, nicely medicated and quite comfortably numb. Gorgeous nirvana. In the spirit of the previously mentioned Smallcreeps' Day masterpiece, "The Magdalene Fields" recalls those glory days of reverberating acoustic 12 string phrasings, sweepingly sweetened voices both lead and backing, and titanic keyboard swarms. Fred's sax provides rays of golden sunshine amid the puffy synthesized clouds, the pulsing rhythms that remain discreet in the background, with loads of cymbal work. As the song whispers into silence, I cannot help but to let out a long, contented sigh.

Welcome to "Each Day a Colour" , a straightforward gem of bright musical disposition, both unpretentious and fragile, , boldly stating "the world begins to smile and a dreamer's dream makes it all worthwhile" , adding a solid guitar foray and a sudden end. "Cast Away" serves as a perfect segue, a windswept lullaby of soothing vocal breezes that are barely above a murmur, birds fluttering in the air, clanging guitar flicks, all utterly restrained. Achingly beautiful as the synthesized strings build into quite the climax. The first elongated piece is the 7 minute, three-part all instrumental epic "The Angel and the Dreamer", initially a platform for Siobhan Magnus to use her mellifluous voice to instill a vaporous mood, egged onward by a simple backbeat and a spiralling acoustic and electric rant that coalesce into a meaningful whole. The track also features some delightful horn work from Fred, the highly organic drum programming work is out of this world, as well as Melbourne's synth solo that is all charm, technique, and passion. Toss in some church bells tolling, a celestial choir and added avian tweeting, all combining to create a cinematographic canvas which is hard to overlook.

The solemn ambience continues undeterred on the entrancing "Beneath a Perfect Sky", as Patterson owns this ultra-smooth whisper that is completely addictive to these ears, a swooning infusion that remains whole-hearted to the core, making for some fascinating enjoyment. Sparkling piano blends into the mix with elegance and finesse, while the horn solo provides a most welcome jazzy touch to the ethereal sounds. While my descriptions may fool one into thinking that all the preceding tracks have a sameness about them, it is just my failing! Out of the blue, comes this scintillating piece of inspiration, , as "Sycophant" has some serious sneer, a James Bond-like orchestral theme that titillates unashamedly, kicking up the audition a notch, where the voices are all modulated to modern levels and of course, a rather snarly lyrical content that spits out venom in a gentlemanly tone (ah, the British flair!). Andy Gray's twisted corkscrew electric guitar solo only serves to further convey the nasty message: "I never liked you, I never will, just bide my time and move in for the kill". My, my, quite vile, wot? Tempered only by the cascading waterfalls of string synthesizers that act like a mellotron in heat! Effing perfection.

A short synpho-electronic interlude in the shape of "And the Sky was Opened' further gentrifies the sensational progression of this magnum opus, keyboard heavy sounds laying the groundwork for the next track, the uber addictive "Pilgrim". This is a modern serenade for pensive discourse, armed with an insistent beat, an obstinate voice and adamant forward propulsion thanks to some sizzling horn and unassuming drum work. A real stunner. The Brendan Eyre piano led "As the Lights Go Out" gives the opportunity for Brendan to reveal his delightful skill, as he flutters over the ivories with emotion and refinement. This will lead to the last extended piece and heart wrenching finale, "The Kindest Eyes" , a song dedicated to Tony' s wife Angela ( who very sadly passed away this year, RIP), a gulp-inducing ode to a partner who faithfully influenced his craft, a testimony to this album's generous disposition and highly personal touch . She was the angel; he is the dreamer. Adrian Jones of Nine Stones close fame offers a scorching slide and lead guitar solo that will blow your jaw sideways. I am so totally impressed, feeling this music so deeply, even upon first spin through.

Imagine 10cc's classic "I'm Not in Love" musically, with its stylish choir voices and moody lilt , you will get the idea., though this is way more wistful, creative and progressive. Exactly my kind of personalized progressive rock, highly evocative, heartfelt, and meaningful, from the first second to the last. I could listen to this forever and I fully intend to do so. You should too.

5 Equivalences of significance

PS. Thank you Keishiro and the Crossover team for reinstating this album.

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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