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BunChakeze - Whose Dream? CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.78 | 130 ratings

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3 stars Recorded during the heart of the drum-machine infatuation of the 1980's, then remixed during the sparse alt-rock scene of the early 1990's, Bunchakeze's self-produced progressive, melodic album oriented rock album "Whose Dream" understandably didn't generate much interest from trendy rock music labels. Disillusioned and more than a little exhausted, rather than self-release and tour to support the album, the band opted to allow it to gather dust on Colin Tench's bookshelf. Over a decade and a half later, a social visit between band members prompted the idea of resurrecting the dream for at least one final hurrah. From there, who knows what the future might hold? And so it was, that in 2010, a full quarter-century after it was originally recorded, Bunchakeze finally released their debut album.

Hmm. Does anyone know whether The Guinness World Book of Records tracks this sort of thing? Surely 25 years for an active band's debut is rather remarkable, is it not? Anyway, let's get down to what's really important. THE MUSIC!

"Whose Dream" opens and closes with short progrock pieces named after the title of the band, ("Bunchakeze" and "Bunchakeze reprise"). Although each member gets a brief moment to shine during the 1:57 opener, it is the distinctive flamenco-like flair of Colin Tench's guitar that is particularly memorable. Drummer Cliff Deighton takes advantage of his spotlight moment to let us all know that he is clearly a Rush fan with enough chops to aptly imitate his hero. Gary Derrick's intelligent bass lines will consistently impress perceptive listeners throughout the entirety of the album. Next up is the title track, "Whose Dream", a song which makes up for the opening track's absence of vocals by placing the spotlight on Joey Lugassy's smooth rich baritone.

Hmm. That comes to a total of three title tracks on a single record! (Two band name title tracks plus one album name title track.) Does anyone know whether The Guinness World Book or Records tracks this sort of thing? Sorry about that. Evidently I'm easily distracted today. Let's get back to what's really important. THE MUSIC!

Highlight tracks:

"Flight of the Phoenix" is a yearningly soulful tune, the opening section of which evokes images of 1970's era Kansas. An excellent, tastefully extended guitar solo ensues before the song transitions into "rock ballad anthem" mode for a second vocal passage. A second guitar solo section emerges, reminiscent of something we could expect to hear on a David Gilmour solo album. Unlike the "rock template" for epic ballads, there is no "jam section" at the end. Instead, the tempo picks up for a short return to a few energetic vocal lines that effectively serve as an exclamatory punctuation mark of ending to the song.

"The Deal" is a remarkable amalgam of various Pink Floyd influences. The rhythmic foundation of the song appears to have been built upon the guitar riff from Another Brick in the Wall part three, while a few keyboard lines could have been directly lifted from "Wish You Were Here". Despite the obvious stylistic imitation, it is one of the most dramatic, powerful and ultimately memorable songs on the album. The song is so full of compelling musical drama that a casual listener could be forgiven for not even noticing the absence of drums! (My apologies to Cliff if there are indeed drums on this track that I might have missed?)

In the end, the album "Whose Dream" is a product of the era in which it was originally produced. It was an age in which even high-performance, expensive personal computers were less powerful than the average person's cell-phone of today, an age in which studio time was expensive and audio was captured and played back on thick reels of physical recording tape. As such, it woudn't be fair to compare and contrast it directly to the crisp, sterling sound of today's modern prog productions, which enjoy the benefit of virtually unlimited tracks and unlimited Personal Computer studio time in which to re-mix and remaster. Given the budgetary and technologic limitations, however, this album holds up surprisingly well, allowing the vision of the original compositions and the inspiration of the original performances to convincingly emerge intact.

progpositivity | 3/5 |


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