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Eloy - Ocean 2: The Answer CD (album) cover

OCEAN 2: THE ANSWER

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.79 | 219 ratings

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Proghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Worthy sequel of the 1977 classic, but it's not a clone, so if that's what you're expecting, you might end up a bit disappointed. For 1990s ELOY, this is regarded as their best album. Their previous three albums, "The Tides Return Forever", "Destination", and "Ra" receive only mixed reaction, probably because these were perceived by many as being little more than just a Frank Bornemann and Michael Gerlach project (although it's nice to know bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol did guest on some of the cuts on "Destination", and he joined full-time afterwards), and perhaps they relied a little too much on digital synthesizers and drum machines for some more familiar with the like of "Ocean", "Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes", "Colours" or "Planets". With "Ocean 2", they figured out that Bornemann/Gerlach plus anonymous studio musicians didn't exactly please some of their fans, so they went back to being a full band on this album. The band now consisted of Frank Bornemann (as always), keyboardist Michael Gerlach, bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol, and finally an actual drummer, Bodo Schopf (ex-Michael Schenker Group).

The reason why you shouldn't expect a clone of the original "Ocean" is the production is a lot more modern, after all, it's 1998, not 1977. Luckily the keyboards are surprisingly analog (lots of Mini Moog, string synths, and what digital synths used here are very non-intrusive). While Michael Gerlach is the guy generally responsible for the keyboards, 1980s member Hannes Folberth actually contributes the occasional Moog, as a guest!

The album opens up with "Between Future and Past", a nice ambient piece with more than a passing resemblance to PINK FLOYD's "Signs of Life" (off "A Momentary Lapse of Reason"). "Ro Setau" is a great piece, with nice spacy synths, although I could live without the choir "too much of that 'oo' over and over". "Paralysed Civilization" is perhaps the best thing on this album, where the band creates an epic composition. Choir is used once again, but much better here. "Serenity" shows Klaus-Peter Matziol with his bass, a nice short piece, with more nice use of analog synths (something I'm so glad to hear in the digitally-dominated world of 1998!). "Reflections From the Sphere Beyond" is another amazing piece, I especially love the use of vocoder. There are some lengthy Moog solos as well. "Waves of Intuition" is perhaps the most PINK FLOYD-sounding piece on the album, bearing more than a passing resemblance to "The Wall". The last piece, "The Answer" is perhaps the least effective piece, keeping the same beat throughout, but not a whole lot of development going on, even the presence of choir doesn't helped.

Certainly the cover artwork is very similar to the original "Ocean" (Wojtek Siudmak did the cover artwork to both the original "Ocean" and this sequel), but of course, don't expect "Ocean 2" to be a clone of the original. Still I recommend this album, but I still prefer the original.

Proghead | 4/5 |

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