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Imanissimo - Z's Diary CD (album) cover

Z'S DIARY

Imanissimo

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.96 | 20 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Psychedelic Space Progressive Rock

Uhm . finally the band has made a full fledge and well packaged album. I knew the band through PROGFEST 1 and 2 presented by the Indonesian Progressive Society dated back 2001 and 2002. By the time I saw them alive I never heard any recorded materials from the band before. But these guys did perform their gigs really well and impressed the audience. When the band did make a gig on the launching of new progressive rock label PRS in 2004, I was really stunned with their performance. At the end of the gig I came to meet Iman (the composer and bass player) to express my salute to their live act. He was humbly "shocked" with my behavior that dare to come to the stage, right after the show, despite many other crowds in front of me. Who cares! Good musicians must be congratulated! Don't you agree?

Couple months before this album was launched (December 2004), the band performed their finished materials (partially) in PROG NITE with other local prog band PENDULUM at Black Steer Café, Jakarta, Indonesia. Another successful gig, I think, even though I was not "into" the sound system quality of the venue. But musically, the two bands performed really well! During the show, the band a pre-ordered purchase of their upcoming concept album "Z's Diary".

What can I say about this album? I have, in a way, known the band - even though not in personal details and it's good so I can review their music independently - and its music before it makes into an album. The fact that this is an Indonesian band, I am very happy that in this developing country there are people who have progminds and craft a good album. Needless to say that I would say everything is great about this album. That's too naïve, and it's not fair to you, the readers of this beloved website. My main purposes in this review are two folds:1. To express my view - as independent as possible - about this album based on my own experience; 2. To guide your purchase decision, of course if you can "relate" my view with your own preferences and tastes. I think, my purposes are in line with progarchives.com's goals.

THE MUSIC

When I heard the music at the very first time, the name of Ozric Tentacles struck into my mind. When the guitar riffs appeared obviously, I refer to progmet bands such as Dream Theater, Fates Warning and the like. I could also smell bits of Porcupine Tree (nuance-wise). This is a concept album that comprises four moments with the last one and the longest is sectioned into seven tracks - that makes up into a ten-track album. Each moment describes Captain Z - the main character - life story. Let's have a look in details . (actually, you don't have to read - just buy the CD!).

1st Moment: Z's Dream (Iman)

As an album opener, this track blew my mind at firs spin of the CD. The music starts off slowly in an ambient style with an ethnical nuance. It is followed with an Indonesian narration in a somewhat "distanced" voice, some words are overwhelmed by bass sounds. The female chanting has enriched the opening part. Guitar work starts to flow in somewhat bluesy style - that reminds me to Steve Vai or Joe Satriani, while the female chanting appears at background. It flows then to a guitar riffs augmented with keyboard sounds. In some transitions the music turns quieter with bass-line plays as rhythm section while keyboard fills in the sound. It then turns into faster tempo with guitar riffs. The combination of guitar and keyboard sounds is really excellent - I enjoy it very much. I also enjoy the transition to a faster tempo marked by dynamic bass guitar solo (approx. min. 8:48) augmented with drumming. The guitar returns back in rocking style. It's a fabulous opening track!

2nd Moment: Anomaly Of The Ocean* (Iman & Charlie)

It continues seamlessly from previous moment marked with a narration, soundscape of sea waves at the beach (hope it got nothing to do with tsunami), and nice choir. The piano solo with classical music influence enters the music. Yep, this part is a purely classical outfit of this album. I can imagine of Capt Z being contemplated of what he's gonna do with his future as the music is very contemplating in a quiet musical passage. It depends on your mood, this part may help you to contemplate yourself in goal settings of your life.

3rd Moment: The Adventures Of Captain Zed (Ponco)

This track comprises four parts (not sectioned into multi tracks) that starts with spacey / atmospheric mood with soft guitar rhythm, continued with guitar solo. The ocearll track is composed and performed in similar vein with the opening track. The only thing different, I think, is the mood - it is very uplifting. There are some variations of high and low points and rocking guitar style. I find the sudden transition into acoustic guitar rhythm (approx. min 4:14) is bit not natural - it seems to me that the music being forced in this segment. But I have to admit that the piano solo has helped to accentuate this transition. The short solo drum that comes at approx min 8:06 does not seem natural (composition-wise and sound-wise). Luckily, the band brings back into an uplifting style with a rocking guitar afterward. The keyboard still plays at background in spacey style. The ending part of this track reminds me to the transition piece of YES "The Gates of Delirium" just before "Soon" part enters at the ending part. Of course it's not the same chords, but similar nuances.

Final Moment ...... Last Day To Live (Iman)

The longest moment that comprises seven parts with each of them is sectioned as one track. I got problem with the opening part of "I. Dilemmatic Sunrise" where there are repeated chords by guitar that count thirteen (13) times. Too long, I think. Probably if the band reduces to six repetition would be OK with me. Or, give some more sound effects from keyboard or guitar (like Ozric always does with some of their repetitive parts). The music moves in ambient style in psychedelic mood and it ends up with excellent guitar solo. When the music enters "II. Tales From The Ocean", I like it as the melody is memorable and I can consider it catchy (especially in keyboard melody and guitar). I'm sure most people would like this part; it's an accessible track. The next track "III. In Between Times" is very emotional in style as the music turns somewhat complex, with some tempo changes and great bass guitar solo (even thoug it's short).

"IV. Hopeless Soul" - as the title implies - it's a sad mood and probably very depressing. It has a soft trumpet work and soft piano solo continued with guitar solo. Hey man, enjoy the guitar solo (augmented with piano) - it has successfully brought me to "the other world" - is this what we call it "psychedelic"? Probably. It's a contemplating tune! . The next track "V. Blast From The Past" is a very ethnical nuance tune with excellent chanting with percussion work that reminds me to world music. It's a very strong in nuance, but to me is so boring as it has too long repeated musical rhythm. That's actually musician's domain, but I cannot wait too long for this repetition man ..!

"VI. The Dying Ship" opens in a progressive metal vein with riffs (oh man, I need better drumming sound!) and a rocking style - delivering the richness of keyboard sounds combined with electric guitar. This relatively long track has a variety of styles and moods. "VII. The Last Sunset" concludes the album in an "encore" style with a tasty melody delivered mainly through the sound of keyboard. At the end of the album, there is a very long silence with a "dead" pulse at the end - Capt Z's passed away .

ARTWORK and DESIGN

WOW! What a great artwork and design by AgixDalil with this album! It's a top notch design, I would say. If you have any album of The Tangent - please have look the artwork by Ed Unitsky, it's so perfect and wonderful. In my review of the Tangent, I mentioned that Ed Unitsky is the today's and future Roger Dean! And, this album artwork is just an inch closer to the Tangent's! Great design.

Sleeve inlays include four designs that I think each represents each track of this concept album. Excellent work!

SONIC QUALITY

This might be the area that requires improvement. It's not bad at all, but having listened to various kind of prog CDs, the recording / sonic quality of this CD still can be improved a lot. It has a significant impact to our listening pleasure, of course. The drum sound (not the drumming style) does not sound crispy to my ears. The bass sound (not the bass guitar) is a little bit too much that cause sound impurities in some segments, e.g. the ending part of first track where the bass guitar dominates the segment (approx. min 8:48). Not enough level of mid range - the sound seems "strained". I'm fine with the treble, it's in the right level. The dynamic range is quite OK with my ears - I have tested it in very loud volume, it' enjoyable!

OVERALL: Recommended!

It's an excellent addition to any prog collection. Overall rating - my combined views of everything: music (songwriting, performance), artwork and sonic quality - is 4 stars. My salute goes to the band and also the producer: Andy Julias (who also the producer of second album of Discus - another prog band from Indonesia). I am anxious to have other great releases from the Indonesian Progressive Society. Sometimes, I wildly imagine if this album was recorded using the technology and brilliant mind of Mr. Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), I think . Ozric Tentacles would have to think twice for crafting their next future releases knowing how great this album is. I mean it - without any intention to demean what Ozric has produced top notch records! Keep on progging!

Progressively yours,

GW, Indonesia.

Gatot | 4/5 |

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