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Pär Lindh Project - Time Mirror CD (album) cover

TIME MIRROR

Pär Lindh Project

 

Symphonic Prog

3.67 | 66 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Per Köhler
4 stars So was the wait finally over! After too many, too drawn out and far too many involuntarily non-productive years is the follow-up album to Veni, Vidi, Vici just where it belongs. Namely in our CD-players. Pär Lindh has suffered a series of mishaps along the the way. Some of technical nature which we do not have to immerse ourselves in. But the most serious and tragical is, of course, the passing of vocalist Magdalena Hagberg (or Berg after marriage) in december 2007. Her illness meant that the group got into a passive state for a long time. The delay of the forthcoming album was therefore considerable. Its hard to measure the costs when a close person is vanishing. Not only Magdalena is missing, but every single member known from previous recordings of Pär Lindh Project have jumped the ship. However, PLP has not taken its last breath if that's what you suspected. Its been a toilsome and trying road to walk down, but now it seems like the art rock group has recaptured all lost ground. They have returned, and done so with a vengeance. The proud achievement is called Time Mirror. But first let us look briefly at what has happened along the way. Pär hasn´t been completely idle despite missing PLP releases. 2004 saw the continued work with fellow musician Björn Johansson. A remastered, partly re-recorded Gothic Impressions didn´t take that album to higher altitudes but put it in a new frame. Lindh also produced Swedish singer/songwriter Anya on her debut album (Pär and Anya became actually more than professional partners). In fact, I had a feeling that Anya could be involved on Time Mirror in some form. Just like Jill Gabriel on P.G. 4 (on "San Jacinto"). Perhaps this will be realized the next cd? But now lets concentrate on the moment... Yes, this time Pär Lindh has taken the plunge and moved closer to his heroes Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The artist has skipped all available guitars (both electric and acoustic). It is a huge step away from earlier works. Sound wise it's mile in distance from previous band recordings where not only the string bender, but also the entire rythmsection were of heavier kind. Some people had opinions about this. Pär has experimented with various sound textures throughout the years, of which this is the latest. The keyboard instruments will logically be more central as there´s no visible competitor. But that´s probably the point. Now there´s no reason to hesitate about the mixture of the group. PLP is composed of Pär himself on keys, accompanied by bass/drums with the occasional guest instrument. It remains to be seen how the live band will be arranged after all. The uninitiated may be informed that Pär plays the genuine keyboards. Raw earthy Hammond, authentic church organ directly from the house of god, and grand piano of highest craftsmanship. You can never cheat a record buyer, can you? In the end its always quality that survive and plastic copies will disappear unnoticed straight into the recycling center. Let´s take a glance at the musicians/singers who are to be found on our fresh album. Of the disc's four tracks have factually all different drummers. We find former(?) Norwegian member Svetlan Råket on the opening title track. This Svetlan has figured for a long time in the band but his present status is more unsure. But when we´re dealing with the title track, it is actually irresistible to talk about the song itself. How can one resist? "Time Mirror" is the longest song on the disc with its impressive 17 minutes, and it jumps quite naturally of energy. This is the revenge/comeback/energy package that knocks you in its joyfulness. A majestic music piece is in the tradition of lengthy compositions like "The Cathedral" and "Mundus Incompertus", but it´s quite different in mood and shade. The melody and chorus are in the major key and have a slight commercial touch, but we can accept that without crying. Pär offers us a complete smorgasbord with all keyboards available. Also the same player is offering us a selection of all styles this keyboardist has been involved in during the career of the artist. They are quite a few. My advice here is simple, just listen yourself. "Time Mirror" is a complete meal with all nutrients you are in need of. The vocals are not handled by a female singer this time. Pär has chosen a new path and ended up outside the border of his own nation, and even the continent. His name is Al Lewis, and in common with the bass player of the band, he´s from the United States of America. Weather this multinational orientation is a conscious choise or just a coincidence is anybody´s guess. Maybe you are familiar with Lewis´ former outfits Alaska, or more likely Starcastle (with whom he has toured). Can you, after studying his voice, regard Al Lewis as a more down to earth Jon Anderson? I find the comparison reasonable. He is anyhow the most independent vocalist PLP has ever had. Just have a look at the production credits on Time Mirror and realize that Lewis is not a passive onlooker of the collaboration. Not only is he repeating pre written vocal lines, but the singer is also contributing his own musical ideas! Wisely, Pär Lindh has given him full permission to contribute to the design of this project. Als singing on the first tune is convincing for every listener who wants power and nuance in one voice. And he´s involved in the writing as well. "Waltz street" has a co-written lyric by Lindh/Lewis. It deals with the ever-present topic - the money and economy scene from an all but unknown place in the financial world. Musically I can hear traces of ELPs "Jeremy Bender" but who´s complaining? A violin serves as musical decoration. Not only here but on other tracks as well. Back to the works of the longer school in form of "With Death Unreconciled". A darker, sad title but inevitable if you want to depict life without embellishment. Strong emotional church organ playing and a highly melodic vocal part turns this tune into a first class item. Note that some church organ sections are recorded at Uppsala Cathedral and it´s not a second rate instrument, rather one of the mightiest on the planet. Pär is the first worldly artist who is allowed to touch its keys. The result is a monster sound. "W.D.U." is one of the very strongest moments on an album with a lot of fine moments. The synthesizer solos grabs your attention and they are complimented by piano and mentioned organ. This is your 10 minute progressive moment in late 2010. "Sky Door" is final song and the only instrumental to be found. Definitely less than usual. William Kopecky excels on fretless bass. He is the excellent bass player of the band. Tight and economical when required, virtuoso in the right context. He is as important today to the end result of the recordings as the main man. You can witness him onstage on the dvd released some time ago. One can argue about what the missing guitars means to the overall sound picture on Time Mirror. But some harder tones are actually produced by the bass. Drummer on this "Sky Door" happens to be Stefan Bergman, who is unknown to every single PLP fan. As you are informed about if you study the inner sleeve, Pär himself, and his new vocal supplementation are responsible for the drum duties on remaining tracks. The albums running time stops at about 40 minutes. There are certainly people who had expected a little more but personally I prefer the length of the old Lp. Save the excess material for future releases and think in quality terms instead of quantity. The present, international, line-up of PLP is highly promising and a obvious choise for coming projects. If they can afford costly flights across the globe in order to assemble, there will be no limit to what the gang can achieve together. PLP occupies a unique place in today´s progressive scene, a successor to giants of days gone by. Few keyboard players can boast with an equally rich keyboard equipment like Lindhs, and equally few will produce a sound so fascinating as this in question. Let´s hope that next album with PLP not takes ten more years. There is nothing to suggest that it should be so. Hopefully and probably, Lindh, Kopecky and Lewis will be joined by one or two strong additions on the upcoming tour and there is most likely material for a follow-up album within a decent time frame. Just stay tuned!

Per Köhler | 4/5 |

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