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Roine Stolt - Fantasia CD (album) cover

FANTASIA

Roine Stolt

 

Symphonic Prog

2.20 | 28 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progaeopteryx
Prog Reviewer
2 stars In 1979 Roine Stolt left the band Kaipa to form his own group which he called Fantasia. Fantasia released two albums before breaking up in 1983. The first of those albums was later released on CD by MNW Records in 1992 under Roine Stolt's name with the title "Fantasia," most likely for marketing purposes.

Fantasia is a real mixed bag. It has its share of very good songs intertwined with a bunch of boring filler. Still, you can hear glimpses of what will eventually turn into the trademark Flower Kings style in places. Being more familiar with Stolt's work in the 1990's, I was surprised at the small amount of vocal contributions he made to this recording, often relying on other vocalists including Janne Ahman and Mats Löfgren (from Kaipa). In the few parts he does sing, he uses a vocoder. In addition, Fantasia features bassist Mats Lindberg from Kaipa and Hasse Bruniusson (later with the Flower Kings) on percussion on a couple of songs.

Right away Fantasia starts off on the wrong foot. Nytt Blod sounds like disco and the following track is a boring acoustic piece that made my eyelids very heavy. Fortunately, I was awakened by Samhällets Olycksbarn which is a very lush symphonic piece similar to Wind & Wuthering-style Genesis with some rather strange vocal effects. This was followed by Dödens Ansikte which reminds me of the Flower Kings with Löfgren on vocals. A very good song. Stolt performs an adequate Moog solo on this piece. The fifth track, Cafe Caruso, features a lovely female vocal (Ninna Högman), has a nice ambient flavor and gives the impression of an orchestral interlude leading up to the next track. Unfortunately, the next track leaves much to be desired. Continental Carneval is a disco-like instrumental that sounds like TV music for the Love Boat.

As we proceed forward with this disc, we delve deeper into mediocrity. Track 7, Silversurfaren, is a rather spiritless, but funky adventure. Grodballetten is average fare, similar to Flower Kings filler material, but has some nice xylophone playing. As our eyelids begin to grow heavy again, track 9 wakes us up, if only momentarily. Giganternas Kamp is another instrumental, again in a style similar to a precursor of the Flower Kings, but is much, much better than the previous tracks. However, this is the last good song on the album. The remaining three tracks (which are bonus tracks) are boring instrumentals bordering on pop rock.

Overall, I liked 5 of the 13 tracks on Fantasia. Of those five, none of them are particularly special. The remaining eight tracks are either filler or unworthy of being filler, in prog rock terms. The musicians are adequate, but nothing really catches my attention from the playing. This is after all Stolt's first "solo" album and his debut at writing all the material for an album (I think?), plus I'm guessing even Sweden wasn't immune to the dreadful state of music during this time period. In that sense, Fantasia is average for prog rock during that time period. But in regard to the genre as a whole, I can only recommend this to collectors and fans only, meaning Stolt, Kaipa, and the Flower Kings families. All others, please avoid, unless you are really looking for something better than sleeping pills.

progaeopteryx | 2/5 |

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