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Various Artists (Label Samplers) - Emkog Sampler CD (album) cover

EMKOG SAMPLER

Various Artists (Label Samplers)

 

Various Genres

3.67 | 28 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Emkog Sampler' - Emkog Label (Compilation)

Emkog is the vessel of US prog dude Dan Britton, a man who appears to never sleep. Highly ambitious, Dan offered this sampler away some time ago, in order to spread the music and gain some more exposure for these projects of which he is a part of. While this is more of a Dan Britton greatest-hits collection rather than a diverse cross section of different artists' music, I would be lying if I said that this did not get me interested in the man's music, and what he has to offer as a creative force.

Over the first eight tracks, four bands are represented; Deluge Grander, Birds And Buildings, All Over Everywhere, and Cerebus Effect. Each of these acts takes a slightly different approach, but unlike a sampler that features the work of many different artists, the music here is mostly rooted in Britton's design, and it shows. They all have instrumental symphonic prog leanings to them, with Deluge Grander setting a solid groundwork for the rest. Birds And Buildings takes a jazzier, more complex route with the music, and All Over Everywhere is the only band here to make use of vocals, supplied here by the lovely voice of Trina Kesner, who drives that particular project. The most 'different' of the four is Cerebus Effect, which takes a quasi-prog metal approach. Despite being several different 'bands', the 'Emkog Sampler' flows like an album of one artist, albeit an artist with fairly scattered musical vision. The music is almost entirely instrumental save for Kesner's vocal cameos, and it is very complex. Especially in the case of Deluge Grander, there are oriental influences in the music as well. The work here is certainly rooted in the original 70's prog scene, although the density of the music makes it more than a pure revivalism to me.

The ninth track tops the twenty minute mark, and it is quite unapologetically titled 'A Big Blob Of Demos And Early Versions Of Forthcoming Music'. That's precisely what it is, more or less. A loose conveyor belt of cool ideas that Dan Britton has come up with, usually revolving around the keyboard. These aren't the sort of things that sound completely rough though. While this (and the rest of the album) do at times feel roughly mixed, the listener can get a good idea of what these ideas will sound like once they're fully fleshed out. The 'Blob' is quite promising, although the fact that the packaging states that some of the ideas here will be realized '2015 or later' does make me wonder.

Dan Britton was smart to send this out to prospective listeners. I for one have been drawn in to what he does musically, and have been made wise to some great instrumental prog albums that Dan has released. I cannot say much for the diversity that 'Emkog' offers, but the musical quality is consistent, and I look forward to exploring more of this dynamic music in the future.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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