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Lebowski - Cinematic CD (album) cover

CINEMATIC

Lebowski

 

Crossover Prog

4.05 | 126 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

lazland
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Lebowski is a project from Poland, originally conceived in 2005, but this debut was finally released in 2010. It is an instrumental work, albeit with voices and chants, and, as with many such works, the key to success is keeping the listener interested and challenged. This it succeeds in doing. It is described as the "soundtrack to a non-existent movie", and includes along the way all types of homage to the great and lasting art form.

Opener, Trip To Doha, opens up in a nice jazzy groove, before developing into a more "traditional" symphonic prog track. There are some nice guitar licks with a gentle synth background. The duduk is introduced as a very nice accompaniment giving a Mid Eastern feel, quite in keeping with the subject matter, and my only real gripe is that the track could have benefited a little more from this. Steve Hackett was, I feel, a little more successful in his last outing at creating such a mood.

137 sec. is next, and I love the Hammond Dulcimer played, which provides again a very welcome Asian/World feel to proceedings, together with a marvellous vocal performance by Kasia Dziubak providing a far more ethereal and mysterious feel to proceedings. Elsewhere, the moog is somewhat "by the numbers", but the bass and guitar riffs are nicely funky. When this track is adventurous and daring, it is very good indeed.

Cinematic is the title track, and a real highlight. It is vibrant and warm, with the keys, especially, moving out of a comfort zone and providing a challenging, but rewarding, listen. Think of a jazzy symphonic movement (the drums are especially good), and you are somewhere near the mark, and the sax and choral vocals simply add to the mellow and enjoyable feel of a very good piece of music, which never once loses the listener's attention, having more than enough signature changes to keep one interested.

Old British Spy Movie is a must for those of us who love the old "noir" films of the classic period. It captures the mood perfectly. The piano lead, especially, is full of mystery, and when Kasia Dziubak enters the fray with a magical and mournful violin, it just gets better. Add in some brass samples, a strong bass riff, and what you have here is a marvellous track which, again, pushes all of the right "mood buttons", with artful changes in tempo to keep you alert.

Iceland, apparently the oldest written track on the album, is a tribute to Zdzislaw Maklakiewcz and Roman Klosowski, two Polish actors of some fame in their homeland. Not knowing enough about them, I cannot really comment on how the track brings them to life, but I can say it is a pleasant track with nice symphonic sensibilities without ever being especially stretching, and includes a lovely piano solo.

Encore is a "French" track, and is suitably dark and complex in homage to that great nation's cinematic works. I like this track a great deal. The accordion is great and evokes the feel of the nation more than adequately, whilst the guitar solo, set against a very brooding synth riff, is very accomplished, and, at times, quite beautiful, especially some four & a half minutes in when the hairs are raised with a passage redolent of some of the best Mark Knopfler moments. It doesn't last long, but it is wonderful when it is there.

Aperitif For Breakfast (O.M.R.J.) is dense and jazzy and, to my ears, at the start, very reminiscent of some of the more tuneful and accessible latter-day Crimson music. There is a special mention here for Marcin Luczey's piano work and the lovely guitar lead by Marcin Grzegorczyk. Later on, the track develops into a very much Marillion-esque feel when Marek Zak and Krzysztof Pakula take to the fore with an immense rhythm section. The denouement is the closest the band come to a huge wall of sound, and it is very good indeed.

Spiritual Machine is my favourite track on the album. A dark, guitar led piece that transports us all into a futuristic film led by intelligent robots/machines/computers. It is almost doom- laden in parts, but Grzegorczyk's work immerses us in that world perfectly, together with intelligent use of machine voice effects. Most welcome, though, are the softer passages, ambient, pastoral, and beautiful amongst the gloom which portray a world far more complex than at first glance.

The Story Teller is, apparently, the track which changed the most during the recording period, and sets off at a light, pleasant, but unremarkably ambient pace, although I do like the very well played bass lead. There are also some nice French Horns included, but I think this is the one track where, mid to 2/3rd through, the attention does clearly wander, before the gloom is relieved somewhat by a heavier denouement.

Human Error is the closer, and the longest track on the album at just short of eight minutes long. I'm not sure whether this was aimed at the Robert Young film of the same name, but, if so, it does musically very well paint the picture of a conflict between the leads and their scheming boss. It is very broody and also very good. The lovely jazzy licks, featuring a beautiful oboe, take me to the place of the excellent 2011 King Crimson ProjeKct, and is very welcome.

The film reel clicking at the end is a fitting conclusion to this tribute to the movies. Alright, Anderson & Vangelis have done it before, but so what?

There is an eclectic mix of moods here. At turns broody, melancholic, bright, and beautiful, it is very rarely anything less than wholly engaging, and this is an album which is highly recommended to those of you who not only enjoy instrumental progressive music, but also those prepared to take a little bit of time to appreciate it.

Sit back, put it on, and enjoy. Four stars for this. An excellent addition to any thoughtful prog collection. Let's hope for more in the not too distant future, because I feel there is something even more special to come. At their best, pushing the boat out, they are quite excellent.

My thanks to the band for making the CD available for me to review.

lazland | 4/5 |

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