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The Psychedelic Ensemble - The Dream Of The Magic Jongleur CD (album) cover

THE DREAM OF THE MAGIC JONGLEUR

The Psychedelic Ensemble

 

Neo-Prog

3.93 | 107 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars The Psychedelic Ensemble have released a number of albums and their latest is a superb example of modern Neo Prog. "The Dream of the Magic Jongleur" is the vision of the one man multi instrumentalist who remains anonymous and proudly enigmatic. His style is extreme psychedelic at times sounding like the acid rock of the 60s such as on 'Overture Into the Night', a blistering keyboard driven master work.

The bass is incredible on this album and really glistens with creativity on 'The Quest'. Each track sounds different, the vocals are pleasant and there are even shades of quasi-Neo on tracks such as 'The Secrets of Your Mind'. The harmonies are terrific and the music is organic, and creative at all times.

'The Benefaction Of The Noble Wizard' begins with piercing cathedral church organ, reminding me of one Wakeman. Even the melody is like Wakeman. One can imagine a royal procession making their way down the aisle. The pipe organ is joined by bass pedals, and "rollerball" atmospheres. Hmmm, church was never like this.

'Listen To Me' has a guitar intro, striking after the church organ. A very nice funkadelic rhythm locks in with spacey keyboards, and glorious Happy organ sounds. The vocals return, interesting lyrics; "gather ye round, hear ye what I found, my magic is on display to all, I've got a tale to sing to you, now listen to me." The lead break is great. The tale continues of a Wizard of dreams where it is said the dragon dwells. The flute sound and lute is as medieval as Gryphon. The keyboard runs are stellar on this, a definitive highlight.

'Stones To Flowers' is a short thing sounding like the 60s are back. A throwback to the flower power scene.

'Magicking' is a wonderful twin acoustic virtuosic guitar solo. The harmonics are beautiful, so good to hear at the end of the day as night falls.

'The Riddle' is an 8 minute labyrinthine journey into mystical musicianship. The keyboard runs are frenetic, the vocals are multi tracked and beautifully harmoinised, the percussion is deliriously sporadic and the soloing is incredible. The synergy of dynamic tension and release, instruments competing and warring against wild time sigs, is masterful. This is a quintessential highlight not to be missed.

'Dream And Premonition' brings things into a dreamy soundscape, a bass solo over an ambient keyboard pad. It builds into some awesome dramatic blasts and bass guitar heaven. One of the best basslines I have heard.

'Strange Days' is quite strange, acoustic chord progression and a flute sounding like Ian Anderson dropped by or a chat. The vocals are even a bit like Anderson; "strange days indeed, am I lost in a dream, these are strange days it seems, like the darkest of dreams." There is an angular guitar over a keyboard solo and gorgeous flute embellishments. The lead break is good but mixed a little low. I love that shimmering Hammond though. Then a louder guitar break and keyboard run chimes in. It is a relaxing journey and definitely well worth listening.

'End Of Days ? Epilogue' is an 11 minute romp to finish this incredible album. It begins with esoteric effects, a bell chimes, a grand lead guitar is heard, reminds me of Pink Floyd but it is very regal pop rock. The heaviest riff crunches in with lighning fast key runs answering. I love that off kilter time sig and heaviness. The music is so dense it needs to breathe and so the sig is fractured with a new sig, speedy percussion and steady vocals; "the sea is churning blowing over me, the stars are burning blazing down on me, and it seems like end of days." The next key run is very techno and way of the scale. As good as Jordan Rudess running over his continuum. The musicianship is exemplary.

I am glad I heard this and it was a prime example of a one man genius, a vision and virtuosic skill doing what he loves; creating a compelling album of glorious prog. Some parts could be improved, and more musicians would augment the overall feel, maybe some guests vocalists, but this is excellent psych prog by any standards.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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