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Roine Stolt - Hydrophonia CD (album) cover

HYDROPHONIA

Roine Stolt

 

Symphonic Prog

4.00 | 97 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One week ago I was fortunate as to be able to attend a The Flower Kings concert here nearby in Largo, Florida. I'm not going to describe here the music of that particular group as this is not a review for one of their albums. But it's important, for the sake of what I'm going to say about Hydrophonia, that i make a comment about something that impressed me a lot: there I was, in a small auditorium not large enough to hold more than 200-300 people, the place was not full to its total capacity; it looked more like a theater stage than a stage where a prog-rock concert was going to take place; the people in attendance were actually sitting just a few meters (feet) away from the stage; there were no fireworks, there was no digital screen or lasers going on, there were no fancy costumes or theater antics taking place............. but there was something on.......

...Music....

Music made and performed with the utmost love for the art, music made from the bottom of someone's brain and heart, FOR listeners' brains and hearts. It didn't matter that there were just a couple hundred people watching the performance: for those lucky ones, these five swedes gave it all, and standing atop them, a real artist, a real musician, a true believer that music is AN ART, Roine Stolt.

So after leaving the concert, I decided to buy one of his solo albums (I have all by TFK) and, guided by reviews, I got Hydrophonia. What can I say about it?

In a word, and sorry if I sound a tad repetitive:

ART

This collection of 10 instrumental "songs" (I never will get used to call instrumental pieces "songs", THEY ARE NOT SINGED!! We should call them instrumental pieces, but Ok, fine, I'll keep with tradition) covers about every influence and every one of the many facets that the swedish master has in his musical heart. The first song, "Cosmic Lodge", for example, sound a lot like Stolt's brainchild band, The Flower Kings, more so if we remember who is the drummer who plays with him (former TFK beat man, Jaime Salazar). But don't think that that song sets the standard for the whole album! Starting with the following track, "Shipbuilding" (which, by the way, is made up of a build-up of ideas, hence the name) the album goes into diverse, completely changing territories, taking a lot of influences from classical music, from jazz, from prog-legends (Yes off course) and more. The album is full of gorgeous melodies, great guitar solos, ethereal, moody sounds, water, sea-like sounds and ambience (hence the name of the album, it has constant references to the ocean and water), but also extremely good musicianship by drummer Salazar,sax player Wallander (who has also played with TFK), and very good, if not great, keyboard and bass players, whose names are........... Roine Stolt! Yes, this music master not only is one of the best 6-strings player around but he also knows his way with the bass and with the keys, not limiting himself to supply the harmony and rhythm for his guitar playing but every now and then soloing, too!!

So, again, every music lover and prog lover (those two concepts should always be linked together, as the latter always is a music lover, but music lovers ignore sometimes there's such a wonderful art form as prog-rock) should give the swede master a try. This album is a masterpiece because it has great musicianship, great melodies, good "song" structures, memorable parts, it leaves you feeling better about life and about the survival of music in an era of musical destruction when a "good album" is a "platinum album".

Believe me, those 300 watching Stolt and buddies perform listened to 1000% more musi than the millions buying multiplatinum excrement (not that every platinum record is bad music, but let's face it, nowadays at least most of them are).

One final word: the only thing that bothers me about Hydrophonia is the booklet, which contains a dedication by Stolt to a few artists he admires... and I'm not talking about the dedication in itself (I don't know what he saw in Prince, but then again, Stolt knows a lot)... I'm talking about the humility with which he expresses about himself and his music... Hey!!! Wake up! Prog may not sell a lot, prog may not be induced in hall of fames or crap like that, but WE ALL know this is a musician art form , we all know that, in popular music, the only genre where the laws of harmony and melody and rhythm are used to a greater extent is this, prog-rock... It's an awful comparison, but Bach wrote to the Margrave of Brandemburg about the "humble natire of his works, not worthy of his master's ears".... one is the master of all time, the Father of Music, the Greatest of the all... the other is all but forgotten by history.... stretching it a little bit, Stolt should not speak apologetically about his music, for it is brilliant, authentic.....in a word... is ART.

The T | 5/5 |

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