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Panta Rhei - P.R. Computer CD (album) cover

P.R. COMPUTER

Panta Rhei

Symphonic Prog


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3 stars OK PR Computer

Released 3 years after their official debut, "PR computer" was Panta Rhei's second album. By now the band were actually using the name PR Computer (long before Radiohead's similar album title!) instead of Panta Rhei, and had thinned down to the just the core members (Kalman Matolcsy on keyboards, Andras Szalay on bass and Alex Szalay on guitar). There is therefore no drummer or vocalist on the album, the main focus of which is a synthesiser built by the band themselves. The synthesiser is used to provided the synthetic percussion throughout.

The result is an album which is completely different to the band's first release. While it has slightly more in common with their unreleased recordings which later became the "Bartok" album, comparisons with the works of Vangelis, Jean Michele Jarre and especially Rick Wakeman are more appropriate. The opening "Well tempered computer" sets the scene well, sounding like a straight extract from Wakeman's "White rock" album, the synth melodies being bold and striking.

"The pendulum" moves deep into JM Jarre territory, with electronic hand claps and a jaunty, infectious melody. "Chase" has a jazzier atmosphere, more in line with Patrick Moraz's style but still with hints of Wakeman in the synth sound used. "Andromeda" could be an outtake from Vangelis's "Albedo 0.39", the space theme of the title also being appropriate to that album.

It is only when we get to "Rondo" that we find any real use of lead guitar, but even here it has to share the stage with the ever present synths. Like "Rondo", "Toccata" is not the familiar classical piece which uses that name, but an original work by the band. The closing "Caleidoscope" has a slightly different synth sound, but is still very much in keeping with the style and substance of the album. The more complex arrangement of the track enhances its appeal.

At a mere 37 minutes, the band could not be accused of outstaying their welcome here. The brevity is however a result of the undeveloped nature of the tracks, which tend to run to around 3 minutes. This in turn gives the album a lightweight feel. What it really needs is a couple of feature tracks which develop the sounds and themes further, taking the music deeper into the classical territories the band apparently favour. Perversely, the short nature of the tracks tends to mean that the album becomes dull as it progresses and the style becomes predictable and repetitive.

Those who favour the electronic sub-genre featured on this site would be well advised to check out this album, which is quite at odds with anything the band had recorded up to this point. The album may still be available for free download at the bands official website.

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Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink

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