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The Quiet Earth Orchestra

Crossover Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Intriguing release by the US-based one-man orchestra. How to describe it is another thing entirely though.

Synths and keyboards are dominating throughout; indeed - I get the impression that all instruments are emulated by synths in this production; although I may be mistaken there it sounds like it; and as such this production is comparable to an act like Soniq Theater.

Dramatic and atmospheric themes and parts are mixed in rather compelling compositions; intense melodies and at times highly nuanced sonic textures are served; most times with many layers of keyboards and synths forming the backdrop as well as constituting to the main melody line which in most cases is carried by the guitar (real or emulated). Rather symphonic, in other words.

A very sharp drum sound and vocals slightly lacking in delivery (as well as not always well placed in the mix) are the main weak elements of this production. It is a highly compelling work though, despite those weaknesses.

Report this review (#189566)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
3 stars This eponymous THE QUIET EARTH ORCHESTRA album is a recommendable progressive music effort on the symphonic/neo prog border. Self-made by prog aficionado John Ludi from Chicago who grew up listening to bands like Pink Floyd, Yes and Genesis. And you don't fail to hear this. All instruments and the vocals are provided by him and generally this is a big advantage when trying to work out a completely rounded piece of work.

I will start with my personal album highlight first. Limitations is one of the most depressing things he ever has written lyrically as he told me. Okay - in case I am not native english the lyrics are less accessible normally. I like the church organ, this special melancholy and dramaturgy. And the song has an excellently memorable melody. Can't remember a better vocal appearance on the album and the same applies to the guitars (whereas like Windhawk I'm sometimes also willing to assume that this is emulated by synths).

The first songs The Story Ends Here and God are deep in the neo progressive and symphonic style with some Genesis leanings. Simple is way more than that (in a positive sense) - acoustic guitar driven - folkish with orchestral synth/keyboard background. The Prophet as the first part of this epic shows also a slight jazzy note with piano in the middle. And this continues with Singularity a bit more canterburiesque. Original vibes or created with synthesizer? It doesn't matter - it sounds good!

An album which has its greatest potency in the first half as for my taste because I have some problems with the complete epic 'The Prophet'. A very ambitious one without a doubt - but the last four parts are slipping into mainstream as for my impression. And because totally self-made the whole album sounds a little bit too single-tracked sometimes. It would be nice to hear John as a member of a real band (or maybe Orchestra) making music also provided with influences from other musicians.

However - all in all this is a good addition to your prog music collection and therefore deserves 3.5 stars considering Ludi's musical/technical skills and a songwriting which is basically on a high level.

Report this review (#190149)
Posted Saturday, November 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars A real headscratcher, this album..........

This one man project has come up with an album in the mix zone between neo-prog, symph, space and eclectic. Crossover, in other words. The music is pretty dark and gloomy throughout. There is not much joy on this album. It is a reflective album with a lot of post rock references. In other words; this album covers a lot of bases.

I have to admit I find this album a lot baffling and confusing. It is pretty anonymous at times, but it also have an identity which I really cannot grasp. In short; I am searching for words. I am not convinced this is a gem, though. This album suffers from being the product of one mind and one voice. It has got this "one band" syndrome which I find on most of the one man band albums in ProgArchives database (and on Prince's debut album, btw). There is ideas on this album that works and others which may have been discarded if there was more than one man involved here.

Despite of my gripes above, I find this a good melodic album with few weaknesses and a lot of positives. Hence; it is a good album and that's it. It is not a stand out album though. Good effort.

3 stars

Report this review (#387199)
Posted Thursday, January 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars One man band

American John Ludi has worked on a number of projects using a handful of different names to differentiate the styles he adopts for each. Quiet Earth Orchestra is the grandiose title he uses for his one man progressive rock project which to date has released one official album.

Work began on this self titled album around 1999, with it finally being released in 2008. Today, the album can be download free from the QEO website, and all the tracks can be heard in the Quiet Earth Orchestra page on Progarchives.

The music here is a pleasant blend of Genesis like melodic guitar pieces ("God", "History ends here"), softer acoustic focused ambience ("Simple"), and upbeat rock numbers ("The prophet"). Ludi demonstrates throughout that he has a real gift both for composition and performance, his talents showing though on a variety of keyboards and guitars as well as in his decent vocals. Along the way, we have hints of Camel in the the title section of the lengthy "The prophet, part 1", a suite of six tracks.

Ludi's vocals remind me at times of the Manic Street Preachers, especially on "History ends here". The lyrics of the album are published on the QEO website, the underlying theme being the "flaws in human nature". "The prophet" suite is a specific tale about one who tries to do something about it. I must admit that even with Ludi's helpful commentary, it can be challenging to pin down the underlying story. There do however appear to be parallels with Home's fine album "The alchemist".

With or without fully understanding the concept though, this is a highly impressive album in musical terms. Sadly, Ludi appears to now be totally disillusioned with the music industry, and indeed with his own ability to change the world through his music. That's a pity, he does make good music.

Report this review (#448193)
Posted Sunday, May 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wonderful Neo Prog (due to the vintage 90s sounds and production) from a one-man artist-composer John Ludi. John is blessed with a singing voice that ranges from ICEHOUSE's Iva Davies to DAVID BOWIE and ROGER WATERS. I am greatly impressed with the complexity of John Ludi's music: it's subtle--even in such a seemingly simple song as "Simple" there are many layers of instrumentation that go into the production.

1. "History Ends Here" (6:57) synthetic GENESIS. (7.5/10)

2. "God" (7:43) is an awesome song that reminds me of a cross between ROXY MUSIC, COLLAGE (synth work), and KINGSTON WALL (this latter because of the awesome lead electric guitar work and sound). My favorite song on the album. (10/10)

3. "Limitations" (8:59) another song that reminds me of some of the darker, more somber ROXY MUSIC/BRIAN FERRY music (with Iva Davies singing) from the 1980s. The synth horns sound a bit dated. (8.5/10)

4. "Simple" (3:49) a pretty instrumental with a PINK FLOYD The Wall or The Final Cut feel to it. (8.5/10)

5. "The Prophet" (5:50) a fast-paced rocker whose voice and lyric continue the late Roger Waters/Pink Floyd sound. The piano work in the fourth minute is my favorite part. (8/10)

6. "Singularity" (4:43) contains some great guitar riffs and chord changes as well as one (no, several) of the more interesting vocal styles on the album. A top three for me. (9.5/10)

7. "Slow Down" (7:51) a 70s-sounding rocker with a cool multi-voice approach to delivering the lyric. Reminds me of BLUE ÖYSTER CULT and URIAH HEEP and even a little PROCUL HARUM. Harpsichord! The quick-panning synth horn solo is cool, too. Unfortunately, the vocal style and repetitive stylistic sequences start to wear thin over this long song. (8.25/10)

8. "The Madness of Crowds" (5:02) a little DAVID BOWIE, perhaps? Sure sounds like it! (8/10)

9. "Cicadas" (6:49) more ROXY TALK TALK-like stuff--with a definite stamp of originality to it. Nice vocals and lounge- jazz bass, "brushed" drums. John definitely has a talent for melodic solos from his instruments. My other top three. (9/10)

10. "The Prophet's Theme" (4:54) synth-generated strings, reed instruments, and flute make for an interesting "experiment"--but it leaves me begging for the real thing--an acoustic orchestra. (7/10)

Four stars; a solid contribution to the Neo Prog world from a very talented composer-producer.

Report this review (#2044296)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2018 | Review Permalink

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