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ESCAPE TO HORIZON

Chance

Crossover Prog


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Greger
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars CHANCE is actually not a band, but a French composer named Laurent Simonnet. He has composed and performed the entire album with computers, with the exception of four guest guitarists: Roine Stolt (The FLOWER KINGS), George Pinilla, Jean-Luc Payssan (MINIMUM VITAL) and Patrice Barret. The music is very melodic ambient/symphonic instrumental music with reminiscences to CAMEL, The FLOWER KINGS, PENDRAGON, PINK FLOYD and YES. As often with keyboard players solo albums it isn't very original, and it sometimes gets quite boring, almost like elevator music. And I don't understand why every keyboard player seems to prefer drum machines instead of real drums. I know many examples when these machines have destroyed an otherwise good album. This album could've been a real masterpiece with real drums. What makes this album interesting now are the four guest guitarists, and particular Roine Stolt who I have always admired. He's guitar playing is always filled with great melodies, emotion and personality. There are many good moments on this album after all. The opening track " Aquatic Fiction" is a really nice one. "From Here to Eternity" is a very good track with Roine Stolt's guitar playing in the forefront. This track is therefor quite reminiscent to The FLOWER KINGS, and probably the highlight on this album. I also loved the track "Ilona". Ilona is the name of Somonnet's daughter, and it also happens to be the name of my daughter too. All in all this is a really interesting album which is highly recommended to lovers of ambient symphonic music, but also to all you The FLOWER KINGS fans out there.

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Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#1406)
Posted Saturday, February 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
silvertree
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Very annoying drum machine throughout the album ! I just can't understand this. Are there no drummers out there or what ? The music, unfortunately sounds sloppy and seems to go nowhere. The keyboards are overwhelming and tend to get very boring. Got rid of this one. I admit I had bought it just because Roine Stolt from the Flower Kings does a flash appearance on it. Not even good enough for completionists. Sorry.

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Send comments to silvertree (BETA) | Report this review (#97330)
Posted Monday, November 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Although their debut release was a band affair, this follow-up (seven years later) is more a one man effort. Laurent Simonnet (keys, drums, bass) is surrounded by guests (amongst whom Roine Stolte) who helped him putting this album together.

There are no fundamental changes between both albums: the music sounds as spacey as on the first album and corresponds more to the space genre IMO: ''Llona'' is the best example. It almost sounds as a ''Tangerine Dream'' track.

The link with ''Land's End'' is again very much palpable as well in the opening song titled ''Aquatic Fiction''. This is one of the two songs that features Roine. The other being the very good ''From Here To Eternity'' which should sound more familiar to TFK fans. It is a highlight.

Actually, there is nothing wrong with this album. It displays some fine keyboards layers combined with the skills of the guest guitar players who are dispensing their skills in an efficient manner. As Greger has rightly mentioned, they bring their own contribution and avoid that this album is too much received as a pure keyboards oriented work. They add a brilliant diversity to the work.

This album is very pleasant all the way through. Some quiet and atmospheric music to savour on a Sunday afternoon. Some Hackett-oriented acoustic guitar to start ''This Mystic Time'' are such a fine intro to this beautiful piece of music. Another highlight IMO.

There is nothing to do, I quite like this album and this spacey music. Even if it is a pure instrumental work, it ''speaks'' to me. Emotion, melody, inspiration. OK, there are some Floydian rip-offs (''Past To Present''), but I quite like these sounds while played with such skills. This is my favourite song from this album. But I have the same feeling during the closing number. Yes, I like this album very much. It is not the most inventive but it is extremely pleasant.

Four stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#190250)
Posted Sunday, November 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Spacey symphonic prog.

This album reminds me a lot about Pink Floyd's Momentary Lapse Of Reason album. Take away PF's vocals and it is pretty similar. Escape To Horizon is an instrumental album and a good one too. It changes alot between long guitar solos and mediative spacey keyboard pieces. There are some samples of whales, small children and other things to break up the instrumental parts. But it is still a very relaxing album, but far too boring for a real listening session. I guess this is not music for driving a car. The end result will be a crash due to sleeping. Besides of that; this is a nice piece of music. A bit dull, but nice.

3 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#232177)
Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars Ocean swells and thunderous waves crashing against the battered coast, Escape to Horizon entices the listener into a musical adventure that has deep symphonic elements mixed with lush electronics on the opener "Aquatic Fiction", providing guest fretman Roine Stolt to sweep as only he can across the wide sonic expanse in a series of extended blistering solos. Leader and keysman Laurent Simonnet's ivory pastels delve deep into the synthesized realms of space maintaining the tempo dreamy and surreal, zippy Moog salvos to boot. "Ilona" does sound very close to classic Tangerine Dream, sequencer- heavy as it is, a crying newborn interjecting between the sweeping synths, the mercurial sound pinnacles and the booming walls of symphonic power are slowed down by a lush acoustic guitar from guest George Pinnilla. Mellow fellow, this Simonnet! "From Here to Infinity" is clearly a space rock classic (NASA voice effects and all), a sincere piano sets the tone for another Stolt masterstroke, a platform where the Swede can really stretch out his considerable skills, in connivance with Simonnet's battery of synthesizer solos. Yeah, the drums could have been meatier but the overall playing begs forgiveness. This a fascinating Floydian track that has a soaring guitar solo for the ages, huge, wide, long and utterly painful. "The Dreaming Zone" is slightly more obscure as the title implies, an orchestrated piece that shimmers with droning sweeps and pervades within the mellower regions of prog, close to some Eloy interludes with those huge synth barrages we all know and love. Very tasty indeed! Minimum Vital's Jean-Luc Payssan is featured on acoustic guitar, decorating "This Mystic Theme" with appropriate elegance , a pastoral delicacy that is almost crystalline and a gentle lilt that exudes a certain bliss (an orgasmic synth blast seals the deal) while electric guitarist Patrice Barret tosses in a few furious licks Ó la Christian BoulÚ (slithering little rays of aural lightning). Fascinating! The saturnine "Past to Present" just slides in unmolested, Barret raging beastily in a fine Floydian style (perhaps explaining why his name is Barret! Just missing one T) that will appeal to many fans of psychedelic space rock. The 10 minute + "Bridge of Souls" keeps the pace panting in the same direction, aiming for some unseen horizon as Payssan's lovely acoustic guitar dances with Barret's electric axe, two souls perfectly entwined and enamored. Suffice to say that all the guitars truly outshine the otherwise cerebral keyboard work and help in enjoying this great unknown piece of space prog. Again as with most albums of this genre, one will find this perfect love/sex soundtrack music, as both the feminine and masculine sensibilities are catered to.

No doubt that the presence of a real professional prog drummer would have christened this as a pentagon jewel but it can only really deserve 4 leaf clovers.

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#271792)
Posted Sunday, March 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Talk about instrumental progressive albums! I can┬┤t believe I had this record lying around so long before I finally had the chance to listen to it. The music here is simply gorgeous! Very fine melodies, lots of inspiration and great perfomances of all involved. Well, not much people involved, actually. This is truly a solo project by the very talented keyboardist and songwriter Laurent Simonnet, who also did the rhtyhm section. But he was helped by no less than five excellent guitarrists, one of which is Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings) who played on a couple of songs.

Escape To Horizon is one of those CDs you just put on the CD player and let it play over and over again. A great mix of symphonic rock, neo and ambient music. Very melodic, energetic and beautiful! There are no weak parts to be found on this album (except maybe for the overlong crying baby on the introduction of Ilona, but that┬┤s forgivable, it might be his baby!). Keyboards are all over the place, of course, but - unusual for keyboard-driven albums - there are also lots of room for the guitars and they are a show apart, with fantastic acoustic and electric parts, emotional solos and several memorable melodies. Some people here on PA complained about the use of eletronic drums, but to my ears at least, they fit just right in.

There are no highlights in my opinion, since all the tracks are no less than excellent. Production is quite good too.

Conclusion: a very inspired and convincing instrumental progressive music! If you like lots of guitar and keyboards interplay and very melodic compositions, all done with passion and high craft you should not miss this one! I really hope a follow up is on the way!

Rating: 4.5 stars. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#414032)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011 | Review Permalink

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