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Simon Railton - Here It Is CD (album) cover

HERE IT IS

Simon Railton

Eclectic Prog


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Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars French label Musea Records have become one of my favorite record labels over the last year or so; with most releases being of a generally high quality overall on all their sub-labels.

Unfortunately, this album is an exception. And to be honest: I can't understand how this creation managed to get an official release.

Musically we're dealing with a form of instrumental progressive metal, where guitars and keyboard are the dominating instruments. The compositions in themselves are filled with breaks, tempo changes and style variations; but that's about the only positive descriptions I can give of the contents here. The drums are programmed, and sharp and machine-like in expression and reminds me of budget pop bands from the 80's in sound. The same can be said of the bass guitar and quite a few of the synth explorations. Choosing to mix guitar riffs as dominant in one channel only and selected synths in the other doesn't really come across as nice sounding either; and the guitar sound itself is gritty and fuzzy except when soloing. There are some nice sounding parts in these tunes despite this though; but the negatives far outweigh the positives on this album.

Approach with extreme caution.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#230464)
Posted Saturday, August 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
clarke2001
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Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I'm angry like hell. I just wrote how bad this album is, and my browser crashed down and I've lost my review. But I'm going to say it again.

Kids discovering musical software for the first time will start doing some creations on their own if they feel so inclined. They might be doing it in a silence of their room, adding here, subtracting there, saving their files and playing them to their friends later. It's fine. It's a process of learning something through a game. Of course, those record pieces may not be the best music around, but it's a place to start.

This album sounds exactly like that - like someone released some pile of sounds and call it an album. Needless to say, the sounds are nothing short of awful: plastic, thin, mechanical, cheap General MIDI bass, drums, synth sounds. There are also one or two real instruments plugged in; electric guitar and a keyboard doing the task of piano. It's hissing all the time while being played, when there's no piano the hiss level is lower. Guitar sounds cheap and thin.

There's many cheap computer-generated music around, even within the scope of this web site. Even progressive music. It vary from ultra-cheap software generated sounds to something more sophisticated. This one takes the cake. The production is beyond any decency.

It wouldn't be such an colossal issue if the actual music in question is somewhat worthy. But even in songwriting area, this one remains a messy pile of sounds. There are piano passages varying from new-agey to unimaginative pseudo-classical, the guitar is mostly soloing in metal style. But there is no flow, there is no dynamics, there's is no semblance of structure that every song deserves. It's not like the piano will play a passage and then guitar will gradually take the melody in the forefront and so on. It's all formulaic, and the formula applied is "throw in some mess on piano" and then "throw in some mess on guitar" and so on.

I'm aware everyone creating his own work could probably be delusional how his work is good while it's not. Everybody creates a piece, adding here, subtracting there, seeing it evolving.

But it's not even that. It sounds like someone pooped it out of a computer in one afternoon.

Everything could be forgiven and forgotten if this work was created by a 14-years old having fan on a computer for the first time. But according to the source (the label which released this album), the author is actually a musical teacher. I don't know what his students are learning, and I don't want to know.

You get my point: it's bad beyond description. There's not a single good thing about this I could say. Perhaps Railton will make some decent work in forthcoming years. But I must be nasty and say I don't think so.

This is someone's exercise accidentally recorded on a digital media. I can discover more musicality in looking at someone doing push-ups.

I just lost 10 minutes of my life writing this review. You will lose 5 minutes of your life reading it, but perhaps it prevents you from losing 40 minutes of it. Whatever you like or dislike, stay away from it. If you're curious like hell, stay away from it. And don't you dare to give money and actually buy it.

I feel dirty now, and sad, and empty. With bitter taste in my mouth.

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Send comments to clarke2001 (BETA) | Report this review (#231119)
Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars Possibly the worst recording and piece of songwriting I have ever heard. When Railton recorded this he surely cannot have listened to it and thought. " Yeah this is great. People are really going to enjoy this." His studio is obviously just Garage Band with a lead from his guitar and piano to the mac.

According to the record label he is a music teacher, No idea what he could be teaching children and quite frankly he needs to go back to learn a valuable lesson in songwriting and to get a grip of life. Some people are born with a natural musical flare. Sadly Simon Railton was not.

The guitar sounds are muffled, thin and cheap. His lead playing occasionally seems to fall out of time from the rest of the music, this may have been intended, but based on the rest of the album I am going to have to think NOT. The whole album has no structure, it is just one continues piece of horrible noise, the songs have no dynamic build up, no texture, no amazing riffs, no fantastic solos and are tiresome and boring to listen too. The drums are a fake, cheap Midi tracks. This production was obviously very low budget and with that the final outcome is a very low quality album

DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS ALBUM! Unless you plan on committing in the near future!

Rummer is that Railton is to release a second album in the upcoming year or 2. Mabeys this next album may be a masterpiece that will wipe clean the slate and be a high quality record. I highly doubt it unfortunately and any record label willing to endorse such a catastrophe is not one I have heard of. Although Musea have had a number of decent albums released which have all been high quality. This is not one of them.

If Simon Railton reads this, I would recommend that he changes his studio. I suspect it may be a home studio recording and he use a proper studio in order to record any other material. If you are not going to do that, then I would not waste my time and hopefully you can give up and try your hand at something else.

Hope this review was helpful to anyone who reads but please please please. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY BUYING THIS!

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Send comments to MusicMan2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#244629)
Posted Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
1 stars Like budget porn, Simon Railton's Here It Is is something that can only be enjoyed ironically. Cheap MIDI tones dominate the album; it's like listening to a Guitar Pro file- even with the Realistic Sound Engine applied, most tones sound phony. When the crackling piano enters, a wash of white noise arrives with it. The drums and bass are bereft of any trace of humanity- equal velocity throughout and very poor uses of repetition. The guitar tone is fuzzy and granular and constantly in metal-mode, lacking any feel for timing or dynamics. It seems like Railton has decent musical ideas, but lacks the compositional sophistication to give them context. Each passage occurs independently of the others in a given track. Things just happen. The compositions and the tones that represent them are completely lacking any human quality. Even if the production were realistic, it would not salvage the disarray of ideas so chaotically muddled together. I am baffled that this album was seen fit to be released on a major label- Musea no less. Video game music isn't even this bad.

"Here It Is" A cheap piano introduction kicks off the charade. Dehumanized drums and a monotonous bass line of a single note quickly launch into a sputtering mess of muffled, lumpy metal. The shrill synthesizer lead injects a painful element.

"Delirium" Hit-hat hits and a single rapid bass note devoid of any emotion or trace of genuineness open the second track. Chugging gusts of gagged guitar alternate with piercing keyboards.

"Zenith" A clean guitar opens the track promisingly, but it is interrupted by a thin particleboard electric guitar wash and those counterfeit drums. The piece goes into double-time at seemingly random intervals, launching into emotionless guitar and synthesizer solos. The piano clips like hell. The guitar solo during the second half is curiously unable to even keep time with the mechanical drums.

"Oblivion" Clipping piano and shoddy synthesizer backing ruin what could have been a worthy piece of music. Random guitar solos appear and the choice of notes is poor. The instruments often seem to be competing rather than cooperating.

"Bluegression" More bizarre rhythm changes and absurd transitions are found here. The electric guitar is doing one thing (poorly timed metal meanderings) while the other instruments carry on with something different. Folks, people just don't play drums like this.

"Intrusion" Three instruments solo in turn- first synthesizer, then the crispy piano, and then the MIDI bass. Following this, yet another series of bits and pieces come in sequence, ranging from horrific synth leads (think Tormato, only worse) to new age mischief. The drumming doesn't match the guitar, which doesn't match the bass, which doesn't match the keyboards- a royal mess.

"Dance Warrior" A cinematic pad opens this one, then stops completely to give way to a shoddy keyboard lead and those outrageously appalling drum sounds. Pseudo-metal passages enters from time to time. The tempo and rhythm changes are unsmooth, just sort of happening. The main theme is laughably dreadful, occurring at random intervals; it's so haphazard and goofy- the musical equivalent of Napoleon Dynamite on meth.

"Hatred" A fake cello begins the final instrumental of this disaster. High-pitched synthesizer pads play over it, and once everything stops, the clumsy guitar and bass enter. It worsens when it adopts a B-horror flick soundtrack mien. The guitar churns out indiscriminate blasts in one speaker while thin synth leads shrilly exit the other one.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#559898)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars With the dawn of the internet age and, subsequently, the rise of self-produced and self-released music, one could certainly argue that this has either helped or hurt the musical climate. The fact that virtually anybody with a guitar and a laptop can record and release an album nowadays is, strangely enough, both intriguing and frightening. While this has led to plenty of cool albums, it's also probable that you'll come across more than a fair share of sloppy and generally worthless efforts that should never have been released in their current state. Simon Railton's 2008 debut, Here It Is, is one of those albums that should never have been released in its current form. Even more surprising, Railton did not self release this atrocity. It was released by a record label - the prestigious Musea Records, no less. Here It Is has a few decent ideas scattered throughout forty-two minutes of poorly produced, abysmal nonsense - even though Simon Railton didn't release this on the internet for free, it sure sounds like an effort that should've been considered a self-released demo, rather than a major progressive rock label debut.

The music on Here It Is is instrumental progressive rock with some touches of progressive metal - a style I often enjoy, but unfortunately that is not the case here. The compositions are muddy and disjointed, often jumping from one section to another with hardly any warning; Here It Is contains some of the most awkward transitions I've ever heard, and the songwriting lacks any sense of purpose or fluidity. The ideas are seldom interesting in the first place, but the fact that they're sloppily thrown together makes this even more of a mess. Here It Is, unfortunately, also suffers from dreadful arrangements and a cheap production. The thin and fuzzy guitar tones, cheap keyboard sounds, nearly unlistenable drum machine, and uneven mix can make this even more of a chore to listen to. While I can't imagine Here It Is would've been a great album even if it were properly produced, the sloppy musicianship and terrible sound quality make the overall product substantially worse.

Although I do recognize that Simon Railton clearly put effort into Here It Is, I simply can't say I'm pleased with the album in any way. This is a disjointed, cheap, and poorly produced nightmare that I'd have a tough time recommending to anybody. There are a few good ideas and specks of talent buried under these atrocious walls of sound, but it will definitely take more than that until I'm even remotely impressed. Maybe Simon has a great album somewhere up his sleeve - if he does, this sure isn't it. I don't typically give out 1 star ratings to studio albums, but I'm afraid that Here It Is is one of those releases where such a rating is absolutely necessary. This is best avoided.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#584454)
Posted Wednesday, December 07, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'Here It Is' - Simon Railton (3/10)

Come on, you guys. It's not that bad.

Over the past month or so, I have witnessed a flurry of reviews bashing this poor album like a pinata at a suger-pepped children's party. So, who has inspired such a fit of mob rage? Simon Railton is a composer of music that Prog Archives has boldly labeled as 'eclectic prog'. What does this mean for the everyday listener? Railton's major label debut 'Here It Is', is a blistering mix of instrumental progressive metal and electronic music. What has made the album such a hot topic within the prog underground is the particular way in which the electronic sound is used. In this particular case, it is not to make distinctly 'electronic' or 'spacey' sounds, but rather imitate real instruments through a kitschy, lo-fi, and ultimately charming budget production. 'Here It Is' may have prog rock fans clicking their heels together and wanting it all to go away, but I have a feeling that the widespread hatred of this is simply because it is years ahead of its time.

In terms of our current, primitive music scene, Simon Railton's music could draw quick comparisons to a work in progress. As a guitarist, he is clearly a skilled musician, pulling off some admirable leads in such memorable hits like 'Intrusion'. The synths used here are much within the realm of prog rock canon. If you've read this far, you may ask: "Why would these reviewers voice such a distaste over something that has guitars and synthesizers in it?" Alas, the grand Rosetta stone that may seek to unlock the enigma lies within the rhythm section, as well as Railton's vanguard experimental approach to songwriting. In note of the former, the drums here are given an ironically hollow sound to them, much like an 8-bit video game soundtrack. Simon Railton has seen fit here to tickle our Freudian inner child; for those of us born within the cusp of the electronic age, the video game beats heard herein will bring us back to a simpler time, where we once drank hot chocolate in front of the television and systematically annihilated pixellated galaxies before bedtime.

I would never imply that the other reviewers do not have a point about the album; there are certainly aspects about 'Here It Is' that continue to puzzle me, and puzzle me forever. However, that's part of the mystique and intrigue that lies behind 'Here It Is'. Simon Railton has composed a Rubik's cube of a musical journey, paired with a brilliant sense of restraint that has led him to use only the most basic production standards available. By severing the shallow tendrils of overproduction, Railton's music makes for a startling, cerebral, and at times, downright arousing experience.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#585013)
Posted Thursday, December 08, 2011 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Want to have a fun?

Then you should totally listen to this album. My sincere apologies to Simon Railton if you think I am being harsh, or I am laughing at your music, I actually am not, but I honestly can't help but having fun while I listen to this album. So "Here it is" is the debut album of Simon Railton, an English musician who managed to released it under Musea records (insert surprising icon here), God knows how. The album consists of eight compositions that make a total time of 42 minutes.

Let me clarify something, I do believe Simon Railton has talent and a true idea of what the music realm is about, what I believe is that he and people around him have no clue about production issues, or if they have, they may have tricked us and released this album, with its pathetic sound, on purpose. The album opens with the title track, "Here it is" since the first moments shares that old-fashioned production sound, but it also shows the musician's compositional skills, because believe it or not, he does have them.

It is not easy to create an album, but it is always satisfactory for an artist to give birth to one, so for that he should be proud of. Now, honestly he has a lot to do if he really wants to gain recognition in this musical realm, and even more, in the progressive rock realm, otherwise he will be harshly criticized, just as he has been so far. In "Delirium" he puts a couple of guitar riffs, accompanied by elementary drums, not bad bass notes and crazy and funny keyboard backgrounds.

"Zenith" is softer at first, with some atmospheric keyboards, however the heavier moments come right away with the entrance of the other instruments. I must say that the piano sound is really funny, making a sound that a kid without musical experience can make. Also, I have to mention that the edition is terrible here and in the whole album, because we can clearly listen to the cuts and cleaned parts, which sound really amateurish.

"Oblivion" has one of the funniest piano introductions I've ever listened to, I honestly imagine a person trying to have a spot on a reality show such as American Idol or something like that, and failing terribly. Later guitar notes appear along with drums and bass, creating a not-so bad sound, however it is still poor. But after two minutes there is a short passage where keyboards appear and actually create something good, giving the best 20 seconds of the whole album.

"Bluegression" starts with bass, later complemented by drums and some weird guitar notes that are repeated over and over. Here, once again I cannot help myself but having a couple of laughs due to the odd yet funny sound it creates, another example is at the fourth minute where a brief keyboard lead appears, oh man, haha. "Intrusion" seems to have a more professional sound, at least the first ten seconds share a nice ambient tune, however it disappears and everything is ruined by the piano, bass, drums and guitars. This is a clear example of cheap production, though I insist, he may have done it on purpose, but I ignore it.

"Dance Warrior" is the shortest track, and maybe the funniest one, because here the music sounds like a Nintendo game soundtrack, very old-fashioned and cheap, terrible if we consider this was released in 2008, but well, as long as it makes me laugh, I am happy. The album finishes with its longest song, which is entitled "Hatred. This last eight minutes contain nothing but the same poor quality sound, badly produced music, though I insist, the composition itself is not that awful, Simon Railton at least have an idea.

I must confess I listened to the album four times before reviewing it, and believe it or not, I've had a funny experience with it, however, there are some musicians whose effort is bigger than this and deserve better exposure, Simon Railton does not, at least with this album. That is why with my heart aching, I will have to give this album one poor star, though in my hidden book I would give it two.

Enjoy it? It's up to you.

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#615945)
Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012 | Review Permalink

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