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Ananta - Night and Daydream CD (album) cover



Crossover Prog

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4 stars Got the copy of this LP in 1979. It was brought to me by a friend who went on a student exchange trip to London. She brought back two copies, one for her and one for me. Ten years later I bought another copy from the streetseller in Cheltenham having to pay 5 pound for the mint condition. The funny thing is that the both copies still have stickers on them, saying that it was Promotional copy with the price of 1 pound!

Back then, at the age of 17, I was deep into then so called Art-rock. A bit of everything: from Klause Schulze and Tangerine Dream, VDGG, Gentle Giant, Rick Wakeman, Shawn Phillips and even Henry Cow, to name but a few. This album sounded too pop(ish) at the time. As the years went by, every now and then I used to find myself taking it from the shelf almost subconsciously and as time flew by it took a special place in my heart. Only now I think I know the reason why. Over 30 years later I came to conclusion that some artists (prog or not prog) get manage to make kind of fusion between the styles gaining success or even extracting or obtaining new style.But then again, some fine projects end up half-forgotten or get marginalized. For this reason let us make a comparison with Marillion`s Missplaced Childhood. But please hold your horses, not that they swim in the same water, it`s not the same pair of shoes! Missplaced Childhood is also a little bit controversial - it`s not prog enough, sort of speaking, and it`s not pop-rock enough either. (For those not familiar with this album, at least please read some reviews about it, you`ll get the picture!). Now, let`s try to imagine that this was the only Marillion`s album. Where would have we put it?

Hope you see the point because Night and Daydream is hard to "file in" even today. It has got this prog(ish) approach with bits and pieces of everything, including jazz, jazzrock/fusion, elements of classical music, India, a touch of English folk, poprock, it is almost like you name it! But the way how all of the above was used makes this album very "drinkable" as we often say here in Croatia.

The longest tracks on the album are probably the most prog songs. The title song has this unusual but nice intervention after 4 minutes when everything stops and every day pre recorded and mixed sounds start to tell a story about one (human) life. From the first cry, going to school, getting married, travelling, going to war, some more chit-chat and then heavy breathing, siren song, kind of vacuum synth effect, a new baby cry, a new life and the chorus fade in to become kind of coda, fade out and it was only a dream, night and daydream...

All of the songs have spiritual lyrics, since Ilan Chester(born Ilan Czenstochowski, Israel, 1952.) joined Hare Krishna in 1971., but Be With You is definitely the weakest song musically and lyrically, being only a jazzy ballad. On the other side Casual Ocean is beautiful athmospehric miniature with synths and electric piano only. And The Game is satirical/ironical both lyrically and musically. In this quite short composition everybody envolved showed and proved that humour does belong to music. Special credits go to late Dave Early, drumming through the 4/4 groove as if it was 6/8 (shuffle) and adopting it for differrent parts of the song. The paradox is that I will be discovering this drummer six, seven years later(he is the father of the Sade`s famous Sweetest Taboo groove), not even knowing I have already been introduced to his playing.

Well, sometimes I don`t, but for this one I do agree with P.A. It is, by its definition, Crossover Prog. If this was Eclectic or any other kind of sub-genre, I would give it three stars. In this case I`m giving it four stars, and recommending it to everybody swimming in the waters of jazz, because jazz is prevailing on this album.(What else can you expect from mostly studio musicians?)

Report this review (#457729)
Posted Monday, June 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Short-lived band, based in London, UK, but formed in 1977 by Venezuelan imigrants Ilan Chester (vocals,keyboards), Jorge Spitery (bass, vocals) and Charly Spitery (percussion, vocals).The first line-up included also multi-instrumentalist Mark Francis, guitarist Patrick Bernard (who produced a good prog LP in 1981) and drummer Dave Early along with choirs by a few female singers.Ananta had their debut out twice, originally as ''Night and Daydream'' (1978 on Touchstone Sound) and later in the same year as ''Wheels of time'' (on Govinda Records).

While claiming to be a Progressive Rock band, Ananta were closer to Art Rock bands like late-70's BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST and even better QUEEN with a slight tendency towards a more Fusion sound.On ''Wheels of time'' Chester, who was the main composer of the band, decided to taste all possible aspects of (rock) music, the result however being the total pinnacle of inconsitency.And while the most proggy numbers sound quite decent, the majority of the album is a weird amalgam of commercial sounds with great chessiness and mediocre songwriting.The eponymous track is a great Symphonic Rock opus with both great keyboard and guitar parts, nice melodies and expressive vocals, maybe the only trully adventurous track of the album.''Behind the mask'' and ''Casual ocean'' are decent Fusion tracks with Chester's work on electric piano and synths on forefront, somewhat close to the sound of TRUE MYTH.''Fill Your Heart and Mind'' starts as a BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST ballad to become a good Progressive/Fusion piece along the way with nice flutes and piano parts.''Home Sweet Home'' and ''The game'' have strong QUEEN hints, characterized by their musical-like atmospheres with choirs and fast piano parts dominating, but failing to impress.The opening ''Vrindavan'' is just cheap Melodic Rock with no inspiration at all, while ''Be with you'' is even worse, a light piece of Soul music with dull vocals, totally unmemorable.''Night and Daydream'' is an extreme BARCLAY JAMES HARCEST copy, sweet vocals, smooth piano, calm electric guitars and a catchy chorus complete an average composition with little to offer.

Do not get fooled by the descriptions regarding this album, as ''Wheels of Time'' contains little prog but a strong amount of commercial-flavored Art Rock, so it would be a nice listening only for hardcore fans of the sound but just a mediocre item on a prog collector's shelf.

Report this review (#646804)
Posted Monday, March 5, 2012 | Review Permalink

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