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Pär Lindh Project - Time Mirror CD (album) cover


Pär Lindh Project

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars Returning after some 9 years away Par Lindh returns with a new line up and a new attitude. There was a music DVD released last year but that was mainly a retread of earlier works with a small amount of new material. This CD has 4 new tracks as well as a new drummer (AL Lewis) compared to the DVD line up although the excellent bass guitarist William Kopecky is still in attendance. This three peice line is clearly designed to indulge Par Lindh's love of all things keyboard with very obvious nods to Keith Emerson and ELP.The 17 minute title track could easily be Emerson with all the flourishes and bombast you associate with that legend. The sound though is much more modern Emerson and not to be confused with symphonic prog like Tarkus and Pirates. This is closer to the style of Emerson's solo album recorded recently with Marc Bonilla although with a bit more power and energy. Another difference is the vocalist (Al Lewis doubling up) who sounds remarkably like Jon Anderson. Lindh prefers his vocalists to be on the higher ranges. The title track also features a reworking of ELP's version Peter Gunn and very nice it is. Good stuff and an absolute stonking start to the album.

The next track Waltz Street is my favourite on the whole album. How much fun can you pack into 4 and 1/2 minutes? Tons apparently. Really nice upright piano from Par and superb playing from all. Conjures up images of depression era America but brought into the modern setting with the global meltdown et al.

After this I feel that the album takes a bit of downturn. With Death Reconciled is actually beginning to get a bit irritiating after 4-5 listens with just too much repitition for my liking although it is redeemed by some nice organ work (Hammond and church).

Finally comes the only instrumental on the album Sky Door. Quite a nice peice of music but lacking enough content to make it really interesting. Nice keyboard sound and bang on the money drumming but after a while this could become a tad boring.

In summation this is very good borderline excellent keyboard prog album.Not the best thing Par Lindh has ever done (probably about third of the four PLP studio albums) . Objectively this should rate at about 3.5 stars but I'll round up as is my want and because there is so little keyboard driven stuff out there worth talking about.

Report this review (#366158)
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars So was the wait finally over! After too many, too drawn out and far too many involuntarily non-productive years is the follow-up album to Veni, Vidi, Vici just where it belongs. Namely in our CD-players. Pär Lindh has suffered a series of mishaps along the the way. Some of technical nature which we do not have to immerse ourselves in. But the most serious and tragical is, of course, the passing of vocalist Magdalena Hagberg (or Berg after marriage) in December 2007. Her illness meant that the group got into a passive state for a long time. The delay of the forthcoming album was therefore considerable. It's hard to measure the costs when a close person is vanishing. Not only Magdalena is missing, but every single member known from previous recordings of Pär Lindh Project have jumped the ship. However, PLP has not taken its last breath if that's what you suspected. It's been a toilsome and trying road to walk down, but now it seems like the art rock group has recaptured all lost ground. They have returned, and done so with a vengeance. The proud achievement is called Time Mirror. But first let us look briefly at what has happened along the way. Pär hasn´t been completely idle despite missing PLP releases. 2004 saw the continued work with fellow musician Björn Johansson. A remastered, partly re-recorded Gothic Impressions didn´t take that album to higher altitudes but put it in a new frame. Lindh also produced Swedish singer/songwriter Anya on her debut album (Pär and Anya became actually more than professional partners). In fact, I had a feeling that Anya could be involved on Time Mirror in some form. Just like Jill Gabriel on P.G. 4 (on "San Jacinto"). Perhaps this will be realized the next cd?

But now let's concentrate on the moment... Yes, this time Pär Lindh has taken the plunge and moved closer to his heroes Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The artist has skipped all available guitars (both electric and acoustic). It is a huge step away from earlier works. Sound wise it's mile in distance from previous band recordings where not only the string bender, but also the entire rythmsection were of heavier kind. Some people had opinions about this. Pär has experimented with various sound textures throughout the years, of which this is the latest. The keyboard instruments will logically be more central as there´s no visible competitor. But that´s probably the point. Now there´s no reason to hesitate about the mixture of the group. PLP is composed of Pär himself on keys, accompanied by bass/drums with the occasional guest instrument. It remains to be seen how the live band will be arranged after all. The uninitiated may be informed that Pär plays the genuine keyboards. Raw earthy Hammond, authentic church organ directly from the house of god, and grand piano of highest craftsmanship. You can never cheat a record buyer, can you? In the end its always quality that survive and plastic copies will disappear unnoticed straight into the recycling center. Let´s take a glance at the musicians/singers who are to be found on our fresh album. Of the disc's four tracks have factually all different drummers. We find former (?) Norwegian member Svetlan Råket on the opening title track. This Svetlan has figured for a long time in the band but his present status is unsure. But when we´re dealing with the title track, it is actually irresistible to talk about the song itself. How can one resist?

"Time Mirror" is the longest song on the disc with its impressive 17 minutes, and it jumps quite naturally of energy. This is the revenge/comeback/energy package that knocks you in its joyfulness. A majestic music piece is in the tradition of lengthy compositions like "The Cathedral" and "Mundus Incompertus", but it´s quite different in mood and shade. The melody and chorus are in the major key and have a slight commercial touch, but we can accept that without crying. Pär offers us a complete smorgasbord with all keyboards available. Also the same player is offering us a selection of all styles this keyboardist has been involved in during the career of the artist. They are quite a few. My advice here is simple, just listen yourself. "Time Mirror" is a complete meal with all nutrients you are in need of. The vocals are not handled by a female singer this time. Pär has chosen a new path and ended up outside the border of his own nation, and even the continent. His name is Al Lewis, and in common with the bass player of the band, he´s from the United States of America. Weather this multinational orientation is a conscious choice or just a coincidence is anybody´s guess. Maybe you are familiar with Lewis´ former outfits Alaska, or more likely Starcastle (with whom he has toured). Can you, after studying his voice, regard Al Lewis as a more down to earth Jon Anderson? I find the comparison reasonable. He is anyhow the most independent vocalist PLP has ever had. Just have a look at the production credits on Time Mirror and realize that Lewis is not a passive onlooker of the collaboration. Not only is he repeating pre written vocal lines, but the singer is also contributing his own musical ideas! Wisely, Pär Lindh has given him full permission to contribute to the design of this project. Al's singing on the first tune is convincing for every listener who wants power and nuance in one voice. And he´s involved in the writing as well.

"Waltz Street" has a co-written lyric by Lindh/Lewis. It deals with the ever-present topic - the money and economy scene from an all but unknown place in the financial world. Musically I can hear traces of ELPs "Jeremy Bender" but who´s complaining? A violin serves as musical decoration. Not only here but on other tracks as well. Back to the works of the longer school in form of "With Death Unreconciled". A darker, sad title but inevitable if you want to depict life without embellishment. Strong emotional church organ playing and a highly melodic vocal part turn this tune into a first class item. Note that some church organ sections are recorded at Uppsala Cathedral and it´s not a second rate instrument, rather one of the mightiest on the planet. Pär is the first worldly artist who is allowed to touch its keys. The result is a monster sound. "W.D.U." is one of the very strongest moments on an album with a lot of fine moments. The synthesizer solos grabs your attention and they are complimented by piano and mentioned organ. This is your 10 minute progressive moment in late 2010. "Sky Door" is final song and the only instrumental to be found. Definitely less than usual. William Kopecky excels on fretless bass. He is the excellent bass player of the band. Tight and economical when required, virtuoso in the right context. He is as important today to the end result of the recordings as the main man. You can witness him onstage on the DVD released some time ago. One can argue about what the missing guitars means to the overall sound picture on Time Mirror. But some harder tones are actually produced by the bass.

Drummer on this "Sky Door" happens to be Stefan Bergman, who is unknown to every single PLP fan. As you are informed about if you study the inner sleeve, Pär himself, and his new vocal supplementation are responsible for the drum duties on remaining tracks. The albums running time stops at about 40 minutes. There are certainly people who had expected a little more but personally I prefer the length of the old Lp. Save the excess material for future releases and think in quality terms instead of quantity. The present, international, line-up of PLP is highly promising and an obvious choice for coming projects. If they can afford costly flights across the globe in order to assemble, there will be no limit to what the gang can achieve together. PLP occupies a unique place in today´s progressive scene, a successor to giants of days gone by. Few keyboard players can boast with equally rich keyboard equipment like Lindh's, and equally few will produce a sound as fascinating as this in question. Let´s hope that next album with PLP not takes ten more years. There is nothing to suggest that it should be so. Hopefully and probably, Lindh, Kopecky and Lewis will be joined by one or two strong additions on the upcoming tour and there is most likely material for a follow-up album within a decent time frame. Just stay tuned!

Report this review (#368383)
Posted Thursday, December 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars I haven,t been a very enthusiastic PLP follower.

But in their albums i could find some good compositions and very good interpretations.

But what is this?

Every song starts very well seems a good song is coming...a good composition is coming ..but....too much jam prog session then...improvisations and less melodies.

So well...I can,t find this album very original...and I think their songs will not remain in my heart.

May be for a tribute to ELP with melodies in that way could be fine .but.....

Almost all of the songs seem to be an ELP (1970-1975 era) song...

I feel this is a strong effort to sound as that old prog symphonic songs..but where is the quality of the compositions to sound as ELP?

There is no doubt that PLP is a very solid band with very good musicians ,specially PL..and in this album his interpretations are remarkable.....but I really can,t find something very good in this work(songs I mean)

2 stars

Report this review (#451352)
Posted Monday, May 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Swedish keyboardist and composer Par Lindh has been given much credit for the renewed interest in symphonic progressive rock, due to his role in the establishment of The Swedish Art Rock Society and his output with PAR LINDH PROJECT that both started in the early 90's. "Time Mirror" is the latest effort from his band, their fourth full length studio album, and follows almost a decade after their previous CD "Veni Vidi Vici".

If you love symphonic progressive rock, have more than a passing interest in the genre or merely are curious as to how a high quality production of this genre sounds like, "Time Mirror" is a disc you should add to your purchase list straight away. Those who know they have strong opinions as far as lead vocals go might want to sample this disc prior to making a purchasing decision, but that minor detail aside this a CD that comes warmly recommended.

Report this review (#474564)
Posted Sunday, July 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars An acquired taste

A decade after Veni Vidi Vici the release of Time Mirror took me by surprise, mostly because this is no longer the wonderful mini orchestra called PÄR LINDH PROJECT but a power trio headed by Par Lindh and William Kopecy plus four different drummers (Al Lewis who also takes the role of lead vocalist, Svetlan Råket from the DVD In Concert - Live in Poland, Stefan Bergman and Pär himself), one for each tack.

I don't have any problem with the new band because Pär is exceptional as usual, William Kopecy is an outstanding bass player,. the four drummers are capable and Al Lewis does a great job in the vocals (Sounds like a not annoying Jon Anderson) but something is missing, maybe the lack of guitars, or the magic of a real band instead of a keyboard driven trio, the point is that they are technically flawless but part of the magic is gone..

Until now I always disagreed wit the people who said that PLP was strongly influenced by ELP, as a fact I always considered that Pär is cleaner with more classic approach, surely less spectacular, but technically superb, now I have to agree with them, because in his new role as a one man orchestra he borrows a lot from Emerson, mainly in the first two songs..

The first track Time Mirror is chance for Pär to demonstrate his skills, with church organ solos as usual, and Jazz fugues, but seems that he has too much work covering the instruments he usually added, yes it's pompous and brilliant, but as I said before there's something missing.

The first half of Waltz Street seems like a comedy relief track in the vein of "Jeremy Bender" or "The Sheriff", but a few organ solos in the instrumental break make the difference, a good song but not in the level of previous material.

With Death Unreconciled reminds me more of the old PÄR LINDH PROJECT, the piano and organ work are simply delightful and Pär Lindh allows himself to be the keyboardist we all admire again, much more original and imaginative, even the vocals and percussion remind me of Gothic Impressions, all the Keith Emerson references are left behind, the magic is back, at least for one song.

The album ends with Sky Door, a very interesting instrumental, because represents a change in the bands sound, even when doesn't remind of previous albums, they keep a healthy distance from ELP and again Par Lindh sounds as Par Lindh, they sound lighter than the rest of the album but must recognize that the sound is absolutely original.

The header of this review, says "An acquired taste", because used to fall in love with every PLP release at the first listen, but Time Mirror took me several attempts, as a fact I felt that I wasn't before PÄR LINDH PROJECT except for With Dead Unreconciled, but once I got used to the new atmosphere and sound, discovered an excellent album that deserves no less than four stars.

Report this review (#733752)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permalink

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