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4 stars Finally a balanced album in comparison to some disappointing and prolix previous albums, above all without any excess and boring or repetitive parts as well!! Moreover the use of fine melodies and tasteful guitars too, make this album well worth checking out!!


Report this review (#1959)
Posted Thursday, April 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars CAST is one of my favorite symphonic prog band, and "Imaginary Window" is one of their best albums. This is an excellent band but they have problems with production - the sonic quality of the CD is not optimum - I would say. Even though it's not fatal, but it actually still can be improved. This album opens with classical music influence instrumental track "Moving Universe" with flute and keyboard as main instruments during intro. But it is then continued with Hackettian guitar work by Hernandez. The combined work of guitar and keyboard is truly awesome - especially when they accompany flute. I can tell you that this is a great composition packed with pulsating keyboard sounds by Vidales and howling guitar.

Second track "Alter Ego" is nicely composed with lyrical verse. The music is packed with excellent combination of flute, guitar and keyboard. The structure is a bit complex but it's an excellent track. "A Blossom In The Spring" is a mellow track with piano accompanying vocal and thinly mixed guitar work at the background. Again, it's an excellent track as far as songwriting, musicianship and performance. I love the electric guitar which is performed very softly - in terms of volume - and I think this is the characteristic of CAST music.

"Dawn" is an upbeat instrumental featuring Hernandez guitar work in, again, soft volume. It's an excellent guitar work combined with keyboard and dynamic drumming. "Simple Things" is a nice mellow track with melodic singing style. Electric piano provides rhythm section. It then continues with classical music influence track "Snail" followed with "Around and Around". This track demonstrates the true sound of CAST music whereby the music is a symphonic in nature, featuring guitar and great keyboard sound. Vocal is not that powerful but it fits with the music. Drumming is excellent even though the sonic quality is not that good. The music flow is wonderful: it moves from simple to complex, medium tempo into faster one with pulsating keyboard sounds - multi-layered. The remaining tracks are all excellent ones and it will satisfy you if you are a symphonic prog music lover. This includes the epic title track "Imaginary Window" that comprises three parts.

Overall, I recommend you to purchase this CD because it's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. You won't regret.

Life without music is a mistake. Music without progressive is a fatal tragedy!

Yours progressively, GW

Report this review (#83110)
Posted Saturday, July 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars For the first time in their career, a year has passed without Cast album (1998). They were very prolific in the first two years of recording : they released not less than five (very long - an average of seventy minutes) studio albums.

But since they were playing together for several years before recording (since 1979), lots of material was at their disposal to be able to do so (I have already mentioned this feature this before). It will sometime be at the cost of quality and has lead to a certain exasperation at times (at least for me).

"Moving Universe" : is a great instrumental track very much Tullian during the first part thanks to Dino's flute playing. It really shows beautiful symphonic moments, the track will head a harder edge after this and great guitar and somptous keys can be appreciated.

I would often have liked to hear more flute in their songs. IMO, Dino is very good in this exercise and it really adds another dimension to their work. A bit of subtility in this ocean of keys (thanks Keith for the inspiration). This is a great opening number. Hopefully the rest of the album will be on par.

"Alter Ego" is not as good. Very noisy and melodyless. Thanks to the lenght of the album (again around seventy minutes), it could have easily skipped. Hard and complex beat. We are overwhelmed with sounds and words. A difficult time for me.

The contrast with "A Blossom" which follows is welcome. It is a sweet and very melodic song. The atmosphere is not far from "Trespass", but when the vocals enter the scene, PFM, again, is very near. But I do not complain. It is obviously one of their inspiration (together with the bands I have mentioned earlier on).

"Dawn" is a powerfull and instrumental number. Still, not so inspired as the opener. The rhythmic section does a great job here but it is mainly an orgy of keys and another demonstration of the band skills. Again, I appreciate the nice flute part in the middle section (yes, I like flute a lot...).

But, at times, I believe that Cast want to do too much and supersedes ELP in this excercise; which is of course impossible. Anyway, the good quality remains on this album, so far. The same feeling will apply for "Around & Around".

Another sweet piece of music with "Simple Things". Very much piano oriented. Vocals are very pleasant and if Dino had a more Lake tone of voice, one could have thought to listen to an ELP hidden track.

"Snail" and "Dessert Rainbow" a bit further on the album are short interludes. The classical mood is not a fave of mine. These are by far the weakest track of this album (but the shorter as well). This is also a new concept for Cast. Releasing short songs was not their habit. I must say that a shorter format works fine because, at times, I had a dull feeling during some more elaborate and long numbers leading nowhere. By shortening them, Cast will produce a fresher and catchier music.

"Cotton Dreams" will renew with a more classic Cast format. A tranquil piece of music all the way through. Again, Dino sounds very emotional in his vocal play. Still, the track is a bit monotonous. One would have liked a bit more involvment and passion from the band to add some flavour.

The lenght of the title track (over nine minutes) allows to investigate a bit more in the roots of Cast. A lenghty and complex part opens this instrumental piece in a beautiful manner. But the second half of the song is too repetitive; again Cast musicians are brilliant but their songwritting is just average. Of course, "Imaginary Window" is pleasant but not grandiose.

The closing (and longest) number "Where Is The Light" will be more diversified. It is of course due to the gentle vocal part. What I am missing though is that there is hardly a chorus in this song (but it is a general remark for Cast songs). We are far from the traditional way to compose music (verse, chorus). Lots of different theme changes, which is fine for me, but at least I would like to find some sort of mark.

After this long vocal part (almost seventy minutes), Dino dispenses some nice flute passages while Alfonso's heavy keys prepare the finale which is rather bombastic. A very good track, after all.

This album is more pleasant than several other Cast ones. But they are repeating the same mistake again : this album is too long. Three songs can definitely be missed. I would say seven out of ten but I wouldn't go to four stars in my rating.

Report this review (#123018)
Posted Monday, May 21, 2007 | Review Permalink

IMO the best prog album from a Mexican band, IMAGINARY WINDOW makes me proud of being Mexican too. "Moving Universe", instrumental, with a nice flute work, starts joyfully, full of happiness, with a glorious feeling of plenty, and then changes to a dynamic symphonic prog rock, then to a psychespace hypnotic blues very intense. It continues changing and changing, masterfully, brilliantly, virtuosic, like the best progressive bands of the world!.

"Alter Ego" has vocals and flute too. All the singing in the album is in English with a good accent, so donīt worry about the language. This is more like a heavy neoprog song.

"A Blossom in the Spring" is a slow symphonic prog song that sounds a little like GENESIS or better, like the slow songs of AD INFINITUM or PFM.

"Dawn" is a dynamic instrumental prog song with many tempo changes, syncopated time signatures, well, you know, very proggy.

"Simple Things" (itīs not Carol King's song of the same name) sounds like those piano slow songs by ELP excepting for the voice. A very pretty song. It has so many chords in it that it also sounds like GENESIS.

"Snail" is like classical music, sweet and tender.

"Around and Around" begins fast and complex. It reminds me of the fast passages of "A Passion Play". After that, with the voice, the song changes to something like THE FLOWER KINGS, or something. A lot of changes, very symphonic, very progressive.

"Dessert Rainbows", the shortest song, is a keyboards only piece, with a MOZART feeling on it, that combines baroque, classical and jazzy moods.

"Cotton Dreams" starts like the JETHRO TULL of the recent times, and then it turns into a pastoral (not sure what it means, hope I'm not wrong) soft song, like soft MARILLION or AD INFINITUM.

I don't have enough words to describe "Imaginary Window" or "Where's the Light". All I can say is that those are epic, long songs, 100% symphonic prog of the first class, with every single thing you can expect from an excellent prog band. They're amaaaaazzziiing!!!

Well that's it. I tried to be objective, not emotional. And I've never been a fanboy of CAST, but this album is breathtaking. I'm still surprised. I didn't know that we had this caliber of music in my country!

Four round stars!

Report this review (#605304)
Posted Saturday, January 7, 2012 | Review Permalink

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