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THE NEW YORK SUITE (EP)

Magenta

Neo-Prog


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SouthSideoftheSky
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Symphonic Team
3 stars Away from Home

Originally released as a bonus disc with the limited edition version of Home, The New York Suite was given a stand-alone release shortly after. The fact that it was also released separately is, of course, great for those who bought the original single-disc version of the Home album and don't wish to pay for the same music twice. The New York Suite consists of four tracks that were originally intended to be included on Home, but were left off the album in the end, plus a short reprise of the opening track from Home: This Life. For me, these additional songs are not quite up to the standards set by the excellent Home, but anyone who enjoys Home will find value in these additional songs as they are both thematically and musically connected and generally quite strong. While I am happy that these songs were left off the original album, they are certainly worthy of investigation in their own right and a good companion piece to the Home album.

One thing that strikes me immediately is that these songs are considerably longer than most of those on the main album (even if Home could be seen as one complete piece of music). Not counting the short This Life (Reprise), all the tracks on this EP run for over eight minutes and two of them for more than ten. This might lead some to believe that these songs are more progressive, and that is at least partly true. The tone and sound is basically the same as on Home, but the length of the tracks do leave a bit more space for the band to stretch out instrumentally. The Pop-side of the band showcased to some extent on Seven and even more so on the band's singles, is (thankfully!) nowhere to be found here. But these extra songs are not quite as memorable for me as the ones that made it onto the Home album itself.

More recently, the band has released yet another version of Home, this time with the four main songs from The New York Suite put back into the sequence the band had initially intended for the album. There are thus three different versions of the Home album in existence; (1) the original single-disc version, (2) the limited edition version that is identical to the first but with The New York Suite added as a separate bonus disc and (3) the full, two-disc version that puts all the tracks (minus This Life (Reprise)) into the originally intended running order. If you own the second, limited edition version, you can easily recreate the third version on your computer. I have done this and I must say that the single-disc version flows better than the full version and is therefore the best. In my opinion, Magenta's first two studio albums, especially Seven, were too long for their own good. I am happy that my favourite Magenta album, Home, was released in the shorter form it was and not extended beyond what was advantageous. The extra tracks presented on this EP are best seen as just extra.

The New York Suite is recommended primarily as a nice companion piece to Home, but it is a good, but non-essential, release judged on its own merits.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#426249)
Posted Friday, April 01, 2011 | Review Permalink
apps79
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Neo Prog Team
4 stars ''Home'' was later released in a double-disc edition, containing a long suite, which didn't fit in the album's original version, ''New York suite''.An additional 40 minutes of music, but to avoid any conflicts with fans, who had already bought the single edition, the album was also released as a separate EP.As ''New York suite'' was actually part of the concept's development, another reissue followed a few years later with the tracks placed in the correct order, so the listener could follow the story properly.

''New York suite'' comprises of four long tracks and a short outro, which see Magenta returning to the style of their early albums.It's a much more symphonic work than ''Home'' with nice Classical-influenced variations and strong 70's influences, containing lots of epic segments and beautiful organ parts.More than evident RENAISSANCE and GENESIS influences with the tracks containing lots of changing moods and offering good instrumental parts with symphonic orchestrations, excellent lyrical moments with Christina Booth's flawless voice in the forefront and some of the best melodies Rob Reed had ever written.The longer the tracks, the more pleasant the enjoyment for a Prog fan, and ''New York suite'' seems like it was created to satisfy any listener starving for some Classic Prog of the old-school.The lovely and delicate orchestrations of RENAISSANCE meet the STEVE HACKETT-like work of Chris Fry and the tricky organ plays of Rob Reed to go along with some elegant piano themes and extended Symphonic Rock instrumentals.The vocal harmonies are great, the breaks into more atmospheric textures are of top class and the overall achievement is an overlooked pearl of modern Symphonic Rock with Neo flashes.

One of the most balanced works of the style.Even its length (about 40 minutes) resembles to the vintage albums of the 70's, so this comes as a highly recommended album, especially for those in love with 70's Classic Prog.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1305935)
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2014 | Review Permalink

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