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The Flower Kings - Scanning The Greenhouse CD (album) cover

SCANNING THE GREENHOUSE

The Flower Kings

Symphonic Prog


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Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Fantastic Compilation! - Great Introduction to the Band

*Track list (MUSEA LC-09709): In The Eyes of The World (10:38) / World of Adventures (13:37) / The Flower Kings (Re-recorded 1998 version) (11:40) / There Is More To This World / Stardust We Are Part 3 (Re-recorded 1998 version) (8:56) / Retropolis (11:10) / Cinema Show (11:10) (Bonus Title). *

[Note: My CD version is totally different with this one listed in this page. I'm also surprised that this album has been reviewed by two reviewers before me but there is no write-up. I think It's definitely minimum FOUR STARS rating for this compilation!]

Why bother buying a compilation CD if I have all the full album of the band? Quite honest with you, my chief reason (the only one, indeed) is the cover of Genesis classic "Cinema Show" as bonus title. I had long been awaiting to have this CD since my progmate lent me the JAPAN version of this compilation that has "Cinema Show" as bonus. I could not afford to buy the Japanese edition - damn expensive man! But this Musea release has now contained this Cinema Show. So I bought it jus couple weeks ago with a reasonable price - unlike the unbelievable Japan version. Why this Genesis track has become my chief reason? It's a fantastic cover version! It's slightly better than any version performed by Genesis!

This compilation covers fine selection of the band's recordings from 1995-1998. For those of you who are new to the band, I would suggest you buy this as "teaser" for the band's music. It's a great introduction, I would say. All songs in this compilation are excellent! But, bear with me that there are many and many great songs of the band that are not featured in this compilation. If you enjoy this CD, it's a MUST that you have all albums of TFK.

All The Great Tracks

"In The Eyes of The World" opens beautifully with a high driving rhythm section dominated with excellent keyboard work ! It flows in ambient style with relatively fast tempo augmented with excellent guitar fills and powerful drumming. The music is relatively complex but it's very energetic and uplifting. The kind of track that you want to hear after getting up in the morning (like what I did this morning as well). The guitar solo is stunning; the vocals are really powerful. It's a track with wonderful composition that you surely don't want to miss!

"World Of Adventure" kicks off with a sort of ambient, spacey keyboard and piano sounds. It then flows nicely with choirs line followed with full music when all instruments play at the same time. The guitar part at the beginning is played in rhythm style with soft riffs. Keyboard flows nicely altogether with bass line. The music flows from moderate to faster tempo with some transitions. In the middle of the track I can sense clearly the sound of Genesis' "The Fountain of Salmacis" of Nursery Cryme album. This happens with the keyboard sound at approximately minute 7:58. It's a complex but very interesting and enjoyable track!

"The Flower Kings" (Re-recorded 1998 version) is another excellent track that flows in melodic style. The music starts ambient and flows in medium tempo with firm bass line followed with low register singing style. The chorus part is where people would like to emulate while listening to this song. The guitar solo is accompanied at first with an intermittent music and heavy bass line. At the end of guitar solo, keyboard continues its solo venture with some (nice) effects. The intertwining sounds of guitar and keyboard result in excellent harmony sounds. The tempo of this track is maintained at relatively same pace - only in some portion on the second passage of guitar solo the tempo has increased slightly. Overall, this is the kind of song that you want to emulate after listening to it. Beautiful composition.

The opening of "There Is More To This World" reminds me to the musical "nuance" of Genesis "Wind and Wuthering" album. (Don't get me wrong: I don't mean that there is any similarity with Genesis, melody-wise or composition-wise). But when the voice enters the music, it's definitely the sound of The Flower Kings music. It provides the right balance of guitar and keyboard solos with great rhythm section of bass guitar and drums (I like the drumming style really!). The ending part of this track is mellow with acoustic guitar and vocal. It turns to full music but still in slow tempo style.

"Stardust We Are - Part 3" starts with a short exploration of keyboard work augmented with guitar. The lyrical part enters the music in mellow style accompanied with piano sounds The music turns slowly and firmly into a more massive music with faster tempo. There is some kind of fanfare music during the non-lyrical part that has enriched the textures of this song.

"Retropolis" is taken from album with the same title. It's a great album that deserves great review. The opening features symphonic style of guitar followed with a nice transition in the form of string orchestra. The music then turns into a solid passage with excellent bass guitar and stunning guitar solo. The organ fills in the music at background during guitar solo. The organ then takes the lead of solo.The music then turns into quieter passage in avant-garde style before it finally returns back to the original rhythm section. There is a significant jazz influence. The inclusion of Chinese music during transition at the ending part is fantastic.

Genesis' "Cinema Show " is covered by the band wonderfully. In away it's better than any other version performed by Genesis (my view). The live version in "Seconds Out: is unique because it features Bill Bruford drum solo even though it's very short. This version by TFK is much dynamic. This is especially true during the interlude part where the band performs lively with great combination of keyboard, guitar, drums and bass sounds. It's an excellent cover! Great job, guys!!

Overall Recommendation

It's a masterpiece compilation of prog tracks from the band's finest selection even though there are still many great tracks of the band that are not included in this CD. However, this CD is a great introduction to the band if you are new to The Flower Kings. In addtion, I love the sonic quality of this CD. If I play it loud I got a very solid sound produced. Keep on progging!

Progressively yours,

GW - Indonesia

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#2641)
Posted Monday, February 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
fergie@Scotla
4 stars I agree totally with the previous reviewer, this really is an excellent introduction to the music of The Flower Kings. Even though this album is a compilation the tracks fit together well and along with the usual high standard of musicianship the production is very good. Definitely recommended - ignore the low marks given so far for this CD!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#39979)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I believe that to release a compilation after three studio albums is a bit suspectful. Even if those three were good ones.

Of course, there will be one "unreleased" track : "The Flower King" (premonitory title...), recorded for the first time in 1994 on a solo effort from Roine. I have mixed feelings to the new life brought to this number. It sounds harder than the original and it is obvious when you listen to it, to understand that TFK project must have been in Roine's mind for a very long time : it is 100% in-line with TFK production : good guitar break, some spacey sounds, crystal-clear and very melodious vocals. You can't get more TFK as that, right ?

The original version was more symphonic. The finale was also better (no useless sounds at the end as it is the case on this compilation). All in all, I prefer the original.

I really do not understand that "Pipes of Peace" sits on a compilation. I might understand that some short tracks serve as links or intros on original studio albums, but on a sort of "Best Of", there are quite useless, IMO.

It is very welcome that "Compassion" has been shortened by these useless four last minutes that we could find on "Stardust". As I mentioned in my review of the the original track, it should have stopped at 4'45". I can only be glad of this editing.

Same applies to "Stardust We Are, Part 3". This shorter revisitation is a good idea as well. I was not an absolute fan of the lenghty twenty-five minutes of the original song.

The opening number of this compilation, "In The Eyes of the World" was one of the very good numbers of Stardust and its inclusion is nothing but normal.

The other numbers, two from "Retro" and one from "World" cannot be discussed either although "Big Puzzle" was one of my favorite song of their debut album.

This compilation is a good one, even if a few mistakes have taken place. If you are new to TFK, I can only recommend you to discover this record. It will give you a good overview of their style and prevent you to some lenghty improvisations that might be boring to your ears. Four stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#121826)
Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars I only know the Flower Kings from this single CD that was recommended to me as a good retrospective, and from the fact that Roine Stolt was in a group called Kaipa that went all the way back to the 70s. While I do not dislike this compilation, it has not yet inspired me to seek out more original TFK albums.

In many ways, TFK epitomize not only what is wrong with prog rock, - bloated material, 3 minutes expanded out to 12 with all manner of doodling - but also what is wrong with so much neo prog, that being the nearly incessant high energy that leaves the listener with something akin to a sugar bust before the first "epic" is half over.

Yet what saves their material from the shredder is that they at least do have the sense of what makes a good 3 minute song. The group has a stirring grasp of melody, and in some songs do better service to it than others, the best being the beautiful and related "Pipes of Peace" and "Stardust we Are". The inclusion of "Compassion", which might be disputed by some, shows that TFK have some degree of versatility in their moods, and hopefully this was an angle they pursued more on their proper albums. With these fine tracks as anchor, the remaining works can be looked upon more favourably, distilled to their essence, and allowing for the fact that the musicians do seem to be having fun.

So after a number of scans I conclude that the Flower Kings' compilation is good but nothing that will make them heir to any throne.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#138701)
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars If you´re new to the Flower Kings and want to have a good introduction to this great band, this is a fine, inexpensive way to start. This compilation takes songs only from their classic period and is well chosen. Of course there are those tracks any fan would like to see here, just a matter of taste really. Even the fact that Stardust We Are is edited does not spoil the overall good package (it would be quite hard to bring the 27 minutes of the original here anyway).

Since the production and engineering of those early albums were done by mostly the same guys (and they did give the Flower Kings the kind of sound they needed for the CDs), the album sounds quite rounded and pleasant, not a mixed bag. The inclusion of a song like The Flower King (actually from Stolt´s solo album, but considered by many their first release) is very welcomed!

All in all the best complilation by the Flower Kings and quite reprensentative of their golden era.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#145064)
Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars This is a compilation that was released after the first few Flower Kings albums, and consists entirely of cheesy symphonic progressive rock that the band is known for. This was given to me by my guitar instructor who suggested that I would enjoy this since I am a fan of Yes and sometimes Genesis. Unfortunately, I was let down. This is updated modern progressive rock of the same vein of the aforementioned bands with random studio effects and terrible vocals to boot. If you're looking for a good introduction to what the Flower Kings generally sound like, this is probably a good choice for that purpose. I personally prefer the material that they would write on Space Revolver, which features more of a jazz-fusion jam base. The musicianship on these tracks is undeniably great, but the songs just don't gel of flow very well, but still, this is a decent introduction.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#431196)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink

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