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Gekko Projekt - Electric Forest CD (album) cover


Gekko Projekt

Crossover Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars US based quartet GEKKO PROJEKT is a recent formation sporting members that all bring with them skills developed through several decades as active musicians in various bands and styles, but all of them with a special passion for progressive rock. "Electric Forest" is their debut album, and was released by Progrock Records in 2012.

If you have a fairly liberal taste in music, enjoy compositions of an accessible nature and like bands like Allman Brothers just as much as Camel and Pendragon, Gekko Projekt's "Electric Forest" should come across as a fairly interesting production ? how interesting a matter of taste, as performance and production are of good quality. A promising debut album by an experienced quartet.

Report this review (#750925)
Posted Tuesday, May 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Gekko Projekt, a band from Southern California, on this, their first album, plays a tasty set of melodic rock/jazz fusion (leaning mostly toward the rock side), with an ample helping of prog sensibilities.

The songs, mostly intrumentals, remind me a bit of Eric Johnson's smooth style, although with more rhythm and chordal changes. The musicianship is competant, although the serious fusion fan will not be blown away by the performances. I do appreciate the well thought out tones used by Peter Matuchniak's guitars and Vance Gloster's keyboards.

the only song that feels out of place is one of the few vocal tunes, Black Hole. This is a straight ahead rocker, with vocals reminiscent of Vincent Fournier (Alice Cooper), in his earlier days.

Otherwise, this is a cool album for playing in your car on a warm day with the windows down.

Report this review (#753670)
Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars

Some weeks ago my good friend PETER MATUCHNIAK sent me a mail informing me about two new albums and asking for my new address, I was a bit distracted and said "OK I will check them", thinking he would send me two new releases of EVOLVE IV (a Prog Related band that didn't impressed me too much), but to my surprise when the postman left the albums I found that one of them was from a new band called GEKKO PROJECT, so I placed the album Electric Forest in the cd player and was positively surprised. With a formation that includes no EVOLVE IV member except Peter himself, the sound is completely different, with much more strength and excellent organ passages, combining melodic Prog with very pompous and string tracks.

The album starts with Particle Dance and it's excellent guitar intro by Matuchniak, as the song goes on, the keyboards by Vance Gloster take the lead with lush keyboards reminiscent of Clive Nolan, always supported by the guitar and rhythm section. A really good opener that keeps the listener at the edge of the seat.

Black Hole is more a Blues Rock track with some BEATLES influence and a bit of funk, very pleasant but also with a clearly Psyche oriented organ and heavy guitar, not too fond on the vocals but a good change after the pompous opener and before Cognitive Dissonance, in which the previous styles morphs into some sort of Psyche oriented Fusion with and outstanding bass work by Rick Meadows.

In London Vibe the band goes deeper into Fusion territory with an impressive guitar and great drums performance by Alan Smith. At this point of the album GEKKO PROJECT has captivated me because of their versatility and radical changes, all worked with good taste and skills.

Avatar Jones begins as a soft ballad, but around the first minute this changes dramatically when the keyboards take the lead along with some nice vocals, after this point you can expect anything, from YES influenced passages to dramatic and mysterious segments, lots of Psychedelic organ and even some ASIA reminiscent moments, in other words, the dramatic changes a Prog fan expects to listen.

Erdinger is a strange song because despite being powerful and dramatic reminds me of CAMEL specially Moonmadness with a hint of PINK FLOYD, as if it was planned to introduce the listener to the trippy Martian Sunrise, a captivating musical piece.

The album continues with State of Siege, another powerful track with excellent guitar and keys interplay, more oriented towards Rock than to Prog, something that won't bother the Progressive Rock listener because of the exceptional quality of the music, but still the best is yet to come, since October Skies has just everything I can expect from a new band, and that's originality, pay special attention to the brilliant bass sections and the superb drumming in the PINK FLOYD evocative closing section.

The album ends with the short but interesting Particle Dance (Coda) the perfect closer for a very strong album that deserves no less than 4 solid stars, because rarely a new band is so solid and at the same time versatile. I hope that Peter doesn't give priority to his other projects, because this new band has a lot to offer.

Report this review (#778624)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Electric Forest' - Gekko Projeckt (6/10)

Long before the time Gekko Projeckt and their debut "Electric Forest" rolled around, each of the musicians that comprise this quartet were experienced performers, and this maturity translates well into their poppy melange of prog rock. At forty minutes and ten tracks, they have created an album that even the most delicate rock listener could appreciate. Their talent is evident throughout, although this relatively unambitious take on prog leaves me in want for excitement.

The sounds of King Crimson, Rush, and Camel all find a place in Gekko Projekt. Above all, "Electric Forest" may be seen as an instrumental rock guitar album with a smattering of 'vocal' songs. Instrumentally, Gekko Projeckt find a familiar nook for themselves, drawing in the exploratory nature of fusion jazz with the classic style of symphonic prog. "Electric Forest" is then filtered through a sheath of poppy melodies and accessible song structures. For the most part, this works pretty well, thanks in large part to guitarist Peter Matuchniak's elaborate performance. With particular regards to the beautiful instrumental "Cognitive Dissonance", Peter is skilled with melodic lead playing as much as he is with finding the perfect guitar tone for the mood.

Though fairly few in number, Gekko Projekt throw some vocals our way. Of these, "Black Hole" is the most memorable, a warm and catchy track with some vocals I might expect to find in a folk rock album. The voices- performed on the album by Vance Gloster and Alan Smith- are not excellent from a technical perspective, but warmth and feeling is there. Instrumentally, the music is rarely complex, and, with the exception of Peter's guitar work, the musicianship does not really stand out, although I have a feeling that this is more a result of the fairly straightforward song structures rather than the talent of the musicians themselves.

In short, "Electric Forest" is a pretty enjoyable album to listen to; a fine piece of music to put on while relaxing. It delivers the warmth and sound of prog, however exchanging the genre's typically challenging song structures for accessible compositionship. Fans of Camel will enjoy what Gekko Projekt have to offer.

Report this review (#785966)
Posted Tuesday, July 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This is a real hotchpotch of a debut album, and I love it. They ought to release "Black Hole" as a single as it is incredibly infectious and I defy anyone playing this in the car not to be singing along to the chorus by the time it comes around for the second time. Now, singles is not something that one would normally think of with a prog band but one of the joys of this album is that if you don't like the style of the song you are listening to then don't worry as there will be another one along in a minute. There are elements of the instrumental 'Cognitive Dissonance' that wouldn't sound out of place on a Weather Report album while Peter Matuchniak's guitar cuts through like Howe or Hackett but with more force.

This is mostly an instrumental album, and keyboard player Vance Gloster is credited as solo composer on most songs (and a co-write on two others) so it is not surprising that at times it can feel that the keyboards are taking over but there never last for long. Alan Smith has a great understanding of the way that drums can add to a song and at times he is very sparing while at others he is dominating and bassist Rick Meadows isn't exactly a slouch either. There is a lot going on here, and musically it is all over the place with leaps in and out of fusion, jazz and many other styles ? but just think of it as a band pushing the barriers and just get into the groove. And don't forget to singalong to "Black Hole". or

Report this review (#813748)
Posted Saturday, September 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars American band Gekko Projekt was bord in 2010 and in 2012 they released their debut named Electric forest. The band consistof Vance Gloster (keyboards), Peter Matuchniak (guitars), Rick Meadows (bass) and Alan Smith (drums). Before this band take form all musicians involved here were already quite known in musical field with experince in this field. About this little album, what we have here is heavy prog, well done and and performed, maybe in some parts is lacking originality but in the end is quite a pleasent release. The music is energic with nice, smooth arrangements but aswell some more heavier sections are present, the instrumental tunes are to me the best, the ones with voice are so so and Black hole being the most unintresting track of the album. There are lots of chordal changes, rhythmic tempos, competent guitar chops and the keyboards are present when needed, the perfect example is opening track Particle Dance, one of the most intresting pieces of the album. All in all, a fairly decent towards great album this Electric forest, with enough good moments to be heared by any prog listner out there. Worth it, 3 stars for sure, 3.5 in places. A nice art work and overall digipak.

Report this review (#1203102)
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars These days it's common enough to discover an album by a band that was briefly active in the seventies and managed to get in with a record company that gave them at shot or two at putting their material to vinyl only to have the company show no further interest in the band and drop them into the oblivion dust of pop music's forgotten history. The long lost album begins attracting a handsome price among record collectors and before you know it, someone has released the album on CD.

If you didn't know any better, you could be excused for thinking "Electric Forest" by Gekko Projekt was just such an album. Right from the opening guitar notes, which remind me of an early inspiration for Iron Maiden's "Wasted Years", the album seems to have come from another time. The bass, the drums and percussion, the keyboards with their organ and moog synth sounds just sound so 1977/78 that you'll want to double check the release date. And then you might just think that they only released the album in 2012 but that it was actually recorded 35 years earlier.

But no, this debut album by California's Gekko Projekt is indeed a modern rock performance albeit in a very natural and unforced retro style. English-born guitarist, Peter Matuchniak tells us what a particle dance would sound like with his guitar as the album gets underway with an instrumental called "Particle Dance". As the rest of the band join in (Vance Gloster on keys, Rick Meadows on bass, and Alan Smith on drums) we find ourselves in a jazz/rock fusion world of science fiction. Peter's guitar playing sounds remarkably like a young hot shot guitar player of 1977 showing his licks and hoping he'll make the big time. Vance Gloster on the other hand impresses with smooth keyboard sounds that are reminiscent of classic Camel.

Track two is "Black Hole" but it's not about space and physics. It's an interesting rock song with a vocal style that one reviewer likened to older Alice Cooper. Reading other reviews, some people love this song while others find it the weakest on the album. I join ranks with the former. At first it really does sound like some unknown band reaching for radio attention with a tough but sensitive guy voice. But once the chorus gets going it's easy to imagine that this song might have made it to the weekly top 20 somewhere way back then.

Most of the album is actually instrumental and showcases the lead abilities of Peter Matuchniak and Vance Gloster. Peter has a kind of Steve Hackett / Steve Howe style mixed in with his own secret recipe and Vance's keyboards sound like Pink Floyd but played to Camel or Happy the Man. It is in fact the vintage keyboard sounds that endear me most to this album. Though the bass and drums don't roam into symphonic prog territory, they do hold down the rhythm fortress with more than just simple beats and notes. The bass guitar sound really stands out and though it's often set to repeat for a few bars, the bass notes sound very cool.

Two other songs appear amidst the instrumentals: "Avatar Jones" and "October Skies". These tracks are longer and here is where the music explores different routes a little more. However, don't expect this album to be very technical or complex. Atmosphere is given prominence in many a track and simplicity reigns over much of the album, allowing the lead musicians to show their stuff without exerting too much prog muscle.

I find this to be an album full of its own charms. The sound of the instruments and even the production, not to mention the vocals, really capture that lost band of '77 feel. The guitar sound is sometimes a little harsh, but that's also part of the charm. If you should listen to this album before buying it, don't just listen to "Particle Dance" because that track will surely convince you that this album is a must for your collection. Listen a little more first.

I dislike having to star rate this album. I'd feel better grading it 75% and recommending it to people who would think that this is right up their alley. But I know other people are possibly looking for something more complex, with more prog muscle. A worthy debut with potential for the band to take things to the next level. But wait! That might just be coming up on the next album by Gekko Projekt, their 2015 release "Reya of Titan". Hold on!

Report this review (#1618353)
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2016 | Review Permalink

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