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I And Thou - Speak CD (album) cover


I And Thou


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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Upon first listen I thought this piano-based, soft-voiced collection of four long songs a bit too syrupy, and, because of its being piano-based, a bit too simple. I am so glad I continued to give this one more listens (thanks once again to!) because it is not the music of a simpleton! (Though ear candy it is--BIG TIME!)

1. "Speak" (12:19) starts out sounding like a SUPERTRAMP song until the vocals enter giving it a very SPOCK'S BEARD sound. At the 4:00 mark an awesome upbeat driving groove is established by layers of synths, bass, piano, and drums. By the 6:00 things are developing more melodically. At 7:00 there is a YES-like shift with piano and guitar establishing new melody. At 8:05 another exciting section is introduced before the band falls back into a little heavier version of the section established at the six minute mark. At 9:25 the song returns to the beginning vocal section. Song ends with the final two minutes giving the song a very Wind and Wuthering feel. Good tune. (8/10)

2. "... and I Awaken" (11:31) begins with an AUTUMN CHORUS feel, until the same SPOCK'S BEARD-like vocalist enters. The very pleasant layering of harmonizing vocals at the 1:30 mark is the 'hook' that sucks me in. This is followed by a brief but very effective section of some symphonic call and response layers. The song's first part ends about 4:10 with a beautiful little classical piano bridging the way to a little STYX/STARCASTLE section. The excellent classical piano bridges are so RICK WAKEMAN-like! The fuzz guitars so MIKE OLDFIELD! Biginning at the seven minute mark is a dreamy almost RENAISSANCE section--with a touch of BURT BACHARACH key and chord changes! Beautiful! Church-like and yet folkish as well.The section beginning at 8:20 has an amazingly dramatic "Great Gig in the Sky" feel to it. There are even female vocals in the background! Again, PHIDEAUX coms to mind--but this is better! Then the song ends with a bouncy, upbeat section that is so catchy and memorable! Amazing how many "hooks" this song has! This song alone is worth the purchase of the album. (10/10)

3. "Hide and Seek " (16:30) begins with a classical chamber section featuring piano and strings (yes, real ones!) Quite lovely. Then it melts with a single strum of an electric guitar into a classic GENESIS/PINK FLOYD section--which turns into a TONY BANKS "Mad Man Moon" solo section. Gorgeous. Vocals enter giving it again a PINK FLOYD ("Comfortably Numb) like feel. The background synths and acoustic guitars keep it vacillating back to GENESIS territory, while the addition of vocals make me think of some of early ALAN PARSON PROJECTS' dreamier vocal sections. The voice of female KEREN ANN first makes its presence known in the seventh minute, just before the big shift into an upbeat driving groove--over which a PAUL WELLER-like guitarist solos. Fun, catchy section--gets me to my feet to move a little. At 9:50 we fall back to the dreamy "Mad Man Moon" section--complete with "Banksian" piano arpeggios and Hackett-esque volume pedal-controlled sustained guitar notes. The APP dreamy vocal section resumes with some beautiful vocal harmony work from KEREN ANN (among others--or using several tracks). A GILMOUR-esque "Comfortably Numb" solo begins at the 12:40 mark before the song descends back into a more acoustic though more folk than classical section reminiscent of the opening section. Acoustic guitar is here featured. An fast paced section reminding me of something from Selling England begins around the 14:30 mark. Excellent composition of beautiful music if perhaps a bit too familiar and dreamy. (9/10)

4. "The Face Behind the Eyes" (13:35) (featuring Steve Hogarth) begins with nothing very special but in the fourth minute a bouncy piano-based, jazz-classical fusion section begins--sounding very much like a great TONY BANKS soundtrack piece. Awesome stuff! a BEUATIFUL song! (9/10)

While I am not feeling that this is quite a full masterpiece of progressive rock music (perhaps due to its many all-too familiar parts), it is definitely and excellent addition to any prog rock music collection. Highly recommended! Especially for those lovers of melodic neo-symphonic/crossover prog.

Report this review (#843847)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, I certainly didn't see this album coming! I first caught a listen to this album on and was absolutely and completely blown away by its beauty and melodic power. It is undeniably heavily influenced by Genesis of the 1975-78 era with the many keyboard flourishes of Tony Banks emulated brilliantly in the playing of Jason Hart. However, his own individuality also shines through in his playing style. This is an astounding album of rare purity and possibly my most unexpectedly favourite release of 2012. I never knew who Jason Hart was before this album, but hell, this album is absolutely fantastic and I seriously hope Jason continues to make music along this line.

There is a strange juxtaposition in the retro keyboard sound of the 70's and the flowing classical sweeps in tracks such as 'Hide and Seek', which is a truly amazing track, but believe me, it is not at all unpleasant. It is nostalgic, but at the same time uplifting and inspiring. It is very rare that an album of any genre is released that can evoke such emotion in the listener.

This, in my opinion, is the epitome of a masterpiece. From start to finish this album astounds. It lifts you with soaring melodies and drowns you in the beautiful vocal style of Hart. If you are a Genesis fan buy this album. If you are this album! It is astounding, beautiful, inspiring and uplifting and it has been on repeat on my music player for the last three weeks. Nothing compares to it.

Report this review (#861854)
Posted Sunday, November 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars by John Galgano (IZZ), Steve Hogarth (Marillion), Matt Johnson (Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright) and Jack Petruzzelli (the Fab Faux, Patti Smith) among others. Even Annie Haslam makes an appearance, although to be honest this time it is not for her incredible vocals but as artist as she provided the cover! Just five songs, but still an hour of playing time, this is an incredibly reflective album and one that is full of class and power. There are obviously many prog influences, but if opener "Speak" doesn't sound as if it belongs firmly on 'Trick of a Tail' then nothing does. I've never heard a song that so epitomizes just what a group created on one album ? the only dissent would be if you wanted to discuss if in fact it should have been on 'Wind and Wuthering'; he has really nailed a very short period of Genesis.

Then turn to the next song "..And I Awaken" and lo and behold if it doesn't start off like one of Neal Morse's early solo albums where he was reflective as opposed to bombastic. By this time I was well and truly hooked and instead of trying to spot the reference I was instead just glorying in the sheer delight of what is an incredibly layered and polished progressive rock album. The album screams 'class' in capital letters ten feet high and this really is one masterpiece after another, always firmly anchored in the keyboards (often piano) of Jason who has a wonderfully delicate and emotive touch.

Their website doesn't contain much, in fact it is only details of how to order the album, but all progheads need to try and hear this as it is a delight from start to finish.

Report this review (#862005)
Posted Monday, November 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is essential progressive rock that all fans of the genre will appreciate. Fans of Genesis, Pink Floyd, Renaissance, Headspace, Yes, Marillion, Radiohead and Porcupine Tree will all find something to cherish here.

Essentially 'I And Thou' is a solo project led by Jason Hart, with guest appearances from some well known musicians. Despite the other musicians involved the music often retains the feel of a singer songwriter at work. The music is fairly laid back with even the heavier passages expressing their venom in a restrained manner. Melody is always at a premium as is emotion and atmosphere. Whilst there is something melancholic about the songs, there is also something positive and beautiful in them. Probably the best way to describe the vibe of the music is by using that Swedish word 'Vemod' that even the Swedes themselves struggle to define to us !! Jason currently plays with Renaissance and this is evident in his beautifully ornate piano work, think of those wonderful piano lines from 'Running Hard' as a possible reference (the cover art work for the album is actually painted by Renaissance's Annie Haslam !!!). Extensive use of organ, synth and (thankfully !!) mellotron showcase Jason's talents further. Jason has also worked with Rufus Wainwright and has recently toured with Marillion and has shared the stage with many very famous artists. He is a superb vocalist too and at times reminds me of a cross between Damian Wilson and Jon Anderson. On the strength of this album alone he is now one of my favourite vocalists.

Guest musicians on 'Speak' include: John Gargano, Keren Ann and Steve Hogarth amongst others. The album consists of four long tracks (the shortest of these clocks in at 11.35 !!) all composed by Jason and a bonus fifth track which is a cover.

The first track 'Speak' has a vague 'Trick Of The Tail / Wind & Wuthering' era Genesis feel to it, but the lengthy and seminally prog-rock styled instrumental section of this song is far less commercial than Genesis had become by that time. On hearing this track alone I knew I had to buy the album. '...And I Awaken' follows. This is undoubtedly one of the best songs I have heard in recent years. Awesome. Incredibly beautiful, tender yet majestic, forlorn yet hopeful. This song takes emotion to another level and reminds me how precious and enjoyable music can be....Hearing this song for the first time gives the same magical vibe as meeting someone special for the first time !!! As well as those ornate piano lines we are treated to some sublime and wickedly addictive synth lines that reference Mark Kelly from the early 80s !! 'Hide And Seek' is the longest track on the album and again at times has a vague mid-70s Genesis feel to it. Classically influenced piano lines blend with prog rock flavours as the music flows from peak to peak. The twisting and turning of new and inspirational musical themes gives the listener a roller coaster inspired feeling of excitement. 'The Face Behind The Eyes' is perhaps the most proggy of all the tracks and there is also something mischievous to the themes here (think of the soundtrack to the 'Twelve Monkeys' film). Paul Bremner closes this piece with a rousing and anthemic guitar solo. The album concludes with a 'bonus track', a cover of a Rufus Wainwright song, 'Go Or Go Ahead'. This song features Steve Hogarth of Marillion on vocals. Whilst Steve's very best performances are usually live rather than in the studio (check out 'Estonia' from 'Tumbling Down The Years' !!) he generates shed loads of passion here. He gives the song a 'live' feeling and his vocals provide a crescendo and aria worthy of Pavarotti to bring proceedings to a close.

This is certainly album of the year for me and definitely an essential purchase for the rest of you.

It's been emotional Jason.....

Report this review (#869433)
Posted Saturday, December 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Jason Hart gets to live the prog fan's dream with his I and Thou project, which sees him collaborating with a wide range of prog veterans on this set of lavish extended neo-prog instrumentals. Even the cover art brings star power to bear, painted by none other than Annie Haslam of Renaissance. The musical style is reflective and tends towards the pastoral styles of classic-period Genesis - the comparisons others have made to the Wind and Wuthering or Trick of the Tail era are apt - and for the most part the focus is very much on long, extended instrumental passages dominated by Hart's keyboards. (The only song on here which doesn't qualify as a full-on mini epic is the comparatively brief Go or Go Ahead, which includes a remarkable guest performance by Marillion's Steve Hogarth). Delightful stuff.
Report this review (#916594)
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I and THOU's debut album, Speak is a complete masterpiece in my opinion. Jason Hart, the lead singer, pianist, and composer on this beautiful album has had much experience in music - touring with such bands as Renaissance. So many great musicians are on this album. But the best part is that Jason is able to capture the Progressive Rock from the 70s that we all love, and give a modern take on it. His voice captures the sound of Greg Lake of ELP, and the music is the Symphonic instrumentals of Renaissance or ELP or Yes. My favorite song, "Go Or Go Ahead" has beautiful piano to lead the song. The producers of this album clearly went out of their way to make a great album. This is a must have album. 5 stars all the way.

Kenny Ingram

Report this review (#928182)
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm currently living by the beach in New Jersey (bay side, facing west.. amazing sunsets), and everyday after work this summer I would visit the beach, get my relax on, and listen to this album at least once each visit with my beautiful wife though a mini speaker on our mp3 player. This album is perfect for these types of situations. I and Thou manages to cover all the bases of tasteful progressive music without being too "in your face"

Over the last few years, I have become much more interested in music, prog specifically, and I have been going through the masses of great material recorded over the years. And even though I really enjoy even the most explosive and wild sounding jams out there, it is evident that most prog music can be very hard for many people to digest. This album managed to keep my wife entertained over the weeks out on the beach. Eventually she began to gain a greater appreciation for the music that she was listening to and she is now an avid prog rocker :) thanks mostly to this album. This album managed to create a unique experience and relaxed atmospheric that I have not encountered it any albums I've found while browsing this site. The entire album is extremely well done and I've yet to tire of it.

The cover of Go or Go Ahead (played at our wedding.. awesome) and ..And I Awaken are my two favorite tunes on the album, but there are really no low points. Absolutely recommended.

Can't wait to listen to it on the beach next summer!

5/5 stars

Report this review (#1086547)
Posted Friday, December 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars A project by Jason Hart, a US musician who has worked with Marillion, I got this CD shortly after its release at the end of 2012.

There are a host of guest stars on this cd, and the last track, Go Or Go Ahead, features lead vocals by Steve Hogarth himself. This is my favourite track here (I am a sucker for H!), but I should here draw attention to the vocals on the longest track on the album, Hide And Seek, mainly by Hart, but featuring Keren Ann, who, with Hart, draws in the light symphonic mood perfectly.The two of them sound very good together when they harmonise. It is a deeply satisfying love song.

Perhaps the most famous guest is one who doesn't actually perform, but is responsible for the gorgeous artwork on the cd sleeve, one Annie Haslem.

There are only five tracks on here but we still have a full length CD. Opener Speak sets the tone perfectly, a gorgeous slab of Genesis influenced music twelve minutes plus in length. It is, btw, Genesis at their most reflective and pastoral. Think of the quieter passages in One For The Vine, and you will be about spot on. In fact, the similarities are so close, I imagine some might accuse Hart of being a retro artist, and nothing else, but that wouldn't be an altogether fair criticism.

The album never really moves beyond second gear, and is deeply insular and reflective. That is not, though, to take away from the fact that it is very well played, and is just about perfect listening for those moments in life when you want it quiet and introspective.

This album is still available from those nice chaps at Prog Rock Records, Wales, via Amazon, and is strongly recommended for those of you who like it quiet and thoughtful.

Four stars for this. Really rather good, and a fine addition to any prog collection.

Report this review (#1113590)
Posted Monday, January 13, 2014 | Review Permalink

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