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Life Line Project - Distorted Memories CD (album) cover


Life Line Project

Symphonic Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Masterpiece

Four days ago the postman brought me the latest LIFE LINE PROJECT release called "Distorted Memories" (courtesy of my good friend "Erik de Beer", who had the nice gesture of thanking this reviewer and Prog Archives in the beautiful 10 pages booklet, due to the very modest contribution we had with their career), and as usual was surprising.

The first LIFE LINE PROJECT record I heard was "The King", an album performed almost by an orchestra, then received "Beyond Time" where "Erik" plays all the instruments and now "Distorted Memories" in which he returns to a small orchestra format.

Being that "Distorted Memories" will still be released in 7 days, decided to listen it with calm and took a my time before writing a review, so made a copy for my car and left the original CD at home, in this way I had the chance to listen it repeatedly and after at least ten full listens I can assure that LIFE LINE PROJECT has reached the peak of their career up to this moment.

As usual in this band, "Distorted Memories" has a unique an original sound but with great respect for Symphonic Prog of the 70's. The band sounds more cohesive than ever and a delightful keyboard performance by the mastermind of the band "Erik de Beer" allows me to be confident in the future of Progressive Rock.

The album begins with the short but frenetic "Ignition", a 49 seconds intro that announces that LIFE LINE PROJECT is going to hit us with all they have, an impression that is corroborated by the explosive "Distorted Memories", in which Erik and his fluid electric piano is complemented brilliantly by "Josine Fraaij" and her magical violin.

It's important to mention hat along with "Distorted Memories" I received a Vivaldi "Concerto" performed by "Tempesta Consort", an orchestra directed by "Erik de Beer" something that makes me understand from where his passion for Baroque music present in the LIFE LINE PROJECT albums comes, which they tastefully blend with good Rock when necessary; Great Combination of sounds and genres. "Life Line Suite" is a track that has everything a Prog listener will expect, melodic but elaborate music, radical changes, dramatic executions and again strong and vibrant passages. Even when the attention is always focused in the keyboards, this time "Elsa de Beer" in the flute and "Jason Eckhout" in the guitars make of this piece of music a memorable one.

"Frozen Heart" is a softer song in which "Marushka Kartosonto" appears with his nice voice and absolutely peculiar style, it's true that in a previous review I said her voice was not my cup of tea , but after some time I noticed that if it wasn't for her dissonances at the softer sections, "Frozen Heart" wouldn't be as interesting as it is.

"Caelum Aurum" is a weird track that starts with a delicate acoustic guitar and morphs into an oriental influenced piece of music with a touch of ELP (enhanced by a strong guitarist and a mini orchestra). Prog, Heavy Rock, Folk and a bit of Jazz can be found in this fantastic piece, with an elaborate bass section by "Iris Sagan " and a breathtaking violin execution.

"Interlude" as it name implies, works as a moment of relief, the acoustic guitar and atmospheric mood are absolutely relaxing, it's interesting to feel the almost instantaneous connection with the vibrant and strong "Reaper of the Keys", clearly influenced by "Jürgen Fritz" frantic and clean style, but at the same time original enough to notice this guys are creating 100% original material. The Moog sections are simply outstanding.

"P.C. Left is Right" starts mysterious and haunting, with the oboe providing a nostalgic mood, but again after a couple minutes it morphs into a Hard Prog oriented track with passionate vocals and no time to rest...Hard to describe, but there's something that reminds me of ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA with ELP Moog sections.

"Acoustic Spring" is another soft acoustic interlude, but this time with a Medieval atmosphere provided by the flute and lute (or mandolin), relaxing and a moment to breath before the energetic "Steam Roller" in which "Erik de Beer" bombards us with several keyboard passages all supported by "Ludo de Murlanos" and his powerful percussion.

"The Final Word" is a dramatic 13+ minutes epic where "Marushka Kartosonto" gives a heartbreaking vocal interpretation, singing in a totally different style, less dissonant but incredibly strong. Sometimes the epics are the greatest risk in an album, being that you need to cover 13 minutes with different sounds, moods and atmosphere but keep the cohesion and rationality, something LIFE LINE PROJECT does incredibly well. Excellent song, the highest point of the album

"Distorted Memories" ends the Medieval/Early Baroque inspired "The Dancing Dutchess", even when much more elaborate, has a strong resemblance to "Joy" by THE VENNTURES, the combination of Harpsichord, Moog and Synths is fascinating, good closer.

Now, let's go to the rating. When I reviewed "Beyond Time", had to stay with four stars, being that it's a 70's album refreshed for the XXI Century, by "Erik de Beer", so I believed that 5 stars would be too much, in the case of "The King", even when it was an excellent album, there was something missing, so again had to stay with four stars.

In the case of "Distorted Memories" I have no excuse, it's the best album that LIFE LINE PROJECT has released, not a single weak track, flawless performances, and I believe it's essential to understand the new tendencies of Symphonic Prog, so will go with 5 stars.

Report this review (#857683)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Distorted Memories is probably the most dynamic and the most varied album by LIFE LINE PROJECT. The short intro, lasting about seconds and starting off like a rocket, immediately shows the band's intentions. It's one of the two only contributions by lead guitarist Jason Eekhout, the other one, called "Caelum Aurum" being a longer jazz-rock orientated work with lots of virtuosities of both violinist Josine Fraaij and guitarist Jason.

All the other compositions on the album are by the hand of keyboard player Erik de Beer. A playful instrumental composition, full of keyboard wizardry, a UK-like electric violin and some of these weird solos by Jason, which seems to be based on a nagging children's tune and which finally develops into a beautiful symphonic rock theme, is the title track of the album.

The following "Life Line Suite 2010" gives the listener almost ten minutes full of great symphonic rock themes, lots of tempo and character changes, proving that the band can well do without vocals.

"Frozen Heart" is a symphonic rock ballad, with a beautiful flute part and some great Moog solo's. One of the best of the compositions on the album is without any doubt "Reaper Of The Keys", a genuine showcase of all of Erik's keyboards, highlighting some fantastic solo's on his Moogs and a great piano solo, all over a solid basis supplied by the bass, a rhythm guitar and the drums.

P.C. Left is Right is a multi voiced song about the madness of the exaggerated political correctness. The final guitar lead is just great.

An acoustic intermezzo with lots of mandolins and flutes is a short moment of relaxation, before "Steam Roller", another of these overwhelming instrumentals, which seem to be the hallmark of LLP, begins with a massive theme in a strange three-four time.

A long suite, called "The Final Word", is the most important composition on the album. The vocals are beautifully sung by Maruschka Kartosonto and both the flute and oboe intervene every now and then to provide the song with beautiful acoustic interludes. The song contains majestic symphonic themes played by the electric guitar and some excellent improvisations on the flute and the synths.

The bonus track is one of my favourites. It is based on the Dutch folksong Hop Marjanneke and it is so much fun listening to it. It starts with a mandolin, a medieval drum, a lute and a harpsichord and it evolves into a great symphonic orgy, the end of a fantastic album by a great band!


Report this review (#870044)
Posted Monday, December 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars A stunning album by a little known band. "Distorted Memories" is the sixth album of the Dutch LIFE LINE PROJECT. It has so much to offer in every progrock way. Take for example the title track. It starts off like a nagging children's song, but soon develops in a heavy Hammond based progrock song with a dazzling electric violin solo by Josine Fraaij and a weirdo guitar solo by Jason Eekhout. As a counterpart the oboe, flute and the acoustic violin provide a more rustic interlude, before the engines start rolling again. "Life Line Suite 2010" is a beautiful symphonic rock instrumental with solid synthesizer solos and majestic guitar melodies. In "Reaper Of The Keys" keyboard player and mastermind Erik de Beer proves, that he can easily compete with the best Emerson. The Hammond roars and the Moog solos are really amazing and overwhelming. The rhythm section, consisting of virtuoso drums, assisted by the bass and a palm muted rhythm guitar, sound solid as a rock. Jason Eekhout composition "Caelum Aurum" reminds me a bit of Jean-Luc Ponty's "Enigmatic Oceans" and shows us the band in a jazz rock setting with some stunning interplay between the electric violin and guitar. An excellent composition. One of the few vocal compositions "P.C. Left is Right" contains both a splendid Moog solo and a great tapping solo on the lead guitar and is one of the more heavy songs on the album. "The Final Word" is a great symphonic rock song of more than thirteen minutes, full of atmosphere and tempo changes and leaving enough room for the soloists to prove their skills. I liked the flute and oboe parts a lot. The vocals are beautiful sung by Maruschka Kartosonto. The album ends with the adaptation of an anonymous Dutch folksong, "Hop Marjanneke", a great finale for a fantastic album. I liked "Distorted Memories" a lot and I hope many people will enjoy listening to this little known band. Life Line Project have a true sound of their own and I think they deserve five stars. Whistler.
Report this review (#876704)
Posted Monday, December 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This 2010 album by the Dutch Life Line Project is a symphonic rock album of the virtuoso kind. Dazzling electric violin parts, biting electric guitar solo's and incredible keyboard wizardry are the main instrumental ingredients on this mainly instrumental album. To counterpart these often high speed virtuosities, there is a beautiful woodwind section, consisting of a clear flute, played by Elsa de Beer and an incredible warm sounding oboe, played by Dineke Visser.

Most of the compositions are supplied by keyboard-player Erik de Beer, while lead guitarist Jason Eekhout may be held responsible for two compositions.

After a short but frantic jazz-rock introduction by Jason Eekhout, we are served the title piece "Distorted Memories", a weird and almost surrealistic version of a nagging children's song. This children's song, only once interrupted by a bucolic scene played by the winds and the acoustic violin, is almost brought to hysteria, before it evolves into a beautiful symphonic theme, carried by the keyboards. Josine Fraaij comes closely to resembling the great Eddie Jobson, with a pulsating baroque like electric violin solo. The following "Life Line Suite" is a beautiful symphonic rock suite, showing all series of beautiful melodies on all instruments.

Frozen Heart is a symphonic rock ballad with a very beautiful role for the flute and an almost Tony Banks like synth.solo, but the vocals of Maruschka Kartosonto aren't the strongest part of the song. I prefer the vocals of previous LLP singer Marion Stroetinga, who fits in with the music in a better way (meanwhile Marion has rejoined the project again).

Eekhout composition "Caelum Aurum" is almost Mahavishnu-like and show once more the incredible talents of both violinist Josine Fraaij and lead-guitarist Jason Eekhout. "Interlude" is an oasis of rest with beautiful keyboard sounds over the Spanish guitar, played by Jody van der Gijze.

"Reaper Of The Keys" is a terrific and incredible Moog & Hammond based song played over a throbbing rhythm section by bass player Iris Sagan & drummer Ludo de Murlanos, which will make most ELP-fans drool!

"P.C. Left Is Right" starts with a mysterious and ominous sounding theme on the oboe, before it evolves in a solid rock song, well-sung this time and with great harmony vocals, a fantastic Moog- solo and an amazing electric guitar solo in the fade out.

"The Final Word" is the main attraction and gives us over 13 minutes of beautiful and dramatic symphonic rock. This time the vocals are very well-sung and this is probably the composition that will please symphonic rock lovers the most.

The album ends in merriment with a stunning instrumental version of the Dutch folksong "Hop Marjanneke". Distorted Memories is an album, that is great fun listening to and it's highly recommendable.

Report this review (#888968)
Posted Sunday, January 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars Are you kidding me?! by the march of 2013 this album is voted as the best album of 2010 ( I hope I can change its place after rating it) and I cant find one (just one) reason to put it even in the top 200 albums of 2010! i never heard of Life Line Project and got this album yesterday for its high ratings and when i listened to it I began to think why someone should rate it 5 stars and i got nowhere! this is a very bad album with a very poor production, most tracks are based on simple melodies that are played with a variety of not pleasant sounds and effects of keyboards. the vocal is poor and the lyrics are ridiculous, and the other instruments (except of keyboards in factt!) are as bad as the whole album itself. i thinks this is an album not worth to hear and i never suggest it to anyone. 0.25 realy
Report this review (#926116)
Posted Thursday, March 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars A great effort for a low budget project from Holland. Completely independent and without fund raising the Dutch Life Line Project have once more succeeded a beautiful and rich orchestrated symphonic rock album with their 2010 production "Distorted Memories". A stunning electric violin, played by Josine Fraaij, a bit like U.K. in the title track and a bit more reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra in "Caelum Aurum", two guitarists alternating in acoustic and electric leads and sometimes joining forces in twin soloing, a throbbing rhythm section consisting of bass and drums and not to forget a beautiful woodwind section, consisting of flute and oboe, no samples this time, but the real stuff, well-skilled musicians, putting their heart in their playing. Listen to the splendid oboe part in the intro of "Left Is Right" or enjoy the bucolic flute playing in "Acoustic Spring". All music is centred around the beautiful, mostly analogue keyboards of Erik de Beer. Some great Moog and Hammond playing can be enjoyed in "Reaper of the Keys", my personal favourite on the album. This time the vocals are taken care of by Maruschka Kartosonto, who has a nice voice, perhaps a bit too thin for the more solid symphonic rock themes, but convincing in the more folk like parts. "The Final Word" is the main attraction of the album, a beautiful symphonic rock composition with room for all musicians and with well-sung vocals. The sound quality in the more heavy parts could have done with a bit more punch, but I think that this is more a budgetary problem. In this time of illegal copying and downloading, I am afraid budgets will only get smaller. The more keyboard dominated parts and the more acoustic parts (with more exotic instruments like lute, mandolin and chitarrone) are all perfectly recorded. The album ends with a very pleasant and sparkling version of a Dutch folk song. A beautiful album which aims to please the listener with well-balanced melodic symphonic rock. Oscillator11.
Report this review (#939102)
Posted Thursday, April 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The reckless productions of Erik de Beer with Life Line Project continue in 2010 with another self-produced album, ''Distorted memories''.The man eventually got a real Mini-Moog in his hands in able to reproduce the monstrous feeling of 70's Prog bands plus he invited Josine Fraaij, whom he knew since his days with Tempesta Consort, to provide some electric violin in a number of pieces.Once more de Beer would draw influences from Folk Music in one track, while the two longer tracks, ''Life line suite'' and ''The final word'', date from the very early years of Life Line Project and the premature act Brancard respectively.

This is propably one of the most uneven releases of Life Line Project.The compositions are mostly excellent with myriads of keyboards and some nice electric guitar tunes and melodies interrupted by acoustic interludes, fine flute parts and the very good violin solos of Fraaji adding a very OUTER LIMITS/MIDAS-like feel to the material.But the bass and drum parts in particular along with a few piano lines sound so robotic, that apparently lower the otherwise well-composed well-pieces.It's like listening to a collection of natural and digital sounds mixed in interplays and the result is really awkward.About 2/3 of the album follow these stylings, still ''Life line suite'' is a really cool Symphonic Rock opus with neurotic keyboard flashing, folky touches and beautiful guitar solos in the vein of ODYSSICE.The following, rural-sounding ''Frozen heart'' with the decent, dreamy voice of Maruschka Kartosonto in evidence and the elegant flute, piano and guitar plays is also very good, especially if you count the powerful keyboard attack at the end of the track.The rest of the pieces are also in a very Neo/Symphonic Prog vein, featuring lots of Mellotron, synthesizers and Mini-Moog exercises, but not near as good as the aforemtioned pieces.Fortunately the later third of the album is pretty uplifting and more convincing, highlighted by the 13-min. ''The final word'', very suitable title, the last word belongs to this piece, no doubt.Bombastic keyboard-drenched Symphonic Prog with breaks into more ethereal moments, sensitive female vocals and some groovy flute work in the middle, containing also great guitar melodies and grandiose piano parts, very tight composition with interesting instrumental themes and endless changing moods.

''Distorted memories'' contains some of very best as well as some of the very mediocre work of de Beer with Life Line Project.The more satisfying tracks are flirting with masterpieces at moments, the less convincing are rather forgettable attempts on dynamic symph-oriented Prog Rock.Recommended release, at least two or three pieces in here are more than amazing.

Report this review (#1392173)
Posted Thursday, April 2, 2015 | Review Permalink

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