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M-Opus - 1975 Triptych CD (album) cover

1975 TRIPTYCH

M-Opus

Symphonic Prog


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4 stars '1975 Triptych' is a wonderfully constructed experience by Irish prog rock band, M-Opus. It's very ambitious and encompasses a wide array of influences that gel together incredibly well. But, let's forget the fact that this record was released in 2015. The band's idea is to recreate the atmosphere of 1975; their tendency to make an album that is on par with the records released in that year puts them in position where Wish You Were Here, The Snow Goose, Caress of Steel, Warrior on the Edge of Time, Godbluff, Free Hand, and dozens of other high-class records, receive a fairly good competition with M-Opus' debut full-length.

As its name suggests, '1975 Triptych' is comprised of three songs, with a monster 34-minute centrepiece 'Different Skies.' These three songs are enough show that the album is intelligent without being too self-indulgent, something that is rare in today's progressive music.

The experimental inclinations in the band's music bring up a special King Crimson influence, what perhaps can be attributed to the fact that singer and keyboardist Jonathan Casey played and toured with violinist David Cross (ex-King Crimson).

'Different Skies' develops slowly, and is enough to go on to make you feel good. The song works as a haunting piece that encapsulates what M-Opus will sound like from here on out. That's easy to conclude that 'Different Skies' is the stand out track on the album. It's a spiralling prog song that constantly adds to itself throughout and flows fast. The closing 'Wasps' follows the familiar suit '1975 Triptych' sets out and closes the album well. It's pushed more towards the spiritually dark music than its predecessors.

All in all, '1975 Tritych' is really something interesting and, I would say, special. The album is expansive, and as noted above it succeeds in its mission to capture the spirit of records released 40 years ago. We may not have founded the time machine yet, but we still have music as the best medium to travel. Grab it now.

Report this review (#1370029)
Posted Wednesday, February 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
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4 stars Irish band M-OPUS is a fairly recent creation, citing 2014 as their formative year. The oddly named "1975 Triptych" is their debut album, and was released in early 2015 through Rude Chord Records, a label I presume is either local and obscure or the band's own label, as I really cannot track down any information about it.

I gather that this is a concept album, where the concept is the music itself: That the album aims to illustrate a triptych dip into the music popular in 1975. Or at least the music that was popular among those with a taste for the slightly more advanced facets of rock going on at that time. I also get a strong impression that the album is rather UK-centric, or possibly Europe-centric, as the greater majority of associations I get when listening to this production points towards British music in general and English artists in particular, with few if any direct associations towards artists hailing from elsewhere. That is merely a personal impression obviously, and one that may or may not be founded by a lack of historical music knowledge.

While I suspect that the band members themselves might disagree, my impression of the opening cut Travelling Man is that it is an amalgam of Genesis and Yes, with the lead vocals and the organ among the details that remind me of the former, while lead guitar, bass and to some extent vocal harmonies are among the aspects that reminds me of the latter. Be that as it may be, I experience this track as a celebration of purebred symphonic progressive rock first and foremost.

The second composition is the epic length, multiple section creation Different Skies, a mammoth piece that clocks in at just over half an hour, and to my mind it nods it's head and tips it's hat to a number of different bands and styles, without coming quite as close as was the case on the opening cut. Personally I noted down Camel, King Crimson and Van der Graaf Generator as some of the possible sources of inspiration for this track, although perhaps in more of an indirect manner on this occasion. For me this sweeping, massive cut comes across as more of a celebration of progressive rock without a purebred symphonic expression, possibly also with a few nods in the direction of what some have dubbed art rock at certain points in time.

The third and concluding piece here is called Wasps, and my impression here is that this is a creation that aims to celebrate the spirit of the bands exploring landscapes of a more folk-tinged and psychedelic nature, with aspects and facets of both the pastoral and the cosmic finding a place here in literal or allegorical shape and sometimes both. Much more of a repetitive creation, with an elongated instrumental section dominating, but arguably also the track with the most striking hypnotic tendencies.

I find "1975 Triptych" to be a pleasant album throughout, although I guess I'm in the minority when my impression is that the relatively short opening and concluding tracks are the most interesting of the songs. The massive second opus is impressive too, but I did find it to be a bit more meandering at times. I rather get the impression that the mix and production have been applied with a retro spirit as well, although that may be down to budget and available options rather than a planned feature. Still, if the aim has been top produce an album that celebrates the (progressive rock) spirit of 1975 I conclude that this goal has been achieved.

Those fond of rock from 1975 in general and progressive rock from that era in general and year in particular should find this band and this album to be a charming production, and the stronger your affection is for music from back then the more I suspect you'll enjoy what this album has to offer.

Report this review (#1640246)
Posted Monday, November 7, 2016 | Review Permalink

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