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DECADE REFERENCE

Salmon

Symphonic Prog


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5 stars Since this album was released it has been my favourite cd. The four Dutchmen composed some beautiful themes, played with technical skills. The singer, Jan Jaap Langereis, has a pleasant voice. He also plays the keyboards. The guitarist (Gerrit Hoogebeen), the bass player (Sven de Haan) and the drummer (Robbert Schuster) know exactly what to play. The group is more important than the individuals so don't expect freaky solos. I have listened to this album at least five hundred times and every time I hear something new. The album was produced by the band itself, but the quality is great. In the seventies a lot of record companies would have signed this band, but nowadays it is almost impossible for bands to get a record deal. So this album was released by the band itself. Imagine what would have been when the boys wouldn't have had enough money to finance the recording and printing of this cd... The magnum opus of this album is the song "A second life with heart and soul", with a lot of changes in rhythm. It lasts over 21 minutes, but it seems like five. Other highlights are Shazz, Trespassing and A void. Is there something I don't like about this album? Yes! I don't like the voice of female guest singer Marina Knip on the song "Dancing bird". Her voice doesn't harmonize with Jan Jaap's. This means that theoretically it is possible to make a better album than this one. I recommend this album to fans of "Forse le lucciole non si amano piu" by Locanda delle Fate. The atmosphere is the same and you can feel the love for melodic captivating music. Salmon, in my opinion, is an orchestra: no note is played if unnecessary and all notes have a meaning. Unfortunately the band split in the beginning of 2005, after the release of their second album.

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Send comments to Clepsydraakje (BETA) | Report this review (#44095)
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is yet another good Dutch bans which should deserve much more attention on such a site. They play a very symphonic music, typical of the seventies but with a fresh angle.

Melodies are so pleasant: being the guitar or the keys. No difference, they are both bombastic and full of passion. If I had one reserve it would be about the lead singer who is not as good as his fellow band mates.

This album is pure melody even if at times mellow like Dancing Bird which features a good vocal part from Marina Knip. She brings some power in here even if this is a gentle and tranquil song.

It can't compete with the excellent A Void. This long song is one of the best track from this album. I have to admit that it sounds maybe too much like a seventies song but I quite like this mood to be honest.

The band is demonstrating his abilities during the epic of this album. A Second Life with Heart and Soul holds lots of ingredients which should please any proghead IMO. After a fine intro, the song enters into a more complex part. If you happen to have heard Genesis, this number will sound familiar to you. Only vocals bring you back on earth.

Apart from the epic and A Void there are no real outstanding songs on the album: each of them are pleasantly designed and should lead to a nice prog discovery. The music is on the soft edge and not too complex; but still beautiful and moving. This is a good album which deserves a lot more than only two reviews with comments. Wake up guys!

Three stars (but seven out of ten is more accurate).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#187747)
Posted Sunday, November 02, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I knew Salmon through their second release, 2004´s When The Dust Settles. I was moved enough to try to find their debut CD and see how they started. Upon hearing it a couple of times it was clear that the band had developed quite a bit since their start recording. Nevertheless, this is a good record considering it is their first. Their strengh and talent is very obvious from the beginning.

This dutch outfit is quite melodic and the musicians are very good. Their songs are more on the softer side of prog, but they are also bombastic and climatic at times, specially during the epic A second life with heart and soul (21:42). I loved the guitar solos on this album: guitarrist Gerrit Hoogebeen has a fine style that reminds me of Andrew Latimer sometimes. Bassist Sven de Haan is a bass virtuoso and even if keyboardsman Jan Jaap Langereis´s vocals aren´t not nearly as good as their instrumental prowness, the overall result is very pleasant and, more important, the band has a personality. Even the simple ballad like Dancing Bird is very poignant (thanks largely to guest singer Marina Knip). And the band was still working their skills (the amazing Gentle Giant-like backing vocals on their second release are still absent here).

The production is only average. Salmon is the kind of band that will please both the symphonic fan and neo prog lovers since the music is both melodic and complex. Very promising. My rating: 3,5 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#221586)
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars Helping the modern Dutch symphonic rock scene being more active and stronger, Salmon were formed in 1997 in Heiloo by singer/keyboardist Jan Jaap Langereis and bassist Sven de Haan.Jan and Sven have been friends since playing together in a progressive cover band and soon they recruited drummer Henk Sonnenberg,who has been also a member of the same band.Through an advertisement they found their guitarist Gerrit Hoogebeen and so the first complete Salmon line-up was a fact.Their first album ''Decade Reference'' was privately pressed in 2001.

The opening double masterpiece ''Prologue/A void'' is a good example of the band's general style:Soft Symphonic Rock with beautiful melodies led by Hoogebeen's guitar and Langereis' piano,sensitive vocals and strong GENESIS/YES hints.Unfortunately the rest of the album in not in the same league,but it is definitely good.''Trespassing'' is a melodic Prog Rock cut with classical-influenced breaks,while ''Dancing bird'' is a very sensitive piano-driven ballad with warm vocal lines.The short acoustic ''Inconceivable'' helps as an intro to the grand epic ''A second life with heart and soul''.Compositionally the track stands well without being outstanding,it contains very strong CAMEL hints in the guitar section combined with classical piano passages and massive changes between complex and mellow ballad-like musiacianship,reminding me a lot of ANYONE'S DAUGHTER.''Houses on Voorde banks'' is a rather too long number,maintaining a vocal/piano-led atmosphere all the way,but things are put on the right way again with ''Shazz''.This one has a strong SPOCK'S BEARD flavor with a catchy sensitive chorus,while Langereis' leaves his piano for some synth soloing.The closing ''The observer'' contains some of the album's greatest guitar work,Langereis' piano is again on the classical side with nice passages,the vocals are very expressive and this one is the second best track after the opening cut.

The first step of Salmon into the prog world was done with the right foot,although the album has more than enough piano sounds and vocals.However,''Decade reference'' is certainly a fine start and the band showed potential for an even brighter future,as the compositions are all good with a nice balance between delicacy and adventure.Recommended for fans of Neo/Symphonic Rock,especially if you like bands in the vein of ANYONE'S DAUGHTER,GENESIS,ROUSSEAU,CAMEL.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#492710)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Salmon - Decade Reference (2001)

Professional trained key and flute player Jan Jaap Langereis found the proper musicians to finally record one of his own progressive rock records after being a prog collector for decades. I met Jan Jaap at the music school of Heiloo, where I myself was working on my own first progressive compositions as a young guitar student. Jan Jaap was so kind to offer me some of his old vinyls of Gentle Giant (which became a favorite band of mine) and some more bands and he also gave me this cd of his own band, Salmon. It is thus noteworthy to mention that it is kind of hard to write an objective review here, but a man does what he can.

Salmon plays symphonic, slightly neo-progressive rock with a certain lightness to it. As main points of reference I would point to Genesis, Gentle Giant and the more intelligent works of Supertramp. Furthermore minor folk influences can be found. The atmosphere's range from slightly optimistic and adventerious to emotional (but not theatrical), back to serious and to playful (some Gentle Giant influences on modern symphonic compositions). Salmon has the capability to wright both shorter and longer compositions without loosing itself. The production of the album surprised me a bit, for this debut albums sounds actually quite warm and thick! Keeping in mind it was recorded in just two days (if I remember it correctly). The lyrics by Jan Jaap are good, but really stand out on the 'A second life and soul'-epic and the short acoustic folk-track 'Inconceivable'.

The song-writing and composition is quite strong throughout, though I would point out that there are some minor flaws in the harmonic interpretations of some bass and guitar lines in relation to the chord progressions. The keys of Jan Jaap Langereis are particularly strong and his assortment of keyboards and synths sound up-to-date but not to midi-like (a sound I dislike). The vocals of Jan Jaap are very pitch-perfect and his voice has a certain calmness in it. The guitars of Gerrit Hoogebeen sound a bit too electronic processed for my tastes, but most of his lines work very well. I really wished that his opening solo on 'A Void' would have been reconsidered. His acoustic sections on 'Prologue' and 'Inconceivable' are however very strong. The bass-guitar of Sven de Haan plays a melodic role on most parts. The drums of Robber Schuster are tight and clean. A bit more guts (heaviness) and jazzy influences wouldn't have hurt here in my humble opinion.

Listening to this album I am impressed by how good it actually is. The tasty ambient sound of 'Prologue', the opening-epic 'A void' with it's many strong sections, the short and folky 'Inconceivable' and the excellent former-side-long epic 'A second life with heart and soul' really stand out for me. The latter has six sub-parts that actually do make sense and the lyrics about future technologies applied on humans are both serious and ironical. The other tracks all have strong sections like the guitar-keyboard cooperation on Trespassing and the nice symphonic interludes on Dancing Bird. My only problem with this album is that it is bit too long for my tastes. The last three songs have to create their own momentum because the tension-bow the album is actually quite finished after the sixt track 'A second..' with it's 22 minutes of duration.

Conclusion. This album perhaps hasn't been a success on the commercial side, but it surely can be called a great artistic achievement for Jan Jaap Langereis and his band. For an album written, played, recorded & released by only the four members of the band this really sound great and more then original enough to be recommended to fans of symphonic prog and neo or crossover prog. Three and a halve stars rounded up.

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#492902)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2011 | Review Permalink

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