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Magic Pie - Motions Of Desire CD (album) cover


Magic Pie

Symphonic Prog

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5 stars This Norwegian rare pearl is something to discover. Wow!!! I was listening to their free download track called Change and recently I received the album. I've been listening to this every day sometimes twice a day and believe me those guys really kicks ass. It's Prog with an edge. Quite an edge actually! Pure prog at other moment. The 2 lead vocals give this group something that is very attractive and different. I'm looking forward to see them live. This debut album is highly recommended.
Report this review (#37013)
Posted Sunday, June 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars What can I say, stumbled across this one by accident, well worth a listen. The opening 20 minute long track really sets the scene and the album just gets better from there on. Prog fans should really check this out. Marvelarse.
Report this review (#41941)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Actually i just stumbled upon this band too, and i must say i was very impressed. Great vocals, superb keyboards and outstanding guitar moments. If you like your music in the symphonic rock style then this is for you. Moments of SPocks Beard, the Flower Kings, even Floyd and early Genesis in there somewhere. At times they even rock like Deep Purple! gotta be a good thing!... With a lot of dross about at the moment this is a breath of fresh prog air!
Report this review (#43521)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars WOW!!!!!! a great album!! Super symphonic prog in the way of Spock's beard. the only thing that is bad about this album id the drum sound but everything else is superb. Great songs, well written and great musicianship. Somes sections reminds me of Saga. Bravo Magic Pie !!!!
Report this review (#43567)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars WOW!!!! This one is mindblowing! If you liked Transatlantic, then this album is recommended. The first song is a 20 minute epic with great melody, stunning guitars and keys, driving rhythms and.. Oh man, the vocals are great!!!! I'm a big fan of DT and because of that I listened also to Transatlantic. But I have to admit, the guys from Magic Pie take it all in a higher gear. I try to sit stil and listen but that's impossible. The energy and musicianship is great! The softer side of the band is less appealing to me, but it makes the album more versatile. Can they do this live???? I'm looking forward to see them!

****1/2 because it's their debut. Very Recommended!!!!!!!!!!!

Report this review (#45700)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent Debut from a Visionary band .!

This is a debut album from a band coming out of Norway who destined to be a progressive band with musical concept combining the seventies roots of prog with modern music. Reading from the band's website I can consider that this band is visionary about they want to go in the future with the passage of life. Their debut album "Motions of Desire" depicts clearly their dream for the future. As stated the album title probably is the most representative as the framework for the future of the band, and probably also stands as the band´s true musical Motions Of Desire.. Wow! What a visionary philosophy. It's truly a progressive dream.

Magic Pie emerged some three years ago. The members came from a wide variety of musical background, each one previously playing in several bands and projects of different genre. Actually the band first started out playing cover-songs along with a couple of own songs. After fooling around with the covers for a while, suggestions were made to cut them out and completely go for own songs. This proved to be a major turn point, and really set the band into work mode... .Magic Pie feel fortunate with what could to be perfect timing for releasing progressive rock, which at the moment seems to be heading for a full worldwide renaissance... [excerpts from the band's website].

The band is not bullying with their vision for the future as they kick off this debut with a mind boggling title which has been a common day to day conversations in corporate and business world: CHANGE! Yeah man ..most management gurus have been talking about it for the last five or ten years, I think. Even Jack Welch when he was CEO of GE did say it: "Change your tire while you're driving your car!". It's clear that to survive in today's competitive business environment we have to reinvent ourselves continuously. Change is the only constant thing in life. Progheads knew it as well even when Genesis penned their lyrics for Firth of Fifth "The river of constant change .." or Jon and Vangelis with "Change We Must" or Yes with "Changes".

So is the case with Magic Pie, they set CHANGE as their strategic imperative for their music direction. Look at the composition of first track "Change": it's totally a mixed up styles but arranged neatly so it forms a music with a coherent structure. You can hardly identify exactly what kind of music these gentlemen are playing. At first impression I thought it's a progressive metal music as the opening part comprises heavy guitar riffs. But I'm cheated because what follows is not a metal music anymore, even for me is a kind like neo progressive music with floating guitar solo and keyboard sound. It then suddenly changes its style to upbeat riffs when vocal enters the music with arrangement that has elements of ELP sound. You can also hear the sounds or nuances of Procol Harum, Dream Theater and keyboard work that sounds like Ken Hensley. Getting confused? Yes, it is. But, don't get me wrong; the music is excellent. This opening track consumes 20 minutes in duration.

"Motions Of Desire" (6:32) sounds to me like Kansas meets Uriah Heep. Indeed the lead vocal voice is like David Byron in this track. The music is upbeat with relatively fast tempo - great keyboard work. "Full Circle Poetry" (14:15) begins with neo prog style with excellent flamenco guitar acoustic style. Some styles are also merged into this track: prog met and reggae. It's an excellent arrangement. "Without Knowing Why"(7:55) starts with great guitar solo and riffs (in the vein of progmet music) followed with punctuated rhythm section and powerful vocal, plus Keith Emerson-like keyboard sound. The electric guitar work is really awesome - with full distortion; and it rocks! Keyboard sound is like neo prog music scene. It's a great track that becomes my favorite track altogether with Change. Oh man . this is what prog music should sound! TERRRRRIIIFFFFFFIIIIIICCCCC ..!!!!!! IT ROCKS MAN!!!!

The epic "Illusion & Reality" which comprises three tracks merge another diverse musical styles. At first section the style is like a neo prog music but it gradually changes into prog metal riffs with stunning organ sounds, multi vocals part and heavy riffs that really rock! The tempo changes swiftly with great harmony between keyboard and prog metal guitar riffs. The sounds produced are really excellent and give an excellent experience enjoying it. It the changes again to neo prog style. Strange but nice; really. The album concludes with a great track "Dream Vision" (7:50) which features heavy riffs, acoustic guitar fills and electric guitar solo. The music has some symphonic touch as well; combined with prog met. The keyboard solo is really excellent. Overall, it's unique and very entertaining . especially if you have heard many styles of prog music. You name it, everything is here except space psychedelic.

I tend to give this debut album with five stars. But for the time being it's fair enough to give four stars: excellent addition to any prog music collection; because I have listened it in its entirety only four times and I don't want to give hallo effects here. I may upgrade the rating to five stars later.. The style and composition of the music are top notch. Highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#46809)
Posted Friday, September 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Norway has been known in the recent past for some heavy music like progresssive metal, doom metal or straightforward metal, true progressive rock is not so popular, unlike their Swedish brothers. But that will certainly change with this debut album, because you won't find anything more progressive than this 'Motions of Desire'. Even prog icons like The FLOWER KINGS and SPOCK'S BEARD have changed direction, their 'die hard' fans are not happy at all with this situation. Maybe those fans should open their minds, because MAGIC PIE picks up the pieces, where the aforementioned bands have left it. Their music holds the middle between symphonic rock of the seventies and modern neo-progressive influences. This band can already get the title of 'revelation of the year 2005'.

Founded in 2002 they initially played a lot of covers, but they were far more ambitious. If course, you can hear a lot of influences from the recent and not so recent past, but the compositions are very inventive and inspired. Lead guitar player Kim Stenberg is without any doubt the driving force behind the group, next to his brilliant guitar playing he is also responsible for most of the compositions, production, mixing and even the artwork. But this is certainly no guitar album, on the contrary, because especially the 'vintage Hammond' and synthesizers of Gilbert Marshall give the music that extra progressive dimension.

The epic of 20 minutes 'Change' illustrates perfectly where it's all about for MAGIC PIE, you get everything you could expect from a progressive track. The interplay between guitar and keyboards is very characteristic, the vocal harmonies and the numerous tempo changes are making this track an absolute masterpiece and already the first highlight on the cd. But don't think that the music always stays 'gentle', because very often it gets a lot heavier with riffs, that may be compared to DEEP PURPLE and ATOMIC ROOSTER. You can hear some acoustic jazzy fragments as well, in fact it is nearly impossible to describe entirely this track, there are so many different music styles. And there is still almost one hour of music to come, too much you should you think, but they succeed to keep this same high level throughout the entire album, one could ask if they will ever be able to equal this.

'Motions of Desire' has clearly a MARILLION feeling (also vocally), with a catchy keyboard riff, a dreamy guitar solo and beautiful vocals (the two lead singers are very complementary). Just like the first tracks 'Full Circle Poetry' starts with ambient sounds, it has some BEATLES influences, but it reminds more of earlier SPOCK'S BEARD or other TRANSATLANTICS. 'Without knowing why' sounds a bit heavier and is a bit different from the first part of the album, although the synthesizers always add that progressive 'touch'. But just listen to the extraordinary guitar solos of Stenberg, he may easily be compared with the other Scandinavian guitar masters.

Illusions & Reality Part 1 starts a bit folky (flute) and very gentle, but it continues into 'heavy progressive rock', especially Part 3 (where is Part 2?) is more into progressive metal (with a touch of DREAM THEATER). 'Dream Vision' ends the album right where it started, unequalled musical diversification, complex but yet accessible.

It came across my mind to give the maximum score to this album, but the production can certainly be improved, the only minor point, easily to work around in the future. This album will certainly be in many lists at the end of this year, seldom you will hear such an amazing debut album. Buy this stuff!!

My rating: 9,5/10

Review by Claude 'Clayreon' Bosschem

Report this review (#46812)
Posted Friday, September 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It appears the heroes of traditional progressive rock in the last half of this decade will not Spock's Beard or The Flower Kings. Who the hell needs Octane and Adam & Eve anyways? Magic Pie's Motions of Desire picks up where bands like TFK and SB left off and we, the fans, no longer have to feel cheated and disappointed.

"Change", the mp3 given on this site, very well sums up this debut in regard to the talent every member has. This 20 minute epic has numerous kinds of prog packed together. Everything from Genesis (Good keyboards) to Gentle Giant (3 vocalists leading) to Deep Purple and even some say Marillion. Never could I have imagined Norway would produce such an amazing band that even rivals and sometimes surpasses the best this century has thus far had to offer in prog rock. In "Change" it's easy to hear the classic-rock and 70's prog-rock influences. But what of the all the other tracks on "Motions of Desire"? Change is my favorite at the moment, but believe me, I thuroughly enjoy every song on this album. Why? Because The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard have indeed let me down the past 2-3 years, and I need new inspiration/entertainment. Have no fear, Magic Pie is here.

If you're considering downloading/buying this album: I say if you can enjoy the major 70's prog-rock groups such as Yes, Genesis, ELP, Pink Floyd, Camel, and etc. then yes this album is worth the $15-20 for sure. If you're sick of Feel Euphoria and Octane, and sick of Adam and Eve and Rainman, you will love Magic Pie.

"Kim Stenberg", the guitarist, is much more prominent and recognizable then Neal Morse ever has been, listening to Stenberg alone relieves my ears from all the crappy music that's circulating around the world today, and I believe there's hope for prog rock once again.

Also if you like Magic Pie's Motions of Desire, I suggest picking up Salem Hill (Albums: Be, and The Robbery of Murder) and Little Atlas (Album: Wonderlust) as well.

This debut is something special, perhaps the Pie can carry the torch for a few years as Marillion, Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, and The Flower Kings have. Only time will tell...

Report this review (#48274)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars After the cascade of euphoric reviews (only a certain Brian is a naughty boy..), I decided to order this album from the Norwegian band Magic Pie. To me this bandname sounds as a Sixties psychedelic group but it's really 2005. During the first track (20 minutes)I got more and more excited, what a good musicians and what a varied and dynamic progrock! At some moments they sound a bit polished but in general I'm delighted about Magic Pie. The other compositions (between 3 and 15 minutes) blew me away: the one moment you hear mellow music with acoustic guitar, the other moment the climate is bombastic with propulsive heavy guitar riffs and swirling organplay. Their alternating and powerful music evokes Yes, Gentle Giant, Kansas, Genesis, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple but in my opinion Magic Pie is far from a derivative!


Report this review (#49015)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a new band from Norway and what a blast for their first album.I give 5 stars (but not a masterpiece,but close).It's a mix of FLOWER KINGS-SPOCK'S BEARD DREAM THEATER-DEEP PURPLE-AYERON AND EVEN RIVERSIDE FOR THE VOCALS.Good guitar and organ interplay.a lots of hammond organ.75 minutes of good prog.the only weak part (for my taste) is a 2-3 minutes of flamenco guitar and electric piano jam in the first track who is a 20 min so not bad hein!this cd will be inthe top 5 for sure for 2005.Listen tonight between 8:30 and 9:00 I will play 30 minutes of this excellent cd on = (chuo 89,1 fm) LA VILLA STRANGIATO= PROG SHOW POTS
Report this review (#51647)
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am almost lost for words. ALMOST I said. I have been exposed to so much good music by people recently that I feel as though I have won the Golden Ticket to a prog wonderland. I am ashamed to admit that I was unaware of how influential Norway is, or has become. Magic Pie are awesome and this album just HAS to be checked out. Opening track 'Change' is superlative and at twenty mnutes length is a feast of fun. I never felt the urge to skip to the next track at any point during it. It has many influences throughout and has a middle passage with a latin feel to it. It also has a 70s prog vibe but does NOT feel dated - the musicians are masterclass and I'd love to hear this track live. They must have known this track is destined to become a CLASSIC. Stadium-prog anyone? The title track comes next and at only six and a half minutes is one of the shorter tracks. It builds up nicely, the keyboards are lush and feature prominently (as they SHOULD in a prog band ha!) - I just love that organ sound. This is another excellent track and it begins to dawn that just maybe there are NO obvious fillers on this album. God, please let this band tour the UK soon and dont miss out where I live! 'Full Circle Poetry' comes next, at fourteen minutes the second longest. It starts a bit Yes-like then becomes Magic Pie-like. It will become a compliment to be compared to this band because they are class. Again synths are given as much prominence as other instruments and this track has a funky almost reggae-like edge to it. The fourth track 'Without Knowing Why' opens with di Meola-sounding phrases, again the organ/synthesiser is up there almost in tandem as a rhythm-guitar one minute and lead the next. Next comes the tri-partite 'Illusion & Reality'. Over eighteen minutes in total and a journey through styles and ifluences. The middle part has a more metallic,rockier theme and I can cope with that anytime. The last section has Camel brushstrokes without losing the bands own identity. The eigt and final track is 'Dream Vision' - again I am reminded of di Meola (in both electric/acoustic guitar). Its a superb track again and leaves you wanting more. I have to say that this album is ESSENTIAL listening because you will have to know what you are talking about when others discuss it, and discuss it they WILL.
Report this review (#56016)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony R
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars This Norwegian band plunder every single prog rock motif from 1970 - 2000 for this their debut yet somehow it works! We are presented with six tracks of the most joyous celebration of Prog Rock music I have heard in years and this album is a must for all lovers of Symphonic Prog from the "Golden Era".

This six piece are very strong musicians,but pride of place goes to keyboard player Gilbert Marshall who literally taunts us with his array of vintage sounds,at once conjuring up echoes of Tony Kaye-era Yes and the majestic mellotron of the young Tony Banks.

The opener,'Change', is to my ears at least, the weakest track on the album,over- ambitious in its attempt to sustain itself over 20 minutes whilst paying homage to everyone from Yes to Gentle Giant.In naming it the weakest track on the album, I am speaking relatively-these are high standards on display here!

'Motions Of Desire' with its catchy keyboard riff reminds me of Misplaced Childhood era Marillion,in fact it is so upbeat it rivals Heart Of Lothian in the Prog Anthem stakes.Lovely.

'Full Circle Poetry' starts full of pomp with marching drums and swirling keys then mellows out into acoustic guitar.Lulling the listen into a false sense of security it suddenly unleashes a funky reggaesque rhythm which perfectly compliments the nice vocal.An interesting experiment that the band pulls off with aplomb.

Next up is 'Without Knowing' the most aggressive track on the album allowing guitarist Kim Stenberg to flex his muscles and whilst he moves into Floydian territory in the spacey end section of the track,there is enough here to suggest that these guys can challenge any of the top neo-proggers with their chops.

'Illusion and Reality' is a three part excursion into the full pantheon of Prog History,quoting Rush,Kansas,Dream Theater,Yes and Camel.At times the urge to rock out can be a tad intrusive but this is a minor quibble given the overall high standard.

Last up is 'Dream Vision' starts with portentious keyboards before breaking into lush arpeggiated guitar and then flamenco.I love the way this album twists and turns and manages to surprise and delight in equal measures.Beautiful synth breaks and strident guitar give this album the ending it deserves.

So all in all a polished package,that took me a couple of listens to appreciate.Initially it reminded me of Transatlantic but deeper investigation reveals a beast far better than those short-lived mercenaries.Beg,buy or steal this-this lot could be huge!

Report this review (#56068)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 2005 best kept secret.

Almost everything's been done in progressive rock. So many great bands emerged, it's head cracking to find something fresh and genuine in the market. The newest fashion could be electronica or the sudden empahasis of metal progressive. Talking about metal, the genre tooked so much space in 3 years, and guess what? Magic Pie is tending a tad towards it.

Norway is perhaps THE country exporting the most viking/ power prog in the known universe. Magic Pie is certainly influenced by this national caracteristic. But, this is much more than showing off what you can do. And Magic Pie is not only showing off, it's really something fresh and intelligent. For a first album, this is convincing, mature and comforting (considering the mucho dineros you paid for it). They should've print on the cover: 'Great replay value'. The big Granny Smith apple didn't attract me at first, I was scared of a Spock's Beard clone or worst, another Transatlantic / Flower Kings wannabe.To me, this is a sceal of longevity. Not because it's ticking an impressive 75 minutes, but the richness and the enjoyment the record provides.

Yes, this record is happy, happy, happy merry little bunny. This rocks in every songs, not much quiet moments and some parts are simply anthem to sing out loud. Much like the Flower Kings, but with much more testosterone in the guitar and keyboard rythms. Some parts are almost as hot as Riverside, many times I wondered if somebody changed the record without telling me. The first 3 songs are quite Spock's Beard/ FK but the rest is getting more original with more keyboard solos (a la Signals from Rush) and fierce energy. Good, good material with both of the best worlds.

A very nice gift from a fantastic year that's been 2005.

A safe choice. Very much like an attractive accountant.

Report this review (#58352)
Posted Sunday, November 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars according to me, the best prog cd of 2005, however the true revelation of the year. Preferibile to Riverside' 2 syndrome (so much celebrated by the readers) especially in the field of 'prog' feeling ! The group is Norwegian, but the sound is, IMHO, very similar to certain American groups (es ECHOLYN) For all the 74 minutes of the CD, we can hear fantastic intuitions, superb arrangements, vocal melodies in a true kaleidoscope of sounds and with a absolutely uncommon dynamism. It' s remarkable too the technical skill of the musicians and very good is the voice of the singer. So, giving less than five stars to a work like this in these times would be a true crime. like not buying it..
Report this review (#61728)
Posted Monday, December 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4,5 stars really ; One of the finest albums of 2005. "Motions of desire" has nothing specific new to offer, it's just that the music on this record is extremely enjoyable. The compositions are very well crafted, the melodies seem vivid and inspired and the musician ship is awesome. On "Motions of desire", you'll find a powerful kind of prog which includes meaty old fashioned organs, powerful guitar riffs all over the place, fizzling Moogs and beautiful harmonic vocals. Their major influences are obvious. Especially the heyday of Kansas & Deep Purple comes to mind when hearing their mind blowing sound. When focussing on the harmonic vocals, Styx & Echolyn also come to mind. Despite the energetic sound, many musical details can be spotted in the elaborate guitars solo's, excerpts of acoustic guitars & flute. Despite the complex changes in moods and rhythms, this albums needs not too much spins to get into and maybe this is the reason for its brilliancy. I guess the awesome chords and the dominant melodies add to the accessibility. The melodies are inspired and dominate the tracks but again, the arrangements that enwrap the melodies are great.

Let's take a look at some tracks. "Change" is a complex epic which has a lot of varied musical excerpts and a marvellous chorus. For me, the highlight of this album is "Full circle poetry", another extended piece of a complex nature. Some familiar sounding Yes elements are noticeable, especially in the vocals & guitar parts. The very different parts include a slice of reggae. You'll hardly notice the different flavours of the several sections cause they flow into one another so smoothly.. The title track shows an atmospheric side of the sound of the band. Here, the tempo is much slower and gradually more sounds are added to the basic melodies. The Deep Purple & Kansas influences are undeniable on "Without knowing why", the most accessible track of the bunch due to the appealing melodies. The second part of the song is built around an appealing keyboard/guitar line. "Dream vision" must be the oddest song of the bunch due to the dark atmosphere & the mix of calm & vivid excerpts.

Conclusion : a highly enjoyable album with sparkling sing a long melodies and exciting instrumental parts. It's almost unbelievable this is a debut album, expectations for the next album will be extremely high. I can't discover any flaws at all in "Motions of desire". Maybe the vocals could use a tad personality but that's only a minor complaint. The production is decent, quite similar to the seventies albums of other bands mentioned above. A modern sound wouldn't fit in on this kind album anyway. Some may call this music old fashioned but I would prefer to call it timeless. Just like the seventies albums from Styx & Kansas this music has an uplifting mood. If you like music that's complex, melodic and powerful at the same time then you should check this one out.

Report this review (#66036)
Posted Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have to thank the people who created this site - I came across it just a couple of weeks ago and since then have been immersed in a world I didn't believe still existed - but PROG RULES!! After all these years!

I am old enough to remember the first incarnations of Floyd, Yes and Genesis, and all the other greats, and I'd despaired of finding bands that had the same creativity and musicianship in the 21st century, but they're all here - not all to my taste, but still flying the prog flag with pride.

And (so far) Magic Pie are the cream of the crop. They have the ability to create soundscapes and vistas that hark back to the best of Yes (Fragile, CTTE, Relayer) with shades of Camel, and have a bright, enthusiastic approach to their production which really lifts your heart. It's the joyous nature of the sound that really attracts me these guys are enjoying themselves hugely, and aren't going down the angst-ridden route so many of the neo-prog groups follow.

I'm only giving this four stars since I've only listened to the album about 10 times, and it is their debut. But let's hope it's the first of many - already they're better than the Flower Kings, and way ahead of most of the other young pretenders...

Report this review (#69064)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Yet another powerful contemporary progressive band to emerge from Scandinavia, the Norweigan sextet Magic Pie play a convincing brand of complex hard rock that has just enough commerciality (believe it or not, the 20 minute opener Change has a catchy singalong chorus) to suggest that this group is excellently placed to make a breakthrough (in a Flower Kings sort of way). Indeed to my mind, Magic Pie is distinctly less reflective of the "Scandinavian sound" that the superior bands Anglagard and Wobbler have, and while their 70s arena rock and occasional progressive metal flavours should help sell tickets, it does make the band just a little too slick for my blood. That shouldn't give you the impression that Motions Of Desire isn't enjoyable though, because it is.

Aside from the afore-mentioned chorus, Change also boasts Arabic motives, as well as pleasing slide guitar, warm organ sounds, a fascinating acoustic guitar solo about 12 minutes in from Kim Stenberg, followed by Gilbert Marshall's electric piano. Indeed, the band pull off the trick of mantaining high energy levels for 20 minutes. The title track is another highlight with a very nice synth solo from Marshall and Full Circle Poetry rides on an excellent "fanfare" style riff, some tasterful reggae inflections and ballsy guitar work, although the unmistakable stench of Euro-cheese tinged hair-rock occasionally intrudes.

I'm pretty sure that the switching around of lead vocalists hurts this band, as it deprives Magic Pie of the opportunity to express a little bit more personality. Without Knowing Why, the heaviest track is generally a little bit too much like a Zakk Wylde or Steve Vai track, although thankfully Marshall steps in halfway and saves the song with a nice interlacing melody that leads to a well-paced synth solo. Metallic energy informs the three part Illusion & Reality which is full of thrill-a-minute runs that will set pulses racing (or is "Rush-ing" more appropriate in this case?).

While the running time of 75 minutes certainly does see the band overstay its welcome, I still consider Motions Of Desire to be a very listenable record, and is hopefully the harbinger of more exciting things to come. As I said though, I'd recommend that a newcomer to the scene start with Wobbler's Hinterland or one of the two Anglagard classics (Hybris and Epilog) first. ... 58% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#69396)
Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars An impressive debute release to say the least. Given the look of grey hair from a couple of the band members, you can tell they have a good deal of maturity that belies a debut release. The music harkens back to the days when Kansas, Deep Purple, and Uriah Heep roamed the earth with authority. I don't see that much Genesis or Yes in there style and would more classify this band as Art Rock. Not that any of this is bad, quite to the contrary. The music is fantastic, and even when it isn't, it's still inspired. Changes is an incredible epic song. I, for one, love long songs because it gives me a chance to really sink into the music. This song has everything a Kansas/Purple/Heep fan could want. Great rocking sound, high quality musicianship and vocal harmonies. The bad also makes great use of music styles like switching to a wonderful acoustic guitar sequence in Changes or even mixing in some reggae in the case of Full Circle Poetry making it quite a unique composition.

I don't think you can go wrong with this album. It is definitely a classic rock throwback without being lost in the past or lost in their influences. This disc can be a bit tricky to track down in the USA, so look for an importer. I picked it up for about $20, and it's worth every cent.

Report this review (#70949)
Posted Thursday, March 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ever since I first heard V by Spock's Beard, I've been looking for another band with the same quality of musicianship and sheer talent that the Beard embodied when Neal Morse was still with the Beard. I think I've finally found what I'm looking for. Motions of Desire is the album that Neal Morse should have made with the Beard after Snow. As it turns out, Magic Pie picked right up without missing a beat. Grand and epic songwriting, masterful musicianship, catchy hooks, and odd time signatures all lend themselves to a very strong and epic sounding debut release from Magic Pie.

Although Motions of Deire is reminiscent of a mix between Genesis, Kansas, Marillion, and even a little Yes thrown in for good flavor, there is actually more modern influences than anything else. Spock's Beard, Transatlantic, and to a lesser extent Echolyn all come to mind when I listen to this album. Some will probably say that Magic Pie tries to sound too much like these bands while not lending enough of their own sound. While they definitely wear their influences on their sleeve, all of the band members seem to lend their own unique style and sound to the album.

All in all, I wouldn't go so far as to yet say this album is a "Masterpiece of progressive music" (whatever your definition of that is). The operative word here is "yet." It's simply too soon to tell. There are far too many people here on the site claiming that modern bands are producing masterpieces. For example, both Riverside and Mars Volta are in the top 100 artists of all time here. Albeit, these bands do produce quality work, when compared to Genesis, Yes, Rush, Tull, ELP (the list goes on) these bands are in their infancy. The same can be said for Magic Pie. Let them develop for a few years (or decades) and let them stand the test of time, then maybe, we can refer to these emerging gems as masterpieces. Until then, just enjoy them for what they are...awesome modern prog.

Report this review (#75296)
Posted Monday, April 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
2 stars 2.5 stars. Keyboards galore ! If you enjoy bombastic, keyboard driven music stop right here. When I was listening to this record, I couldn't help but think that it was this type of over the top, bombastic, pretentious music that turned so many people against prog in the late seventies.That may not be a fair or popular statement to make, especially in connection with MAGIC PIE, because these guys have so much talent, and there is so much that I love on this record. It's just that when i'm enjoying some of the beautiful melodies then bam ! An outburst of keys at a million miles an hour.These short blasts of keys ruin it for me. But that's just my opinion and thoughts.

My favourite passages are in "Motions Of Desire" and "Full Circle Poetry", and of course it's the pastoral passages that I love. I really like the first two minutes of "Illusion & Reality (part 1)" the flute is warm and I like the atmosphere. There is some great guitar work on "Illusion & Reality (part 4)".

This one is a difficult one for me to enjoy unfortunately.

Report this review (#101181)
Posted Thursday, November 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Sorry chaps, there's nothing 'progressive' about this album. This is just another attempt to resurrect classic 1970s 'hard rock', with various bits of prog keyboard chucked in for good measure.

Somewhat cryptically, the band announce (on the CD's sleeve) that "CHANGE, closely backed up by themes in the next songs, today probably are [sic!] the most representative as the framework for the future of the band". Heaven knows what they are trying to tell us here, but it's obvious that Magic Pie will need to go through a few CHANGES before they're actually playing the music of the future.

The album opens with a 'cascade' of fast notes played by lead guitar, organ, bass and drums in perfect unison - a figure that will be repeated so often it soon becomes tiring. On at least two other tunes the band make extensive use of the same technique (of playing rapidly in unison), and this inevitably distracts the listener from the tunes themselves.

Another defect is the band's habit of singing no less than THREE of the (anthem-like) climaxes to their tunes in chorus, with an extra vocalist belting out variations on the main melody in the background. All vocals are meant to be Highly Earnest - about 'hope for a better tomorrow', learning to distinguish between 'illusion and reality' and such. I read a review which described MOTION OF DESIRE as 'Kansas meets Uriah Heep' - so you get the picture. I used to think Frank Zappa had dealt the over-the-top vocals of 'idealistic' stadium rock a fatal blow with his parodies on SHEIK YERBOUTI and other thirty-year old albums... Apparently I was wrong. 'Does humor belong in music?' Maybe someone should ask Magic Pie.

Someone should also inform the band that some of their lyrics do not exactly mean what they're expecting them to mean, e.g. 'I will lead you to a better future/I will give shelter to the poor/Give me your hand and I'll show you the door'. These words may be set to one of the catchiest melodies on the album, but didn't a single soul in that recording studio realize that 'showing someone the door' means kicking them out?

Such blemishes are a shame, really, since there's quite a bit of promising material on MOTIONS OF DESIRE. The title song, for example, is truly majestic and almost Springsteen-like in its sweep; it carries the listener away. Something similar could be said about the final tune, 'Dream Vision' (in spite of those pedestrian vocals): great power chords, infectious rhythm. All over the album you'll find exciting, truly inspired keyboard solos by Gilbert Marshall.

But someone should beg Kim Stenberg, the leader of Magic Pie, to chuck out his over-the-top 'heavy' guitar embellishments!

Report this review (#103003)
Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars So, this is what Prog has come to. Just as I've been predicting for the last ten years or so, the unquestioning acceptance of Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings (and worse, Dream Theater) as some sort of leaders of Prog has made it possible to turn out an album like this, call it Progressive Rock and not get lynched.

While many of the very surface elements of Prog are in evidence here, the heart of it has been crudely excised with a rusty spoon. The core of the songs here is simple catchy Hard Rock, clichéd Metal and very basic Pop. Added on top of that: some Metal flash and a boatload of soulless proggery.

While I will admit that certain intrumental passages - although far from the majority of them - do inspire some occasional hope, that's almost immediately dahsed by some a Van Halen-style fingertap cadence solo figure, a common-as-dirt Rock riff or some hideously mainstream vocal bit.

But that seems to be par for the course for modern Prog; mainstream forms and figures are embedded with well-mimicked Prog tropes to make some hideous hybrid; like a mad geneticist's salmon-greyhound mix which neither runs nor swims.

Even though this isn't my cup of tea, since it is far too sugary sweet and ultimately vapid, I can certainly understand what people like about it. What I just can't understand is that they have the gall to call it Prog.

Report this review (#119519)
Posted Monday, April 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars What a splendidly accomplished debut album this is. I'd recommend it without reservation to any fan of symphonic rock.

Within the first three minutes MAGIC PIE lay it all before us. 'This is what we're like', their music says. 'Yes, we have taken our sound from the golden age of progressive rock, but we've incorporated more recent advances in production and musicianship.' In particular their music has a harder edge than much symphonic rock. The result is pleasing to the ear, without being overly challenging to the mind. Older '70s progheads, in particular, will be able to reminisce to this music. I rate them above Scandinavian contemporaries WOBBLER, but still inferior to THE FLOWER KINGS. I hope that helps those trying to decide whether to lay down their readies for this record.

But there are problems. Foremost are the lyrics: perhaps there are problems in translation, but they are twee at best and downright appalling at worst. Second, they have not built an album carefully enough: it takes many listens to distinguish the songs with any certainty. Thirdly, there are too many moments that make the listener think s/he is listening to some other band: the opening drumming on the title track is a case in point. Has my playlist defaulted to MARILLION'S ' Assassing'? And finally the vocals are average at best.

My favourite track, 'Full Circle Poetry', is one I include on any showcase of modern progressive sounds for my jaded '70s friends who no longer listen to music, and many of them report an immediate bond with the track. If you like this song, chances are you'll love the album.

Nearly a four-star album, then: if only it had better lyrics, I'd plump for four stars without a doubt. I look forward to 'Circus of Life' with a deal of anticipation.

Report this review (#135569)
Posted Friday, August 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Wow! One fo the best prog releases of the new millenium! High caliber prog music from Norway. Like Steve Gardiner wrote in his review of this album I too have to thank the people of this site: I was reading an album review and found this band. I liked the name (was it taken from the Flower Kings song of the same name? I guess so...) But I was not ready for the music they made. This is one of the best CDs I bought this year and I keep listening to it over and over again.

Miagc Pie´s style reminds of their swedish neighbor The Flower Kings. But with more melody and less of the latter´s jazz rock experiments and psycholdelic trends. And with 3 lead singers, the band has some of the best harmony vocals I´ve seen in prog music. In the second part of Change, fro exemple, the harmonies remind of the complex structures of Gentle Giant. Strong rooted in the 70´s classic bands, Magic Pie neverthelesss has its own sound from the get go. They are not novices and do a great job without ego battles. Obviously they are all masters of their instruments, but they don´t use song structures as an excuse for self indulgent displays of virtuosity. Here everything falls into place at the right time. A real group that plays for the music sake. I hope they keep it that way.

Motions Of Desire is a fantastic debut, with lots of organ runs, moog solos and great guitar melodies. The track list is smooth from start to finish, with no filler or weak parts. I probably should give them 4 stars, but I find it to be too good even for that. With a mixture of beautiful, simple melodies and intricated arrangements, the music is original, yet familiar, complex, and still accessible. Maybe the best release of 2005. 5 stars, no less. Highly recommended for any prog lover.

Report this review (#137559)
Posted Monday, September 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars As a debut this album is good.

Very eklectic rhythms and styles, very percussive approach with very tight drumming and guitar work. Perhaps a tendancy towards overdoing things at times, certainly the listener initially has little idea what to expect next (I mean this in a positive way). Clear melody and direction with the right amount of development at the appropriate moments.

Elements of METAL and SYMPHONIC are both evident, though not necessarily at the same time - part of not knowing what is coming next... 3 stars rounded up for sheer audacity.

Report this review (#146728)
Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The rating for this album is actually quite simple: you put the disc in your player, listen to the first song and you know enough. This is a very obvious case of 5 stars. Of course it's very clever of Magic Pie starting with the best track. But what an UN-BE-LIE-VA-BLE track that is ! Change can compete with the best symphonic material ever made, it's that good. Only slight criticism I can make is the performance of the composition. I mean Magic Pie are very good musicians but not really smooth. If you like that, you're somewhat off the mark here. Magic Pie is a little rough in the execution without playing poorly by the way, there is not a false note to be found in their music. Besides, it does not deminish the music on this album in any way. It's just that if you compare it to Pendragon or Clepsydra for instance it's an entirely different sound.

Change is a perfect 5* and is recommended for lovers of great compositions with lots of variety within the epic, twists and turns that make sense and still make a complete song in the end. Although it's the very highlight for me the other tracks are very much worthwhile too. There is Full circle poetry another tremendous Epic and Illusion and Reality, hardly any less. The other 3 shorter tracks stand out less though they are not bad at all.

This band is a great asset to prog music particularly where the symphonical compositional aspect is concerned and is definitely a match for the great ones in symphonic history

Report this review (#148405)
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Here is a fine example of a new much ballyhooed prog debut that, after countless attempts and various mood preparations, I just can't fawn over with my usual unabashed praise (I am wrongly accused of being overgenerous with our solar-stellar rating system but I just review/purchase the ones I like and most prog I just love anyway, faults and all). In a nutshell, that these Norwegians can play and sing, there is no doubt. But can they do it well? The opener "Change" best illustrates the good and the evil in their musical philosophy, a musical encyclopedia of all prog/prog-related genres (with numerous corny/clichéd touches that my well-worn ears have heard before), way too many ingredients and genres mixed up hodge-podge: pseudo jazz guitar flourishes meshed with some mercifully short scat singing which just does not cut any mustard, ersatz hard rock noodlings and an unimaginative metal vocal posturing that goes absolutely nowhere (a la Styx/Boston/Spooky Tooth), bluesy escapades that try to evoke Traffic but fail and finally, a holier than thou lyrical package that is (" I will lead you to a better tomorrow") just plain grotesque . I just can't, sorry! Next up, "Motions of Desire" is a bit better but remains very predictable, almost as bland as the most commercial neo-prog out there, again ruined by an overall mood that sounds fake and totally unoriginal, lowlighted by a wimpy lead guitar solo that plays with the melody instead of igniting it. "Full Circle Poetry" is more like full circle poverty, as a bland melody is led by a militaristic beat, evolving into a strange bluesy lament that morphs into a synth foray that plods on and then developing into a heavier vocal segment, with occasional revisits of the earlier themes. Prog's musical version of Debbie does Dallas! Absolutely horrible, 14 minutes of tortured drivel..Send this to Guantanamo Bay! "Without Knowing Why" is a funnily appropriate title that, for once, gets straight to the point with a revolting exhibition of bogus guitar prog that is just appalling. They lack any identity, which in prog is a rather rare occurrence. This is text book soulless rock that makes Asia sound heavenly by comparison. The massive "Illusion" suite in 4 parts (with part 2 missing) has the seedings of decency with a nice flute intro but quickly shows its true colors, a decent melody butchered by very poor arrangements, wimpy melodies, pointless Hammond pumping, horribly phony vocals and show-offy guitar licks. Give me Pallas, ELP's Love Beach, even Grace instead of this. Frankly, the final cut (sic!) is the most decent; "Dream Vision" has some spirit to it but guitarist Kim Stenberg finds quick ways to turn it maudlin. This is the best "prog by numbers" album I possess (keeping it only to justify to myself that some PA colleagues find this amazing, which in turn amazes me to no end). After a dozen auditions, this is no magic pie, more like a dull pudding and hence very deserving of a single somewhat faded graham crumb. Yeah! But did I like the album?
Report this review (#159352)
Posted Sunday, January 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3.5 stars really...

Formed in 2001,MAGIC PIE are band hailing from Norway,who play an energetic and rich-sounding prog rock deeply rooted in the seventies.In 2005 they signed with the Swedish label ''Progress records'',which published their debut CD ''Motions of desire''.

Although this 74-min. work contains three tracks ranging from 10 to 20 minutes,it is a classic example of a group,who tries to create easy-listening prog rock,focusing on strong melodies and energetic grooves without lacking in technique and progressiveness.Reminds you of another band?Yes,actually MAGIC PIE sound a lot like SPOCK'S BEARD or even THE FLOWER KINGS.The album is dominated by smooth vocals,also some nice vocal harmonies,strong guitar work,and there is also tons og great Hammond organ,for all those who love the classic prog sound of GENESIS,E.L.P. and GENTLE GIANT.Some tracks covered by leading solos will remind you of ''Clutching at straws''-era MARILLION,while there are also plenty of hard rockin' parts in the vein of KANSAS or URIAH HEEP,enrichened by nice keys/guitar interplays,dynamic vocals by Eirikm Hanssen and fast tempos.This is an absolutely satisfuing release for all fans of both vintage and modern prog rock.If you can't get enough of a sound close to the likes of SPOCK'S BEARD,then MAGIC PIE are definitely what you are looking for.

Report this review (#161449)
Posted Sunday, February 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Magic Pie seem to be a band that is well versed in the prog giants of the past, and they have learned wisely. Their skill is best exhibited on this disc, Motions of Desire, a 75 minute romp of bombastic keyboard lines, soaring vocal melodies, commanding guitar, and epic songwriting. In my opinion, it is one of the finest modern symphonic albums. Like bands of ages past, these are all phenomenal musicians. It's not overly solo driven, but with the way Magic Pie plays, it certainly could be. The keyboard playing is certainly a highlight, likening that aspect of the band to that of ELP or Dream Theater. In fact, this band has the driving, instrumental melodies of those two mentioned presented in a more listener-friendly way so that it is not overbearing, but still completely mind blowing through its level of skill.

Perhaps the best reasons why this album would make an excellent addition to a prog collection can be summed up in the amazing, jaw-dropping opener, Change. Not a dull moment in this 20 minute monster. The harmonies of the chorus, or one of the choruses, is a highlight for sure. There are some really cool stylistic breakdowns, especially those where they go A Capella. Of course there are quite a few points where it gets quite metallic, which comprises the majority of the more modern direction in which Magic Pie takes their music. In fact, there is an amazing and very metal guitar solo during the album's third epic, Illusions of Reality. Being a metal fan is by no means necessary to enjoy the music here, but it can't hurt. I managed alright despite being very far from a metalhead. The melodies are enough to make this album more than just universally appealing, but universally loved. This album was a real surprise treat, a hidden gem if you will. If you like the slick sounds of Spock's Beard/Neal Morse, Dream Theater, or any other symphonic band from the 70s to today, do your self a favor and discover this band!

Report this review (#162289)
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I grew up listening to Prog in the 1970's. Bands like Camel, Genesis, Yes and ELP were (and still are) my favorites. I found that my favorite albums were the ones that improved with each listen. Pop songs can sound good, but quickly get boring.

I've listened to Motions of Desire about 10 times, it keeps getting better. The songs are complex, have sudden changes, but most importantly they sound good.

My favorite albums are not the ones with the best song, but albums where all the songs are good. It's hard to pick a favorite song from Motions of Desire, but more important to me is I can't pick a worst song either.

Report this review (#181293)
Posted Monday, September 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars 01. Change Crickets and bugs start the disc, a dry riff, keyboards. The sound reminds a bit of The Flower Kings, now the Dream Theater, and it is clear that all this is the influence of the masters 70's. The reverse is super dynamic, with a great voice! In the first chorus a something to draw the most attention, a beautiful melody. Various parts broken during the instrumental passages. Keyboards are played very well. The various riffs remind me a little different to Kansas. The 'second song' everything starts with a guitar smart, and some good vocal doubled. Part of loucuras, grooves and soil, and made good fit strategically. The part that follows is totally Gentle Giant and without a doubt sensational, individual voice and then a bit of weight for balanced. Are parties and more parties, all of them overlapping each other very well. An epic that you see and not already over. Very good!

02. Motions Of Desire The beginning is beautiful with keyboard and voice, then comes the 'batucada' and keyboards to the Emerson, Lake & Palmer comes to the surface. The low is also very well played highlight, the song is beautiful with keyboards and guitars. The 'balance' final is nice.

03. Full Circle Poetry The beginning is pure David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) at the time of The Division Bell (it seems that this disc is reference to the whole new generation progressive), but then has a footprint martial, with a melody legal. Guitar as a legal basis for the song and then I remembered the keyboards Asia. Santana and change everything comes in a good moment to increase the groove. The chorus of the song is one of the most exciting things I have ever heard for sure! Then an infernal riff and powerful. The martial hit is back, a feeling of wellbeing is attached. Then the coral in the world in a more legal refrain almost the chapel, are the coolest voice I've ever heard.

04. Without Knowing Why It starts very well, all playing together, then a clever riff that fits the vocals perfectly. It has a footprint very interesting, with duplicate guitars and melody sound. Still the bottom row (as many lines magistral). Final apoteótico with solando the guitar a bit.

05. Illusions & Reality (Part I) This strange trilogy (without Part II), and begins a folk scene, with flutes, keyboards and guitar. Beautiful sounds and vocalizations and parties and make an interesting and heavy tone interesting rhythmic variations in exchange. She is in constant nuances of sound and rapid exchanges over the song. With a final and cool once again the vocals are cases to the party!

06. Illusions & Reality (Part III) - Final Breath Progressive extreme! A deep sense of imerssão, heavy guitars and ambient sounds (for those who already are familiar with the type of sound, of course!). Strangely part III of a trilogy which has a fourth part, but not the second (will understand).

07. Illusions & Reality (Part IV) - Reprise The fourth part of the trilogy begins (?!?) quiet, already repeating the first theme slower. Only repeats the track 5 (without any problem).

08. Dream Vision When we think over. Surprise! Dream Vision enough to get one last cheer, with a body of substance and sometimes heavy guitars now full of melody. Low battery and a chronic pattern, but a little, because as I commented earlier, the band is not for a long time in one part (laughter). After a long instrumental voice comes from the chaotic way in the midst of a melody almost classical, baroque. Strange things that only the great Progressive Rock can find.

This band deserves to be heard more, I hope for the new disc to the middle of next year leaving soon, you can hear one more beauty, but because after a debut that the second will certainly be great.

Report this review (#196918)
Posted Friday, January 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Truth
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars This was an excellent debut album which I got three years after its release. Magic Pie is the first Norweigan rock band I'd ever heard, (let alone prog rock band,) and they're also the best Norweigan rock band I've ever heard, (although I guess that fact doesn't really matter.) This excellant albums first track is the epic Change which contains many of the basic elements of symphonic prog yet sounds almost like John Petrucci of Dream Theater is at the guitar at times. The title track starts off with beautiful vocals that eventually turn into another rocky symphonic prog song. Full Circle Poetry is my favorite song on the album with it's nice guitar riff and superb vocal performance. Without Knowing Why has a nice intro but after awhile it gets kind of boring as does Illusion and Reality but it finishes off nicely with the excellent track Dream Vision. A very nice debut by a band that has a lot of potential! I hope they bring out more than two albums!
Report this review (#212468)
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars Another Nordic band which starts first song with nature sounds. Other one is Moon Safari's Blomljud of course. I'm talking about

"Change", song which offers sudden change, neat guitar riff. After then we get theme of this album. Famous riff which appears in maybe 20 minutes (of total 74) here, present on three different tracks. "Give me your hand and I show you the world". He's right, but beware, this is a world of past times or, if you want, history. Another good work of joining 70s with modern prog rock. Maybe something from heavy metal, because guitars here are quite heavy. Particulary this song is very unique in one this. It's very long, but has also taken heavy burden of (also) heavy sound. It's nothing like normal prog, this is unique style which you won't heard often. And it's not collection of, for example four of five shorter songs (as ussual), this contains just two. And to blend them together and stretch them to 20 (!) minutes without losing quality, that's hard. Or maybe there is more songs, depends on what you rate as song he in bigger composition of 20 minutes. Something may be connected, some parts divided and scattered through the song. It doesn't matter much to be exact sure about number, more important thing is the change. Or The Change if you please. Overall feeling is that after many changes which you'll do in life, you want to return to your home, which is symbolized by theme melody (can in prog album be theme ?). I have to admit that for few first listens, I've listened just this theme (really bad term, but what else, title melody maybe). And after many listens, it started to become less interesting (from godly heights it descended to our mortal realm)

Maybe yes, except this in "Illusion & Reality, part 1", basic tune can be heard from 5:58-6:54, extended version is after it towards the end of song. I'm quite glad that finally, I found one of the most melodic songs (or song parts, as it's on more than one songs, sometimes only touched a little bit, sometimes full song). As I see, there are two types of songs. Firs one, heard in Change and Illusions (except part 3 - of course, where the heck it part 2 is interesting question, but I take this as just nice joke) and then other one's, Motions Full Without Dream. Which are good, but different. And it's important thing here, because I had to get over Theme, to fully appreciate other ones. But can I blame it for being so catchy ? In fact, it's not the crime, nor it makes it less interesting and qualified to be masterpiece. Everything in me screams that this is the right choice. Traditional sound of 70s is very prominent here and this is something I can really enjoy. And appreciate. And after all, there's nothing bad about this music sounding like 70s. To have music as some genre is not bad at all.

Five stars for reminding good old times with new style. It's heavy, it's melodic, it's intelligent.

Report this review (#236232)
Posted Tuesday, September 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Motions of desire" is the debut album by the band Magic Pie (oh my God that ridiculous name) and more a product of the crop of escandinavian prog.The sound is very similar to The Flower Kings, but they are not as good as Roine Stolt and co.

This is a clear example of "progressive rock happy", but it's very derivative and dull in some minutes.The guys have talent, but the songs sound very similar to each other and this hinders the final outcome.

Not everything is bad, logical.Some music overlay other accents as true, but unfortunately they are few.

4 star: Change, Full Circle poetry

3 star: Motions of desire, Without knowing why, Illusion and Reality (pts. 1,3 and 4), Dream and Vision

Average: 3.25

3 stars

Report this review (#394179)
Posted Friday, February 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Motions Of Desire' - Magic Pie (6/10)

If there's any place in the world which has been keeping symphonic prog going, it's been Scandinavia. It is arguably the most definitive 'prog' sound, and as such, is quick to attract and inspire likeminded musicians to make their own stab at the sound. Magic Pie is now one of the most talked about acts in Scandinavian prog rock, and since its release, their debut album 'Motions Of Desire' has stirred some controversy. That may not be so surprising, due to the genre's devoted fanbase; the notion of a band attempting to reinvent a classic sound is sure to inspire curiosity in some, and hatred in others. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle of this. While symphonic prog could use a fresh voice in the new millennium, I am not sure that Magic Pie offers anything that moves beyond what the old giants innovated.

What I imagine Magic Pie started off as is a group of musicians that were bound by their love of vintage prog, and sought to pay tribute to the music they love. The result is a very keyboard-dominant brand of prog that thirsts for twenty minute songs, complex instrumental passages, and everything that people love (or hate) about the style of music known as prog. While I have never found Magic Pie to be particularly inspiring of a listen, their talent goes without saying. Especially on this debut, the keyboard work of Gilbert Marshall is a real highlight, focusing on a rich vintage organ sound that's sure to titilate a fan of classic prog. The vocals are strong, but not so well integrated into the instrumentation, which is most certainly the highlight of the band. For a band that certainly aims for the more pastoral, organic prog sound, their production sounds a little too polished, and this very precise execution may scream 'masterpiece' for some, but it robs some of the excitement that I would have felt from a warmer sound.

Throughout 'Motions Of Desire' (and especially on the opening epic 'Changes' and cornerstone 'Illusions Of Reality'), Magic Pie also create some very convincing instrumental passages. Often driven by the keyboards, this band certainly knows how to play together, and while they cannot be lauded much for their originality, there are moments here that bring new life to the symphonic progressive style. On the other hand, taking these massive compositions holistically, Magic Pie never makes these epics as effectively as they should. While the parts and pieces here are sometimes downright incredible to listen to, the way they are stringed together is lackluster, and I think that much of the music here may have benefited from more concise compositions. Take the analogy of stacking a bunch of solid bricks on top of one another; a taller tower may make the mason proud, but shorter stacks would have made for a more intriguing listen.

Report this review (#579590)
Posted Thursday, December 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Magic Pie's Motions of Desire sees the band pull off the obvious motifs of various classic prog acts of the past without quite managing to build anything new and innovative on that foundation. There'll be a Yes bit here, a Kansas bit there, a Gentle Giant bit over there with the vocal harmonies, but all these disparate parts only manage to demonstrate that the band can pull off the technical aspects of these bands' playing without convincing me that they've really mastered the relevant compositional approaches, or indeed that they have developed an interesting compositional approach of their own. A fun listen but I feel it's a rather shallow experience.
Report this review (#684072)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Magic Pie is kind of a Norway's answer to the Swedish band Flower Kings, who brew a stew of all the popular 70s prog ingredients and make it as pleasant as possible. If you dislike Flower Kings for these attributes, stop reading right here. If you like them, then by all means give Magic Pie a try. There are some minor differences - Magic Pie, for example, is less reliant on jazz and more on harmonious playing and loud organ rock a la Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. But the principle is the same - feel-good nostalgia.

The album features three 6 minute songs, and three very long songs, transitions are handled smoothly enough. So, even if these guys are not original, they are still good songwriters and instrumentalists.

Sonically, it seems as if the band thinks that instrumentals are their strong point. And while the guys, in face of the pleasantness, can rock out, that leads to vocals, alternating between several singers, being uncomfortably buried in the mix. Like the Flower Kings, vocals are not strong, but pleasant enough for the mix to be more even.

Report this review (#1027585)
Posted Monday, September 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ten years has passed since the release of this album and still sounds great for me. Perhaps the listening after all this time includes another elements and comparisons, this promising debut still surprises with their fine work on keyboards and guitars, epic moments and the balance of 70's-00's mixtures in most of the tracks.

Starting with the 20+ minutes magnum opus 'Change' this Norwegian band still impresses me with their musical skills that turns into very nice symphonic sections without losing the tasty 70's flavour. There are a lot of reminiscences here (from Deep Purple to Dream Theater) and even with the contemporary Flower Kings and Echolyn but Magic Pie definitively has their own and particular proggy style.

The technical playing of guitars and keyboards, the bombastic moments and the ambitious epic sections (sometimes even pretentious) repeats along the album, but if I got to pick some real jewel here, I choose the optimistic 'Motions of Desire', the almost metal prog 'Without Knowing Why', maybe the only piece that escapes almost totally from the 70's influence perhaps the sound of the keyboards, and the complex rhythm of 'Dream Vision' which turns into a really nice proggy song at least in their instrumental parts.

Ten years has passed and still 'Motions of Desire' is a very enjoyable album and that's quiet an achievement for any band or musician. 3.5*

Report this review (#1354383)
Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars For anyone old enough to recall Progressive Rock's Golden Age, the opening moments of Magic Pie's year 2005 debut album will trigger a thrilling sense of déjà vu, like a time machine transplanted from the early 21st century to the summer of 1974.

"Change" is the name of that initial piece of the Pie: an epic twenty-minute slice of textbook Prog moods and emotions, obviously intended as the band's signature track, and rightfully so. But at a certain point along the roller coaster it becomes hard to avoid the suspicion that the song's title is a little misleading, and that every headlong 'change' in musical speed, style and direction is actually more contrived than natural.

The explicit aim of the new band was "to create progressive textures in the spirit of the '70s" (quoting the CD notes), which would seem to offer an invitation to rehash the old, ongoing Progressive vs. Prog debate. In this instance the Magic Piemakers followed their mandate to the letter, and with a concentrated focus bordering on tunnel vision.

That's the good news. The downside is that despite all the vintage Prog embellishments - rapid cycle time signatures; florid soloing; hyperbolic melodicism - there's a conservatism to their method at odds with their stated ideals. Unlike the band's pioneering role models, these guys aren't young kids trying to 'change' the world (there's that word again) through a revolutionary bridging of musical and cultural barriers. As seen in the portrait inside the CD booklet, this is a capable group of seasoned professionals, following a retrograde creative impulse: Mainstream Prog, in other words, which ought to be an oxymoron but too often isn't.

None of which diminishes the album's cosmetic pleasures, which are considerable. Ignoring the sometimes heavy-handed Neo Prog schmaltz of the title track (thankfully the shortest song here), and some occasional cod-reggae riffing in "Full Circle Poetry", you'll find a surplus of upbeat instrumental showmanship, presented with real skill, if not much subtlety.

But the group never succeeds in translating the homage into a style of their own. Hardly surprising, given their true source of inspiration: not the original progressive trailblazers from the 1970s, but modern copycat acts like THE FLOWER KINGS and SPOCK'S BEARD. You might never guess, from their Anglo-Symphonic sound and fluent English lyrics, that Magic Pie actually hail from northern Scandinavia.

The bottom line is 75-minutes of second-hand Prog Rock mimicry, twice removed from its musical taproot. But the silver lining, to listeners of a certain age, is that a false memory can sometimes shine almost as bright as the real thing.

Report this review (#1567705)
Posted Friday, May 20, 2016 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars As the new renaissance of the progressive rock 90s churned on into the new millennium, it seems everyone was getting in on the act and the Scandinavian countries of Europe produced more than their fair share of some of the best new acts to emerge in the newer waves of the progressive rock world. Norway's MAGIC PIE was one of many to take the retro approach which adopted as many styles from the golden era and piecemeal them together into a fine tapestry of tradition all the while keeping the updated stylistic approaches and superior production values in full play. The band began as a cover band but soon gained enough confidence to begin crafting their own compositions out of the templates of the past masters. They soon released their debut album MOTIONS OF DESIRE in 2005 which was touted as being one of the best prog releases of the year and successfully gained them an instant following by those who would become instantly addicted to their heavy organ drenched riffs and rhythms in well-crafted musical territories where catchy earworms danced side by side with choppy angular prog accoutrements that harkened a blast from the past while tacking on the current passions of the present.

MAGIC PIE is a sextet coming from the south-eastern city of Østfold on Norway's eastern border with Sweden, another nation of seemingly endless musical talents that contributed to the fully fueled prog revival in the 90s with talents such as Ånglagard and Anekdoten. Each musician is a master of his respective instrument with Kim Stenberg leading the way with his crafty guitar oriented songwriting structures feeling equally at home on both happy-go-lucky rhythmic chord strumming or sizzling face-melting solos. Another prominent feature of the MAGIC PIE experience is the prominent use of the dreamy keyboards which emulate organs, mellotrons and all the atmospheric aspects of classic 70s prog. Gilbert Marshall, while a virtuoso in his own right on the keys is in no way a Keith Emerson type but rather focuses on the more ambient textures of Genesis' "Wind & Wuthering" era as well as Deep Purple type hard rock keyboard bombast. There are also many sections that would feel right at home on neo-prog albums as the textures often are superimposed on the band to augment a heightened melodic counterpoint. MAGIC PIE also employs two vocalists. Both Erik Hanssen and Allan Olsen complement each other as they sing in unison or cleverly craft madrigal polyphonies that offer nods to Gentle Giant without sounding like total ripoffs.

MOTIONS OF DESIRE is a lengthy beast consisting of eight tracks clocking in at almost 75 minutes. The opening track "Change" is a truly ambitious monster of a prog track clocking in at over twenty minutes and zigzags through many moods, textures and musical parades, however like the rest of the album is based in melodic rock that is more heavy than not that to me sounds like it inspired by some of the 70s classics like Mott The Hoople, David Bowie and other melodic rock giants, at least in compositional structuring. MAGIC PIE doesn't just stop with their melodic roots as the template but its how they build upon these different riffs and rhythms, tones and timbres and construct some of the most emotional drenching meets technically demanding tracks that have both the ability to weasel their way into your consciousness with their hooks but also bedazzle with their technical wizardry that not only delivers frenetic guitar and keyboard solos but run the gamut of completing the prog lover's workshop course by including crazy time signature change segments as well as polyphonic visions of 70s prog perfection.

Overall i find MAGIC PIE has that post-Morse Spock's Beard or Flower Kings symphonic prog sound as they carry out sprawling melodic segments that morph into different ones at least for the mellow and dreamier aspects of the album such as the neo-prog sounds of the title track and "Dream Vision. The band are perfectly capable of dishing some heavier parts and tracks with the highlight coming on the lightning technical speeds and bombast of "Illusion & Reality - Part III: Final Breath" with all the modern day virtuosity you could ask for. There are also parts such as the alternating rhythms in "Change" that display a rather flamenco rhythmic flare as well as ska rhythms emerging periodically. MOTIONS OF DESIRE contains an additional track "Full Circle Poetry" that is just over fourteen minutes in length as well as a sprawling three part themed chunk of time dedicated to "Illusion & Realty" that between the three tracks hit over the eighteen minute mark which gives this album all the pomp and overweening progitude that caused the genre to peak and ultimately decline during the heyday. MAGIC PIE unapologetically resurrects these ambitious attributes in full glory and runs away with it.

MAGIC PIE seems to catch a lot of flack for seemingly being "souless" and "insincere" as they unapologetically borrow riffs and rhythms that pinpoint to a time in the past but i can't help but to really love this one. Every track flows with the perfect amount of all ingredients finding their way into the mix. While the music isn't designed to create a new direction in prog, it certainly succeeds extremely well in stitching all of the ingredients together and making a bona fide retro prog sound that i find pleasing from beginning to end. I enjoy all the musician's idiosyncratic plays on the past masters as well as the more sophisticated approach of adapting them to the modern age. Both vocalists work in tandem and it's usually impossible to distinguish that there are indeed two vocalists participating. With a knack for interesting compositional zigzags through stylistic changes that intuitively keep the tracks exciting, i find MOTIONS OF DESIRE to be an excellent piece of modern prog that straddles the perfect fence that divides the dreamy folk placidity and the heavy energetic rocking side of their style. MAGIC PIE are genii at melodic flow as they manage to create a super lengthy album (a feature i usually shy away from) and keep me entertained on repeated listens. Strong melodies, strong compositions with respectful reverence to tradition. My kinda album!

Report this review (#1815753)
Posted Monday, October 23, 2017 | Review Permalink

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