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The Gift

Symphonic Prog

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The Gift Awake and Dreaming album cover
3.96 | 78 ratings | 12 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Awake and Dreaming :
1. Little Red Rooftops (3:49)
2. Dark Clouds Gathering (2:48)
3. The Carpeted Corridors (1:40)
4. Rooftops Re-visited (3:33)
5. Doubt (2:52)
6. The Dance of Denial (3:19)
7. Nocturne (5:03)
8. Word of Mouth and Heart (4:32)
9. Escalation (6:20)
10. No One Came (2:54)
11. The Turning of the Tide (0:41)
12. Awake and Dreaming (4:13)
- Fountains of Ash :
13. Noverture (4:13)
14. Adoration (4:47)
15. La Lune De Miel (4:46)
16. The Worm Turns (3:41)
17. Quickening Pulse (2:11)
18. Broken (3:48)
19. Close to Angels (5:28)

Total Time 70:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Morton / vocals, 12-string acoustic guitar, string arrangements, composer
- Leroy James / guitars, samples, effects, programming, string arrangements, composer, production & mixing

- Jim Thomas / synths, organ, Mellotron
- Rod Haverhill / bass, backing vocals
- David Storey / drums, percussion
- Joseph Morton / dreamtime story voice

Releases information

CD Cyclops ‎- CYCL 151 (2006, UK)
CD Bad Elephant Music ‎- BEM005 (2016, UK) Remastered by David Elliott, new cover

Digital album

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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THE GIFT Awake and Dreaming ratings distribution

(78 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE GIFT Awake and Dreaming reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars Here is a stunning debut CD by the UK band The Gift, what an incredible level for a new band!

The album Awake & Dreaming has a running time of 70 minutes and contains two epic compositions, separated into 19 songs in total. Despite the long running time and many songs, the music doesn't fail to generate excitement for one single second. In contrary, it is loaded with strongly build-up songs featuring lots of spectacular breaks (especially the second part of this CD) with sensational keyboardwork and excellent, often powerful guitarplay. The Gift sounds melodic and accessible but the compositions are varied and elaborate, the band changes very flowing from mellow with twanging 12-guitars to harder-edged and bombastic outbursts with propulsive, often fat sounding guitar riffs and lush keyboards. I am delighted about the way The Gift blends 'classical Seventies symphonic prog' (obvious Genesis echoes) and some neo-prog (like early Marillion) with fresh ideas and a modern sound. The vocals are strong with a wide range but I want to give special attention to the keyboard player (from spacey and soaring to classical orchestrations and flashy synthesizer flights) and the guitarist (from howling runs to heavy - and even prog metal guitar riffs or fiery wah-wah drenched soli). If you have the idea that the current prog has nothing to offer, I am sure The Gift will change your mind, what an excellent debut CD!

My rating is 3,5 stars but I have to choose between 3 and 4 stars according to the Prog Archives guidelines so eventually it becomes 4 stars. Highly recommended to especially symphonic - and neo-prog aficionados!

Review by Prog-jester
3 stars Rather overlooked, but there are reasons for it. First of all, I still remember all the hype around it - "a blend of all influences" etc...Give it up. If you mean Neo mixed with Symphonic Prog, than OK, this is your unique blend.

Musically THE GIFT reminds me of MIKE OLDFIELD's early works - the same way melodic, accessible and boring closer to the end. The closest band comparable to THE GIFT is PENDRAGON, though Mike Morton' vocals are way behind Nick Barret's ones (rather average as for me). Hence the music itself reminds me of PINK FLOYD, PENDRAGON and some other Neo bands who work on that Side of the Neo ;) - PF-inspired concept works are what they adore. I was amazed by the level of melodism first, but the more I listened to it the less enthusiastic I became. Good, but definetely non-essential. Recommended, especially for FLOYD fans

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars IŽll describe this CD in 3 words: beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. A rare mix of symphonic, neo, ambient, folk, classic rock all wrapped up in such a package that brings tears to your eyes. My god, such an emotional music! Mike Morton makes you believe in every single word he says, his music touches your very soul... A great conceptual CD with lots of shifting moods and lanscapes. The music is varied and the musicians are outstanding. Sometimes is hard to believe is the same band playing on the whole CD. And this is only their debut! IŽm really looking forward for their next works. If they keep this quality theyŽll be very big! A perfect mix of modern music and the best of classic styles, forging something very original. One of the best CDs of 2006. 4,5 stars.
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I am awake and I am not dreaming! This is a gift recording that I intend to treasure for along time, still stunned by the splendor of the creativity, the style and the audacity of the musicians dedicated to wrapping this up in so much style and substance. The Gift would be an ideal present to bequeath to a prog pal, a dizzying multi-flavored concoction that truly defies pigeon-holing, a progressive onslaught reminiscent of some of the more edgy current breed (the new Galahad, Arena, PTree, Pure Reason Revolution, Nemo, Xang etc.) offering some first-rate neo-prog ("Little Red Rooftops", "Turning of the Tide") , some classic mellotron-infested prog (the awesome title track , the frantic "Quickening Pulse" and the frenetic "Lune de Miel") with hints of a proggy Jackson Browne (on the brilliant Auld Lang Syne-ish "Doubt") , a union of high-octane Allman Brothers with a dash of punky Stranglers (the brash "The Dance of Denial"), some bar room Killer Queen Brit rock ("The Carpeted Corridors"), a sizable dose of Roger Waters ("Nocturne", "No One Came"), a taste of Blue Oyster Cult like rapid-fire guitar boogie (the delirious "Escalation"), a little Genesis here ("Close to Angels"), a little Camel there ("Adoration") and a bloody partridge in a proggy pear tree ! Mike Morton's high quality vocals and lyrics are compelling and typically British, Leroy James provides some polyvalent at times snarling guitar stylings, with hard-stun rhythm blasts jockeying with corkscrew searing solos with the accent on the dramatic and the powerful. Keyboardist Jim Thomas sprinkles squeaking synth gurgles, with occasional mellotron blankets and slinky piano promenades. The bass and drums are a well-lubricated tandem that kicks, screams and rumbles in the best prog tradition. The slow, moody passages lightly camouflage a highly apparent sense of darkness, which only serves to service the harsher contrasts, making this a constant roller coaster of astounding sounds and amazing musical snapshots. This is a fine example of the growing exhilaration coming with repeated listens, a trait particular to progressive music where there are so many layers to peel away , making it such a spirited adventure each time out . There are many highlights but this is really one long extended piece of music that just flows naturally. A definite Gift for any proglover. 5 presents
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars London-based band, established in 2003 by singers and multi-instrumentalists Mike Morton and Leroy James, the two of them had been working together for two decades in mainstream groups.Immediately they started working on a 45-min. epic piece, influenced by the invasion in Iraq, called ''Awake and dreaming''.As they felt during the process that they would need some help with this project, they recruited Jim Thomas on keyboards, Rod Haverhill on bass and ex-The Enid David Storey on drums.Two years later the piece was complete and sent to Cyclops.Malcolm Parker, owner of the label, was really surprised, but asked the band to offer some more minutes of music to complete a long CD issue.The Gift came up with a second epic, the 30-min. ''Fountains of ash'' and eventually their debut ''Awake and dreaming'' was shelved in 2006.

While listening to the title-track (the final version of which clocked at about 40 minutes) I can see plenty of reasons why Cyclops' boss wanted to sign the band instantly.This is a great, well-composed and socially sensitive piece of modern Prog with Neo and symphonic references along the lines of SPOCK'S BEARD, ARENA, MAGIC PIE and the likes with a rich sound and a vast palette of atmospheres, delivering at moments some superb musicianship.The music is melodic, grandiose and dreamy with emphasis on refined piano arrangements, bombastic keyboards, guitars with both an angular and more laid-back edge and some decent blinks to the past with a few organ themes.The same occurs for the vocals, which are clean and expressive.''Awake and dreaming'' is divided in 12 short movements with a tight coherence and the result is pretty close to compatriots ALSO EDEN, music evolving from the 70's but served in a contemporary way.Lovely work indeed."Fountains of Ash" is pretty nice as well, albeit a bit less strong than the opening epic, and divided in 7 segments.The band retains the standard British flavor of the sound, which comes a little closer to PINK FLOYD at moments and offering again some beautiful lyricism.Musically it stands a bit on the edges compared to the previous piece, characterized either by mascular guitar work and powerful keyboards or smooth musicianship with piano, vocals and mellow guitars in evidence.Despite the more pronounced use of vintage keyboards like organ and Mellotron and some discreet string sections, the overall style flirts more intensely with classic British Neo Prog like PALLAS, QUASAR or PENDRAGON.The melodies are striking and memorable and the arrangements are well-performed with a good balance.

Great first step for The Gift.Dense but always melodic Neo/Symphonic Prog with fantastic vocals and tight musicianship.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Firstly, I'd like to give credit to James, who wrote the band's Bio. He is spot on and leaves me to provide an opinion/preference, only. This band is like a kaleidoscope of numerous influences, many of whom are considered as Prog giants. The only problem is that THE GIFT appears to be focused ... (read more)

Report this review (#1182053) | Posted by Anon-E-Mouse | Sunday, June 1, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ****1/2 An album that gets better the more you listen to it! Extremely well written and performed, the CD consists of two long suites AWAKE AND DREAMING and FOUNTAINS OF ASH - both are emotionally charged and full of interesting changes. One of the most appealling things to me about the recordi ... (read more)

Report this review (#155736) | Posted by barp | Monday, December 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is full of excelent music. Reference points for older readers would be music such as early Genesis or Camel circa Nude period. More recent comparisons, in terms of sound, would be artists such as Midlake and Guillemots. These are just reference points, the band are strong enough to ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#128302) | Posted by alextorres2 | Friday, July 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I took a while to get into this, but isn't that the case with a lot of great music? Now that I have, I can honestly say it is my top album of 2006. I've noticed some discussion on threads recently as to whether this is 'neo-prog' or not. Who cares? All I know is that I hear intelligent, sensit ... (read more)

Report this review (#104931) | Posted by jonathan.g | Saturday, December 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well the wait was a long one but has it been worth it? In a simple word - Yes. This album had been touted as the next best thing since sliced bread and that must have placed a lot of pressure on the band to deliver the goods. This album enshrines everything that was and is good about the pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#103540) | Posted by | Monday, December 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars You know when you hear a CD and it just goes BANG and you instantly love it? Well, this one does it for me. I cannot really extend in my description of the music beyond the excellent critique given by st.vitusdance. Read that review first. This CD takes you back to the heyday of 70s prog ... (read more)

Report this review (#102470) | Posted by progadder | Sunday, December 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I listened to this album for the first time yesterday, without preconceptions. Now, I have to say straight off that I'm a lover of early Genesis, and don't really go for neo-prog,as it always seems like waxed fruit compared to the '70s bands. However, this is a fantastic modern prog album. It ... (read more)

Report this review (#101420) | Posted by st.vitusdance | Saturday, December 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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