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IO Earth

Crossover Prog

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IO Earth IOEarth album cover
3.87 | 135 ratings | 7 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD1 (66:31)
- First Movement (Water):
1. Introduction (6:04)
2. Storyteller (5:00)
3. Eeee (4:47)
4. Interlude #1 (0:41)
5. Smoky Wood (4:47)
6. Come with Me (7:48)
7. Opus II (2:42)
- Second Movement (Earth):
8. Mountains Start to Fall (3:47)
9. Loops (3:47)
10. Symphony #1 (5:27)
11. Light & Shade (4:28)
12. Intro Reprise (3:24)
13. Home (6:37)
14. The Creation (7:12)

CD2 (27:35)
- Third Movement (Air):
15. Sun Is Going Down (3:50)
16. Interlude #2 (1:38)
17. Harmonix (8:32)
18. Take Me (5:25)
19. Come with Me [Reprise] (4:02)
20. Outro (4:08)

Total Time: 94:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Cureton / guitars, and else...
- Adam Gough / keyboards, and else ...
- Richard Cureton / drums, percussion

- Louise Brabbins / vocals (1,5,7)
- Steve Balsamo / vocals (6,16,18)
- Claire Malin / vocals (8,13,17,19)
- Steve Trigg / trumpet (3,14), flugelhorn (5,9)
- Jason Reynolds / sax (3)
- Christian Nokes / bass (9,14)

Releases information

Artwork: Aleksandar Velasevic

2xCD Self-released (2009, UK)

Thanks to rivertree for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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IO EARTH IOEarth ratings distribution

(135 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

IO EARTH IOEarth reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars This music has much of a cinematic vibe, like composed as a soundtrack for a movie. Well - the overall length with more than 90 minutes nearly matches. The album shows a relaxed flow basically - but is provided with several twists and turns including heavy excursions nevertheless. Here we have a melting pot of influences derived from the progressive rock realm - including some popular moments too. The project's masterminds Dave Cureton and Adam Gough are knowing each other since their school days in the early beginning. They soon took notice of their 'spiritual' relationship, started composing music and founded the first band at the age of around15/16.

Now it took a long time until they finally decided to work out this debut, consisting of the three movements 'Water', 'Earth' and 'Air'. And after another two years this story in music featuring 20 songs was worked out due to the help of some competent friends - to name Dave Cureton's brother Richard (drums) first and foremost. The fine rhythm branch as well as the lush and versatile keyboard/synth appearance are representing the backbone. And a rich vocal presence is to state comprising Steve Balsamo (Jesus Christ Superstar) plus female singer Claire Malin and Louise Brabbins.

Decorated with a fairylike voice Introduction offers a blend of symphonic and modern electronica elements where Storyteller moves to a more (art) rocking mid-tempo behaviour led by acoustic and electric guitars. The hijacking Eeee is provided with uncanny soprano vocals by Steve Balsamo, I assume - interesting - sounds sacral a recorded during a church mass and overdubbed later. Definetely one of the album highlights - the impertinent drum/percussion drive is also striking. And so it goes further on with varied impressions obtaining the complete bandwith of prog elements including brass instruments corresponding with intriguing piano adds for example.

It's nearly impossible for me to describe all those multiple impressions - hence I'm only able to spot some remarkable snapshots. All in all you will find lots of new-age electronic, symphonic and ambient hints. Mountains Start to Fall appears in a neo prog outfit followed by the eclectic jazzy tinged Loops and The Creation shows the guitar like performing a homage to Andy Latimer. Light & Shade on the other hand starts straightforward heavy rocking bringing you down to earth, later coupled with duelling church organ and sawing guitar.

As for the contrary Home and Take Me are examples for a more commercial outfit where Sun Is Going Down contrasts with a hypnotic breakbeat fundament - once again spiked with soprano vocals, but this time mysterious whispering voices too. Great - I like this mood! To overtop the variety once more Steven Balsamo even gives something like Mongolian Throat Singing a chance. The excellent Harmonix returns back to neo prog territories decorated with expressive female vocals ...

... this album shouldn't missed out when you intend to have a well-assorted prog collection. That's my conclusion. A fine production mastered by Dave Cureton and Adam Gough. In order to breathe in the complete atmosphere I recommend to take the time to listen in one go - you won't regret it.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars IOEARTH's eponymously titled debut album is very likable and tremendously interesting for the total lack of predictability of its musical style from song to song. There are, in turns, strains and themes of chant, lounge, new age, jazz, trip-hop, hypno-trance, ethnic, space-synth, theatric, pop, and so much more! I find myself thinking of groups like ENIGMA, MINDFLOWER, ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, SYLVAN, IQ, FROST*, U2, SIMPLE MINDS, Hogarth-era MARILLIAN, VANGELIS, CHROMA KEY, XII ALFONSO, MIKE OLDFIELD, CAMEL, DAARGARD, DARK SANCTUARY, AYREON, ANNEKE VAN GEISBERG, DRUMS FROM SPACE, ELOY, HAWKWIND, during the course of a single song as well as the entire album.

1. "Introduction" uses whale sounds and Yanni piano/synth work to set up what becomes a very pretty MOSTLY AUTUMN or TARJA song--a rather auspicious start to a supposedly "progressive rock" album. Nice song. Simple. 7/10

2. "Storyteller" finds us shifting moods very drastically--not unlike Stéphane Desbiens albums--to an electric guitar rock ballad. Steve Vai anyone? 6/10

3. "Eeee" begins with some ominous acoustic guitar and piano arpeggios over which a male voice(s?) sing what could pass for some Latin chants. But wait: At 1:25 some drums and heavy electric guitar/bass chords intervene and even take over the song, pounding out a rhythm over which the male vocalist changes registers to sing his Latin chant in a falsetto (More "Climb Every Mountain" than Christian Vander). Interesting song. Could have come out of some post-Soviet Carpathian monastery. 6/10

4. "Interlude #1" is a collection of industrial sounds before:

5. "Smoky Wood"--a very smooth song with trumpet lead that Lucan Arjean could well have written (Including the chorale of female background singers that sound very much like Anneke van Geisenberg.) Very catchy, groovy, and artistic song. 9/10

6. Next we're off to some OAKENFOLD Ibiza rave in "Come with Me." Very ENIGMA-meets-IQ. Good electro-pop dance tune with a nice guitar solo somewhat reminiscent of Jon Mitchell followed by an amazingly brief section of background gospel singers a la "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and ending with some VANGELIS at Ibiza. 6/10

7. "Opus Ii" is a two-minute interlude of space-synth noises which are joined by a repetitive acoustic guitar riff and ENIGMA fem vox, bass pedals, and marching snare drums. Nice effect. 7/10

8. "Mountains Start to Fall" employs an intriquing combination of harp, bells, male and female choir "o's," string section playing some Far Eastern themes, over which a Rachel Jones (THE REASONING)-sounding vocalist sings. The song develops nicely (8/10) and then bleeds into

9. "Loops" which continues much of the rhythms and sounds from "Mountains" while vocals give way to jazzy lead trumpet, electric guitars, and pulsing string a la "When the Levee Breaks." Awesome climax! 9/10

10. "Symphony #1" sounds as if Mike Oldfield were commissioned to play/conduct Maurice Ravel's Hungarian Dances for a Greek dinner theater. Truly a theatric composition. 8/10 Followed then by

11. "Light and Shade" which is an up-tempo, mostly heavy Yes Zeppelin performance from Mabool Oldfield. 7/10

12. "Intro Reprise" is straight out of a New Age GOVI album.

13. "Home" begins with glockespiel and a French movie feel--even when the soulful female voice starts pleading with us (PATRICIA KAAS-like) to take her home--followed by some siren-like crooning--before resorting to some singing not unlike the WITHIN TEMPTATION/NIGHTWISH/THE GATHERING groups from Northern Europe. Decent song with some real power (in the singing). 8/10

14. "The Creation" begins with a similar tempo as the previous song, but high-hat, string synths soon yield to another rock ballad for guitar soli--though with a bit of a tighter snare keeping standard time. Then--surprise! (But then what's one more surpruse for this surprising album)--some woman chants in some Middle Eastern dialct before giving way to a guitar solo that is extremely reminiscent of some of REO SPEEDWAGON's Gary Richrath solo/sounds around the You Can Tune a Piano But You Can't Tuna Fish-era. 6/10 15. "The Sun Is Going Down" begins with a simple electric piano chord riff before some trippy drumming and bass playing lay down the track's dominant rhythm. Then another somewhat falsetto-Gregorian monkish singing performance takes over despite the frequent interjection of accented whispers, foreign female and male spoken words. Actually a very cool song--very like a song from CHROMA KEY's Dead Air for Radios. 8/10

16. "Interlude #2." Buddhist harmonic chants with keening woman. Cool. 7/10

17. "Harmonix." Longest song on the album opens with a CHRIS SPHEERIS-like electric guitar solo over synths and piano. At 2:!5 drums and bass join in at which time the guitarist's soloing moves into the fretboard's highest registers before giving way to/alternating with our Falsetto Gregorian monk.

18. "Take Me" slows it down with a true ballad BRYAN ADAMS style. A female vocal yields to male (for the remainder of the song!) over piano, harp, synths, and some programmed percussion. 1:45 sees the rock pop element as the BRYAN ADAMS/KENNY LOGGINS comparisons become more evident. Nice pop tune/movie anthem. 5/10

19. "Come With Me (Reprise)" Acoustic guitar and piano break down what had been a trip-hoppy Ibiza tune into a JONI MITCHELL plays with GOVI mood piece. Nice late night beach music. Female vocal enters with one minute remaining to C & W us to song's end. 4/10

20. "Outro" closes out the album in a very theatric way by trying to replicate the sound of a full orchestra as if over the movie's closing credits. Fairly well accomplished; rather like ANTHONY PHILLIPS' grandiose keyboard pieces or VANGELIS' close to the Blade Runner soundtrack. 7/10

Overall a very interesting and mostly pleasantly listenable music experience which deserves to be listened to--which will make as excellent an addition to any prog lover's collection as, say, a CHROMA KEY or XII ALFONSO album.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is a phenomenal surprise that sort of caught me totally unaware, so I thank my reading of the positive reviews that impelled me to go hunting for this gem! IOearth is definitely a pot- pourri of all that prog has to offer , from sweeping orchestral symphonics with lush female vocals , electronica-fueled guitar rampages featuring constantly shifting glimmers of satin to moody pieces that all seem to fit together in harmony. Our own Brufordfreak explained quite concisely all the influences banqueted here and he is precise in his comments. A whole spectrum of recognizable winks permeate the tracks , inviting a one-shot listen covering 2 CDs, as this is a massive opus full of intriguing snippets of modern prog. Guitars are stinging, keyboards lush and exotic, super cool contemporary beats and some sublime, mostly female vocals. On "Light and Shade" things get even raunchy and lewd at the onset and veer suddenly into dense soporifics (hence the title!), where the electric guitar waltzes nicely amid the piano trappings. Tinges of opera on the exalted "Home" will invite comparisons to the recent female fronted UK revival (Magenta, Karnataka, The Reasoning, Panic Room and Breathing Space) and justly shine brightly. Fine music this, all carefully composed by leaders Adam Gough and Dave Curaton. On CD 1 the first 3 tracks are brilliant as well as the majestic "Come with Me", the cute "Mountains start to Fall", the quirky "Loops" as well as haunting "The Creation". On the second disc, things get weird which is exactly what was needed, the trance-ient "Sun is Going Down" pulsing madly in Enigma like Gregorian hush. Very cool indeed! "Harmonix" is another whopper that is instantly attractive and inviting with Middle Eastern motifs swirling within the guitar sandstorm. A masterful cut that fully inspires! "Take Me" is another gorgeous love ballad that will appeal to the romantics as Steve Balsamo wreaks havoc on the mike, a truly first class expression of passion that will give you goose bumps. A tempestuous symphony ends this brilliant affair, most definitely the surprise of 2010 and an album I intend to enjoy for a long time. 5 galactic debts
Review by TheGazzardian
3 stars IOEarth comes thundering through the gates with their 2009 debut album - which is a double album, nonetheless! I typically prefer my albums to come in the 30-50 minute variety, so at nearly 100 minutes this one can be a bit of a challenge to swallow all in one sitting. But when you do - what a journey! The music here is quite varied, and while some songs make the tag "Crossover Prog" appropriate, this album really is made for fans of melodic concept albums and those who just love variety in their music. In fact, despite this being a concept album, very little of the music features vocals, and the story is summarised in three paragraphs - so as a listener, you get to piece together your own interpretation of how the music and the story work together on your own.

The track names on this album aren't the most impressive - there are no Siberian Khatru's on here to wow any who happen to stumble upon your lastfm while you are listening to this, the band has opted to go with names such as "Intro", "Interlude #1", and "Intro Reprise" for most of this album. This is because, despite the varying styles and sounds on this album, it is ultimately designed to be listened to straight through, and it definitely sounds great this way - despite the length, it does not bore.

The biggest mainstream connection I can find for this album to mainstream music is in the tracks "Come With Me", "Take Me", and "Come With Me (Reprise)", each of which are love songs. Yet, to my ears, they are pretty darn good and don't feel at all out of place on this album. If all radio love songs sounded this good I'd probably listen to the radio more often. At times, I find myself singing the chorus to Come With Me.

But, despite how enjoyable those tracks are, my favorite moments are the more experimental/varied instrumental tracks, highlights including the eclectic "Loops", which ranges through many different moods and sounds, and later track "Harmonix" (proof that the band is a fan of Guitar Hero? Maybe not...) builds upon it's theme in a very pleasing manner.

I have to give the band props for making an album that was not constrained by the limitations of their medium, while at the same time not attempting to fill their medium to the fullest. At only 95 minutes, this is a fairly easy listen for a modern double album, and demonstrates that the band was just releasing an album that fit their ambition. The music doesn't really bore at any point; when a theme is used for a longer length of time, it is developed and worked upon so as to remain fresh. Despite this, there are moments where one feels that the band will perhaps get somewhat more tight with future releases, that although the tracks never bore with a little more tightness they could have hit just a bit harder.

Overall, though, this album has enough energy, variety, and melody to be of interest to many, and stays fresh over multiple listens due simply to the sheer vastness and variety of music located within.

Review by lazland
4 stars I am extremely surprised that this exceptional debut album from British Crossover band, IOEarth, has, thus far, only garnered four reviews on the site. Because, aside from the fact that this is a wondrously accomplished work, the band have also been making some fairly large waves in the world of prog, not just with this album, but also developing into a popular and fine live act, a fact acknowledged by magazines such as Classic Rock Presents Prog.

From the moment I first heard the delicious Introduction, with delicate keyboards, symphonic and orchestral keyboards, with the charm of ethereal female vocals, I knew that I was in for a treat.

This is a very long album, running in at over 94 minutes on two CDs of material, so it is not the type of album that can be taken in immediately, or treated as a casual listen. It's length also prompts me to forego my usual individual track review to provide more of an overview.

I think the first thing to state is just how lush the whole work sounds. It has been lovingly recorded and especially cleanly produced by Miguel Seco from Portugal. The musicianship and vocals are of the highest quality throughout, and, crucially for such an opus, you never tire of listening to it from start to finish.

The band quite properly fit within Crossover in my opinion, but I would also state that there are so many influences as to really define this album as being an eclectic smorgasbord of tones, colours, and soundscapes. You have symphonic, neo, most clearly prog folk on tracks such as Mountains Start To Fall which will be loved by all Mostly Autumn fans, post rock, jazz, pop, tracks that owe a huge nod to Mike Oldfield, and, at times, stuff that is impossible to classify, such as the utterly unique Eeee, featuring a male soprano and a rocking groove that imports so many sounds I would not know where to begin. Importantly, though, all of this is underlaid with a clear ear for commercial sensibilities. What could have been a frightening mess in less capable hands is presented to us as something that lasts long in the memory and appeals to rock fans of all types.

Of that, I can think of no better example than the highlight of the album to me, Come With Me, and its shorter Reprise. Trancy, dancy, and gorgeously modern in its progressive sensibilities, it is an incredible creation. The guitar solo is simply heaven, and we even have a sort of gospel choir thrown in for good measure.

In IoEarth, founding members Dave Cureton & Adam Gough have formed a memorable band (and it is a band, not a duo) and created quite simply one of the most stunning debut works I have had the pleasure to listen to.

The album is available to listen to on Spotify, and I would then have no hesitation in recommending that listeners move on to purchase it from Amazon. I got it as part of a two albums for '10 deal, an outrageous bargain. I cannot wait for the follow up, which I think when released will be one of the albums of the year.

I have thought pretty long and hard about the correct rating for this. I am very sparing in my "masterpiece" ratings, and I honestly believe that too many somewhat dilute the importance we should ascribe to such a rating. I'll say this much, though. This album only just falls short of it, so I will content myself saying that it deserves 4.5 stars if we had such a rating, and that it is an excellent addition to any prog rock collection and an album that really does deserve far more of our attention.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Birmingham-based UK outfit, initially started as a studio project by multi-instrumentalists Dave Cureton and Adam Cough.They met each other at school and became friends, worked on several projects over the years, but their goal was always to produce something different with their own identity.Thus, IOEarth came in life in 2007 and the Cureton/Cough duo started working on their ideas, eventually coming up with a self-released self-titled debut in 2009, having the help of Richard Cureton on drums, Christian Nokes on bass and several vocalists.

The high ambitions of the British duo are made clear already from the first few pieces as well as from the length of this double-CD album clocking at almost a hundred minutes.And the truth is they did some fantastic job on this debut.Superb arrangements with plenty of orchestral moods as well as Ethnic tendencies, reminding a bit of HOSTSONATEN's more diverse works, and having a style ranging from Piano Rock to Heavy Symphonic Rock.All tracks are perfectly tightened, resulting to a work of both dreamy and passionate soundscapes, alternating between a wide spectrum of different atmospheres.There are plenty of synth/piano-based orchestrations with a few sax and horns here and there, creating a Lounge but always artistic and intricate climate of a folky approach.Others are close to the atmospheric and lyrical Prog of MOSTLY AUTUMN or KARNATAKA, featuring excellent female voices and melodic themes with some intricate changes and even some lovely acoustic passages.But their sound reaches its peak with the heavy and grandiose sound of the duo's guitars under symphonic and almost cinematic keyboards.Excellent riffs, tremendous solos and an overall beautiful orchestral atmosphere with a few great melodies added for good measure.

A debut to remember.I really do not know if this music is deeply personal, but the overall blending of these different moods works pretty well.Not to mention the extremely well-crafted arrangements as individual pieces.Great stuff and highly recommended.

Latest members reviews

3 stars This band (of two people with helpers) leaves me rather puzzled. In a rare admission, I have to state that I just can not fathom their motives. This work is unlikely to have been intended for commercial success and in that sense it fits the Prog category - if only just. Miriads of different i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1184996) | Posted by Anon-E-Mouse | Thursday, June 5, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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