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Various Artists (Label Samplers) Emkog Sampler album cover
3.70 | 26 ratings | 20 reviews | 4% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Solitude of Miranda (7:12) °
2. Birds Flying into Buildings (9:11) °
3. Art of the Earth (4:15)
4. Yucatan 65: The Agitation of the Mass (excerpt) (4:56) °
5. Nine Against Ten (6:33)
6. Miracle Pigeon (early version) (2:27) *
7. Aggrandizement (excerpt) (12:52) °
8. Gratitude (10:41)
9. A Big Blob of Demos and Early Versions of Forthcoming Music (20:13) *

Total Time 78:20

* Previously unreleased tracks
° Previously unreleased alternate mixes

Line-up / Musicians

Tracks 1, 7 by Deluge Grander
Tracks 2, 4, 6 by Birds and Buildings
Tracks 3, 8 by All Over Everywhere
Track 5 by Cerebus Effect

Releases information

Track 9 includes material that will eventually be improved and released

CD Emkog Records (2010, US)

Thanks to Evolver for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) Emkog Sampler ratings distribution

(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(69%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is why I joined Progarchives in the first place.

A few years ago, at another (non-music) site, I happened to be professing my love for progressive music, and the difficult time I had finding new bands that I could enjoy. Another member poited me here, and the rest is history.

Emkog Records has released this CD to promote their stable of prog rock artists (none of which I had heard previously, and all but one band on the disk are listed here). Man, I've been missing a lot. The music is highly creative, completely original, and, for the most part on this collection, extremely energetic. I hear quite a bit of world music influence in many of the rhythms and melodies, some Middle Eastern, some Spanish flavored. There is also something about the music that reminds me a little bit of Univers Zero.

The one band on the disk that doesn't fit the above description is All Over Everywhere. The first of their songs, Art Of The Earth, sounds like crossover prog to me, maybe like a more interesting Tori Amos style. Their second song on the disk, Gratitude, is a more traditional symphonic prog piece.

The only problem I have with the collection is the production. Now I don't know if it happened in the production of the compilation or the original albums (a few of the songs are different mixes from the albums), but quite a few of the songs have a very muddy mix. Instruments get distorted and lost in the mix, and you can barely hear the vocals in the All Over Everywhere tracks.

If it wasn't for the production issues, I'd give this five stars.

Review by TheGazzardian
3 stars Anyone who has listened to the music of Dan Britton knows that he is an artist to be watched. Anyone who has bothered to read/listen any of Dan's musings, on his websites or the interview on this website or elsewhere, knows that he has a creative spirit that is pretty much boundless.

This sampler serves as an introduction to his music, featuring both music from his past albums and some from future albums. Featuring two Deluge Grander tracks (one from each already released album), three Birds and and Buildings tracks (two from Bantam to Behemoth, which is my favorite release by Dan thus far, and one from the yet-unreleased Multi-Purpose Trap), one track form Cerberus Effect, and two from his new band, All Over Everywhere, this album is a pretty good sample of all that Dan has been up to for the last five years. It also serves as a pretty good "Greatest Hits" piece, putting together some of the best pieces from his previously released albums and his yet-to-be-released material.

For the faithful who have already acquired any of the albums that some of these tracks are released from, this release is still of interest. Many of the tracks have been remastered, and to my ears anyways, they have some additional clarity that the original albums lacked. Unfortunately, the newer tracks are still a bit muddy (especially the All Over Everywhere tracks, where the vocals seem to be mixed really low. But these are probably early versions). As a listener, I appreciate Dan's DIY attitude but I do hope that, given more time, he gets somewhat better at production - the music is too good and too detailed to let production flaws get in the way.

This album isn't quite perfect. While I would argue that there isn't a bad track on it, the "Blob" at the end (which I tend to think of as a bonus track) does feel like a Blob at times. It is interesting, for sure, but compared to the eight tracks that precede it, it isn't near as focussed, obviously. I think the Blob will actually grow more interesting as the various pieces in it are developed, fleshed out and relased, and it actually becomes a reference point to where they started.

For fans of Birds and Buildings, the early version of "Miracle Pigeon" will be a particular treat. It is a song about a super-hero pigeon, and is definitely a good sign that Multipurpose Trap should be just as good as Bantam to Behemoth. The All Over Everywhere tracks are interesting as well, although this compilation was released not long before the intended release date of the album they will be from.

Overall, this album both hints at future works, gives a nice update to some previously existing tracks, and serves as an excellent introduction to the various bands of musical mastermind Dan Britton.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Normally I don't care about compilations made by record labels, so when I received Ban Britton's mail offering me EMKOG (Sampler of the bands from the label with the same name), was tempted to say "no hanks", but then I remembered Dan played in one of my all time favourite bands (DELUGE GRANDER), so I accepted his offer....A decision I will never regret, because it's a very tasteful compilation of songs by four different bands that have one thing in common, Dan Britton played keyboards in all of them.

My first surprise was to notice how different the four bands are:

- DELUGE GRANDER plays a new and complex form of Symphonic Prog, with hints of Jazz and even Avant Garde,

- BIRDS AND BUILDINGS is even more complex, and play some sort of fluid Jazz with touches of everything, I even heard some Flamenco hints.

- ALL OVER EVERYWHERE on the other hand, is a musical collective (as described by the band), almost a small orchestra that combines the styles of all the members to create a unique and original sound

- CEREBUS EFFECT is what you get if you blend MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA with KING CRIMSON and a unique atmosphere created by the band, a very aggressive Fusion music with radical changes and odd time signatures, really impressive, even for me, not being a fan McLaughlin and Fripp's bands.

But there's something in common, all the tracks are simply outstanding, maybe the mix is not the best I have heard (strange, because what I heard by CEREBUS EFFECT and DEKLUGE GRANDER, is perfectly produced), but it's good enough to appreciate the excellent music.

As a Symphonic fan, it's obvious that my favourite tracks have to be "The Solitude of Miranda" (Delicate and with emphasis in the dexterity of the musicians) and "Aggrandizement's excerpt" (Dark Mysterious and heavy), both recorded differently than in the DELUGE GRANDER albums, so it's a double pleasure to have a new and previously unreleased version of two great musical pieces.

But there's not a single weak moment and other some really impressive songs, like:

"Yucatan 65: The Agitation of the Mass" by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS, where Brett d'Anon gives a lesson of how an acoustic guitar must be played.

The solemn and atmospheric "Gratitude" by ALL OVER EVERYWHERE, with it's magnificent organ performance and the dramatic aggressiveness of "Nine Against Ten" by CEREBUS EFFECT.

In other words, an excellent addition for those who have not previously heard this band, but even better for the ones who know them, because they will get some new and previously unreleased versions of many tracks.

Despite I'm not a fan of compilation albums, I wouldn't dare to rate the excellent EMKOG with less than 4 stars.

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars This special compilation represents Dan Britton's involvement in several bands in a rather compact way. I must admit I'm completely new here, never had listened to his compositions before. When starting to get into this the first conclusion was quickly obvious for me: he seems to be a restless contemporary, based on a well thought out schedule, seemingly living with and for music, mainly progressive rock music to be exact. Concerning the nine tracks included (some are excerpts or mastered differently) we have a time window starting around the year 2005 and ending in 2015 or so. Which means this also comprises demos and early versions of forthcoming music.

Two or three listening sessions are surely not enough to digest this tricky stuff which stylistically unites symphonic, folk and jazz rock elements, to call up the main ingredients. Where Dan Britton cares for keyboards and some guitars all the way through you will also find Patrick Gaffney (drums) and Brett d'Anon (bass) frequently listed when checking the line-up of the diverse productions from which the tracks were picked up. The musical trip starts off with two uptempo songs. Deluge Grander's The Solitude Of Miranda is provided with a solid symphonic fundament (Steve Howe reminiscent guitars included) and some ethno coloured folk elements, presented in a rather eclectic way.

Taken from Birds And Buildings' highly acclaimed 'Bantam To Behemoth' Birds Flying Into Buildings makes up the album's fireworks so to say - a captivating, energetic one, turns and breaks en masse, brimful of life. In order to facilitate some time to relax furtheron the next one Art Of the Earth comes from a new project called All Over Everywhere, basically a dreamy psych/folk song decorated with nice female vocals. Nine Against Ten appears as a pleasant heavy fusion thing really, recorded by the band Cerebus Effect. High speed performance guaranteed - but also decorated with a floating inner part where bassist Mike Galway shows his talent.

Not promoted as that but 'Emkog' could probably be treated as a best of compilation ... even despite the fact that you will stumble across twenty minutes of forthcoming music, seemingly inspired by classical music, recorded for a new Deluge Grander album and another collaboration named Elevator Machine Room. Overall this is a successful promotion with a blend of relaxed and highly energetic tunes, however not for everyone's taste because short of common catchy moments - an adventure for a prog aficionado though and ideally suited when you intend to get closer to the aforementioned bands.

Review by Chicapah
3 stars This is a first for me. I've never reviewed a sampler so I'm not sure how to act. When in doubt be honest, right? So that's what I'll do with this very interesting compilation from Emkog Records that a fellow progger generously bestowed on me a few weeks ago. I'm always intrigued by fresh music and I had a fine time listening to these 9 cuts sans harboring any preconceived notions about the musicians and/or bands involved. Virgin territory for these senior ears is a treat to explore, no matter what the terrain.

All I know about the names involved in the manufacture of this music I gleaned from the critique posted by the respected reviewer Rivertree due to the fact that the packaging, while admirably beautiful and eye-catching, contains only bare bones information (necessary to keep costs down, no doubt). I suspected that one particular creative mind was threading its way through these various songs and an aural artist by the name of Dan Britton is the culprit. If nothing else, Dan's a prolific progger and I must acknowledge his compositional prowess right off the bat. The music contained on this CD is complex and challenging no matter whether it makes me stand and salute or not and there's a lot to be said for that. In other words, the Sex Pistols this ain't. This is 21st century progressive rock through and through and it shows potential out the wazoo.

There are two offerings by the Deluge Grander group. "The Solitude of Miranda" kicks the whole shebang off with an unexpectedly furious madrigal onslaught that soon opens into an ELP-like motif that's heavy and impressive until the moment arrives when the amateur electric guitar spasm halts the momentum drastically. I hate to point a finger but the guitarist is just not up to speed. Britton's multi-keyboard work is excellent but he overwhelms the drums often and this instrumental fails to establish a memorable theme. The excerpt from "Aggrandizement" sounds better and its middle-eastern hues give it a mystical tint. It sports a more mature structure but the muddy drums don't do it any favors. Overall its aggressiveness is exciting but it gets too busy at times and my interest tended to lose focus.

The best band represented here is Birds and Buildings. They're some kind of a King Crimson meets Frank Zappa hybrid in their attack and I really like the variety of instrumentation they use. "Birds Flying into Buildings" is a whirlwind of styles that boggles the brain and the only criticism I have is that the saxophone, while in tune, lacks the tone that only comes from experience and it comes off being a little too High-School-lab- orchestra clinical. But one thing's for certain, the solid foundation provided by the bass and drums is tight from start to finish and the energetic movement they enter two-thirds of the way in gives it distinction. The peek we get into "Yucatan 65: The Agitation of the Mass" reveals that this group is no one-trick pony. Guitar and flute are always a good combination and there's a lot more in the way of melody to grab onto here. The tune's Spanish feel brings to mind some of Neal Morse's excursions (however, slide guitar demands accuracy and can't be tossed in recklessly) and I like the way it evolves into a dream state at the fadeout. Their "Miracle Pigeon" is my favorite number of all. It's fun and slightly whimsical while baring sharp teeth at the same time. I'm always relieved when a band refuses to take itself too seriously. I really enjoy these guys.

All Over Everywhere is sort of an early-Genesis-mates-with-Renaissance offspring and on their smooth "Art of the Earth" the woman's airy vocal is most welcome, especially since feminine voices are, sadly, still a rarity in prog but why bury such a distinguishing perk in the mix? Production-wise the atmosphere is dramatic, perhaps overly so. The longer "Gratitude" is a better song mainly because of its appealing chord progression but I'm still wondering why I have to strain to hear the too-processed vocals, making the lyrics indecipherable. What fidelity the tune possesses tragically drops out at the three minute mark as the piece takes on a Todd Rundgren-ish sheen yet the build up is a lively and invigorating journey. Then suddenly at the 7:10 point it's as if a new producer took over the control board as all aspects of the sound improve immediately. Odd. I also appreciate the wall-of-pomposity ending that doesn't disappoint the progger in my soul.

We only get one instrumental from Cerebus Effect but it offers a good look. "Nine Against Ten" reveals more of Britton's King Crimson bloodline (in a good way) and has a metallic taste to it. The breakdown into a Mahavishnu Orchestra vibe midway through is greatness and bassist Mike Galway (kudos to Riverside again) fills it with a solo that he should be very proud of. The final movement is ferocious, bringing to mind what would happen if Chick Corea joined up with Dream Theater. Quality stuff.

Since no particular ensemble is credited for the epic "Big Blob of Demos and Early Versions of Forthcoming Music" that rounds out the CD I'm going to assume that it's mostly Dan's private doings. Despite being a collage of separate ideas edited together this 20+ minute display of talent bears repeated listens now and in the future. The onset has a stately cosmic aura with the Rhodes piano dominating the landscape and it works wonderfully. It turns into a gladiator movie score (cool) when all the instruments join the grand processional before, at the 3:30 mark, a gorgeous solo piano ushers in a new phase that's very promising. I love the classical overtones and the simple elegance he employs for the next 7 minutes or so. After that things get stranger yet not unpleasant till the 13:30 juncture when the conglomeration of ideas plateaus. The next segment is somewhat dissonant and not as cohesive (a Deluge Grander outtake?) but the caboose on this train has enough of a Fripp aroma to bring it to a dignified close. Britton really gives the listener a workout, that's for sure.

This sampler runs the gamut of so many prog genres that it's bound to generate mixed emotions in all who encounter it but there's also something for everyone to smile about as they make their way through. I would only remind Dan that in prog high fidelity sound is a requisite and cutting corners won't ever fly but, all in all, he's on the right path and I expect to hear fantastic things from him by and by. Being a veteran of prog's glory years when groups aka Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer sold out arenas worldwide and then had to stand by helplessly as the prog movement almost perished from indifference during the MTV-infected 80s, it warms my heart to know that it not only survived but is now gaining its former strength back as evidenced on this Emkog release. It proves that prog has a big role to play in the music trends of the new millennium. 3.2 stars.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I usually don't care about compilations as well, I don't like Best off's (and honestly, you can't do B-O from something like Pink Floyd or Genesis). However, when Dan Britton (who connects all bands featured here) contacted me to do a review of this samples, I was very pleased, because as much as I despise compilations, I feel completely opposite way for his projects and bands. Or at least those I've heard.

By the way, little quite of someone here and there won't hurt I think, as long as it's sparse and most importantly - in a friendly way.

I'll sort tracks by release date, not with tracklist order:

Music is very different, ranging many styles and is selected from projects spanning 6 years (or 10 years if you want to count the album that has estimated release date on "2010 or later"), so it shows his beginnings as Jazzy/Prog Metal act Cerebus Effect, continuing with Eclectic Deluge Grander (take one), then with two songs from Birds & Buildings masterpiece (probably the best rated of all these albums, including my 5-star rating, well deserved) - killer opening track Birds Flying Into Buildings and then little bit calmer excerpt of this Yucatan 65. Not that much calmer thought.

And then we're in 2009. Aggrandizement, excerpt ( ! - it's 2/3 of entire song, so not your usual excerpt) and sounds closer to Birds & Buildings album than anything else. All Over Everywhere's album is new, this band isn't here yet, but I believe it will, eventually because, as Art of the Earth suggests, it's interesting music. Probably woman vocals backed band. And yes, it's the one who did vocals on fifth track on "Bantam to Behemoth", lovely voice of Megan Wheatley. I was sure I know it from somewhere. And final track is mix of variable quality. A lot of "ambient" like stuff, unfinished pieces and some very interestingly sounding tracks, but in overall, not that good. But I expected that.

4(+), one of these compilations that have enough reasons to exist.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Dan Britton is a busy man! Until now I've only been familiar with his excellent Birds and Buildings project but since receiving this Emkog Records sampler I hadn't realised that he's involved in another three bands, all represented here. In fact, this has been put together by Dan himself, the purpose of this compilation to be an introduction to his work.

Being already familiar with them I'll start with Birds and Building. They're represented by two tracks from Bantam to Behemoth, Birds Flying Into Buildings and an edited version of Yucatan 65: The Agitation of the Mass. The former also just happens to be my favourite track off an overall excellent album. It's a frantic and complex piece of prog with a strong jazz rock flavour. They're all excellent players, Dan himself contributing Keyboards and guitar to the band by the way and the tracks notable for some particularly exhilarating sax playing. It twists and turns for over nine minutes but never lets up on the energy quotient. Excellent stuff indeed. Yucatan 65: The Agitation of the Mass is more restrained in more of a symphonic vein with sax man Brian Falkowski switching to flute and there's some fine acoustic guitar work and is that a mellotron I hear?

Deluge Grander open this album with The Solitude of Miranda, a track from their first album August In The Urals, released in 2006. More heavily in a symphonic vein than Birds And Buildings, it's a beautifully rich piece with captivating melodies and is another busy composition. The second track from this formation is the almost thirteen minute Aggrandizement. It comes from their second album just released last year in 2009 and has been edited from nineteen to thirteen minutes. More restrained than The Solitude Of Miranda but equally dramatic, it also features some haunting melodies.

Cerebus Effect contribute the earliest recording here with Nine Against Ten. Dan Britton was a band member here as opposed to being the main driving force as he is with the previous two bands. It's a powerful instrumental (as is the majority of this sampler) in a jazz rock vein with some metallic guitar work. Once again it's marked by some stunning musicianship and is another highly enjoyable composition.

All Over Everywhere is the most recent band here and are the furthest away stylistically from the other three. Easily the most accessible and commercial they're represented by two tracks from their debut album released this year, Inner Firmaments Decay. The band is more the vision of multi-instrumentalist Trinna Kesner, though Britton does contribute keyboards and has a hand in the compositions. They're characterised by the haunting vocals of Megan Wheatley and musically go for a simpler symphonic approach than anything else here creating a rich soundscape with lush melodies. Art Of The Earth and Gratitude are two lovely compositions and if the rest of the albums as good as this then it's one I'd like to hear.

The album closes with a twenty minute collection of demos, strung together as a continuous track and actually works well as a piece in its own right. I guess these will most likely end up on the next Deluge Grander or Birds And Buildings albums and there's already some good ideas developing.

Overall then this Emkog sampler makes a great introduction to the various bands that feature Dan Britton and very impressive it is too, giving me an appetite to look into the ones I didn't already know in more depth. At such a reasonable price most prog lovers can't go wrong and will almost certainly find something they like on here. In my case I can safely say I enjoyed it all.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I have a few Label Samplers in my collection. It was a good way to check out some bands I was interested in several years ago without committing to their whole album. These days there are so many ways to hear songs from bands that i'm sure samplers will one day disappear. Maybe not though if they're as good as what Dan Britton has provided here. I'm familiar with three of the four bands that are sampled, the one I didn't know about was ALL OVER EVERYWHERE. My favourite by far of the ones I know is CEREBUS EFFECT, an Avant / Jazz / Fusion band that is so impressive instrumentally. DELUGE GRANDER and BIRDS AND BUILDINGS haven't clicked with me for some reason. I like the songs provided here for the most part. I find the sampler starts off really good but i'm done before it gets near the end (almost 79 minutes).

"The Solitude Of Miranda" is a song I was familiar with from the DELUGE GRANDER cd I own. And this is a highlight. Flute and an ethnic flavour sounds so good. Some brief female vocals before 3 minutes.The mood changes a minute later. Intense 5 minutes in. Great tune ! "Birds Flying Into Buildings" reminds me that I hit four wild turkeys this morning on the way to work in my truck.They were flying across the road and grazed my windshield, well banged is maybe the word, but they all made it across.There was probably 10 all together. Anyway this song is another fantastic track. Frantic to start and almost Zeuhl-like. Just a killer sound before 2 minutes. Birds and female vocal melodies follow. Sax after 3 minutes followed by piano. Intense again 5 minutes in. Lots of sax to end it. Amazing track. "Art Of The Earth" is new to me. I like the atmosphere. Female vocals a minute in.

"Yucatan 65: The Agitation Of The Mass" opens with acoustic guitar. Flute joins in then the sound gets fuller. Beautiful stuff. Sampled mellotron too. Lots of flute late. It stops too abruptly though. "Nine Against Ten" is a CERBUS EFFECT tune and it's uptempo with the drums and keyboards standing out. Angular guitar before 1 1/2 minutes. It settles a minute later. Nice bass. Kicks back in after 4 1/2 minutes. "Miracle Pigeon" is a short uptempo track with horns standing out. "Aggrandizement" is one I can't get into, and actually the next two tracks as well. Too bad because that's well over half of the album.

The first 6 tracks are such good examples of the talent on display here. Dan as usual is so proffessional when it comes to the cover art and liner notes. A classy release that I know will make a lot of people happy because they will discover some amazing bands and music.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent introduction to Dan Britton's music!

We, as members of a recognized internet site like this, have the advantage and good luck of being visited by professional musicians who are willing to gain a place and recognition within the progressive rock realm. Some of those musicians, like is the case of Dan Britton, have added their grain of sand to this site, because thanks to their enthusiasm, we, the prog listeners can know music that was previously unknown to us.

I want to thank Dan for his confidence and kindness, and of course, for the music he and his friends have created and will create for long time, I am sure. Before receiving this Emkog sampler I was only familiar with Deluge Grander's debut which I liked since the first moments. That is why I was sure that the music here could only offer moments of pure quality, and believe me, I was right.

What this sampler offers is a short collection of Dan's different projects, songs that have already released, and even a proof of what is coming in the near future. This time I won't review song by song as I use to, but write some impressions of the different projects, and I'll do it chronologically. So first: Cerebus Effect. One song was taken from this project, "Nine against Ten" which can be found in their "Acts of Deception" album. Here I could appreciate a song with an odd and challenging sound, with excellent guitars and a fast rhythm that may remind you to some jazz/fusion monsters. Actually, after that fast sound the song calms down and turns sweeter yet still intense, seems that Mahavishnu Orchestra was an influence.

Now: Deluge Grander. Their first album "August in the Urals" was released back in 2006, and since then it has had a good reputation at least here in prog archives. Their second one saw the light just a year ago (2009), the title is "The Form of the Good", which is still unknown to me, but that will change soon. One song per album was taken for this sampler. "The Solitude of Miranda" which I also remember was free to download via, is probably the better known song from Deluge Grander. A composition that shows the musician's quality and skills, a song that proves that it is possible to make progressive rock at its highest nowadays. And "Aggrandizement", according to the back of the sampler this version was mastered differently than the album version and it is actually an excerpt, so I will have to get the album soon if I want to know the complete version. Deluge Grander's music is powerful, eclectic and bombastic, something that no one should miss.

Birds and Buildings shows probably the most complex songs of them all. Fast tracks whose intensity and tension will catch the listener since the very first second. Their debut album was named "Bantam to Behemoth" and released in 2008. From this record two songs were taken for this CD, "Birds Flying into Buildings" and "Yucatan 65", this last one is also an excerpt. And their second album is planned to be released this year (if we are lucky) if not the next year (2011). The music of this band at least from the song I can listen here, has a lot to offer: complexity, fast time compositions that may provide an ambient of tension; but in the other hand softer symphonic tracks whose atmosphere suggests tranquility and harmony. The early version of "Miracle Pigeon" is just a short proof of what some trained and talente musicians can do in a couple of minutes.

And finally: All Over Everywhere which seems that this is the softer or gentler project of them all. Their recently released album this 2010, "Inner Firmaments Decay" has caught the attention of more than one, and I am included in that list. Two tracks were chosen for this sampler, "Art of the Earth" and "Gratitude", both songs show the passion and musical education of the musicians involved in this project. The music is sweet, soft and beautiful, warm and friendly. But there is a thing I did not like, it is that the voice (female) sounds too far, it may have to do with the production I don't know, but seems far to me, like if it didn't belong to the piece, at least is how I felt it. Despite that, I am sure this band will succeed in the near future.

The last "track", is a compilation of Dan's future projects, as you can see, he is a man who lives for music and luckily for us, a man that creates great music. This twenty-minute track features pieces of Deluge Grander and Birds and Buildings next albums, but also shows the first steps of a new project: Elevator Machine Room, whose albums are planned for 2011 or 2012, and 2015 or later. A busy man working for the future of progressive rock, what else could we ask.

An excellent CD without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable samplers I have ever heard. Hope more people get it and as me, get the music of Dan's different projects, because despite being so different to each other, all of them are quality bands that will please any prog rock fan. My final grade is four stars.

Enjoy it!

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Emkog Sampler is a compilation CD of the various projects of instrumentist/songwriter Dan Britton. He was kind enough to send me this album to review it, even if he might have notice that I did not know much of his work. I have only one Deluge Grandeur (The Form Of The Good) and this sample includes a track from that album (albeit mastered in a different way). I also heard (but do not own a copy of ) Birds And Buildings Bantam To Behemoth. I should say I was not really impressed by neither at first. After several spins, however, my opinion changed,. The same goes with this CD. It takes quite some time to sink in, but it was worth it.

Besides the two aforementioned bands Emkog has tracks form other Brittons´s works with names like All Over Everywhere and Cerebus Effect. The styles are quite differente from each other as far as I can tell. Deluge Grandeur for exemple is leans definitly towards symphonic prog while Birds And Buildings is a much more jazz rock/fusion project (a bit like Frank Zappa instrumental albums). The only common thread I found on all works is the classic King Crimson sound. Like Robert Fripp´s old band, Britton´s music is quite daring, taking a lot from the avant guard but also much from more simple, melodic approach. This delicate balance between the simple and the complex seems to be eluding most KC followers over the years, but Britton got it. And that´s where his major power lies: his compositions are intricated, alright, but are also accessible and coherent, even if sometimes it takes some time to really ´get it´.

Of all the tracks here I specially liked All Over Everywhere´s Art Of the Earth and Gratitude. The latter is one that caught my atention from the very start and, to me, is the CD´s highlight with its beautiful big mellotron sound, a thrilling build up and emotional vocals. Emkog also has the aforementined remastered version of Deluge Grandeur´s Aggrandizement, which by the way sounds here much better than on the original album. But I should say that no tune here is weak. they all have their strong points, even the ones I´m not really a big fan of the style (Birds And Buildings and Cerebus Effect are way too jazz rock/RIO/avant guard for my taste, and still I found them listenable and charming after some time).

Conclusion: Dan Britton is one of prog best new songwriters I´ve heard recently. His work is quite remarkable and powerful, and I think everyone who is into progressive music should listen to one or more of his projects. And this sample is a good start for that. After this CD I´m looking forward to listen to some of his other works I Definitly recommended. 4 stars.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This sampler was a very positive surprise to me, as I have earlier found label compillations slightly unintresting. But here the artistic line is very good and pleasant, different bands doing their studies in realms of art rock tones from a satisfying perspetive. The first impression in printed albums is usually the album covers, and these beautiful paintings give correct assocition about honoring the traditions of past masters, and developing musicians own self-expression within this artistic concept.

Deluge Grander has two songs on the album. First of them "The Solitude of Miranda" sounds quite much like Änglagård, though a bit more pleasant to my ears, having maybe slightly more rock groove in it, and avoiding the most eccentric compositional solutions. Also the fast and precise playing with vivid sonic details and arrangements manage to feel purposeful, not focusing to solitary aim of instrumental virtuosism. There seems to be some kind of Slavic flavour in the guitar melodies, if I manage to compare my observation to correct traditional musical family. The surreal elements also balance the logical complexities of the musical structures. "Aggrandizement" has more stonger presence of classic symphonic music style, beautiful melodies and really professional production quality, sounding slighlty as an intensive film music. Later is presented some twisting rock elements, and these synthesizing a really interesting and long art rock suite is formed.

There are three songs from Birds and Buildings on the record. First track "Birds Flying into Buildings" has King Crimson oriented tone due its fast and neurotic guitar pickings mingling with dramatic mellotron layers. This symbiosis is accompanied with jazzy touches of saxophones and marimbas, and later sequences remind little Finnish Dasputnik which I have been listening lately quite much. Second tune "Yucatan 65: The Agitation of The Mass" goes for hunting classic pastoral moods in style of "Trespass" album by Genesis, and I think the group gets a succesful catch. The folk music aspect is more powerfully in front than symphonic prog elements, which though are also included later, adding emotional punch to the overall sound. Last track "Mircale Pigeon" has more humoristic start, leading then to rapid machine gun treatement of musical ideas, maybe being the most coldest of these three tracks, very professinal however.

All Over Everywhere has two tracks available, and I believe this is the most feasible artists for e from the fine groups on this disc. "Art of The Earth" is a calm, psychedelic and mysterious aural space, created with echoed sounds, web veaving pianos, classical instruments and beatiful sounding lady singer. The distant core of the song contains much compositional information, but it is interestingly softened by the calming treatments, and does not attack very violently to the ears. Long composition "Gratitude" is more symphonic in its nature, ascending solemnly to the elevation of spheres, maybe resembling more ethreal and modern sounding incarnation of classic-era Renaissance. Though I can appreciate many kind of vocals, I have special place for lady singers voice. The vocal sequences in the music of the bands presented are slightly rare. But I think this is a good choice generally in art music, leaving much space for instrumental studies, but still giving human presence to the sound.

Cerebus Effect's track "Nine Agains Ten" is more aggressive rollercoaster ride with jazzy electric piano and heavier guitar dancing with the rhythm section. Professional sounding stuff, but maybe slightly too fast travelling for my own taste, though I liked some of the scenes which fastly passed by. I think this could be described as modern technical symphonic prog or something such. Also song name is descriptive, there is much commotion about when putting this to the stereos.

The final "Big Blob of Demos" has much fine sounding material in it, following the line of other tracks of the samples. Let's see how these will mature in the future. There are long line plans of record releases listed to the album cover, so many interesting records are schedlued for those open to this kind of music. I also liked how fresh sounding music can be built from vintage music elements, stretching enjoyable in territories of symphonic rock, classical music, folk, jazz, psychedelia and also heavier tones. On basis of this sampler I would easily detect all these bands as acts with clear merits suggesting to check them out further. For me the most favourable were All Over Everywhere and also Birds and Buildings.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This sampler is a quite rare case, when such kind of release is released by many of PA collaborators and even more - have high ratings from them! Having this release for some months, I return to listen it time to time, so I have my matured opinion on it right now.

Being not a fan of symphonic prog (and similar/related music, as over-arranged mellow crossover, bombastic eclectic,etc), and having no love/interest for samplers/compilations in general, I obviously was far not the best person for such release.

So - besides of all reviews,written by guys with much bigger interest and experience in such music, my on ecould be mostly interesting for music fans as I am.

For very beginning - I really like this album! I wonder by myself, but it's truth! Music there in whole is melodic modern keyboards based progressive rock without being too bombastic, obviously cloned from some great bands of the past, and professionally played.

All the idea of this compilation is just to represent best examples of musical bands/projects, founded by or related with multi instrumentalist,vocalist and producer Dan Britton. To be honest, I never heard any of this band before.

Birds and Buildings are represented by 3 songs, so they are let say head-liner of this release. Very competent well-balanced melodic music, with all space for all instruments (including sax) soloing. Kind of high quality modern prog rock (mainstream) in its best. In moments close to progressive fusion, with nice guitar work, this band is my biggest sympathy from all presented on this compilation.

Deluge Grander sound quite similar, but keyboards dominate there, and all sound is more symphonic and even bombastic in some moments (excellent Spanish guitar opening still presented though). I really like both songs as well. To be honest, bigger part of material presented sound as one band's different time and line-up's releases, what is not strange at all.

All Over Everywhere is more multi-instrumentalist and composer Trinna Kesner's project, just with Dan Britton as collaborated musician. Music is more different from both previous bands, compositionally and by sound, more kind of melodic dreamy songs with very pleasant female vocals.

Cerebus Effect, last band,presented on this compilation, is prog jazz fusion project (with Canterbury influence), where Dan Britton was just one of band's member. Again , very competent and professional composition, well played as well.

Besides of bands/compositions as above, all other CD space is filled with one long (20+ minutes) demo medley of outakes, alternative versions and some future compositions).

I believe that this sampler was released just to attract listeners attention to musical bands, working under Dan Britton's Emkog label's umbrella. And I can confirm this release does this work perfectly.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Emkog Records multi-project sampler

I'm not a big fan of samplers and compilations because I believe albums need to be heard in their full and appropriate context, so I'll be very brief here. Dan Britton's sampler is as good as they come, it is vast and thoughtful with plenty to digest. It may well be helpful in directing the Britton noob on where to begin. Deluge Grander, a rich, complex, and ambitious modern symphonic project is my favorite of Dan's groups so far based on these samples. "The Form of the Good" was one of the prog highlights of 2009. I'll need to hear other complete albums by the other bands before commenting too much on them. The final track is really cool, a 20-minute self-described "blob" of early visions for projects as far away as 2015 (Dan is either joking with us, or he's an obsessive planner!) I find all of Britton's work to be of very high quality but quite demanding, and confess I don't take enough non-RPI time to investigate more fully. This will have to be remedied at some point in the future. Find this sampler and begin your own investigation of Emkog Records.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars There's no better indication of quality then finding an album that surprises you against all odds, one that excels in a type of music that you aren't normally drawn to. Emkog is a sampler with music from different projects around one Dan Britton, previously unknown to me. The material is uniformly technical, extroverted and confident, but luckily it doesn't indulge in technicalities for their own sake. That may well be the reason for the consistently positive reception here.

Regardless of the actual project, the songs amaze with the vast array of styles they go through. With fluent ease songs evolve from technical Prog to fusion, avant-garde, spacier moments and even some math/industrial metal such as in the high-tech Cerebrus Effect. I wouldn't be able to point out the particular differences between each of the projects as there's already so much diversity within each track. Due to the similarity in sound, this sampler makes for a coherent listen where all songs surprise with their diversity, quality and inventive song-writing.

For a sampler the material is remarkably consistent, most of it is even downright excellent. Near the end there's a slight dip in my listening experience as both the second Deluge Grander and the second All Over Everything track disappoint in comparison to what preceded. The songwriting doesn't seem equally efficient here and also the production leaves room for improvement. The closing 20 minute Blob is pure joy though and leaves me with a positive anticipation towards future releases from Dan.

This sampler sure delivers the goods, it comes with nice artwork, a professional production and loads of personality and creativity. It's a great teaser to start exploring further work from this artist. A sure 3.5 stars if there was such a thing.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Based in Maryland, USA, Emkog Records is a small independent label set up by Dan Britton, and at least at this stage limited to functioning as the releasing label of the various musical endeavours he's involved with personally. So far the label has issued CDs with three of his projects: Deluge Grander, Birds And Buildings and All Over Everywhere. As Cerebus Effects has been included on this sampler one may suspect that any future material from that band may be linked to this label as well. In addition, Britton is working on a fifth project, Elevator Machine Room, with a CD tentatively planned to be ready by 2011 or 2012.

"Emkog" should be used as a textbook example of how a label should approach the concept of making a sampler disc. Assemble some of the best compositions from your artists' rooster, include unreleased versions of at least some of those tracks, and see to it that existing fans of the artists represented or the label in question get good value for the money spent to buy it. A disc well worth obtaining if you want to become familiar with the label and one that should be worthwhile acquiring also for those familiar with the artists represented on it.

Review by progrules
3 stars I still had an old debt to pay to our kind progfriend Dan Britton. Like to more of us he sent me the sampler asking for a small favour in return to give my opinion about it. One of the bands on this sampler I was recently already familiar with being Deluge Grander. Unfortunately I have to say this band isn't 100% my cup of tea; even though there's unmistakably lots of quality within the bands compositions and musical execution, the approach they chose isn't quite my preferred one.

Like is the case with more bands on Emkog the melodies aren't really straightforward and that's after all my prerogative. Nevertheless the music is enjoyable if I decide to be more open minded and try not to let it get to me too much. What I do like on this sampler is the overall instrumental path the bands went for. If I have to chose between vocal and instrumental I pick the second option so in that case you're in for a treat with Emkog.

Birds and Buildings made quite a bit more impression on me than the already mentioned Deluge Grander, although I wasn't really pleased with the distorted sax around the 5:30 min. mark (2nd track). When the sax played the more jazzy parts I really loved it. All over Everywhere is the one band here that does work with (female) vocals. The music is pretty laid back and creates a fine atmosphere. But somehow the music also of this band fails to really click with me. The compositions aren't very spectacular more somewhere between good and very good. Cerebus Effect is the least represented band with just one track. Hard to give an ultimate opinion about them but the one track I can judge about is again not truly straightforward, it sounds a bit messy, fast play for sure but you will have to be able to handle the slightly more complex stuff. Good but not mindblowing once again.

And that's what my ultimate opinion (and rating) will be: good, but debatable essential I would say. This is significant contemporary prog in my opinion but it lacks appealing melodies that move me in some way. Anybody who believes in contemporary prog though should check this out to see what's in store nowadays. Emkog is essential in that case. Three stars (3,25).

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Emkog Sampler' - Emkog Label (Compilation)

Emkog is the vessel of US prog dude Dan Britton, a man who appears to never sleep. Highly ambitious, Dan offered this sampler away some time ago, in order to spread the music and gain some more exposure for these projects of which he is a part of. While this is more of a Dan Britton greatest-hits collection rather than a diverse cross section of different artists' music, I would be lying if I said that this did not get me interested in the man's music, and what he has to offer as a creative force.

Over the first eight tracks, four bands are represented; Deluge Grander, Birds And Buildings, All Over Everywhere, and Cerebus Effect. Each of these acts takes a slightly different approach, but unlike a sampler that features the work of many different artists, the music here is mostly rooted in Britton's design, and it shows. They all have instrumental symphonic prog leanings to them, with Deluge Grander setting a solid groundwork for the rest. Birds And Buildings takes a jazzier, more complex route with the music, and All Over Everywhere is the only band here to make use of vocals, supplied here by the lovely voice of Trina Kesner, who drives that particular project. The most 'different' of the four is Cerebus Effect, which takes a quasi-prog metal approach. Despite being several different 'bands', the 'Emkog Sampler' flows like an album of one artist, albeit an artist with fairly scattered musical vision. The music is almost entirely instrumental save for Kesner's vocal cameos, and it is very complex. Especially in the case of Deluge Grander, there are oriental influences in the music as well. The work here is certainly rooted in the original 70's prog scene, although the density of the music makes it more than a pure revivalism to me.

The ninth track tops the twenty minute mark, and it is quite unapologetically titled 'A Big Blob Of Demos And Early Versions Of Forthcoming Music'. That's precisely what it is, more or less. A loose conveyor belt of cool ideas that Dan Britton has come up with, usually revolving around the keyboard. These aren't the sort of things that sound completely rough though. While this (and the rest of the album) do at times feel roughly mixed, the listener can get a good idea of what these ideas will sound like once they're fully fleshed out. The 'Blob' is quite promising, although the fact that the packaging states that some of the ideas here will be realized '2015 or later' does make me wonder.

Dan Britton was smart to send this out to prospective listeners. I for one have been drawn in to what he does musically, and have been made wise to some great instrumental prog albums that Dan has released. I cannot say much for the diversity that 'Emkog' offers, but the musical quality is consistent, and I look forward to exploring more of this dynamic music in the future.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars BIG apology to the Emkog that I only had a chance to write a review about this excellent sampler today even though I already received the CD couple of months ago. But it does not mean that I never listen to this sampler. In fact, I have been listening to it many times because of two reasons: first, I am happy there are many new prog groups that would continue to carry progressive music flag in the future - and they are good ones. Two, the sampler is really excellent because it combines various types of prog music which some of the bands I was quite familiar through a documentary DVD titled Romantic Warriors.

Deluge Grander was the one that I knew from Romantic Warriors DVD and it really impressed me when they performed live - especially the keyboard player. In this ampler DG opens its work with 'The Solitude of Miranda' which really blew me away at first spin. I am sure you will agree with me that their music is dynamic, many tempo changes and quite fast in tempo. It continues beautifully with the next track 'Birds Flying Into Buildings' by Birds and Buildings which reminds me the music is quite in the vein of Passport with great sax work backed with keyboard and dynamic drumming - with relatively fast tempo. 'Art of the Earth' by All Over Everywhere starts mellow with piano touch back by basslines and vibraphone followed with female vocal in distanced voice style. The music is more symphonic than having jazz components like the two previous tracks. 'Yucatan 65: The Agitation of the Mass (excerpt)' by Birds and Buildings starts nicely with acoustic guitar work plus flute in atmospheric style. The music moves nicely with great guitar work. 'Nine Against Ten' by Cerebus Effect starts with fast tempo complex music using keyboard as main instrument. It reminds me to ELP even though it's not the same style. The guitar solo is really stunning. The track has good interlude with sort of jazzy style using bass guitar solo. 'Miracle Pigeon (early version)' by Birds And Buildings is also another excellent track with relatively complex composition. 'Gratitude' by All Over Everywhere is another symphonic prog / neo prog music with female vocal.

At the end of the sampler there is 'A Big Blob of Demos and Early Versions of Forthcoming Music' with relatively long duration (20:13) which I also enjoy the music - mainly dominated with keyboard and piano.

Overall, it's an excellent prog music collection (sampler) even though the sound quality is not that good; maybe because it's just a sampler. Keep on proggin' ....!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Guillermo
4 stars This Emkog Records CD sampler essentially shows the work of Dan Britton, a keyboard player and composer from the United States, playing with four different bands. I think that most of the music is composed by him, with only one band being the exception. It is not easy for me to write a review about four bands which have the same keyboard player, because his influence and sound is very similar in each band. Maybe the thing which makes the differences between each band is the style of the music and the configuration in instruments and personnel. I´m going to write about each band with more detail: "Deluge Grander", which is represented by two tracks .This band is a quartet (keyboards, guitars, bass and drums).I think that their style is very influenced by the music of Emerson Lake and Palmer, Triumvirat and even by some Folk Rock music from England like Jethro Tull (but without using flute). Complicated music with complicated rhythms. Maybe it is the band in this sampler which has the most complicated and dense Progressive Rock music. "Birds and Buildings": represented by three tracks. Their line-up is also a quartet on which Britton and the bassist also play some guitars. They also have a drummer, but the main difference in this band is a musician who plays flute and sax. Their musical style is more Jazz-Rock and it is the band in this CD which is the most interesting for me. "All Over Everywhere": represented by two tracks. This band is essentially a collaboration between Britton and lead singer Trinna Kesner, who are the composers in this band. They were helped by a variable line-up of other eight musicians, five of them which are women, and the instrumentation is more varied because they use some string instruments like cello and violin , some wind instruments like oboe, clarinet and flute, and some old instruments like dulcimer and zither. Their style is more influenced by Medieval music and also some English Folk music. "Cerebus Effect": represented by one track. It is a quartet of a guitarist who also plays keyboards, a bassist, a drummer and of course with Britton on keyboards. Their style is also more Jazz-Rock oriented but in this case there is a guitarist who plays some heavy guitar parts. The final 20 minutes of the CD are dedicated to show some new forthcoming music in Demo form which I think is mainly from Dan Britton´s ideas. I have to say that at least for my musical taste this CD wasn´t an easy listening experience. The music is sometimes very complicated and in some moments I felt "saturated" a bit by the music. But as a whole the music is good, and the musicians also are very good. The recordings and mixings of all the songs are very good. The cover design of this CD sampler is very good, with some good graphic design and paintings, also showing miniatures of the different 6 album covers from which the tracks were taken. Even the CD itself has a good painting used as a label. As a whole, the package shows very good quality, even if it didn´t show detailed information about the bands´ personnel. I visited to read about the bands with more detail. In that website you also can listen to this CD online and even buy it.

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4 stars "This is why I joined Progarchives in the first place" I know I am breaking the house rules by stealing from and commenting on another review and a highly esteemed ProgArchives reviewer Evolver. But he has really hit the nail on the head with his statement. This sampler from Emkog Records in ... (read more)

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