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Perfect Beings

Crossover Prog

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Perfect Beings Vier album cover
3.86 | 190 ratings | 6 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Guedra - A New Pyramid (4:55)
2. Guedra - The Blue Lake of Understanding (2:55)
3. Guedra - Patience (4:23)
4. Guedra - Enter the Center (6:09)
5. The Golden Arc - The Persimmon Tree (7:53)
6. The Golden Arc - Turn the World Off (2:14)
7. The Golden Arc - America (1:52)
8. The Golden Arc - For a Pound of Flesh (4:49)
9. Vibrational - The System and Beyond (6:51)
10. Vibrational - Mysteries, Not Answers (2:49)
11. Vibrational - Altars of the Gods (3:27)
12. Vibrational - Everywhere At Once (1:40)
13. Vibrational - Insomnia (3:31)
14. Anunnaki - Lord Wind (2:04)
15. Anunnaki - Patterns of Light (3:14)
16. Anunnaki - A Compromise (5:42)
17. Anunnaki - Hissing the Wave of the Dragon (4:12)
18. Anunnaki - Everything's Falling Apart (3:30)

Total Time 72:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Ryan Hurtgen / lead & backing vocals, piano, keyboards, Tibetan singing bowls (9-13)
- Johannes Luley / guitar, bass, synth, organ (9-13), percussion (5-8), strings (14-18), piano (9-18), backing vocals, arrangements, production & mixing
- Jesse Nason / keyboards, synth, Melloton, electric piano

- Robin Hathaway / backing vocals
- Christina LaRocca / backing vocals (5-13)
- Ben Levin / drums, percussion, bells, kalimba (1-4)
- Max Kaplan / sopranino & baritone saxophones (1-4), alto sax & clarinets (5-8), tenor sax (14-18)
- Dave Richards / trumpet, flugelhorn & trombone (14-18)
- Yanran He / erhu (14-18)
- Yuki Yasuda / koto (14-18)
- Gina Luciani / flutes (5-8)
- Jay Mason / oboe (5-8)
- Amit Sharma / tabla (5-8)
- David Henry / cello & viola (5-8)
- Frederic Doumbe / bass (17)

Releases information

Artwork: Leonardo Solaas

2xLP Inside Out Music ‎- IOMLP 497 (2018, Germany)

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMSECD 497 (2018, Europe)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PERFECT BEINGS Vier ratings distribution

(190 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
5 stars Between the second and third albums there were some changes in the Perfect Beings camp, most notably the loss of the rhythm section so that the band were now operating as a trio with additional guest musicians. Ben Levin provides drums on the album which was released at the beginning of 2018 , but he has since been replaced by Sein Reinart, and while Johannes Luley picked up the bass duties alongside his guitar, he has now happily put aside the four strings for Jason Lobell. This album also sees a much higher use of woodwind and brass, and since the album they have been joined by saxophonist/flautist Brett McDonald. Also, they are no longer releasing their music on their own label but have signed with Inside Out, a major step forward in so many ways.

With so much happening in the personnel front, it probably isn't surprising that the band have also created a sound that is different to what has gone before. It took me a long way to come up with a way of best describing the music, but in the end I felt that the only real description that worked for me was "Yes, distilled and concentrated". Yes have always been an important aspect of the music, but here Perfect Beings have taken it to a whole new level, much more so than the original band. Johannes has revelled in playing fretless bass, bringing it even further to the fore than Chris Tristram had previously, while Ryan Hurtgen is as powerful, clean and melodic as he has always been, and Jesse Nason is happy to keep it all together with a modern sounding approach to keyboards.

A big musical difference between this and the other albums is the use of saxophone (particularly) and other brass and woodwind instruments. Max Kaplan (various saxophones and clarinets) has had a huge role to play on the overall sound of this album, and while the guests don't feature on every song, where they are used they have immediate impact. Japanese koto and erdu musicians are used alongside cello, tabla, flugelhorn, flute, bass flute, trombone and the Vienna Symphonic Library, all brought into a musical journey, divided into four movements. It is an incredibly deep album, with a breadth of thought that goes on forever, and at times moves into the modern orchestra soundscape area that is normally thought of as being the domain of Karda Estra. Yet, even with all this going on, it is still an incredibly light album in many ways, one that it is easy to get inside the heart of, which allows the listener to be swept along on an amazing musical journey. It is an album that cries out to be heard on headphones, when there is enough time to sit and relax back into it.

This is easily their finest album to date, and I fully expect it to be in my Top Ten albums at the end of the year as I can't expect to come across many more finer than this.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Though I've owned this album since its release I've had a terrible time trying to pull together a review. The music is so dense, so intricate, with so many unexpected twists and turns and covers the full 72 minutes of disc space that it makes it an overwhelming nightmare for a reviewer who's typical approach is to incorporate a song-by-song blow-by-blow report. I've finally given up and decided to just record a review for posterity's sake while trying to give my general and overall impressions.

This is a very dense album filled with very busy performances as dictated by the very busy mind of Johannes Luley. His musicians are all right on point, well-coordinated and up to Johannes' performance standards. The music is very seriously composed with very intricate constructs and weaves and very frequent changes in tempo, style, and theme. This latter point is actually part of the album's downfall: it's just too busy, too unpredictable, even after numerous listens (I played the Guedra suite twice on my radio show). The other part of the album's inability to connect with and engage me is Johanne' often unusual and odd choices for melody and instrumentation. I think Johannes a genius on a par with other American composers such as Phideaux Xavier, Dan Britton, and Damon Waitkus--all of whom create amazing music that is somehow (usually) too obtuse for my immersion and enjoyment. (But I loved Moth Vellum!)

Review by FragileKings
4 stars I really enjoyed the first two Perfect Beings albums and as well Johannes Luley's other albums: Moth Vellum and his solo album "Tales from Sheepfather's Grove". But I didn't know that Perfect Beings had released their third album until I saw someone review it on YouTube. How fortunate it was that I caught that bit of news and was able to order a copy for myself.

On the first two albums, Perfect Beings created a wonderful blend of classic prog (particularly Yes) with eighties pop (like Tears for Fears or even a bit of Frankie Goes to Hollywood in one song) and modern prog. The two albums were released in 2014 and 2015, and then there was a three-year gap for this third offering, "Vier". During the intervening years, two members left but only one new member was brought it. Perfect Beings also got picked up by the major label Inside Outside. What's most impressive however is how this new incarnation of the band went ahead to record an album that takes a big leap onward from the first two.

This album features a slew of guests and a broad variety of instruments, including koto, er-hu, Tibetan singing bowls, and tabla, along with a collection of traditional western instruments. Considering that Johannes Luley is a guitarist trained in jazz and influenced by the likes of David Gilmour, Steve Howe, Jeff Beck, and Wes Montgomery, it's rather surprising to notice those tracks without any guitar playing! All this should suggest a band with a vision for music and sound over a simple prog rock band.

The album is in four parts, and on the double vinyl release, each part takes up one side. I can't help but draw a little comparison to "The Wall" here because each part (one side of vinyl) is a string of music tracks that not only segue into one another but do so very inconspicuously at times. Given that a song might abruptly change into something very different, it's difficult to know when a new track begins without looking at the track number. Then there's a track like "The Persimmon Tree" that introduces a new melody in the music during the final minute or so and then this melody suddenly picks up power and fullness as though to reach the beginning of some climax in the music but actually it's at this point where the next track "Turn the World Off" begins. Back to Pink Floyd, there are at least a few parts with sustained, atmospheric keyboard chords that are reminiscent of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" here and there on the album, and a bit of David Gilmour-styled guitar playing in "America". That sax solo at the end of "Enter the Center" could also be inspired by "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". I'm also curious about the notion of building a pyramid (not a wall) and how the final track is called "Everything's Falling Apart" and the lyrics say something about having to get out of this place. Then the music becomes quiet and slowly builds in volume until everything just stops at once. Was there some inspiration from Pink Floyd on this album?

The music served up on "Vier" features some familiar Perfect Beings territory such as in the excellent beginning of the album "A New Pyramid" or "Altars of the Gods", which brings in that Steve Howe style of lead guitar. But then there's the incredible "The Persimmon Tree" which is non-rock and sounds like the score for a ballet, or "Hissing the Wave of the Dragon" with it's delightful Chinese-themed music, at least in the first half. Or how about the exciting, galloping pace and tension of "Lord Wind"? There are a lot of unexpected and awesome surprises cropping up on this album. Many of the songs also build up to some climax which is so sweet to hear but then soon the music settles down into the next track. It's an album that keeps you guessing and it has little in common with the previous two albums, but rather really does seem like a big leap off in a different direction at times.

If there's anything that might turn some listeners off, it's that many of the tracks are rather sparse instrumentally, with some passages supported only by a guitar or keyboard and a back up instrument in percussion or a synthesizer key pulsing. Because of the frequency of these less dynamic parts, some listeners may feel the need for a relaxing armchair and comfy cushion, and sometimes the stretches to the next moment of excitement might seem a bit far with a payoff that ends too soon. As I listened to the album for possibly the fifth time, I found myself appreciating the simplicity in those more serene, atmospheric parts: a single instrument with a simple melody, backed by a second instrument keeping it very simple, and then the vocals.

How much you get out of these relaxed passages depends on how you listen and consider the music. I'd probably prefer the first two albums more for swiftly changing, dynamic music, but then again, that's not the intent of "Vier". As with other Johannes Luley recordings, everything is there for a reason.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Huge disappointment ! I had been blown away by the variety, richness and balance of II and looked forward to the sequel. Unfortunately, in 2018 the Vier discovery was a big disappointment for me. Despite a promising first part, boredom wins me over with each new listening attempt. Is it due to ... (read more)

Report this review (#2482668) | Posted by Muskrat | Sunday, December 6, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Perfect Beings' Johannes Luley stated in a recent interview: "Take a break, put the headphones on and shut off your mobile phone for a couple of hours. It's good for the soul". Those unable to understand or to apply this rule in their lives may not realize the meaning of the presentation that fol ... (read more)

Report this review (#2036954) | Posted by Antonis Kalamoutsos | Thursday, September 20, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I rarely post 5 stars review, because IMHO 5 stars means something extraordinary. This album is close to it. It's packed with great melodies and hooks, clever arrangements and inventive solos. Style? Really hard to say: one piece sounds like acoustic ballad, next - electronica, next- dreamy pi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1941054) | Posted by Booba Kastorsky | Sunday, June 24, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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