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PROFESSOR TIP TOP

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Norway


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Professor Tip Top biography
Founded in Bergen, Norway in 2011

PROFESSOR TIP TOP from Bergen, Norway, is a group playing fine progressive music with a retro sound and lysergic touch, which serves a very psychedelic aura. The songs are partly melodic with vocals, while adding longer instrumental parts of guitar, analogue sequencers, vintage synths and keyboards in between. Inspiration and influences are the 60'/70's versions of Gong, Yes, Pink Floyd, and the Canterbury scene. The band started in 2011, but the members are veterans with a musical background starting in the early 70's.

The lyrics are written by singer Svein Magnar Hansen. As an atheist, he finds the spiritual music in the band a good place to describe a world without divine entities, not without humour and silliness. The music is written by Sam Fossbakk, guitarist and passionate synth nerd, where bassist Stein Høgseth and drummer David Sundby are providing an excellent rhythmic foundation. Mastered at Abbey Road Studios 'Exobiology' is the group's third album. Although the former albums were well reviewed, this third album has developed the band's own identity in a more psychedelic manner.

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PROFESSOR TIP TOP discography


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PROFESSOR TIP TOP top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Are You Empirical ?
2012
4.00 | 2 ratings
Aoum
2012
3.88 | 5 ratings
Exobiology
2016
3.96 | 17 ratings
Life Is No Matter
2017
2.77 | 16 ratings
Hybrid Hymns
2019
4.00 | 10 ratings
Tomorrow Is Delayed
2020

PROFESSOR TIP TOP Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PROFESSOR TIP TOP Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PROFESSOR TIP TOP Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PROFESSOR TIP TOP Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Erebus
2020

PROFESSOR TIP TOP Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tomorrow Is Delayed by PROFESSOR TIP TOP album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 10 ratings

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Tomorrow Is Delayed
Professor Tip Top Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

Tomorrow is Delayed. Could there be any more appropriate album title in 2020? The world is on hiatus. Parts of it are coming, cautiously, out of lockdown. Postponements of events are the norm. Even this review was delayed. I received the album for review at least a couple of months ago, but it was a victim of my own hiatus. My reviewing of albums slowed, then stopped completely. Ironically, what has brought me back into action is the death of a friend. In his memory, I decided to get back on the horse. It was no coincidence that two of the first albums I reviewed on coming back were Simon Lyngroth's Looking for the Spark? and Coridian's Eldur, as both hold a premise that it is the present which is most important. The future is uncertain, tomorrow is delayed ? live for now.

And so I find myself returning to this rather beautiful album from Professor Tip Top. Ironically, perhaps, the first song I ever heard from the band was Procrastination Song on one of the "New Species" sampler albums. So, perhaps it was inevitable my review for this album might be delayed, due to my own apathy. The album is certainly not deserving of such apathy, either. It's a beautiful album, which should be listened to, in the words of David Bowie, "now. Not tomorrow." Tomorrow is delayed.

The album begins with the appropriately dark and melancholy Erebus. For most of the world, this name probably conjures up the idea of Greek mythology, and darkness ? either as a deity, or a region of Hades. For most Kiwis of a certain age, I suspect it brings back memories of a mountain. When Air New Zealand flight 901 crashed into Mount Erebus in 1979, instantly killing all on the plane, it was the first time that the airline had ever lost any passengers in an accident. It remains New Zealand's deadliest peacetime disaster. Almost all of the wreckage still lies where it came to rest, due to the remote location, and often inclement weather conditions. The recovery effort was called "Operation Overdue".

A lovely drum roll leads us into psychedelic sounds that are menacing, and lyrics that are ooze malevolence. Although I can relate the lyrical content to the mythology I'm sure inspired the song, I can't help but draw allusions also to the disaster that so shocked a nation, and the ripples of which drew attention for years afterwards. After all, I was only four when the Erebus disaster occurred, but thanks to a mini series in 1988, it was brought to the attention of a new generation. The legacy of the disaster has never been forgotten, and was given national prominence again last year on the 40th anniversary.

Erebus is a glorious start to the album, and one of its strongest songs. The spacey sounds are captivating, and despite the heaviness of the lyrical theme, there is a lightness of touch in the instrumentation that prevents the song from being too weighed down. I absolutely love the vocals of Sonja Otto, too. In a way, her presence could have made or broken this album, as Professor Tip Top were so associated previously with the singing of Svein Magnar Hansen. For me, they elevate this album to the best yet from the band. Otto is a perfect match for the music, and I love her tone. Her addition to the band is an absolute highlight for me.

Despite having a very spacey, psychedelic sound, they are also reminiscent of bands such as Camel and Curved Air, and perhaps a little Gryphon. The guitar playing of Sam Fossbakk often reminds me of Andy Latimer and there's some gorgeous guitar of this style in second track, In the Mirror. This song is probably my favourite from the album, though the following Under Crystal Stars comes close. As much as I love Otto's vocals, the band really takes things to a whole new level within the extended instrumental passages.

The Ghost Within slows down the pace, and is perhaps the most Camelesque piece here. Although I do like it, it's probably my least favourite of the album, as the band never seem to reach full gear. It's without doubt a beautiful song, and I actually wouldn't be surprised if it is many people's favourite, but I prefer it when the band take off fully into flights of fancy. They hint at blasting off, but never quite get there.

This changes immediately, though, with the title track. Another favourite, and full-on from the outset. There's a real sense of urgency within this track, allied with a sense of mystery. When the track slows down for the bridge, the impact is immense. The final two minutes are sublime, full of swirling keys floating over the rhythmic base. It's impossible not to be swept away, and I don't think I've ever listened without feeling as if it's a magic carpet that I'm being swept away upon.

Beneath the Silence slows things down again, but I prefer this song to The Ghost Within. In fact, it's probably my third favourite track on the album. Professor Tip Top are often compared to Pink Floyd, but I rarely get that impression. This song, though, definitely does provide a Floydian vibe, with some particularly Gilmouresque guitar. I'm reminded as much of Procol Harum as I am of Floyd, though ? and particularly in the later stages of the song ? so it's not as if you could outright call this track Floydian.

I suspect Objet Petit A might be the track which puzzles most listeners, as it is quite different from the remainder of the album ? while still, paradoxically, retaining many similarities. This is as spacey and psychedelic as the album gets, and it's a trip. I love it! This is an expansive piece that just keeps expanding. My only issue with it, is that it just seems to get better and better as it progresses, and so starts to fade out far too soon. I could do with this track being at least twice the length!

The album ends with another beautiful track, the wonderfully melancholic Earth. I can't help but notice how similar the rhythm for Earth is to Procrastination Song. Honestly, if you listen to that song immediately after Earth, you could be forgiven for assuming at first that Earth had a false ending, and was starting back up again. Earth is by far the better of the two songs, though, and generally speaking, that is how I feel about this album, and Professor Tip Top's new line-up. No matter how important Svein Magnar Hansen' singing might have seemed to be for the band, they have not only survived his leaving, they have surpassed all that came before. Tomorrow may be delayed, but today is the best yet.

 Life Is No Matter by PROFESSOR TIP TOP album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 17 ratings

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Life Is No Matter
Professor Tip Top Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by madcap68

4 stars Well, how many real prog hipster friend do you have? I mean, real proggy hip? If I'd chop off most fingers of one hand I could still count them... And I'm not speaking of my god pals sharing happy memories of the Floyd, early Genesis, early Marillion and the like. Those with the insatiable appetite for new, daring adventures.... So, anyways, if you're congregating next time, your prog hipster friends and you, all the two of you, this is the album not to play then! This is more the not-quite, but still a little proggy album to play to wives, girlfriends or friends without our fine delicate and dedicated tastes ;-)

This definitely is one of the albums that indeed deserve the "melodic prog" label and there's nothing wrong with that, really! Beautiful melancholic music with more than a hint to Pink Floyd (Gilmour era mostly) and traces of other usual suspects of the melodic corner, Camel, Alan Parsons Project. I also seem to hear a certain timbownessness in Svein Hansen's singing (but again, more melodic than the esteemed Mr Bowness).

And what when that hipster friend comes for a listening session? Well, I'd recommend Stephan Thelen's Fractal Guitar or Kotebel's Cosmology Suite ;-)

 Hybrid Hymns by PROFESSOR TIP TOP album cover Studio Album, 2019
2.77 | 16 ratings

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Hybrid Hymns
Professor Tip Top Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

2 stars Professor Tip Top is a psychedelic / space rock band from Norway. They were founded in 2011 and, including the album "Hybrid Hymns" released on February 22, 2019, have 5 full length albums in their discography. Currently, the band is comprised of four members; vocalist and lyricist Svein Magnar Hansen, Sam Fossbakk who writes the music and plays guitar and keyboards, Stein Hogseth on bass, and Charles Wise on drums. "Hybrid Hymns" has a total of 12 tracks ranging from just over one minute to 6+ minutes.

The album begins with a short introductory track "Black Holes, Part 1" which begins with a swirling synth patterns and melody. Vocals are spoken and are a series of questions about black holes, the universe and etc. This lead into "An Akward Choice" which continues the synth lead and Hansen's mellow vocals start. The beat and instrumentation is Floydian and sticks with a soft and lush sound. The lyrics are spiritual, but in a non-deity sense since the lead singer is atheist. The guitar solos in the middle and end are nice and atmospheric and backed with smooth synths. "Machine Emotions" stays with the soft lush sound, but moves away from the Pink Floyd inspired sound in this track and make their own sound. The topic of the lyrics is about whether robots have feelings and how would they use them. The vocals are airy and a bit weak and so is the instrumental support here. The instrumental break moves into an Alan Parsons style, upbeat, but soft rock with a slightly progressive feel.

The band strives for a more classic sound on "The Dogs are Coming" with an arpeggio loop on the synth and a move back to a floydian sound with a lush guitar playing a Gilmour style melody for this instrumental. "Data Mining" starts off as a typical prog pop track, but soon switches up the tempo to an almost catchy two-step and then returns to the smooth sound again with a light jazz style guitar solo. The problem is, it is all quite light weight, both the vocals and the music, so it's just not very convincing even with the changing meters. "Light Generator" is a short track with metallic effects and the synths build with a short crescendo. "Turing Machines" attempts for the airy soft-art-rock sound of Alan Parson's "Time". The music tries to create an interesting middle section, but comes off sounding flimsy.

"Passion" is a nice instrumental based around a guitar melody. It is one of the better tracks on the album, but it really isn't very progressive, and except for the middle part, is a bit repetitive, but it is a nice track. "Hybrid Minds" returns to the pop progressive sound and continues to be unconvincing. At least Alan Parsons progressive pop was mostly convincing. "Closer" utilizes a more complex pattern and is connected with string like effects. It is another instrumental, but repeats the same melody over and over with little variation. "The Final Night" has very little emotion evident anywhere. "Black Holes, Part II" finally ends this mostly lackluster album.

I do see what the band was trying to do here. They tried to make a progressive / pop-like album, drawing on the lush PF sound and copying Alan Parsons Project's popular sound, but forgetting to really put much substance into the music. The overall sound is quite mellow and airy, but in a bad way as there is not much emotion anywhere. The lyrics are okay, but get kind of tacky at times. Overall, the album just falls flat and doesn't rise above anything better than just mediocre.

 Exobiology by PROFESSOR TIP TOP album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.88 | 5 ratings

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Exobiology
Professor Tip Top Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Norwegian band PROFESSOR TIP TOP, despite being rather less than visible in the media, is a venture that has been ongoing for quite a few years. They have three studio albums to their name so far, and "Exobiology" is the most recent of those. This production first appeared back in 2014, but was reissued on CD in 2016 by the Norwegian label Apollon Records.

If you fancy and think you might enjoy a band that explores psychedelic progressive rock in a few different varieties, with subtle cosmic flavoring as the recurring trait on an album that in style ranges from folk-oriented escapades through Pink Floydian landscapes and more synth- and keyboards-driven pieces closer to the likes of Tangerine Dream, then this CD by the curiously named band Professor Tip Top is one that should be worth investigating!

Thanks to rivertree for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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