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DISTANT DREAM

Neo-Prog • United States


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Distant Dream biography
DISTANT DREAM isn't a band as much as it is a project. In fact, it is a pure product of the www/digital age. Musicians, artists, writers, designers, and sound engineers from all over the globe were put together to bring "A New Beginning" out of a conceptual phase, to being an actual album. The countries where participants worked from were India, U.S.A., Sweden, France, and New Zealand. The most obvious question would be, how did all these widely dispersed people decide to collaborate? The idea initially began in Calcutta India, but the common thread seems to be Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan. Many of the project's members either attended U of M, live in Ann Arbor, or both. Now this may only seem significant because of proximity, but there is more to it than that (get ready for some home town pride).

I am a Michigan native, and have been all over the state. After many years in Chicago, I returned to my birthplace of Muskegon Michigan. Even though that is where I began, there was significant culture shock. I have now resided in Ann Arbor for several years. In any other area, if your interests vary from Country music, Hip Hop, AOR, NASCAR, prime time soap operas, and Christianity, you are pretty much out of the loop. Ann Arbor is a little oasis of culture, advanced thinking, and diversity. It is also a very international town. People from all over the world pass through here, and many decide to make it their home. I must also add, regardless of how close it may be, Ann Arbor is not a suburb of Detroit. So, as you can see, this is a good place from which to launch a global "band."

People were contacted, parts were written one place, recorded in others, and mixed elsewhere. The writers and artists worked from their studios. What finally emerged was a multi-media presentation. It's not just music. There is a story, and artwork to go along with it. While not all of the people involved are musicians, there are 22 people credited. I could go into each contribution, but in order to save space, I would recommend going to the website. It is a grand undertaking, and one that should be commended, no matter what you think of the music. However, the music should be heard. They chose the participants well, and there is obvious talent involved. One member, Jake Reichbart (who lives in A2), has played with Thijs Van Leer. He also says that he never met anyone else. He just recorded his part, and sent it in. So, it would be interesting to see if the...
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Buy DISTANT DREAM Music


New BeginningNew Beginning
CD Baby 2005
Audio CD$8.18
$7.93 (used)
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DISTANT DREAM discography


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DISTANT DREAM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.16 | 10 ratings
New Beginning - Episode 1
2005

DISTANT DREAM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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DISTANT DREAM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 New Beginning - Episode 1 by DISTANT DREAM album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.16 | 10 ratings

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New Beginning - Episode 1
Distant Dream Neo-Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars This isn’t actually a band per se, but rather a project along the lines of Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Ayreon, LaBrie and Pauly’s Frameshift, Trent Gardner’s Explorers Club, or arguably even Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’. In this case the project is the multi- media, multinational realization of a sort of fable that might actually be based on some sort of folk legend. Even if it isn’t, the moral of the story is pretty much as old as time.

And just to be clear, I wouldn’t put these guys in the same league as Ayreon, Frameshift, or any of Gardner’s many projects. For one thing they don’t have the resources or commercial backing that any of those other guys have. For another, at least one of the two project leaders is actually a professional engineer in Michigan who appears to have put this album together simply as a side effort. That said, the attention to detail in the arrangements and the mixing is quite admirable considering most of the participants don’t appear to be full-time recording artists, and much of the collaboration was done via the Web. The album is self-released and mostly available on the Web or in the Michigan area.

The concept for this album seems to have been the brain-child of Indian (as in Ghandi, not Tonto) keyboardist Deep Banerjee, who along with apparent long-time friend Sujit Srinivas carried it from their college days in India to graduate studies and a career in the United States. Other contributors appear to be either other engineers or musicians they enlisted in Michigan, or people they had connections to back in India or elsewhere who collaborated long-distance.

I won’t belabor the storyline since you can read the entire thing on their website, but essentially it is a tale or love and chances lost as a result of not focusing on the really important things in life. Like I said an idea as old as time, but one that still resonates.

There are a few issues here, largely the result of the obvious continuity problems one has to deal with when partnering to create something via the web (or any other remote means for that matter). The lyrics for most of the songs are only vaguely consistent with the storyline that accompanies the album – the story is told from the view of a third-party, while the song’s lyrics mostly seem to be second-person and are more internally-focused. The artwork on the other hand seems to mostly fit, but the striking resemblance to nearly every on-line RPG I’ve ever seen makes it difficult to appreciate as simply part of this attempted multi-media experience. And there are a few places in the music (“Last Goodbye” and “A New Beginning” in particular) where the vocals don’t quite track with the musical tempo, which results in an ever-so-slightly awkward feel for parts of the songs.

But in all this is an admirable effort from a couple of guys who don’t do this for a living. The mixing and production work is as good as or better than many indie or even other neo-prog bands. And the musicians for the most part all seem to know what they’re doing, so the overall sound is pretty high quality. The influences are pretty obvious – Genesis (or more likely Marillion); Dream Theater; maybe some Porcupine Tree with the instrumental passages.

Once again we have a situation where a five-star rating scale doesn’t accurately describe an album. This is a little better than good, but it is not quite excellent, so 3.5 stars is the right place for it. I’ll err on the side of caution and not shortchange these guys simply because of a faulty rating system, so four stars it is. Well recommended, mostly to neo-prog fans.

peace

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 New Beginning - Episode 1 by DISTANT DREAM album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.16 | 10 ratings

BUY
New Beginning - Episode 1
Distant Dream Neo-Prog

Review by praveen.gunaseelan

5 stars I have been a progger for nearly a decade now, and this album has been among the nicest musical surprises that I've had over the years, right up there with Dream Theater's Images & Words, Spock's Beard's The Light, and Tangent's Music that Died Alone, to name a few. I got drawn in through the website, and before long, I knew I was onto something cool. Looking back, I was totally unprepared for how intelligent the concept was, how nicely the music complemented it, and how well the album has endured and in fact improved over repeated listenings. This is a truly standout concept album, with a simple but beautifully executed concept, absolutely no filler, with every song holding its own and fitting seamlessly in the story. Its one of the few albums that I play straight through without having to skip a song. Among the many highlights for me are Courage Against the Rage, with its downright stunning imagery, and the title track which has many musical changes but flows gorgeously against the backdrop of the story. The music covers many styles, and is best classified as progressive rock with tinges of prog metal, and is a real treat for fans of rock guitar and keyboards alike. To the uninitiated: Invest a little time to understand the concept, listen to the album on a good pair of headphones, and then pop the CD in your car for endless prog bliss!!

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