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Crossover Prog • Poland

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Amarok biography
Michał Wojtas - was born on 23rd of December 1977 in Kielce. He began to play as a child. He played only piano. That time his musical abilities and creativity appeared. He found his inspirations in the music of J. M. Jarre.

With the end of primary school he started to play classic guitar. Later on he learned some techniques of playing on ethnic percussion instruments and so on. He was studying music mainly by his own, moreover he attended secondary musical school and also other institutions connected with music.

In the meantime he was creating for the TV Kielce and for local broadcasts. In 1993 Michał for the first time heard about instrumental art of Mike Oldfield. This occurance changed the direction of his artistic development. As he was fascinted with Oldfield's music, he tried to imitate his way of playing electric guitar. Pink Floyd also influenced him. Then he met Bartosz Jackowski, a person with similar inspirations, guitarist. In consequence they started to cooperate for next few years. Michał and Bartosz composed separately, but after they put it together,and that is how their music was created. Michał did also an arrangement.

In years 1996-97 they recorded the first demo. They went to Warsaw, to independent editor Ars Mundi. It was promoting music on Japan and Western European markets. They got quite positive and warm feedback from the chief of Ars Mundi - Mieczysław Stoch. He was ready to risk and edit their debut. But they resigned cause they didn't feel ready to do this. They wanted to wait until their ideas would be more clear and concrete.

During further work on the tracks and creating new music, Michał started to be guitarist in pop-rock group 'Soundwich' (later 'Tokyo'). The group was giving concerts and the voices of critics were approving.'Sounwich' recorded two demo records. Nevertheless Michał left the group, he preferred to play music for Ars Mundi.

In 1999 Michał started to study in Institute of Musical Education in Akademia Owiętokrzyska in Kielce. One year later he decided to record demo with different instrumental tracks. Thanks to the fascination in Oldfields album 'Amarok', he gave its name to his project.

In 2001 there was the next meeting with Mieczysław Stoch. Soon after this, the decision about the recording the debut of Amarok was made up. There were also some changes within the duet. Bartosz finally became the co-composer of a few track...
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Hayat YolundaHayat Yolunda
Musea/Azafran Media 2015
Audio CD$17.99
Sol de MedianocheSol de Medianoche
Audio CD$7.89
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Ars Mundi 2004
Audio CD$115.52
Quentadharken by Amarok (2004-08-02)Quentadharken by Amarok (2004-08-02)
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Mujer Luna by AmarokMujer Luna by Amarok
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AMAROK discography

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

3.66 | 23 ratings
2.54 | 12 ratings
Neo Way
2.81 | 15 ratings

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AMAROK Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Neo Way by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.54 | 12 ratings

Neo Way
Amarok Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This album was kindly sent to me by Artur in Poland, and I have been able to find out virtually nothing about it on the web. I think that this is their second album on Ars Mundi, but I don't think that either band or label have a web site (which is unusual, to say the least). What I can say is that for the most part this is an instrumental album featuring the talents of just one man, Michael Wojtas, who seems to be as happy on guitar as he is on keyboards. Listening to some of the finger picking on "On The Road" it is hard to imagine that this is a prog album at all as it just bounds along without a care in the world.

But, this is an album that has taken influences by bands like Camel and brought them in with other styles to create a prog sound that at times is quite Eastern in its' approach but is always restful and relaxing. The Camel influence is taken further by guest Colin Bass who sings on the three songs that contain vocals. His warm tones add a further depth to the music. It is an album that is very pleasant and just right for the end of the day.

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

 Amarok by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.66 | 23 ratings

Amarok Crossover Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars I'm pretty surprised at how little attention has been given here to this very good work. As I always say or write, depending on what you want to hear, it is a very good choice for the genre.

Amarok plays mostly instrumental music in this album. And, as its name suggests, with some subtle hints or not so, the style of the great Mike Oldfield. There are also some shades of Pink Floyd. I do not think that this approach is detrimental to the product, on the contrary.

The acoustic and electric guitar is the main instrument here, with a transparent sound and neatly executed. A good dose of violin and flute add color and depth to the music.

Fildmour part I and part III are extraordinary. Aqu, Meriba, Seya and Massa are other highlights, to name a few more. The album is balanced.

The cover photograph is appropriate, and outlines a good idea of ​​what is presented in the music.

Later, Wojtas was looking for something different other sound. Neo Way is less original and Metanoia too experimental, at least for me.

I came by chance to listen to the first installment of Amarok, and welcome. I´m pleased.

 Amarok by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.66 | 23 ratings

Amarok Crossover Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Well, nice surprise from Polland! Apart from some female wordless chanting on a couple of tracks, this a totally instrumental album, with lots of great guitar. Amarok is the personal project by Michał Wojtas, a very talented musician/songwriter that really knows how to produce great songs instead of the usual technique exercises that plague so many solo albums. I believe that the reader already figures out by his project name that Wojtas is quite influenced by Mike Oldfield. That is true. Fortunatly he is far from being a copycat. In fact, there are so many references to other guitarrists on this debut CD that Oldfield´s style is, in the end, just one of them. And not the most obvious.

The album is quite varied and although Wojtas is able to tackle several different kinds of music, this becomes an issue overall. The CD lacks a cohesive feel. Each track seems to be played by an individual artist, making it hard to see what is his sound after all. Even if no track here is bad, Amarok falis to show what he came for. Which is a pity because tehre are some real nice things on this record. Fieldmour I is certainly one of them. A powerful and poignant number where the use of both acoustic and electric guitar, violin, hammond organ and a powerful rhythm section is stretched to its maximum power. The result is one of those classic tracks that blends Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield and Camel to make a classic 9 minute epic that you never get tired of hearing it. I just can´t get enough of that song!

The remaining tracks are not as brilliant, although its continuation Fieldmour II gets close to that. From then on we have several different guitar-led tracks that are mostly very good, but nothing that comes near the magic of its electrifying beginning. With nods to David Gilmour to Mark Knopfler, Wojtas shows great skills and fine songwriting. The production is very good and all the musicians involved do their parts well. Very little ego trips here.

Rating: hard to do it. It is certainly more than just good, but not really essential overall. I think a 3.5 stars rating is adequate. If you like melodic instrumental prog music, this is recommended. I´m looking forward to hear Amarok´s follow ups.

 Amarok by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.66 | 23 ratings

Amarok Crossover Prog

Review by Katsuhisa

5 stars If you like David Gilmour, this is a MUST.

One of my prog wonders (by the way, I have 20 or so) is why AMAROK from Poland is rarely mentioned by prog fans although there are millions of David Gilmour fans in the world and the band is of the same type of music. Well, maybe that's because of the band name which is a bit confusing with Amarok from Spain.

This album is almost seamless like Mike Oldfield's as they refer to, but do not misunderstand that their music is by far more emotional and melodic. Listen to track #2 "Fieldmour II", and you will be amazed how melodic the guitar is. And you will be also surprised at the fact that basically all the instruments are played by one person except drums. He is genious !

Today, you have to set sail to Polish prog world if you want to find real prog music successors.

This album is obviously Classic, so 5 points with confidence.

 Metanoia by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.81 | 15 ratings

Amarok Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars There is no doubt that this (band) artist heard M. Oldfield quite a lot (hence the name of course).

This third album from Michał and some friends offers little variations from the previous work. The music is nonchalant and little enthusiastic. But not disturbing.

This multi-instrumentalist is probably gifted, but his song writing capabilities are not really from beyond if you see what I mean. Moments of glory are close to none here. I guess that you would like to listen to some better music, right?

On top of this, most of the music is repetitive (''Rules'') and dull. Some sort of eighties electronic stuff. I have to say that I'm not submerged with passion while listening to such work.

Even if one of the guest (Mariusz Duda) and one of his fellow countryman brings some added value, it doesn't change the global picture. Little surprising stuff available here to be honest. At times harder (''Look Around''), but this only sounds normal to me. Mariusz had to leave his mark in here, I guess.

While Mariusz is not whispering, we get some sorts of instrumentals, Middle-East oriented like ''Tirzah'' which can't really thrill my old ears. Weak, IMHHO. This album holds too many sampling sequences to my taste (but I confess that I have never been a devoted fan of this technique). To experience and survive a track like ''In Struggle'' is a quite meritorious. But I could say the same about most of the tracks featured on this album.

As you might have understood, this album is not really my cup of tea. Heavy at times, with no or so little flavour really. Maybe some electronic freak could appreciate this more than I do. Maybe.No surprise that ''Wind from the East'' holds a strong Oriental beat and texture. But it sounds so flat.

The only song that is moving me is ''The Day After''. A great melancholic ballad during which the whispering tone from Mariusz is excelling. One out of eleven songs.

As such, I can't rate this album higher than two (little) stars.

 Neo Way by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.54 | 12 ratings

Neo Way
Amarok Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This second album from ''Amarok'' is definitively not a great one.

The opening track ''Dajenu'' is setting the pace: what we'll get here is true world music, no more. And actually, it might even be one of the best track available since some poor music has to be endured as well (''Up Hill''). A sub, sub-par ''Dire Straits'' tune with country & Western orientation. Press next of course.

To tell you that one of the best moment here is the short (just short of ninety seconds) ''Two Faces'' says enough about this album.

I am not willing to be destructive but I have to be honest here (as usual in my reviews actually). There are hardly one great or interesting track included on this album. No pop, very little prog, scarce good music to browse you the global picture.

As far as I am concerned, this album has so little to do with the prog scene and I am really surprised to have it featured here. The instrumental ''On The Road'' sounds like a ''Shadow'' tune. But recorded some forty years later.

I wouldn't qualify this album essential for your prog ears. On the contrary: two stars seems a logical end to my ears. Here and there some classic feel are nice, indeed. But ''Fifth Mount'' can't compete with ''Firth of.''. Even if it is my fave little piece here. Some kind of healthy breath in this ocean of average music.

The nadir of this album being of course the poor ''Hope''. A strange title indeed. Believe me: there is not a sight of hope while listening to this sort of music.

So now, you should be ready for the epic of this work. Almost half an hour of music with little coordination. Spacey and interesting music for a while ''Neo Way I'', which is followed by a dreadful funk/house style second part that is really difficult to absorb.

During some very short moment, one might compare this epic track with some Oldfield work like the fourth movement, but to tell you my truth, it is really shy of the work of this giant musician. But this is only how I feel.Still: it is by far one of the best parts of this album.

In all, this ''Neo Way'' is a poor Oldfield attempt to write an epic. And it didn't succeed as far as I'm concerned.

Two stars.

 Metanoia by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.81 | 15 ratings

Amarok Crossover Prog

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Third release of Michal Wojtas' project is containing a quite nice blend of modern rock music with some ethnic influences. Only about half of the album is kept pure instrumental this time. The addition of excellent guest singer Mariusz Duda from RIVERSIDE in six of the eleven tracks was a large enrichment for their sound. Only two songs ("Tirzah" and "In struggle") are very weak, more commercial type ones. The rest of the album can be considered as a rather solid work in modern progressive rock. Actually not really that progressive and anything I'd recommend to a prog fan as a must-have, but at least a rather versatile and pleasant album that is a bit different from the usual neo prog ones. I'm giving 3 solid stars for this one.
 Neo Way by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.54 | 12 ratings

Neo Way
Amarok Crossover Prog

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Second album by promising Polish band AMAROK with guest appearance of CAMEL bass player Colin Bass unfortunately does not contain much interesting stuff in terms of prog at least in its first half. Tracks 1 to 7 are guitar-based instrumental ones more or less in a mainstream rock vein, quite reminiscent of Mark Knopfler, sometimes of David Gilmour's solo work. Second half of the album consisting of the multi-part title track becomes slightly more attractive to me. The seven parts are presenting instrumental music with some backing vocals very much in an Oldfield vein. Nothing to criticize concerning performance or production, both are brilliant. Just the complete lack of innovation and inspiration keeps me off giving this record more than 2 stars. Let's hope for their next output.
 Amarok by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.66 | 23 ratings

Amarok Crossover Prog

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Poland became a quite prolific soil for progressive bands during recent years. Most importantly not only for those in the usual Marillion-Pendragon-Arena line but as well for some with really different sound like Riverside or Indukti for example. So here we have another one of these young talents coming from there. Michal Wojtas is a highly talented multi-instrumentalist and a dedicated fan of Mike Oldfield. That's why he gave this name to his band project. Influences from that famous paragon cannot be totally denied neither in his playing style nor in the kind of music offered here on their debut album. Most of the tracks are pure instrumental and up to a considerable proportion more in an acoustic vein. There are occasionally very pleasant female vocals. Especially instruments like piano, violin and flute are providing a nice symphonic atmosphere. At times when it's getting more into a rock vein like in "Massa" Wojtas' guitar play sounds a bit too much like Mark Knopfler, at least for my taste.

Though being not entirely my top favourite type of music I've to say that AMAROK's debut is really a quite notable one and should appeal to any fan of OLDFIELD or CAMEL. Not as interesting and innovative as Riverside or Indukti, but still better than the usual neo progressive standards. I'd add an extra half star if possible!

 Amarok by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.66 | 23 ratings

Amarok Crossover Prog

Review by pyciu

4 stars Finally polish band Amarok has been added to this site.Their first album is almost entirely instrumental. On some tracks we can hear female vocals in the background. First two tracks are instrumental.The third features some female background voices. "Avalon" opens with the guitar solo similar to the one we can hear on "Coming Back to Live" from Pink Floyd last LP. Then comes the third part of "Fieldmour" (nice quibble!) containing acoustic guitar and violin parts. All tracks are mixed with various guitar parts (acoustic, electric, bass), flute and violin. The whole is very fresh and pleasant. I assure you, that those melodies are not the boring neo-progressive tunes. "Amarok" album is very good predecessor of truly amazing "Neo Way". I give this album 4 stars with great pleasure.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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