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STRAWBERRY FIELDS

Prog Related • Poland


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Strawberry Fields biography
Strawberry Fields is a rock band from Poland, formed in 2008 by a highly acclaimed musician Wojtek Szadkowski (Collage, Satellite, Peter Pan), and featuring the voice of Robin (Marta Kniewska). Strawberry Fields' music is a strange blend of the old and the new, of rock guitars and soft keyboards, loops and psychedelic soundscapes. But what is most important here is the magical voice of Robin, a beautiful female lead singer.

On the band's debut album entitled "Rivers Gone Dry" Marta is supported by the intelligent guitar play of Sarhan Kubeisi (Satellite), simple yet effective bass lines of Jarek Michalski (Satellite), and Wojtek Szadkowski's drums. Guest appearance was done by keyboardist Krzyo Palczewski (Satellite).

With thanks to Metal Mind productions for the provision of the biography information.

Bob Mcbeath ("Easy livin"), Scotland

See also:
- Collage
- Satellite

Strawberry Fields official website

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STRAWBERRY FIELDS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

4.02 | 22 ratings
Rivers Gone Dry
2009

STRAWBERRY FIELDS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

STRAWBERRY FIELDS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.96 | 4 ratings
Live Strawberry Fields
2012

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STRAWBERRY FIELDS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live Strawberry Fields by STRAWBERRY FIELDS album cover DVD/Video, 2012
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Live Strawberry Fields
Strawberry Fields Prog Related

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Strawberry Fields forever

Strawberry Fields were formed in 2008 by Wojtek Szadkowski (Collage, Satellite, etc). The following year, they released their début album "Rivers gone dry". Focusing heavily on the vocals of Robin (Marta Kniewska, who also writes most of the lyrics) the band took to the stage in Wyspiański Theatre in Katowice, Poland in April 2011, the gig being filmed by the superb team behind many of Metal Mind productions fine DVD releases in recent years. Krzyś Palczewski, who played occasional keyboards as a guest on the album takes on the role of keyboard player throughout here, with Szadkowski remaining at the drums.

The gig naturally focuses on the band's sole album release to date, the tracks being performed in a completely different order in order to suit the live environment. We are also treated to new renditions of tracks by Collage and Satellite, of which more later.

"Open your eyes" makes for a fine opener, the song giving Robin the chance to warm her voice up as the song progresses. By the time we reach "Fool" Robin and the rest of the band are at the top of their game.

While the performances of the songs remain faithful to the album originals, the band take the opportunity to adapt them for the live environment, Robin opining that "It is owing to this that the band became more consistent, its character was defined better". There is certainly a fullness to the sound, the fine mixing of the DVD bringing out the underlying power of many of the songs. The album's title track "Rivers gone dry" for example has some beefy synth work overlaying driving bass and drums.

One new song, "Problem", is substituted for "Moon", the smooth jazz nature of the latter presumably being considered too out of place for the gig. "Problem" is certainly much more in keeping with the other songs performed here, the song perhaps even offering itself as a single release.

There is very little between songs chat or introductions, perhaps in part due to Robin's newness to the whole recording and performing environment. Nevertheless, she makes for a fine frontman (woman!) remaining front and centre stage virtually throughout.

The last three songs, performed as encores, are covers of tracks by Szadkowski other projects Collage and Satellite. "Don't walk away in silence" originally appeared on the Satellite album "Into the night". The song, which was the most accessible on the album, suits a female vocal well, while featuring some fine lead guitar soloing by Sarhan Kubeisi. "Living in the moonlight" is the oldest song in the set, originally appearing on the 1994 Collage album "Moonshine". This appears to be a popular choice with the audience, who presumably are familiar with the work of the fine Polish band. The appropriately named "Is it over" from Satellite's latest album rounds off the set. This dreamy ballad catches the audience out with its false ending prior to a superb lead guitar solo to actually round things off.

The entire gig is not particularly long, running to around 75 minutes in all. This is understandable given the fact that the band have only released one album. While it is great to hear new renditions of songs from Szadkowski's rich past, to have included too many in the set would only have served to draw attention away from the undoubted potential of Strawberry Fields as a coherent band in their own right. Overall though, there is more than enough here in the way of fine songs and competent performances to indicate that Strawberry Fields have a very bright future.

The DVD is rounded off with a couple interviews and other extras.

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 Rivers Gone Dry by STRAWBERRY FIELDS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.02 | 22 ratings

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Rivers Gone Dry
Strawberry Fields Prog Related

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars This is a cool modern recording, a total reversal of the usual Wojtek Szadkowski catalogue of adventurous "neo-Prog" as expressed by the classic Collage, its luxuriantly bold offspring Satellite and the harder-edged distant cousin Peter Pan. Here the supremely talented drummer/songwriter/producer/keyboardist decides to branch into groove-oriented music that is closer to Massive Attack/Portishead, all due to the supremely expressive voice of Robin (née Marta Kniewska), another pretender to the rich female prog vocalist throne that seems quite gilded in Poland (Quidam, Caamora, Nemezis, Albion). The Satellite crew is on hand, guitarist Sarhan chopping adroitly, bassist Jarek Michalski thumping with authority and our fave drummer pounding most convincingly. The melodies and their delivery are immense, each piece very memorable in its own right yet strangely noncommercial. Both "Your Story" and "Close" are punchy little prog-pop ditties that immediately latch onto the pleasure nodes, while the majestic title track is a more experimental adventure , a deep-felt dirge with massive doses of symphonic keyboard washes, colossal voice choirs and elegant piano interventions, all swarmed by synthetic string synth swaths. This is certainly closer to mind-numbing electro-prog, warm robotics not withstanding. An intricate piece that has tinges of Depeche Mode, Ultravox, Jane Siberry, the Beatles and the previously named Massive Attack. "Fool" is minimalist at first, a clear platform for Robin's voice emulations, woven into an exploding swarm of repetitive drums, sustained guitar flicks and a rotund bass anchoring another solid first-rate melody. Hard not to like this, inherently charming, original, attractive, passionate and honest, an insistent Sarhan Kubeisi guitar fest adds to the glee. "Moon" has an almost blues lounge/marimba feel, what with the totally torch song like vocal delivery (Shirley Bassey doing Yello), with a little Caribbean vacation guitar lick in the background, utterly irresistible and completely intoxicating. "Beautiful" is even more brittle, remotely distant from proggy shores armed with a delicate vocal that has a crystalline fragility, a simple drum beat and even simpler guitar fills, nothing extravagant. "Open Your Eyes" returns to spookier realms, hypnotic swirls amid a plaintive vocal and a feel that is almost close to the label Projekt (Lycia, Love Spirals Downwards?) and "Maybe" continues in a decidedly alternative ?prog vein. The 7 minute + "Flow" is the highlight track here, an extended dreamy excursion that has an intricate clash of deeply felt sadness and an almost flippant apathy ("Where are we going? Who do we follow"), a long bluesy guitar solo fleshes out the proceedings.

Hey, this is not really prog, more like alternative-dreamy pop with celebrated progressive musicians, so buyers/hunters beware! Strawberry Fields remains firmly entrenched in the space between two musical chairs. Not prog, not pop. That being stated, this is certainly worthy of any prog collection, slightly off the beaten path. 4 fruitcakes.

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 Rivers Gone Dry by STRAWBERRY FIELDS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.02 | 22 ratings

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Rivers Gone Dry
Strawberry Fields Prog Related

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars You know I know when it's a dream

Strawberry Fields is a project initiated by Wojtek Szadkowski, drummer with Polish neo-prog band Satellite, and also with their predecessors Collage. While the other members of Satellite also donate their skills to the album, it is the vocals of Szadkowski's prodigy Robin (Marta Kniewska) which are very much the focus of this venture. Fans of Satellite and Collage should therefore be aware when sampling the delights of Strawberry Fields that Rivers gone dry is very different to the output of those bands.

Szadkowski and Kniewska clearly bonded immediately, writing all the material here. Szadkowski is responsible for the music throughout, while Kniewska writes all the lyrics (in English), bar the occasional contribution on a couple of songs by Wojtek. Astonishingly given the confidence and quality of her work, the album marks Robin's debut both as a singer and a lyricist. Rivers gone dry consists of 9 tracks, running to around 50 minutes in total, and while we should not expect any Satellite style epics, a couple of the tracks run to around 7 minutes.

The publicity for the album compares Strawberry Fields to bands such as Goldfrapp, Portishead, Massive Attack and The Gathering. Other legitimate comparison might be with their stablemates, (Clive's Nolan's) Caamora and with the Cranberries.

The album opens with Your story a song which blends sparse verses, which allow space for Robin to display her vocal prowess, with powerful full on choruses. The track features some fine lead guitar from Sarhan Kubeisi. The haunting Close which follows combines delightful keyboard sounds with a majestic vocal melody. The choruses here up the power even further, the slightly distorted vocals being driven by some great guitar riffs. This track in particular is very reminiscent of some of the best work of The Cranberries (think of songs such as Promises).

The title track is a moodier number with a driving undercurrent and fine keyboard swathes. The 7 minute running time sees the song being allowed to fully develop against a hypnotic vocal refrain. Fool opens with a brief acoustic passage leading to a slower power ballad. Once again, the extend guitar interlude is a highlight of the song.

Moon takes things down a notch with a gentler shuffle through a slightly jazzy piece of heavy smooth, allowing Robin to show yet another string to her bow. Beautiful maintains the softer mood, but in a lighter, more harmonious piece of pop rock, the similarity here being more towards the Corrs perhaps. Open your eyes is distinguished by an appealing multi-part vocal arrangement, the track moving between gentle verses and loud guitar driven choruses, once again of the Cranberries type. Maybe continues in the power pop style, the fine instrumentation differentiating the song from other similar styles of pop.

The album closes with its longest track, the 7½ minute Flow. The ambitions for this piece are made clear from the outset with a synth chorale burst backed by atmospheric keyboards. The sang draws in the various sounds and influences which come through throughout the album; the song's arrangement is particularly impressive here.

Rivers gone dry is a fine example of what happens when a selection of fine prog musicians decide to make something more accessible while ensuring they do not make compromises when it comes to quality (bands such as Asia spring to mind in this respect). This is an album of highly melodic, very enjoyable songs which benefit from fine arrangements and top quality musicianship. Special mention needs to be made of the contribution made by vocalist Robin, who belies her lack of experience both with her singing and her lyric writing. A quality album.

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