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Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom

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Ian Neal biography
Hailing from Derbyshire England, multi instrumentalist IAN NEAL learned the keyboards by playing Hammond organ. The music study became serious at age 12 when he began formal training. This was supplemented with his own version of home schooling by copying Genesis solos and like material. This led to "looking closely at classical music and the rudiments of harmony and orchestral composition."

As with most young musicians Ian offered his talents to a few bands early on. In Sheffield he was a member of an acoustic oriented outfit and even an alt-pop band. The urge to go it alone grew especially in the aspect of creating more grand compositions. Staying true to musical principles was also a deciding factor. By adding guitar to the arsenal his music blossomed into fully rounded instrumental pieces. As technology advanced it became possible for Ian to do exactly what he wanted. The dream was realized when his first album was released in 2005.

IAN NEAL's inspiration comes from the masters of prog, electronica and classical music. He blends familiar synth and mellotron sounds with modern production and aesthetic. The goal is to create music that is "exquisitely constructed, intriguing and will not tire of being played again and again." Of course that is for the listener to decide. Certainly an artist with such aspirations and this kind of background should intrigue most prog fans.

H.T. Riekels

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3.12 | 6 ratings
All In The Golden Afternoon...
3.93 | 6 ratings
Out of the Woods
3.50 | 2 ratings

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IAN NEAL Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Out of the Woods by NEAL, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.93 | 6 ratings

Out of the Woods
Ian Neal Symphonic Prog

Review by kurtrongey

4 stars Neal is a very skilled arranger. This album serves up a string of blissful layer cakes of synth and acoustic guitar timbres. It's a sonic paradise that often evokes pastoral Genesis. He keeps things mellow but uplifting most of the time. The opener "Storm" is in slow triple time with a narrated poem and wordless soprano. It has gorgeous harmonic development at the end. Reverberating piano chords open "September" and piano and strings are featured along with evocative 12-string guitar ostinatos. In "The Way through the Woods" an eerie piano figure develops into a moderato, martial 4/4 groove with staccato arco strings. "Boaters" has a very pretty subdued opening. The bass pedals under melancholy 6/8 sound great. The longest track on the album, "The Lake," develops into more rocking territory with synth lead floursihes. After a long pastoral stretch and some effective mellotron choir swells, it ends big with bass pedals. "On the Idle Hill of Summer" is pensive music with text about going into battle and features convincing solo cello. In the soldier, a ladies' choir accompanies a narrated poem about a dying soldier. The album ends with "Winter Falls," big textured music with soaring melodies.
 All In The Golden Afternoon... by NEAL, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.12 | 6 ratings

All In The Golden Afternoon...
Ian Neal Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Hailing from the city of Sheffield, British composer Ian Neal begun his music journey through learning the Hammond organ and, after participating in several local bands, he decided to follow his own path, adding more instruments in his armour.He created his first album ''All in the Golden Afternoon...'' in mid-00's, providing all instrumental parts on it, while several guests provide vocals and narrations in the tracks, some of them coming from the eponymous poem of Lewis Caroll, who actually inspired Neal's first work.

Neal's debut is a dreamy and atmospheric journey into the world of Progressive Rock and Electronic music.He combines the long and extended instrumetal parts of the first with the atmospheric ambiances of the second, to come up with an album, which is quite trippy and ethereal.His music is mostly keyboard-driven with plenty of synthesizers and electronics in the forefront, offering orchestral and cinematic textures, somewhat close to the music of NETHERLAND DWARF or BACKYARDS.The additional guitar parts and the strong Mellotron and piano flavors often bring the music closer to the likes of SPOCK'S BEARD or THE FLOWER KINGS, competent and tight Symphonic Progressive Rock of decent quality with a very dreamy feeling.But there are also moments when the music becomes trully ethereal with leanings towards the Electronic and Post Rock territories.These are led by the heavy use of acoustic guitars, the very good narration vocal parts and the emphasis on electronic loops.Neal also adds some strings and additional keys like the harsichord and organ in a pair of his compositions to deliver an even more diverse and attractive sound.The result is an album, where Orchestral Prog Rock meets modern days' music in a solid fusion of styles.

An artist to keep an eye on.''All in the Golden Afternoon...'' has definitely a fairyrtale, trippy mood all along its way, that will satisfy all lovers of majestic instrumental soundscapes.Recommended.

Thanks to atomiccrimsonrush for the artist addition. and to H.T. Riekels for the last updates

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