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THE AMAZING

Crossover Prog • Sweden


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The Amazing biography
Sweden based THE AMAZING started releasing their dreamy art rock albums on year 2009. The fusion of psychedelic pop and folk-oriented hazy stoner music is led by Reine FISKE, whose guitar shimmers with relaxed spirituality, weaving his instrument to more ethereal acoustic glades than on the troubled LANDBERK records, anxious MORTE MACABRE sessions or on dynamic outbursts of DUNGEN. Christoffer GUNRUP's sublime compositions and vocals relate to accessible mellow rock directions with professional writing skills, artistic arrangements and minor psychedelic flavors. The albums hold affecting and fine quality laid back sensations, Reine and Christoffer accompanied by talented musicians like Magnus VIKSTRÖM on keyboards, Fredrik SWAHN playing bass, and Johan HOLMEGÅRG on drums. A very recommendable band for those adoring current neo-classic Swedish prog rock movement, and for anybody interested of calm, thoughtful vintage music.

Discography

Albums:
2009 "The Amazing" (SUBCD30, xmlp-sub34)
2010 "Wait for A Light to Come" (BAM-FP0048, SUB-069-LP)
2011 "Gentle Stream" (SUB085CD)

Compillation Appearances:
2009 "The Wall Rebuilt!" (MOJO)
2011 "Music from Time and Space vol.42"


Eetu Pellonpää 2012


Sources:
Official Homepage
RateYourMusic.com
www.myspace.com/theamazingswedes
www.subliminalsounds.se
www.facebook.com/theamazing.swe

The Amazing official website

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Gentle StreamGentle Stream
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THE AMAZING discography


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

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Amazing
2009
3.00 | 2 ratings
Wait For A Light To Come
2010
4.03 | 11 ratings
Gentle Stream
2011
3.88 | 7 ratings
Picture You
2015

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THE AMAZING Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Picture You by AMAZING, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.88 | 7 ratings

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Picture You
The Amazing Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars I've been listening to Picture You long enough now to note that it is . . . different than 2011's masterpiece and my Favorite Album of my favorite year of progressive rock music, Gentle Stream. Picture You has more reverb in the vocals, a greater presence of keyboards, more prominent female vocals, and, I guess, a greater diversity of sound and song palette--which sounds like a winning combination, right? It could be, but I can't honestly say that I like Picture You as much as Gentle Stream. There are some great high points and no terrible low points but something about Gentle Stream just sucks me in and holds me warm and excited--to this day, even.

1. "Broken" (5:04) opens with an amazing sound and not one but two very catchy CURE-like guitar riffs. The vocals a are a bit back in the mix, but are accompanied by some wonderful background vocals--female included! Not quite THE CLIENTELE but definitely reaching back for more of that 70s warmth. The slow down, soft down, outro part that begins at 3:40 is quite unexpected and quite gorgeous--the vocals wafting and weaving delightfully among each other. (9/10)

2. "Picture You" (9:27) opens with not one, but two very engaging chord riffs before the song tempo and vocal enter. The guitar arpeggio once again reminds me of JESSE COLIN YOUNG, the voice like that of former Fleetwood Mac guitarist, BOB WELCH, on his late-1977 album, French Kiss (remember his monster hit, "Sentimental Lady"?). The instrumental section that begins at 4:30 begins simply enough with slow-changing guitar chords played as two- or three-note arpeggios but gradually building support from the rest of the band, with Reine Fiske's atmospheric work staying fairly far in the background. Drummer Moussa Fadera's jazz-lleanings are given nice room for show. Though this is a nine and a half minute song, it speeds by incredibly fast. And I just can't get enough of it! (10/10)

3. "Circles" (6:23) mellows things down quite a little. Guitars, organ, slow pace, catchy guitar riffs, gorgeous female-backed vocals from Christoffer Gunrup, it even blesses us with a gorgeous all-accoustic guitar outro from three guitars. It would seem that this song has no flaws save nothing that shocks or shakes you, only that it is a perhaps a bit too sleepy pretty. (9/10)

4. "Safe Island" (8:35) sounds as if we're being taken underwater: even the drums that are, I believe, here meant to be central and showy are somehow muted or softened by recording effects. At 5:30 Reine and Christoffer take us into a three minute ride into outer space with their complementary guitar and keyboard/ computer effects (Christoffer going psychedelic prog? Oh, my!) (8/10)

5. "Keep It Going" (5:43) reminds me of a kind of floating interlude, meant to give the audience a little nap before going into Side Two. A little monotonous and soporific. But still pretty. (7/10)

6. "Fryshusfunk" (7:29) is a Reine Fiske showcase very much in the vein of his work on LANDBERK's last two albums before that band's dissolution. A slow jazz-pop PAUL WELLER/STYLE COUNCIL-like foundation and structure works pretty well for the first two minutes, but the real meat of the song (for me, REINE FISKE junkie that I am) takes off after that 2:15-2:35 bridge. The heavy, blues-rock section that begins at 5:00 is hypnotic like a whirlpool, but also like Charybdis, the whirlpool of the Straits of Messina, it is deceptively dangerous as it threatens to suck you in. (9/10)

7. "Tell Them You Can't Leave" (4:08) shows the band backing off a bit on the reverb. This is the first song on Picture You that sounds like it could have come straight off of Gentle Stream. What is disappointing is the song's lack of melodic hook--in the vocals or in the guitar play. At times it almost sounds like it's trying to go BLUE OYSTER CULT "Don't Fear the Reaper." But . . . it doesn't. The drumming, b vox and acoustic guitar strumming are, for me, the most interesting parts of this song. (7/10)

8. "The Headless Boy" (4:02) sounds very much like an early EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL (first decade era) song, with Ben on lead vocal and Tracey on harmonies. Nice song but it would not have been one of the songs to make my "EBTG Faves" playlist. Instead, it is rather innocuous and forgettable. (7/10)

9. "Captured Light" (8:13) opens with some CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG power and distortion. Then harmonized voices! This is cool! The bass is awesome. I really enjoy the weave of layered voices despite their difficult-to-discern lyrics. Though the vocals veer the song more into the territory of THE ASSOCIATION, the instrumental part definitely stay strongly reminiscent of CSN&Y. At 3:34 a keyboard-generated strings sound slowly descends eight notes before roller-coasting to the end of a fourth measure where it starts over, repeating its infectious hook for the next two minutes. At 5:45 the song takes a rather odd and incongruous turn to an all acoustic guitar format with Christoffer singing among them. This to the end. A bit of a letdown. I really liked the CSN&Y/ASSOCIATION blend. (9/10)

10. "Winter Dress" (5:28) builds itself around a slide guitar riff that gets repeated and throughout the song behind Christoffer's ROBERT SMITH-like mumbled lyrics. The drum play is, for once, played fairly straight on and recorded well into the mix. I like the guitars being up front and the clarity of the bass, drums, and acoustic guitars. I guess this might be the key for me: less "under water" music, less distortion and reverb (though I love reverb!), more return to the folk rock sounds of Gentle Stream. (9/10)

Where Gentle Stream elicited warmth and inclusion and familiarity, I think that the muddiness of parts of Picture You kind of holds one at a distance, isolates the listener from feeling included in the music. I'm not sure of the band's intentions with Picture You, but, thought there is still some great music here, it is not nearly as engaging and energizing as the all-out jams Christoffer, Reine and the boys were luring us in with their end-of-song interplay throughout Gentle Stream.

Four stars.

I forgot to mention how much I enjoy the stepped up presence and effect of the keyboards.

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 Wait For A Light To Come by AMAZING, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Wait For A Light To Come
The Amazing Crossover Prog

Review by Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'The Amazing' are one of those current Swedish groups that teeter on the edge of psychedelic Progressive Rock and 'indie' rock. Fronted by singer/songwriter Christopher Gunrup, the band features members from fellow Swedes DUNGEN, amongst many others, making for yet another splinter group worthy of checking out, albeit, a touch on the commercial side. This 2nd offering, an E.P. entitled 'Wait For A Light To Come', offers 6 tracks which showcase various approaches to composition, be it folk, heavy/psych, laid-back, experimental and so-forth. Ranging from more acoustically dominated material, to out-'n'-out acid-psych, this selection is a great way to enter the world of 'The Amazing'. Album opener, 'Evil', is really anything but - it's a sweet, melodic ride through light acoustic strumming along a loose, bouncy rhythm, suggestive of carefree sunny days out in the open air. Reine Fiske adds some delicate lead-guitar lines throughout, giving a light country feel to the piece. Nothing flash, but enjoyable. Gunrup's vocals throughout are fragile, yet confident and fitting. 'And It Looks Like Today' is a straight up, melodic folk-rock track, a light-hearted tune with female backing vocals, again heavily relying on acoustic instrumentation. 'Islands' is a longer piece that's very mellow, with shimmering organ, hand percussion, subtle bass and acoustic guitar. It just goes on and on in a most tasteful way. The best track by far on the first side. Flip-side starts with yet another straight forward song, 'Head Beaches', again laid-back and accessible, Fiske's chordal strumming on electric guitar is quite moving. I think they've made a film- clip to this song. 'Defect' approaches the 7 minute mark, and shows us a heavier piece reminiscent of Dungen, but never crossing over that far into their jammy, improv territory. Here, Fiske is the star and gives us the light we've been waiting to come ! Easily the best track with a groovy backing and shredding psych guitar. The title cut is another acoustic tune with a simple, repetitive melody and Gunrup chanting the album title over and over. It's only brief and finishes off the E.P. majestically. Definitely a recommended introduction to the band, but the following full-length album is stronger overall. 3.5 stars.

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 Gentle Stream by AMAZING, THE album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.03 | 11 ratings

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Gentle Stream
The Amazing Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars This happens to be my favorite album of the year 2011; I know that it is not the 'best.' The melodies, warmth of the music, incredible group jams--led, of course, by my guitar hero, Reine Fiske--make this album one that I want to come back to often. More than the others in this year's Top Album's list. But I recognize its flaws, especially in the fact that it is not so proggy as some of the other masterpieces and excellent collections of progressive rock music.

1. "Gentle Stream" (7:00) starts the album out with an incredible sound that is quite reminiscent of some of the masterpieces of psychedelic rock from the late 1960s and even the Southern rock groups of the early 1970s. A smooth, incredibly warm and melodic song-- both in terms of the instrumentalisits and the vocals. Great vocal harmonies in the vein of CROSBY, STILL, NASH & YOUNG. The drum work is incredibly fluid and smooth, restrained yet full--kind of like STEVE GADD's understated mastery. But my favorite part is the vocal- accompanied all-out jam by the band for the final two and a half minutes. The adrenaline rush is incredible! THE SONG OF THE YEAR!! (11/10)

2."Flashlight" (4:56) continues the album's 60s/70s psychedelic/Southern rock feel--as do all of the songs on Gentle Stream--this time in the vein of DAVE MASON/JESSE COLIN YOUNG. A simpler, almost acoustic song with flutes, picking acoustic guitar, and some organ. Nice ERIC CLAPTON/BLIND FAITH instrumental section in the middle, followed by simple electric guitar and saxophone soli to end. (8/10)

3. "International Hair" (6:08) is another standout song, this time starting like a JONI MITCHELL, FLEETWOOD MAC or AMERICA song. Singer Christoff Gunrup has an amazingly smooth, sensitive, and familiar voice; he sings as if he is putting his entire being into his efforts. The smooth, subtle work of the drummer is again stellar. A lull of delicate play at the 4:20 mark turns into another group jam with Reine Fiske playing the slide or pedal steel guitar and some roiling percussion dueling going on all around. (10/10)

4. "The Fog" (4:29) begins with some acoustic guitar picking which again revives images of STEVE WINWOOD/BLIND FAITH. The vocals enter, ever-so delicately, at times feeling like they are being held up or shored up by the background singers' sustained "ahh's" and "ooohs." Fiske's guitar picking gets a little more forceful at the 2:20 mark, and from there out, until multiple electric guitars begin a southern rock harmonized duel right out of the archives of THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND or even THE ALLMAN BROTHERS. (9/10)

5. "Gone" (6:13) has much more of a CSN&Y feel to it--especially the electric guitars. This song has some awesome hooks, both instrumentally and vocally, but the highlight is one of the album's trademark all-out band jams--previewed with the rhythm shift at the 2:21 mark but really starting at about the 4:07 mark. Almost a SANTANA or AMERICA feel to it. Wonderful b vox! (9/10)

6. "Dogs" (6:38) starts out with an even stronger CSN&Y sound and feel--like it was a song that didn't make it onto 1970's Déjà Vu (but should have). Christoff's vocal is mixed a little back and the electric guitars are very much in the foreground. This is not quite as engaging a song, despite it's familiarity, until the 4:12 mark when the electric guitar swiches on his wah- pedal and starts to lead into an awesome HENDRIX/CLAPTON/ROBIN TROWER playing backed by some amazing organ play that is reminiscent of PROCUL HARUM's MATTHEW FISHER or perhaps even STEVE WINWOOD. (9/10)

7. "Assumptions" (2:08) is a kind of vocal interlude, almost like sacred church or meditative music.(8/10)

8. "When The Colours Change" (6:02) is the album's final masterpiece. It begins with a very slow moving rhythm though with full band members' participation. Sitar or (and/or pedal steel?) and harp bring a rich fullness to this song that is so gorgeous. This song reminds me of some of the LARRY LEE-penned OZARK MOUNTAIN DAREDEVILS songs from the 1970s. Beautiful song with stellar performances across the board--all collaborating and synthesizing into a seamless aural quilt. (10/10)

Again, this is my favorite album from 2011, yet, in terms of its contribution to "progressive rock" it suffers a little. It is more of a revival of some long lost and yet not forgotten sounds and traditions that give it such a warmth and home-like familiarity that set this album apoart from the other Neo, revivalist or imitative work being done today. Absolutely gorgeous vocals and melodies coupled with mesmerizing guitar and drum play.

(As of 10/29/12 Gentle Stream sits at #48 on my list of All-time Favorite Albums.)

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 Gentle Stream by AMAZING, THE album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.03 | 11 ratings

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Gentle Stream
The Amazing Crossover Prog

Review by Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A couple of months ago, I placed an LP order with Syn-Phonic - I selected The Amazing's 2nd and 3rd releases. They were not included here at P.A., and all I knew of the band is that they were from Sweden, and DUNGEN's guitarist extraodinaire REINE FISKE was involved. This most recent album from the band, 'Gentle Stream', was quite the discovery, very consistent and portraying no weaknesses at all !! Johan Holmegard (also of Dungen) plays drums, with a solid bassist, keyboardist, vocalist and various guests participating. Not unlike Dungen, The Amazing holds an equally inspired frontman in Christoffer Gunrup, who handles the composing, and has a pleasant, even if a bit fragile, singing voice, performing all songs in English language. Stylistically, they are a song-based and laid-back (most of the time) sort of band. Some tracks feature the Mellotron too !! The 7 min. title-song can be reminiscent of various psychedelic efforts from certain West Coast bands of the late 60's - memorable melodies, subtle organ, twangy guitars and a generally mellow vibe, with a lightly country-ish flavour, with Gunrup's vocal harmonies taking us out on an easy ride during the final 2 minutes or so. 'Flashlight' continues the easy going hippie mood with a song featuring some lovely flute-work and a light-hearted melody. Musically, the latter section offers some tasteful saxophone playing and some scarcely heard mellotron-piano lines. I often wonder of the inspiration behind a song entitled 'International Hair' - have we just come from some high-end salon with the latest, hirsute fashion trend ?? Anyway, this one's a 6 min. burner with catchy verses and an excellent coda alternating between major and minor keys. 'The Fog' is somewhat straight-forward but tasteful nevertheless. Side 2 is where I find they come into their own, an almost immaculate stretch of 4 songs, mostly breaking the 6 minute mark, allowing the band to jam out and show us how they can impress within their more direct approach. I can detect more vibes of the fantastic LANDBERK in many moments on this side than side 1. From the track 'Gone', which shows off the more abrasive guitars that we have come to admire from Fiske, along with some notable percussion work, to the mellotron- backed ethereal closer 'When The Colours Change', each song is a real treat, with 'Dogs' being the absolute meister-work of the album - great guitaring from Fiske throughout, with the instrumental passage during the 2nd half allowing the band to let loose a bit. 'Assumptions' is a short, 2min+ piece that is every bit as tasteful as the rest. Some well incorporated mellotron parts enhance the beauty. The gentle closer may leave one in a state of blissful catatonia (if there were such a thing) - I find it's all over too soon for me. Fiske's guitaring is spot-on. With my semi-permeable man-brain (ho ho) I don't know if I do this album enough justice - 4 stars.

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Thanks to Eetu Pellonpää for the artist addition.

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