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Crossover Prog • United Kingdom

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Purple biography
UK project PURPLE is the creative vehicle of one Dan HODGSON, a composer and musician most at home playing music for worship in churches it would appear, but with solid experience in most of the other well known main genres of music available. His Purple project was instigated in 2007, and with the help of a creative mind and fairly easy to use PC technology three full length albums have been crafted under this moniker so far: "11 Bells" (2008), "Under a Binary Tree" (2009) and "BODY:MIND:SPIRIT" (2012).

Hodgson's own description of his music is one that is fairly intriguing in itself, at least for a small specialty audience: "...this is progressive rock. Not watered down, but the acceptable face of prog rock; accessible rather than extreme, still grandiose, still unashamedly self-indulgent, still complex and interesting, but not too demanding, not too esoteric, not too self-referential. To put it bluntly: it has tunes. This is what the die-hard proggers call "crossover prog"."

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PURPLE discography

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

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

2.50 | 2 ratings
11 Bells
3.00 | 2 ratings
Under a Binary Tree
3.00 | 2 ratings
Body Mind Spirit
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mimetophonic Windows

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PURPLE Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 11 Bells by PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.50 | 2 ratings

11 Bells
Purple Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Welsh musician Dan Hodgson was born in the city of Bangor and grew up in York, where he came in touch with music already as a kid, taking violin and piano lessons as well as singing in choirs.At the age of 15 he was given his first guitar and since graduating from university he had become an accomplished bassist and guitarist.He developed further his musical skills, while his envolvement with computers helped him on creating his own music.In 2008 under the moniker of Purple he released his debut album ''11 bells'', free downloadable from the project's website.

The album consists of 12 5-min. long instrumentals, where each of the 11 bells announces the passing from one piece to another.Musically the hour-long album is a crossover of Art Rock styles with an evident MIKE OLDFIELD vibration, alternating between melodic instrumental themes or synth-drenched soundscapes and folky textures with additional Celtic inspirations.Hodgson's effort to come up with a multi-influenced work is pretty decent, the execution though lacks the obvious advantages of a more professional production.The nervous synthesizers and the awful drum programming become annoying already from the first minute, while even some piano lines seem to have been recorded out of the cheapest equipment, having a totally amateur, plastic sound.Another problem seems to be the incosistency of the work regarding the diverse styles.As individual pieces some of the tracks have a nice listening value.A couple of them, having a more upfront style and a fair amount of energy, recall ELEGANT SIMPLICITY, containing good electric grooves and angular keyboards in a typical slightly CAMEL-flavored Neo Prog vein, while most of Hodgson's OLDFIELD-ian soundscapes sound quite dreamy with the use of pipes and the delicate acoustic guitars.The keyboard-dominated pieces are the less interesting by far, hurting the album in a certain degree next to the childish drumming.Unfortunately these take about 1/3 of ''11 bells'', placed sporadically among the better pieces and ruin the whole listening.

This is a free download from Purple's website, so anyone can taste ''11 bells'' by himself.Personally I found this work to be rather dissapointing, even more because Hodgson seems to be a talented musician and the amount of amateur pieces on this effort totally spoil his image and potential.

 Body Mind Spirit by PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.00 | 2 ratings

Body Mind Spirit
Purple Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars UK project PURPLE is the creative moniker of composer and musician Dan Hodgson. He started creating music to be released using this artistic name in 2007. As of 2013 three full length albums have been released by him, all of them downloadable for free from his website. "Body:Mind:Spirit" is the third of these, and was issued in 2012.

So far Hodgson has had something of a mathematical, logical structure going with his albums. His first one consisted of a single composition consisting of multiple themes, his second album came two years later consisting of two compositions again subdivided into several themes, and three years later his third production presents three compositions. Each of them subdivided into three major themes, with three minor minor themes within the major one again. Three songs, three times three major themes, times three again to count in all the minor themes. All of this described in some detail on the artist homepage, but easily heard without that knowledge at hand too, at least as far as the major theme alterations is concerned. The minor ones is of a more subtle nature, but those with a special interest in composing themselves will most likely have lots of fun finding these points of alteration.

As with the previous Purple albums it is the multiple-themed compositions that mostly enables this artist and album to be regarded within a progressive rock context. Although there's a few indirect and one very direct Pink Floyd reference to be uncovered as well. Layered and fairly sophisticated arrangements does appear now and then too, as do occasional flirts with progressive electronic music and cosmic inspired constructions. Aside from that we're given an often joyful and mostly smooth and logical run through themes of vastly different stylistic expressions. Classic guitar, ragtime and jazz are all represented, a nice dramatic orchestral inspired overture too. Blues based sequences have their place here as well, as do passages focusing on synth and keyboard soloing. More folk oriented and pastoral landscapes are visited, as are more dramatic ones directly inspired by Spanish music and the flamenco. Neatly tied together by adding or subtracting instrument details, altering pace and intensity and occasionally by utilizing transitional phases or effects. Well made and assembled, within the restraints that a typical one-man band does face obviously.

If you enjoy the idea of (mostly) instrumental, epic length compositions exploring a fairly wide stylistic field without really focusing on every little detail to be recognized as progressive rock Purple's third album "Body:Mind:Spirit" should be worth inspecting, and in particular if you're fascinated by or composing material yourself I presume.

 Under a Binary Tree by PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 2 ratings

Under a Binary Tree
Purple Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars UK project PURPLE is the creative moniker of composer and musician Dan Hodgson. He started creating music to be released using this artistic name in 2007. As of 2013 three full length albums have been released by him, all of them downloadable for free from his website. "Under a Binary Tree" is the second of these, and was issued in 2009.

Hodgson's second album continues in a similar vein as his first one, but instead of one compositions consisting of twelve movements we're served two half hour long compositions on this occasion, the first consisting of eight movements and the second consisting of four. The compositions are rather different in style and expression too, and with a lot going on even within the individual movement.

The Ebony Queen, following a symphonic orchestra inspired opening with a theme then replicated rock band style, a series of constellations unfolds with a great variety in style. Two totally guitars driven pieces followed by a gentler piano and percussion based one, psychedelic guitars a central element in the initial phase of following one replaced by a more conventional guitar construction in the second half, uplifting presumably brass driven music of the kind that invites to circus associations is next up, and the guitars return again for a more jazz-flavored expression in the final movement. There are lots of minute details for the avid listener to enjoy too, like the minor thematic shifts every two minutes or thereabouts.

The Ivory Tower is a much more uniform creation, revolving around organ, keyboards, synthesizers, sequencers and sound effects. Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream are given nods along the way if I'm not much mistaken, and there's quite a few details that should please those with a soft spot for the so called Berlin School category of music I suspect. Again with a lot of minute details taking place in the individual movements, and perhaps with a bit more organ present that you'd find on compositions drawing upon similar sources of probable inspiration.

"Under a Binary Tree" is a fine album on many levels, but not everything is entertaining nor easy to enjoy, and not always in a good way at that. I suspect that people with a firm grasp of composition and composition techniques are the ones who'll find this album most rewarding, apart from those I'd suggest fans of progressive electronic music to give this album a spin due to the second and strongest composition The Ivory Tower.

 11 Bells by PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.50 | 2 ratings

11 Bells
Purple Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars UK project PURPLE is the creative moniker of composer and musician Dan Hodgson. He started creating music to be released using this artistic name in 2007. As of 2013 three full length albums have been released by him, all of them downloadable for free from his website. "11 Bells" is the first of these, and was issued in 2008.

Clocking in at just under an hour, Hodgson's debut album is in reality one single creation divided into 12 parts. A suite, if I understand the terminology correctly. Purple's page on Facebook indicates that artists such as Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield and Camel are among his influences, and of those shades of the former and latter of these are easily recognized on this album too, but on a subtle and select detail level rather than as comparable music as such. In fact, the music as such isn't of a kind that everyone would regard as progressive rock as such I guess, at least if the individual parts are regarded as singular entities. But if you regard the album as one single song "11 Bells" fulfills the major criteria many use when defining the genre: A compositions featuring several distinct themes and with a logical development towards each of them. Personally I believe that the latter context is the one in which to regard this production and the one intended by the creator, at least if the single digital file containing the full album should be taken as an indication.

Through the hour this composition lasts, we're treated to a dozen at times wildly different movements explored. Boris & Luigi's Tale is a homage to Camel if I ever heard one, The Judges' Quintrille revolving around an uplifting disco-inspired bass motif supplemented by a succession of different instruments soloing on top, Lazy Swamp-Dogs a swamp infested blues affair with a mood and spirit as indicated by the title, The Thief Of Time takes on a more Eastern inspired atmosphere while Migrating Coconuts has more of a Caribbean or perhaps Hawaiian flair to it. To name but a few. There's also a fairly clever construction called Warehouse 23 (In-The-Middle-A-Ture), the fifth part of the composition, which features a recurring bombastic theme with brief inserts in between them containing parts of all the different movements on the album, the ones prior to as well as the ones to follow and even this particular movement itself.

It all adds up to a fairly enjoyable experience too. While Purple isn't a project that will sustain the needs of those looking for the latest and greatest among top notch flamboyant musicianship explored in full in a demanding and challenging framework it is a good and well made take on the multiple themed, album long instrumental composition. Well worth a visit too, as long as you can deal with the shortcomings that does restrict the possibilities of a one man band and you can enjoy music that doesn't strive to be purebred progressive in each and every detail used and utilized.

 Under a Binary Tree by PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 2 ratings

Under a Binary Tree
Purple Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

3 stars My feelings about this one-man project are controversial. There are some very good things joined together with other that I quite dislike, and all inside the same track. Before looking at this album's page I didn't know that the two 32 minutes long tracks were "officially" divided in subtracks (usual in prog), but I had already identified the "mathematical" structure of the two tracks.

Both are exactly 32 minutes long. The first is made of 8 subtracks with a duration of exactly 4 minutes, each of them made of two distinct portions of two minutes. The second track is made of only 4 parts of 8 minutes each.

I think we can consider this like a double sided vinyl with different tracks played gaplessly. Taken in this way the weight of the less good parts is lighter than if we consider "The Ebony Queen" as a single track.

The beginning is symphonic with clear reminds to Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherazade but with a theme which could fit into a western movie, especially in the second 2-minutes sub- section. A gong at exactly minute 4 introduces a section of acoustic guitar, bluesy but with some dissonances vaguely reminding me to Bo Hansson. The third subtrack starts with a subtle keyboard, then electric piano and bass for a part that alternates jazzy moments and classical influences. Again a gong but the transition is now smooth. Up to now what I have heard was good, now things start to worsen.This subtrack (the fifth) features piano and blueasy acoustic guitar on which a folky flute and what sounds like a concertina play something vaguely dissonant and really not much interesting. Then it's the turn of loops and tapestogether with a blues electric guitar. Usually I don't dislike tapes played reverse if their use is not excessive. Sometimes I find Anthony Phillips boring for the excess of reversed tapes. There's another reminder to Sheherazade and we are in the seventh subtrack, the worst in my opinion. A circus organ plays a waltz based on a trivial melody. In this case 4 minutes are really too much. The last 4 minutes are occupied by a blues guitar with some hints of classical. Not a good closer, but as I have said before, if we consider it as a standalone track it's not too bad.

Let's now go to the "Ivory Tower".

The first of the four let's call them "movements" is progressive electronic. Drone drumming with a keyboard layer with sounds between Edgar Froese and Rick Wakeman, a bit more oriented to the first but also in this case classical influences can be perceived. The fact that this movement is 8 minutes long is everything but disturbing, specially for a listener used to Tangerine Dream. The transition is made with some electronic noises, then the second movement is again classical inspired. Its sub-title "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" gives well the idea. The sound is mimic of a church organ. Let me define it as "Edgar Froese plays Criminal Record". So not bad at all, but there's a sudden break to the 8 minutes rule. Seashore sounds are used to bring us out of the cathedral into the bazaar...well, effectively the bazaar starts exactly at minute 12. Not as intense and experimental as the Grand Vizir garden party on Ummagumma, but interesting enough. Again little electronic noise are used for the transition to the third movement. A leslie organ plays a waltz on drone drums, then it changes to uptime. It's a good keys performance reminding of Rick Wakeman but it's made of several short pieces very disconnected, each of them quite good, but too short and with transitions which apparently haven't requested a big composing effort, thay are just transitions. It's a pity, but probably "The travelling Salesman" means that every short piece has to be considered as a different situation for the salesman it's about. Othe electronic low-volume noises introduce us to the final movement. The title is interesting: "The dining Philosopher" and this kind of electronics is something that I'm used to like,and I like it also this time. Between Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield, has some weak moments, like a descending sequence of organ chords which interrupts the track's continuity at minute 26:30 but it's an excellent electronic performance even with that weakness. It proceeds alternatin a funky sequence to pure electronics until the end.

In few words this is a double face album, not only because of the title. The first track is more acoustic and contains many guitar parts while the second track is mainly electronic and keyboard based. I would rate the first with 2 stars and the second with 4 (question of tastes, but apart of making "averages" I think that 3 stars are a good compromise in terms of rating.

I still have to check better the other two albums of this one man project but from the first listens I already have the impression that the formula is almost the same. Formula or not, the second track deserves some attention. There's not a specific reason why I started reviewing this album instead of any of the other two. Just a random choice.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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