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HORIZONT

Symphonic Prog • Russia


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Horizont biography
HORIZONT (not to be confused with a Swedish band of the same name) began in the 70's as a school band in the Russian city of Gorky (now called Nizhny Novogrod). From straight rock, they moved on to baroque classical music and by the late 70's, they were clearly into RIO. After the release of their second album in '89, they simply vanished and no one, not even their record company, knows what became of them.

Their first album, "Summer in Town", is a little gem of 70's symphonic rock with strong classical tinges (Prokofiev comes to mind). It features carpets of keyboards, atmospheric voices (no vocals), harmonic melodies, soft guitars à la Steve Hackett, disquieting passages à la ELP plus mellotrons and flute galore. The more complex "Portrait of a Boy" is an entirely different album, abandoning most of the sympho-prog roots of the first for straight RIO. As opposed to the rather lively "Summer in Town", this one is gloomy, hard edged, full of dissonance and outrageous sounds, very close in style to UNIVERS ZERO. The musicianship on both albums is excellent, just as the sound quality which is on par with anything coming out of the UK or US of that era.

Both albums are recommended to all vintage symphonic prog fans although the second will likely appeal more to avant-garde buffs such as fans of UNIVERS ZERO and PRESENT.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Buy HORIZONT Music


Horizont: Summer In TownHorizont: Summer In Town
Boheme 2011
Audio CD$15.99
Horizont: The Portrait Of A BoyHorizont: The Portrait Of A Boy
Boheme 2011
Audio CD$11.99
Horizont Summer in TownHorizont Summer in Town
Boheme 2001
Audio CD$18.53
$5.44 (used)
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HORIZONT shows & tickets


  • Horizont at F-Haus, Jena on 2 Oct 2014

HORIZONT discography


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

3.74 | 46 ratings
Summer In Town
1985
4.18 | 28 ratings
The Portrait Of A Boy
1989

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HORIZONT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Summer In Town by HORIZONT album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.74 | 46 ratings

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Summer In Town
Horizont Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars Excellent Russian Symphonic/Progressive Rock group, found sometime in mid-70's in Gorky (now Nizhniy Novgorod) by a very young keyboardist Sergey Kornilov.Horizont was one of the most active groups in ex-Soviet Union, performing hundreds of concerts.However the band had to grow some 10 years before releasing an official album.It was the great ''Summer In Town'', released in 1985 on the Melodyia label.Kornilov was supported by a second keyboardist Andrey Krivilev, drummer Valentin Sinitsin, bassist Alexey Eremenko and guitarist Vladimir Lutoshkin with a few session members contributing on vocals.

The album opens with the very melodic and Classical-influenced ''Snowballs''.8 minutes of majestic musicianship through the dual keyboard attack on organs, harsichord and synthesizers next to very delicate piano interludes, accompanied by a solid rhythm section.Vladimir Lutoshkin contributes with very atmospheric guitar playing at moments.Excellent composition and a file next to GENESIS, THE ENID or E.L.P..''Chaconne'' has to be one of the best tracks ever recorded by a Symphonic Rock group.It develops through its 10 minutes from a hypnotic Classical/Electronic piece to a superb Space/Symphonic Rock opus.It opens with very atmospheric synth layers, while in the background there is an ever-growing majestic guitar melody.The very GENTLE GIANT- like short middle break will give birth to one of the most haunting melodies ever written, much in the vein of Estonians IN SPE, this is superb, grandiose and highly symphonic Space Prog with deep bass, melodic guitars and tremendous synths.The flipside of the original LP is dedicated to the eponymous 18-min. epic.Here Horizont completely turn around in terms of music, presenting a work of highly complex Progressive/Avant Rock with strong RIO, Symphonic Rock and Classical influences.''Summer in town'' is a composition full of unusual breaks and radical changes, half-dissonant, with many atonal moments next to very atmospheric keyboard passages, complicated guitar exercises, electronic segments and Avant-Garde dominant piano parts, definitely an acquired taste but undoubtfully a work of pure beauty, whether you like this type of music or not.

Fortunately the album has been reissued by Boheme in CD format, so anyone can taste these three pieces of music, created by possibly the best Russian band of the time.Highly recommended to all fans of Progressive Rock,4.5 stars.

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 The Portrait Of A Boy by HORIZONT album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.18 | 28 ratings

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The Portrait Of A Boy
Horizont Symphonic Prog

Review by historian9
Special Collaborator Jazz Rock/Fusion Team

5 stars HORIZONT's "The Portrait Of A Boy" is an amazing fusion of avantgarde and symphonic arrangements, while I didn't expect much after listening their debut which I found too common and cheesy, this one is refreshing and overwhelming. If the debut album had more of the ELP mood, then you could say this one is more of "Inferno" feeling by KEITH EMERSON and some KING CRIMSON in the mix, especially in the title track where I find the guitars most dominating as with great sound of modern synths and other weird electronic experimentation. It is dark at times and I did think of EMERSON's "Inferno" because of the feeling of horror soundtrack, but this is in no way background music, and as the album progresses, songs do get lighter in mood with more classical feeling; the finishing track "Vocalise" being very much in the grand feeling of YES circa "Close To The Edge". Recommended to people who might be bored of classical symphonic rock and are looking for something with a darker edge.

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 Summer In Town by HORIZONT album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.74 | 46 ratings

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Summer In Town
Horizont Symphonic Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars This is a singular disk... why ?... Because, I think which due to one track whit only 8 min 34 sec this albun is a must in any prog collection, my explanation is: In first place; due to the year from release <1985> ( I think in the 80's like very "ingrate" period with a few notorious exceptions, such Témpano, Anyone's Daughter and Rush's etc... albuns), in second place; due to the origin country -RUSSIA - ( before the fall of "Berliner Mauer" (Berlin's Wall) in novenber, 18'th, 1989) a full of politic and social disturbance period in that part of the world, Aside from this chronological considerations, the work in HORIZONT "Summer in Town" is a refined and outstanding symphonic prog and I agree entirely with the P A progreviewer Greger in his review (#28588) (Posted Thursday, March 04, 2004) where he says "HORIZONT are calling themselves a Chamber Instrumental Ensemble", and I had found very funny, because is exactly the idea which I conceived when I heard the disk soon at the first time. The track 1 "Snowballs" the above mentioned track, which "exploded my mind" and make me to affirm with certitude what I said in the first paragraph. The track overture is guided by a hammond-organ (in a church organ register) with a "saltatory" rhythmic section for 1 min 48 sec when emerges a break whit a acoustic piano, flute and a choir, very similar to a Bach or Vivaldi's theme and returns the main theme, at this time whit a electric guitar whit phaser and chorus effects until another break with new vocal choir ( seems to me like children's voices) and the music follows in this continuous alternations, until the end of the track ! Although, the first track is undoubtedly the great moment of the album, the other two tracks are very good. The track 2 "Chaconne" start with a type of fugue in space-rock atmospheric mood, leaded by the electric guitar and litle by litle changes into a melancholic symphonic theme. The track 3 "A Summer in Town" is the more eclectic-prog theme of the disk and mix moments from space/jazz/symphonic and even R.I.O. In fact reminds me a lot of bands Hawkwind, Focus, Tiemko and others. What I can say is, in spite these two last tracks isn't "wonderfull" , you can trust in me the first track is enough to give 4 stars to the whole album!!!

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 Summer In Town by HORIZONT album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.74 | 46 ratings

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Summer In Town
Horizont Symphonic Prog

Review by infandous

4 stars A wonderful lost gem. Not only was it 1985, but they were in Soviet Russia! That a prog album of this calibure was produced in those combined circumstances is nothing short of amazing. While not being exactly a masterpiece, nor being totally original, it is certainly unique. The first track exudes Yes quite strongly, but still manages to sound original (the guitar sound and the overall structure are what give it the Yes feel I belive). The second track is more spacious and strange, but still has bursts of the melodicism and Yes similarities of the first track. The final epic, is nothing less than an avante garde classical rock composition. While it does seem to meander at times, and one might suspect that they were making it up as they went along, it is still quite good. For myself, I enjoy the more off the wall prog bands and styles, so this is no problem for me. An easy 3.5 stars, which I will round up to 4 just for the fact they were able to do this in 1985 Soviet Russia.

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 Summer In Town by HORIZONT album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.74 | 46 ratings

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Summer In Town
Horizont Symphonic Prog

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars Unfulfilled potential

"Summer in town" is the delightfully named first (of 2) album by this short lived Russian band, who subsequently disappeared without trace. With just three tracks and a running time of 37 minutes, there is a superficial similarity with "Close to the edge" by YES, and while there are occasional similarities with the music of that band, there are other stronger influences.

Of the three tracks, the opening "Snowballs" is the weakest. This 8 minute piece just never seems to get going, appearing to be a succession of good introductions to a structured piece, but without the substance necessary to make it interesting. The staccato start is indeed reminiscent of YES, giving way to some IAN ANDERSON style flute, and perhaps a nod towards PFM's "Four holes in the ground".

"Chaconne" is for me the best of the three. Here, the theme builds far more constructively, sounding a little like STEVE HACKETT's "Shadow of the Hyrophant". Indeed the GENESIS influences are clearest throughout this track, the strong guitar and keyboard performances complementing each other well. Towards the end, there are pleasing hints of FOCUS' "Hamburger concerto".

The feature (title) track runs to some 19 minutes, and is in three defined sections each of which is given a classical sub-title (March, Minuet and Toccata). Here the influences are perhaps more GENTLE GIANT, the slightly jazzier orientation leading to a rather messy sound at times. There is a certainly a diversity of sounds, ranging from concert hall organ, through Focus like yodels and quirky flute, to circus themes and solo piano. For me though, the track does not hang together as a complete piece particularly well, the melodies being undistinguished and unfocused.

On the plus side, the performance is exemplary throughout, the album showing the band had potential in bucket loads, sadly largely unfulfilled.

If you got this at the time (and unfortunately outside their native Russia relatively few would have) it would have been a pleasing and worthwhile purchase. Whether it is worth seeking out now is more dubious.

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 Summer In Town by HORIZONT album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.74 | 46 ratings

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Summer In Town
Horizont Symphonic Prog

Review by Certif1ed
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars A somewhat patchy offering, with lush production and allusions to the 19th and 20th century Russian maestros that begins somewhere between ELP, King Crimson and Genesis, with the strongest ties to the latter, especially initially in "Snowballs".

As the music progresses, more original touches begin to shine through, in a fairly obvious attempt to produce a work of Prog Rock, with explorations in time signatures, out-of-context changes, and Copland or Ives-like juxtapositions of sound and style that I find somewhat irritating. But that's only because I find Copland and Ives irritating too - I've never been a huge fan of bi-tonality or polyrhythms - but there are plenty of people that are . The redeeming qualities for me lie in the Hackett-like guitar and "vocal" arrangements that for the present I find incomparable.

The band are all too happy to settle into long and meandering grooves, and break these up with tangential ideas rather than enter into any kind of development, so it quickly becomes old - but unquestionably stylised Prog Rock.

"Chaconne" begins with some atmospheric keyboards - whooshes of keyboard "wind" with drifting strings, and quasi-atonal guitar, that gradually build to a tonality underpinned by D with a decidedly major flavour - possibly a little syrupy, but unusual.

A bass begins to underpin everything, and I await the start of the Chaconne itself - distinctive by the 3 time feel (Possibly optional), ground bass, fixed chord progression via cycle of fifths over 8-16 bars and minor key feel...

This is not forthcoming - in fact, around 6:45, there is a strong major key feel, the bass is simply a pedal, the harmony drifts around a single chord with some suspensions, and the feel is decidedly 4 time.

So, ignore the pretensions - there is no Chaconne here!

The music is vaguely interesting thought, and well executed enough, but a bit busy really, and with no clear direction or development - a kind of ever-intesifying mush.

"Summer in Town" is more original in introduction, the "warped record" feel is strangely edgy and uncomfortable, and the tutti entry somewhat reminiscent of King Crimson. I'm reminded of parts of ALW's variations when the Moog follows the piano entry to lead the way into a rather ambling and wandering remainder of the piece.

The instrumentation is intriguing, and there are a lot of "surprises" - although I have to say that I fail to find them surprising, as the style of "Snowballs" sets you up to expect the sudden changes as part of the style. I'm not keen on most of the sounds - and it's only occasionally that the band get it together and produce a combined texture that actually holds my interest without me wishing they'd move on to the next bit.

It's interesting that the piece is supposedly divided into "March", "Minuet" and "Toccata", as the "March" appears to be in 2 time, (Marches are in 4 time, albeit with a duple feel) and the "Minuet" largely in 4 time (Minuets are in 3 time). Using unusual rhythms and combinations of rhythms is one thing. Implying other forms, especially when using the names of those forms is quite another - here it would suggest that the band does not understand these two very basic forms.

The "Toccata" is a real attempt at a free form, however, and consists mainly of dense swirling layers that suddenly shine through as a moment of real invention and understanding of the form being interpreted. Fragments of Gong's "Master Builder" appear in the bass, and thematic material from the other "movements" float past, in chaotic tension-holding that sounds dense, driven, and somewhat random, yet highly controlled.

This is possibly held a bit too long, but the near atonal invention that serves as a codetta is interesting if vague in direction.

So, in short, this would probably appeal to anyone that likes Prog Rock - it's not my cuppa tea, but to me, that's not the purpose of reviewing - anyone can state their opinion and surmise from that whether a body of work is "good" or "bad". It's harder to evaluate the "Prog Content" and appeal to other fans of Prog Rock - and this should have a wide appeal - especially to those who do not like "accessible" music, those who like "complex" music, and those who like Rock that has strong "Classical" allusions and pretensions - even if they're factually inaccurate.

Definitely one to try if you're bored of the same old same old!

3.5 stars, but it's not something I'd listen to very often.

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 The Portrait Of A Boy by HORIZONT album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.18 | 28 ratings

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The Portrait Of A Boy
Horizont Symphonic Prog

Review by daveconn
Prog Reviewer

4 stars And the alien organism, a mix of metal and bruised flesh, sent its tendrils into the surrounding forest, sampling this world for the last time in an orgiastic feast. In a strand of silent trees, one tendril comes back with a report of natural dignity ("Prelude Fis Moll"). Another tendril, wafting in the black waters of an ancient tarn, detects a new world of colors in the black inkiness of its depths ("The Final of the Ballet 'Fahrenheit 451'"). A third encounters an inhospitiable and hungry creature in the barren sands ("Guy's Solo"). Welcome to the world of Horizont. Their second (and final) disc picks up where the side-long "Summer In Town" left off, making good on the promise of modern (i.e., "digital") classical music implicit in Zappa works like Orchestral Favorites and Jazz From Hell. Though billed as a "chamber instrumental ensemble," Horizont clearly has more in common with progressive rock composers like Zappa, Steve Hackett (okay, maybe you never thought of him as a composer) and Keith Emerson. The title suite, for example, would clearly be comfortable in Hackett's extreme climates (though Ozric Tentacles and Univers Zero are the reference points given in the disc's liner notes), while the closing "Vocalise" will remind many of Yes at their more ethereal (e.g., "Soon"). What this organism is doing in Russia I'll never understand, but it clearly struggled for nourishment. Horizont would have found plenty to sustain it in England, Brazil or Italy, but by the time I'd even heard of them (2004), Horizont had long disappeared from the horizon. This and their first disc are not only worth rediscovering but worth championing as neo-prog necromancy. If you enjoy Zappa, Steve Hackett or (what the heck) Ozric Tentacles, this Portrait belongs in your collection.

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 Summer In Town by HORIZONT album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.74 | 46 ratings

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Summer In Town
Horizont Symphonic Prog

Review by daveconn
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This disc just made my day. That the seeds of Western dissent could travel into Russia, take root and produce such a faithful facsimile of our own revolutionary rumblings proves that progressive rock knows no boundaries. Horizont would have themselves billed as a "chamber instrumental ensemble," and not as a point of pretension. The side-long "Summer In Town" is avant-garde classical music built around the core of a rock band, something that Frank Zappa fans will already be familiar with. Not that it isn't harrowing stuff, but you see I've got this real tiny brain, and after so many notes it sort of gets filled up. (I know, that's two sentences ending in a preposition, but after reading the reckless English translation of the reissue's liner notes I'm a little disoriented.) If you thought that Frank's fustian arrangements were a little slice of Heaven, more Heaven awaits you here and especially on Portrait of a Boy. What won me over to Summer In Town was the first side of music, however. When the liner notes trumped out the old heroes (Yes, Genesis, ELP), I kind of yawned and thought "yeah, everyone says that." I've seen people use those bands to describe Supertramp, Kansas, Kayak and anyone else who's ever rented a mellotron. But Horizont sounds exactly like Genesis (or more specifically, Steve Hackett) with bits of Yes and ELP tossed in for good effect. "Snowballs" and "Chaconne" are musical objects that might have been constructed entirely from bits of those band's works. Vladimir Lutoshkin is a careful student of Steve Hackett's style, and the first side of music comes as close to replicating the sound and spirit of Voyage of the Acolyte as anything I've ever heard. (Since I've never encountered a suitable followup to that masterwork from the Genesis guitarmeister himself, interested parties may want to skip straight to Horizont instead.) Sadly, Horizont has only released two discs to my knowledge, and as I said earlier the second eschews prog rock for dissonant, brain-draining music. But for twenty minutes anyway, Horizont raises the standard of the old gods, and prog's salving benediction once more settles on the misty earth.

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 The Portrait Of A Boy by HORIZONT album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.18 | 28 ratings

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The Portrait Of A Boy
Horizont Symphonic Prog

Review by Progbear
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The second Gorizont/Horizont album is, if anything, even MORE bizarre than the first. If you thought the "Summer In Town" suite was strange, wait till you hear "Portrait Of A Boy"! The band had acquired digital synthesizers in the interim, and clearly have spent many an hour programming them to coax the most harsh, raucous and frightening tones they could dream up. No instantly recognizable DX7 presets here! The lengthy title suite sounds for all the world like a tape recording of a symphony where the tape has been stretched, run over, and generally perverted to the point where it sounds like a grotesque fun-house mirror version of orchestral music.

The rest of the music isn't nearly that outré, but it does carry on the band's vision of "avant-sympho" quite well, with the pieces containing the right amount of dark dread to keep the listener's interest. For sure, everything I said about their first album goes double for this one-don't get it unless you know what you're in for! But if you're up for this, what a ride!

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 Summer In Town by HORIZONT album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.74 | 46 ratings

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Summer In Town
Horizont Symphonic Prog

Review by Progbear
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Certainly a more eccentric band you'll not find. I'd call this sympho-prog, but unlike a lot of sympho bands, it doesn't sound like they were influenced by "easy" orchestral music like Tchaikowsky or Elgar. Quite the contrary, this album runs the gamut from the more intense moments of Stravinsky to the all-out avant-garde-isms of Xenakis. If ever there were an "avant-sympho" album, this is it!

It starts off serenely enough with the Yes-like "Snowballs". But things soon snowball (ha ha!) out of control with "Chaconne" which pits a soaring orchestral melody against a dark, Magma-like riff. Things go totally bonkers with the "Summer In Town" suite, which starts off dark and get progressively more crazed, with sustained piano pounding and wild synthesizer squeaks closing out the piece.

It's hard to find someone to recommend this to. Neo-heads would run a mile from its more dissonant, avant-garde tendencies. On the other hand, it's probably too rooted in symphonic forms to attract "serious" avant fans. I guess the only ones I could recommend it to are other weirdos like me, who aren't loyal to one particular style and just like to listen to music that's good and unique. This is definitely a one-of-a-kind album, it's literally impossible to compare it to anything else I've heard. For sheer originality, they deserve renown.

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