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MINDFLOWERS

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Hungary


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Mindflowers biography
MINDFLOWERS (not to be confused with Italian symphonic prog band MINDFLOWER) are a group of six young talented Hungarians who fuse prog rock with jazz and world music. The band was formed in 2000 by bassist Balázs Szendőfi and guitarist Zoltán Szentpál, both students from the Dr. Lauschmann Gyula Jazz School in Székesfehérvár. They enjoyed composing together and soon expanded their circle with the addition of keyboardist Zsolt Nagy and drummer Gergely Gáspár, both students at a music school in Kőbánya (Nagi was later replaced by Bubenyák Zoltán). While pursuing various side projects with other bands, The MINDFLOWERS released an album in 2002, a mostly instrumental CD titled "Improgressive".

The booklet states their many collective influences - ranging from Sean Malone, Trey Gunn, LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT and TRIBAL TECH to John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy, Franc Gambale and Dave Weckl. The overall feel of the album is that of a clever mixture of melody and power. As the album title implies, there's a slight improv edge to the music but the pieces flow quite smoothly, the musicianship is tight without anyone "showing off", and the tracks are of very contrasting colours: now you'll hear an energetic and complex progger, now a lyrical duet of bass and keyboard, now a floating Chapman Stick adventure with folksy accents, now a classical guitar piece; add to this an almost 23-minute closer epic. The MINDFLOWERS' brand of fusion manages to touch both the mind and the heart.

Particularly recommended to GORDIAN KNOT buffs but fans of LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT and TUNNELS should also appreciate.

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

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Buy MINDFLOWERS Music


ImprogressiveImprogressive
Periferic Records
Audio CD$22.09
MindfloaterMindfloater
Import
Dark Matter Distribution 2006
Audio CD$19.99
$94.24 (used)
NuancesNuances
Periferic Records
Audio CD$48.80 (used)

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MINDFLOWERS discography


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

3.74 | 36 ratings
Improgressive
2002
3.43 | 14 ratings
Nuances
2005

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

MINDFLOWERS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MINDFLOWERS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MINDFLOWERS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Not This Time
2001

MINDFLOWERS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Improgressive by MINDFLOWERS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.74 | 36 ratings

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Improgressive
Mindflowers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Argonaught

3 stars I ran into Mindflowers accidentally, and I don't remember how. It might have been the cover art that intrigued me. Since the Improgressive is categorized as Jazz-Rock/Fusion, I was kind of expecting the routine perks of fusion: ebullient musicianship, free flow of melody lines, synergistic blending of all kinds of sounds and rhythms.

Here is what came away with: on this album, the Mindflowers' players handle their musical instruments with high level of competence, but I couldn't sense enough synergy among them. Neither could I hear them groove or have fun improvising, which is kind of disappointing for an album, stylized as IMPROgressive.

Perhaps, I need to listen to the album a few more times to see if I can "tune into" it, but as of now the Improgressive as a whole has not been able to engage me emotionally. Which usually means 2 stars in my ranking rules.

And it would be 2 stars if not for the 8-minute Red Spider, which is a peculiar, but a completely palatable blend of heavy fusion with progressive metal, if there is such a thing :)

Let's make it 3 stars for Mindflowers

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 Improgressive by MINDFLOWERS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.74 | 36 ratings

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Improgressive
Mindflowers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars This is the debut album from instrumental Hungarian four-piece Mindflowers. They comprise Balás Szendőfi (bass, stick), Zoltán Szentpál (guitar), Gergely Gáspár (drums) and Zsolt Nagy (keys) and seem to be happily straddling the fields of progressive rock and jazz rock. But while complex and complicated this doesn't go into freefall as some jazz acts tend to so the result is a very listenable and enjoyable album. It can be calm and collected, smooth and tranquil, or the total opposite, as the mood takes them. My initial feel was that it was as if Coloseum II had somehow got mixed up with Jadis but even then that doesn't really do the music justice.

It is very fluid and melodic, and they go from out and out prog (as in "Red Spider") or even bring in some folk influences (as on "Flo's Kisses") where they utilise a guest violinist. Although the two lead instruments of keyboards and guitar have struck up a dynamic interplay which carries most of the melody, there is a great deal going on in the rhythm section. With a Chapman stick being used on two of the songs, and Balás determined to show that he can produce similar results on a normal bass guitar (well, a handmade seven string version), it gives the music a very dynamic edge that is dense yet extremely light. There are lots of gaps and space within the music at times, yet at others it is just filled with notes and melodies.

Easily one of the finest instrumental albums I have heard I recent years this is a joy throughout (although the insertion of a mobile phone text message notice going off at the end of one number did have me looking for my phone).

Originally appeared in Feedback #72, Feb 03

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 Improgressive by MINDFLOWERS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.74 | 36 ratings

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Improgressive
Mindflowers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This is my first experience with Mindflowers and I was impressed when the first time I listened to the opening track "Red Spider" (8:18) which sounded terrific to my ears. It combines a great harmony in the way the instruments contribute to the music with nice guitar and keyboard sounds in an intermittent fashion followed with Chapman stick (bass) work that reminds me to the work of Sean Malone in Gordian Knot. What follows is then the energetic music combining progressive metal riffs, jazz-rock fusion style with nice intertwined sounds of guitar and keyboard accompanied with dynamic drumming. It's really an impressive offering through this opening track. As I enjoy this track very much, I don't feel like ending the song in 8 minute duration. Well, there is part that reminds me to jazz-rock music especially during guitar solo.

The other track that is killing me as well is the fifth one "Why Not?" (5:07) that has a captivating piano work at the intro part followed with jazz-rock music demonstrating excellent Chapman stick and guitar solo. There are parts that remind me to complex progressive metal arrangements like the music of Liquid Tension Experiment, Dream Theater, etc. The third song "Sick Spirit" (4:50) is actually good as well, especially if you enjoy guitar-driven instrumental music in jazz-rock style.

The epic "Talk With Myself" consumes a long duration of twenty-two minute, exploring many styles of music. It starts in an ambient way using guitar solo in relatively slow tempo followed with a slow music stream with guitar fills. The song is picking up slowy at the opening part, transferring the work of guitar to piano and returning back to guitar. The music starts to pick up in faster tempo at approximately minute 4:30 ? which is too long for me. It continues with guitar solo that reminds me to Joe Satriani or Steve Vai music combined nicely with keyboard work. The piano solo that works at approx minute 8 is very nice, combined with guitar riffs and tight basslines. The music starts impressing me when it's at about minute 15 when guitar plays a solo work backed with tight bassline. The music sounds dynamic right here. Overall, this epic is nicely composed but fails to attract me as it's not as dynamic as, for example, the epic that The Tangent created in "The Music That Died Alone".

This album is very good and it suits the taste of you who love jazz-rock fusion with some progressive metal elements. If you like Gordian Knot, Liquid Tension Experiments, Relocator, Planet X, etc this album is for you. Keep on proggin' ....!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Improgressive by MINDFLOWERS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.74 | 36 ratings

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Improgressive
Mindflowers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Debut album of heavy fusion Hungarian band. Technically very good music, some heavy prog, metal and jazz fusion combination with characteristic Chapman stick bass sound. The result is good and bad at the same time.

Music is very similar to Sean Malone, Gordian Knot or LTE sound, but more rounded, softer, more melodic. The problem is guys really know how to play, but the material is too secondary (or too faceless). So, even if you will like HOW they play, you will hardly remember (or like) WHAT they play. For sure, Chapman stick has its characteristic sound, so it is not easy to find own way using it. But using very similar technique to well-known stick players doesn't help for sure.

Happily, there are some more attractive moments in this music, as quite intelligent electric guitar sound or even violin. But musical material is not strong enough to support band's debut for success. All in all the album sounds as very talented imitators work.

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 Nuances by MINDFLOWERS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.43 | 14 ratings

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Nuances
Mindflowers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I feel like i'm one of the few who isn't blown away by this Jazz / Fusion band from Hungary. This is their second release and in my opinion it's not as good as their debut. They're obviously a talented band but their music fails to do anything for me. I'm not sure how to answer why it doesn't, it just doesn't connect with me.

"They're Coming!" is the one minute intro of experimental sounds before they kick into "Ego". Drums and bass to open then it kicks in before a minute. A nice heavy soundscape before 2 1/2 minutes then it settles again as contrasts continue. "Victoria" is mellow with bass and cymbals leading the way. Keyboards join in on this jazzy tune. "The Merovingian" opens with keyboards, bass and drums. Guitar joins in as it gets heavy. The heaviness comes and goes. Some crazy synths before 3 minutes. "Ego Jam" is a short tune with drums, bass and piano standing out. "Earplug" is led by keyboards early. It's heavy before 3 minutes and later as themes are repeated.

"Sordino-Bass Solo" is well... just that. "Chromantica" features some guitar that I really like the sound of. It settles right down 2 1/2 minutes in then builds. Nice bass after 5 1/2 minutes. "Igor The Dog" is my favourite and not just because we hear this dog growling, sniffing and carrying on. This one gets pretty jazzy but also heavy before 1 1/2 minutes. "Soundcreek" opens with the sounds of birds and water which are replaced by some laid back music. The birds and water sounds return late. "Britney's Pears" is a great title. It opens with bass before drums then keys take the spotlight. Piano and guitar do the same later. "The Last Christmas" features some baby sounds and music.

As I mentioned in the intro most people who have heard this band are very impressed, so my rating and thoughts should be taken with a grain of salt. 3 stars.

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 Improgressive by MINDFLOWERS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.74 | 36 ratings

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Improgressive
Mindflowers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I think I got off on the wrong foot with this band because of all the LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT comparisons. I just don't think these guys play as good as the guys in that band, and the music isn't as dynamic. Is it good ? No it's actually very good.This album isn't as heavy as LTE, it's more subtle with more variety.The thing is that there is a ton of potential with this band, in fact it wouldn't surprise me if all the written reviews after me gave this 4 or 5 stars. For me 3.5 stars is just right. I mean it's 67 minutes of really good music, but it just doesn't excite or move me in the least.

"Red Spider" opens with some nice guitar before it kicks into an uptempo soundscape. Synths and guitar trade solos for a while then some heaviness arrives.The tempo continues to shift the rest of the way. "Falling" is fairly light with piano before the drums and guitar come in.The contrast continues. "Sick Spirit" is the heaviest track on here. Riffs lead the way as synths play over top, then guitar takes the synths place before 1 1/2 minutes and the riffs stop. The riffs are back 3 1/2 minutes in but it lightens quickly. "Why ?" is a mellow track of piano,synths and gentle guitar. "Why Not ?" opens with piano but it turns heavy quickly.The contrast continues.

"Crying Skies" features tasteful guitar and something that's supposed to sound like rain. The sound does get fuller. I really like this one. "Knowing The Path" is more of what's gone on before really. Nice bass though, then some organ 3 1/2 minutes in. "Flo's Kisses" opens with percussion, bass then violin. Acoustic guitar a minute in.This is a mellow tune, I like it though. "Talk With Myself" is the 22 1/2 minute closer. It's laid back to start and check out the guitar 4 minutes in. The transition before 11 minutes seems awkward but this song continues to evolve and change. A jazzy flavour late.

Cool title to this album that I think will please a lot of people who like their instrumental music with some heaviness and lots of variety.

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 Improgressive by MINDFLOWERS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.74 | 36 ratings

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Improgressive
Mindflowers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars For me MINDFLOWERS is to LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT exactly what THE WATCH or CITIZEN CAIN are to GENESIS...if you understand what I mean...of course that isn't necessarilly bad...there are good and bad imitators...and MINDFLOWERS is much better than a good imitator of LTE...The musicianship is just excellent with the compositions dropping from jazzy heavy sounding riffing to mellow melodic passages and backwards...This is an album full of changing moods and rhythms and it is rather impossible that you get even slightly bored...The influence of LTE is obvious in every song but in the more mellow moments you can taste a flavor of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA or WEATHER REPORT...of course a little originality wouldn't hurt and I expect to listen to it in their next effort...For the moment a solid 4 star rating and I highly recommend MINDFLOWERS to all true fans of progressive instrumental masterpieces!...

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 Nuances by MINDFLOWERS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.43 | 14 ratings

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Nuances
Mindflowers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by beebs

4 stars When I first spun this in my CD player, I was stunned at what came out of the speakers. Here is this band I never heard of playing the most incredible fusion jazz/rock, the likes of which I had not heard since Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever. Very melodic most of the time, but always under control when lashing out in chaotic frenzy. This is more of what Brand X should have sounded like. Every one of these musicians are very accomplised, and each is highlighted tastefully on the various tracks.

Highly recommended to those who like the work of the above-mentioned bands, as well as those who enjoy Al DiMeola, Lee Ritenour and Jon Scofield. This is fusion at its very best. Don't miss out!

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 Improgressive by MINDFLOWERS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.74 | 36 ratings

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Improgressive
Mindflowers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Greger
Prog Reviewer

5 stars There seems to be a lot of interesting bands in Hungary today. MINDFLOWERS is one of them and their album "Improgressive" is really impressive. Four guys playing instrumental jazz-fusion influenced progressive rock with reminiscences to Frank GAMBALE, KING CRIMSON, LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT, Pat METHENY and SHADOWLINES.

These four rather young musicians will surely become world-class musicians. They are very technical skilled and I guess that they are listening a lot to DREAM THEATER with all their side projects as well as jazz-rock bands such as BRAND X, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, RETURN TO FOREVER and WEATHER REPORT. If so, it explains the variation in their music.

Unfortunately Hungarian musicians seldom become recognized worldwide, but I hope that Mindflowers will find many listeners throughout the world. This album is a clear evidence that they have the potential to do so. I'm eagerly awaiting their future development, but until then I will listen to this album many times.

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