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Cast - Imaginary Window CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.70 | 68 ratings

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3 stars For the first time in their career, a year has passed without Cast album (1998). They were very prolific in the first two years of recording : they released not less than five (very long - an average of seventy minutes) studio albums.

But since they were playing together for several years before recording (since 1979), lots of material was at their disposal to be able to do so (I have already mentioned this feature this before). It will sometime be at the cost of quality and has lead to a certain exasperation at times (at least for me).

"Moving Universe" : is a great instrumental track very much Tullian during the first part thanks to Dino's flute playing. It really shows beautiful symphonic moments, the track will head a harder edge after this and great guitar and somptous keys can be appreciated.

I would often have liked to hear more flute in their songs. IMO, Dino is very good in this exercise and it really adds another dimension to their work. A bit of subtility in this ocean of keys (thanks Keith for the inspiration). This is a great opening number. Hopefully the rest of the album will be on par.

"Alter Ego" is not as good. Very noisy and melodyless. Thanks to the lenght of the album (again around seventy minutes), it could have easily skipped. Hard and complex beat. We are overwhelmed with sounds and words. A difficult time for me.

The contrast with "A Blossom" which follows is welcome. It is a sweet and very melodic song. The atmosphere is not far from "Trespass", but when the vocals enter the scene, PFM, again, is very near. But I do not complain. It is obviously one of their inspiration (together with the bands I have mentioned earlier on).

"Dawn" is a powerfull and instrumental number. Still, not so inspired as the opener. The rhythmic section does a great job here but it is mainly an orgy of keys and another demonstration of the band skills. Again, I appreciate the nice flute part in the middle section (yes, I like flute a lot...).

But, at times, I believe that Cast want to do too much and supersedes ELP in this excercise; which is of course impossible. Anyway, the good quality remains on this album, so far. The same feeling will apply for "Around & Around".

Another sweet piece of music with "Simple Things". Very much piano oriented. Vocals are very pleasant and if Dino had a more Lake tone of voice, one could have thought to listen to an ELP hidden track.

"Snail" and "Dessert Rainbow" a bit further on the album are short interludes. The classical mood is not a fave of mine. These are by far the weakest track of this album (but the shorter as well). This is also a new concept for Cast. Releasing short songs was not their habit. I must say that a shorter format works fine because, at times, I had a dull feeling during some more elaborate and long numbers leading nowhere. By shortening them, Cast will produce a fresher and catchier music.

"Cotton Dreams" will renew with a more classic Cast format. A tranquil piece of music all the way through. Again, Dino sounds very emotional in his vocal play. Still, the track is a bit monotonous. One would have liked a bit more involvment and passion from the band to add some flavour.

The lenght of the title track (over nine minutes) allows to investigate a bit more in the roots of Cast. A lenghty and complex part opens this instrumental piece in a beautiful manner. But the second half of the song is too repetitive; again Cast musicians are brilliant but their songwritting is just average. Of course, "Imaginary Window" is pleasant but not grandiose.

The closing (and longest) number "Where Is The Light" will be more diversified. It is of course due to the gentle vocal part. What I am missing though is that there is hardly a chorus in this song (but it is a general remark for Cast songs). We are far from the traditional way to compose music (verse, chorus). Lots of different theme changes, which is fine for me, but at least I would like to find some sort of mark.

After this long vocal part (almost seventy minutes), Dino dispenses some nice flute passages while Alfonso's heavy keys prepare the finale which is rather bombastic. A very good track, after all.

This album is more pleasant than several other Cast ones. But they are repeating the same mistake again : this album is too long. Three songs can definitely be missed. I would say seven out of ten but I wouldn't go to four stars in my rating.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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