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Inner Prospekt - The Gene Machine CD (album) cover


Inner Prospekt


Crossover Prog

3.91 | 45 ratings

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5 stars Italian RPI band Mad Crayon have been around for decades, their debut "Ultimo Mirragio" being released in 1994, at the same time as bands such as Finisterre, Il Castello di Atlante, CAP and Germinale revived the dormant Italian school with another wave of genius. Keyboardist Alessandro di Benedetti has embarked on a side venture that goes quite a different route, not quite electronic, not quite RPI, that seeks to combine modern tendencies (electronica and drum machines) with an overt Tony Banks styled soloing desire that is not unlike Geoff Downes' brilliant and underrated New Dance Orchestra project, "the Light Program" (1986) being a work of genius. In fact, Inner Prospekt's previous 2014 album is called "Dreaming of Tony Banks", which clearly defines Alessandro's underlying influence.

The 10 minute extravaganza "Human Drone" is a modern urban pulse, throttled forward by a churning mellotron, upon which a wide variety of growling organs, funky e-pianos and wild synthesizers intertwine with utter elation, the e-bass flourishing and the subtle drum machines doing their best to sound 'human'. Toss in voice samplings, electro shifts and rhythmic shudders, as well as some clearly defined melodies (not at all a characteristic of electronica) and you have a piece that just resonates with a future concept of prog. (I still believe that John Foxx holds the throne for the most futuristic music ever made, check out 1980's album Metamatic!) . A complete delight from start to finish and a perfect way to introduce techno-fans into prog, as there are tons of blistering keyboard solos. This is thrilling, exciting and muscular electro-prog that needs a respectful prog audience.

Things just keep on chugging with the brooding "Everlasting", equally 10 minutes long but built around a more serene background, drenched in melancholia and subtly synthesized, a dream-like track that exudes incredible sensations, deep thoughts and endless jubilation. Alessandro rifles his deft fingers across the various ivories with great skill and sublime talent, the piano in particular played with restrained beauty. The bombastic drums get pretty intense and quite creative in marshaling the beat forward or staying in place depending on the need. The final synth solo is marvelous, shades of legends Banks and Manfred Mann, loaded with urgent vibrancy and sheer determination.

This is followed by 4 pieces all in the 6-7 minute configuration, electronic chapters that fit the mood completely. "Mekanodonte" seeks out more mechanical surroundings, a sonic construction site that is architecturally varied but sound in its rhythmic foundation. Then, out of the blue, a Banks-styled synth solo pummels forward, thrilling and romantic, followed by second, more sax-like patch. Keyboard fans will drool all over this stuff, as Alessandro even does a little Middle Eastern riff to keep the sandstorm alive. Playful, moody, pensive and exciting.

"Three Steps Ahead" is perhaps slightly different, adding some haunting vocals as well as a dream-like atmosphere that is hard to pinpoint. Probably the most accessible track on the playlist. The slightly more physical "Bodies" showcases a rather peculiar orientation towards combining jazzier stylistics with a funkier backdrop and then suddenly evolving into this extended cosmic drone, a return to shuffling drums and a synthesized crystalline sheen that is jaw dropping as if Kerry Minnear met David Sancious! Subtle and concise, the bass keyboard work being stupendously overt and the mood unsettling.

The disc ends on an appropriately extraordinary note as "A Red World" fully encompasses the musical genius at work here. A forlorn piano reaches out, heartfelt and seductive, spoken word samples adding to the dream. The temperament is much more experimental at first and just blooms into a stately hymn that is utterly gorgeous, diaphanous and fragile. Colossal waves of mellotron introduce e-piano squalls, synthesized eddies and a choral explosion that will take your breath away. Certainly one of the most evocative pieces I have heard in years.

This was a most pleasant surprise and a thrill to get included into our site, a most worthy addition. Stunning cover artwork from Anastasia Sichkarenko makes this a commendable download for any prog fan.

5 protein sequence engines

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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