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Anderson / Stolt - Invention of Knowledge CD (album) cover


Anderson / Stolt


Symphonic Prog

3.63 | 206 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The prolific Jon Anderson has been quite a busy man lately, having recovered from illness with a new found energy and passion, a trait that disproves the long held misconception that rock music is the governance of the young and only the young. Beyond 71 years of age, he continues to voyage into unfamiliar territories such as his long delayed cooperation with Jean-Luc Ponty, a thoroughly successful venture that yielded the aptly named 'Better Late than Never' album and subsequent well-applauded tour. Here, he has teamed up with Swedish mastermind Roine Stolt of the Flower Kings and Transatlantic fame, to create a very Yes-like opus that proves only that the creative juices that inspired him in the glory days of progressive rock, still has a resonating voice and audience today. Sadly, the judgmental universe that we now live in will give way to some unfair and foolish criticism from shameless detractors who need to fuel their pill-fed apathy (to stay awake at the keyboard at the very least) by puncturing this symphonic opus with brazen detritus. Well, like they say at the hardware store: screw them! If you no like, move the hell on!

Gathering a rather stellar crew of familiar faces from both the FK, such as bassist extraordinaire Jonas Reingold, drummer Felix Lehrmann and former FK bassman Michael Stolt) and from the Yes side, Tom Brislin, whilst including the supremely talented Swedish keyboardist Lalle Larsson, the two protagonists certainly have aimed precisely at what they wanted to achieve, a classic sounding Progressive Rock album. Both Anderson and Stolt have never sounded better and more confident, and truth be said, you can hear the enthusiasm displayed throughout. Let us be honest first of all, this collaboration has more musical width and breath than anything spewed by Yes since , my goodness' since Relayer!

That being said, the nine tracks do flow into one another rather seamlessly, a very linear sounding series of arrangements within each piece that get busy one moment and quite atmospheric the next, as on the end of 'Knowledge', where the swirling effects really take hold. As with the Ponty collaboration, the music is totally uplifting, spirited if not necessarily overtly spiritual, spiced by occasional bursts of energetic gusto and dazzling playing by all instrumentalists. Roine can carve with the best of them, a talented guitarist who can infuse a variety of styles that span the gamut of influences, from Howe, Hackett and Gilmour to more oblique talents such as Allan Holdsworth. He can play fast, controlled and delirious when prompted. While Squire has always been a giant, Reingold is one hell of a player, seeing him live seals the deal. A monster.

I also cannot help noticing that three songs contain the sound NO (as opposed to'Yes) in Know, Knowledge and Knowing. Coincidence? Nah, must be my meds. Yeah, I know (no). In fact, all the titles have a positive spin and message. Eat that Steve Wilson!

The glorious track 'Knowing' is an 11 minute celestial epic that reeks the most of 'Close to the Edge', owner of a skilled melody and some complex orchestrations, Lalle's divine grand piano, screeching synth swirls and a fully determined vocal performance that is easily among the very best ever captured by a microphone. The two follow up pieces 'Chase & Harmony' and 'Everybody Heals' are equally masterful expressions of musical craftsmanship and passionate delivery. Shorter ditties offer hope and salvation, 'Better by Far' and 'Golden Light', a lovely diversion that goes straight to the owner of lonely Heartstrings and pulls on them delicately. The jazzy, windswept and airy 'Know' is an 11 minute tropical paradise of topographic ocean breezes, Jon's voice a warm zephyr that soothes the soul and medicates the mind, a beach with grandiose piano, shuffling bass, brushed cymbals and a laid back, laissez-faire attitude. 'An answer to a promise that delivered you' as Roine swirls his guitar like Carlos Santana. Totally delicious.

I enjoyed the whole enchilada, an album that will need made more listens and new details to discover, so dense this is. I was expecting something a bit lamer I guess and I was wrong. The cover artwork, booklet and inlay are truly first-class and worth the eye candy.

4.5 Devices of Awareness

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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