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Jerzy Antczak - Georgius: String Theory CD (album) cover


Jerzy Antczak


Crossover Prog

3.88 | 40 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Jerzy Antczak made his career with Polish prog group Albion and kicked it up a notch with his first solo album "Ego, Georgius" released in 2014. This stellar opus was unanimously well received by the prog community, earning very high marks indeed and should have been album of the year in 2014. The critical praise was well deserved as the album was a total gem of atmospheric and modern prog, expertly created and performed by a tight crew of friends and colleagues. Jerzy's guitar mastery is never in doubt, a fluid and inspired conveyance of axe magic, but his use of synthesizers for maximum effect needs also to be admired. On this his second work, it's his vocals that really stand out , in my opinion, as his exasperated tone rekindles fond memories of early Mark Hollis (Talk Talk fame), a man with tremendous pipes who does not receive enough credit as a top notch singer. Jerzy does very well on the microphone, most definitely. The rhythm section returns for another spirited display of tandem abilities, as Krzystof Wyrwa of fellow Polish band Millenium and Rafal Paszcz (ex-Albion) put on quite a show, tremendously dynamic and punchy. Throw in a couple of talented female voices to add to the dramatics.

How about a couple of epic whoppers to get the blood boiling? Supremely confident in their execution and vision, the band wastes no time to impose its highly cinematographic music on the speakers, inducing a dream-like swoon right from the get go. "Howling Winds of Jezebel" spans 11 minutes of splendor, taking time to prepare the table, with lush synths whooshing mightily as well as glimmering winds of sound and effect. The divine guitar enters gently, sequencers glowing in the background. The female voice comes careening through the air, celestial and serene, as the synths form foaming bubbles and the pulse thickens. Raging voice and rampaging sonic supply, this is just grandiose and devastating, what with that slight Arabic synth tinge fluttering in the warm breeze. The bass kicks hard and relentlessly, certainly as desperately as Jerzy's deranged voice. "One more" over and over. The powerful e-guitar solo is fast, furious and sizzling!

Melancholic colorings, sheets of crystalline notes and eerie electronic sounds greet "Little Ant", until Jerzy whips his trusted electric guitar into overdrive with a lyrically gorgeous foray into the sublime. Somewhere between the classic Steves, Hackett and Rothery, the fingers walk a melodically bright line that can only elicit smiles of wonder. But again, his vocal disposition as well as his abilities on keyboards remain remarkable, especially when used to launch another extended and quite supersonic guitar curve. His axe pleads, begs, cries and wallows in trepidation as the master unveils new sonic realms to enchant the spirit. An ambient sortie only accentuates the charm.

Acoustic guitar played in a straight forward fashion introduces "Precipice", Jerzy's accent is slight and not enough to detract from his obvious passion, as the piece heightens in sincerity what with the marshaling drums and the explosive chorus that comes from apparently nowhere. The mid-section is a smooth plateau of rhythmic pulse, where clanging guitars, thumping bass and suave drumming combine in harmony. The cork screw guitar solo is acrobatic, a real scorcher that just leaps out at you.

The song titles seem to have a lot of connotation with Steve Wilson and his now legendary commentary about various social ills that plague our society, such as the aptly coined "Apathy" and the follower "Pill". The first is a ringing dirge of despair, until the injured voice and then the raging guitar take the arrangement into a spiraling tumult of emotion, swirling, looping, craning and falling with apparent ease. The extended solo is terrifying and lovely at the same time. The second has birds chirping, odd strokes and jungle-like beats, streaming into more experimental zones, the fret board carving some new passage to the mind. Hushed voice and apparent timelessness give the mood a hypnotic quality that is troubled only by the high reverb guitar phrasings. This had me rekindling memories of the much-maligned Summers/Fripp collaboration of the mid-90s. Jerzy can pick with those two masters any day. Just sayin'! The wailing voice becomes exalted and powerful, howling backing vocals only adding to the entrancing mist. Remarkable.

The insistent and impressive "The Saddest Piece in the World" terminates this flight, a final destination of unabashed glory and divine sonic splendor. "Where do you go from here" repeated ad nauseam only pushes the thrill along, egged on by tormenting waves of symphonic keys as they scour the skies, the drums bashing and the fiery axe shimmering brightly. Oh, yeah! The wailing backing vocals raise the bar to the gates of divinity.

A great and vigorous follow up that bodes well for the future but the supreme debut "Ego, Georgius" remains an unchallengeable classic, in my opinion. The ominously grey artwork once again denotes a fair amount of despondence, a trait that the Poles have maintained grudgingly throughout their tumultuous history. But above all, this is a heartwarming and charming artist that deserves more attention.

4.5 Filament Concepts

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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