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Solaris - Marsbéli Krónikák (Martian Chronicles) CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.21 | 349 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Knowing this is an instrumental album, Martian cackles notwithstanding, one could be forgiven for offering a comparison to Tangerine Dream after listening to track 1, and simply deferring the remainder to another day. But the group presents its own vision much more clearly as the album progresses.

An Eastern European folk undercurrent can be discerned in subsequent melodies that swirl about, and the feel is much more organic than in typical electronic music. For instance Parts II and III allow for short solos followed by bursts of activity, both dominated by keyboards and flute, with able bass and drums backing. Electric guitar is used to add a measure of force but does not detract. Some choral effects are also employed. Always we return to the captivating main theme.

The centerpiece of the album is parts IV to VI, which total 13 minutes and introduce an even stronger theme on flute around which all other developments hinge. Attila Kollar's playing on woodwind interacts with that of guitarist Istvan Czigman who has more prominence in this part of the proceedings, while the spacey synthesizers keep reminding us that this is all about Ray Bradbury. The band knows how to vary the density of the passages to keep the listener entertained over the long haul.

Unfortunately, "Poetic Mars" and "Apocalypse" pretty much rehash the formula and depend too much on synths, but "In the Fog Ascends" is a dressed up flute ballad that showcases the band's versatility. The finale of my CD is the track "Solaris" is a bit too schizophrenic for my tastes, but still contains some fine ideas, especially as expressed by Kollar.

An instrumental album in which the music reflects the subject, "Martian Chronicles" was a fine debut for this Hungarian group so revered by prog fans, but, like many instrumental albums, chronicles a noticeable decline in the late going as the palate becomes overused.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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