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Cirrus Bay - Places Unseen CD (album) cover

PLACES UNSEEN

Cirrus Bay

 

Neo-Prog

3.87 | 100 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Although labeled as neo prog, Cirrus Bay nowadays plays truly symphonic prog music. Somehow I missed their last two albums, but Places Unseen is surely their very best. It seems that the band finally came of age, songwriting wise: the music here is very well written, inspired and solid. They were always fantastic musicians and had a very good singer, but now they did find their own sound, even if the Renaissance influences are still quite overwhelming. This is not a demerit: the tunes are original and much more jazzy than 70Žs Renaissance, although the classical music and folk references are present too. New singer Tai Shan has a marvelous voice that is simply perfect for this music: brilliant, ethereal, warm and soulful. As good as the previous vocalist was, Shan is definitely on another level entirely and graces the album seamlessly.

Another point that impressed me is the skillful duo of founding members Bill Gilham ( keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, recorder, auto-harp, additional backing vocals) and Mark Blasco ( drums, bass guitar, backing vocals, additional keyboards and electric guitar). Not only they play almost all the instruments (it seems that the only other musicians is Brendan Buss on Flute and Sax), but they also play everything very well. Considering the complexity of several parts of the album, with long instrumental breaks and solos this is no small feat. The tracks are all excellent, with no fillers to be found anywhere. There are many acoustic and electric segments, with the pastoral side being the most noticeable, but the music here is surprisingly eclectic and varied. A crystal clear production and very well balanced mixing helped to bring the best of the all involved. A kind of album that is better appreciated as a whole: like me, youŽll probably find yourself longing to listen to it from start to finish, rather than picking up specific songs. And the 55+ minutes of music will only sound too short.

As with the latest albums by Jadis, Big Big Train and Kaipa DaCapo, Places Unseen is among the best prog releases of 2016. A truly remarkable album that I place dearly in my symphonic heart. Highly recommended!

Rating: 4,5 stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |

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