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Martigan - Ciel Ouvert CD (album) cover





3.28 | 27 ratings

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Harold Needle
4 stars Recently I've been doing my usual "search for the prog" ritual, and this album cought my attention, as I'm really sold on these obsolete 3D computer graphics, especially as prog-rock album covers.

So, Martigan is a german quintet, playing mild and dreamy neo-prog, very similar to the other neo-prog bands from the era, although with less of energy and darkness, and with more romantic feeling. The music is not very complex or original, but the atmosphere is definitely there. The vocalist really brings Peter Gabriel and Peter Nicholls to mind, which is not necessarily a bad thing: he may not have the most impressive voice in the world, but surely it works on this record very nicely. I really enjoy the guitar playing: it's colorful (both in sound and play) and has a lot of emocional feel in it (kinda similar to David Gilmour's style). The keys, unfortunately, are rather tame, and are used mostly to create an atmosphere with pads, however, they do get more complex and playful at times. I really like the sound of the keys as well - while other people generally dislike such "cheesy" and "cheap" 90's synths, I happen to enjoy them a lot. The rhythmic section is nice as well - nothing particularly breathtaking, but these guys surely know how to make good use of their instruments.

The problem I have with this record, is that it lacks energy and fury, and it's a bit repetitive as well, mostly in terms of mood. The atmosphere is very nice and plesant, but it doesn't change too much as the songs go by. Even if some songs get more energetic and rocking, the overall mood stays the same. Compositionally, it may use some more rememberable and essential moments, but overall it's definitely not bad.

I think most people would find this a rather mediocre record, and honestly, in some ways I find it mediocre as well. But, from the other hand, it somehow manages to please me with it's gorgeous romantic/synthetic neo-prog-from- the-90's feeling very well. Nothing really special or essential, but still a great, well put-together and enjoyable album. For the music itself, I think I'd rate it 3.75 stars, but it deserves some bonus points for the pleasant, dreamy atmoshpere and a superb cover art. It seems to me that this release will appeal mostly to those, who enjoy early Genesis, IQ, Gilmour-era Pink Floyd ("A Momentary Lapse of Reason" & "The Division Bell"), and even... some Phil Collins' solo works! Warmly recommended.

Harold Needle | 4/5 |


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