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Ivory - Sad Cypress CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.35 | 63 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars It's hard to believe in Germany the prog rock scene was still going on even into the early '80s (it's only by 1984 did the prog rock scene collapse). Eloy continued to make great albums with Colours, Planets, and Time to Turn. Anyone's Daughter managed to make a handful of albums during this time. Trilogy, Rousseau, Burning Candle, and Amenophis managed to make good to great albums during this time period. Ivory was another one of these bands. This group was unusual that Ulrich Sommerlatte was a member, and he was 65 at the time (he was born in 1914). He had a classical background and conducted orchestras. Most people of his age and background looked down on rock music in general, but Ulrich was certainly not that kind of guy. His son Thomas was also a member, and I'm sure it was him who introduced his father to the prog rock scene, which surprisingly he very much enjoyed. Too bad that Ivory came a bit too late in the scene, other prog rock bands could have used Ulrich's service if they wanted to include orchestra with rock band. Here both Ulrich and Thomas handles keyboards. They included four other members to handle the usual chores. Christian Mayer handles the vocals and he sounds like Peter Gabriel or Frederic Joos of Neuschwanstein. Sad Cypress was released in 1980 on Jupiter, which was the same label that gave us Ego on the Rocks, Zomby Woof, and Beggars Opera (Sagittary, Beggars Can't Be Choosers), but recorded in 1979. This is a rather good prog rock album, nothing mindblowing or groundbreaking (what prog after 1975 was?) but a very nice listen. Genesis is a big comparison, but it's not a clone as neither Ulrich nor Thomas Sommerlatte copies Tony Banks style. They have their own style, lots of spacy synths, Hammond organ, string synths, and electric piano. Mainly the Peter Gabriel-like vocals of Christian Mayer gives the Genesis comparison. True, if you like Neuschwanstein or Kyrie Eleison (the Austrian band) there's no reason you shouldn't like this, but honestly I like them beter than those two groups. They certainly have a much more professional sound than Kyrie Eleison, and while I felt Neuschwanstein was better than Kyrie Eleison, Ivory is by far the best of the three. Both Kyrie Eleison and Neuschwanstein were often accused of being Genesis clones, but I have a hard time calling Ivory that, despite the Gabriel-like vocalis. Ivory is what I would call proto-neo-prog. It's still clearly symphonic, but you hear elements of what will become neo- prpg. Neuschwanstein is another one like that. You can even argue the string of Genesis albums from A Trick of the Tail to Duke were proto-neo-prog. Anyways, I am really surprised about Ivory, especially since they came so late in the scene. It's a really nice album worthy of your collection.
Progfan97402 | 4/5 |


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