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Satellite - Evening Dreams CD (album) cover





3.66 | 42 ratings

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4 stars Tucked away amongst the "extras" on this DVD, that most people probably don't bother with, is an unassuming bio of SATELLITE that betrays the secret to the group's success. Founder Wojtek Szadkowski, who had been the leader of the legendary COLLAGE in the 1990s, stated that he wanted to start something again after a few years of silence, and he wanted it to be about melody as the fundamental goal of music as he sees it. And this from a drummer, albeit a brilliant one! It is that focus on melody that, as evident as it was on the first 2 and best SATELLITE albums, suffuses this entire live performance, in its hardest rocking or most romantic moments; in Robert Amirian's earworm choruses and grungiest pronouncements; in the surprisingly poetic English lyrics; in Sarhan's most searing guitar solos and more delicately plucked expressions; and in both the most atmospheric and pointed keyboards of Krzysiek Palczewski. It also distinguishes SATELLITE from most of the earlier neo prog groups of UK vintage who were so transfixed by their navel that they forgot about what lay both below and above.

It helps that 3 of these 4 members were in COLLAGE during their peak, because the chemistry and emotional intelligence is second nature. In fact, apart from the fact that there will never be an equal to "Moonshine", SATELLITE represents a 2000s upgrade on COLLAGE, particularly to the tightness of their playing, the more mature lyrical subject matter and vocalist Amirian's transformation from flower child to sensitive tough guy in barely 10 years! This fully compensates from my sense that his bass guitar is little more than a prop.

Another critical aspect to SATELLITE circa 2005 was their commitment to the "song" even if that song is 17 minutes long. I don't mean verse chorus song but a journey on which the listener becomes a trusting fellow traveler and is richly rewarded for that loyalty. The renditions of "Evening Games", "The Evening Wind" and "Beautiful World" reverberate with nuances that far exceed the limits of an audio only experience. Granted they could have done better for an encore than reprising the entire "Evening Games", especially given the mini epic quality of some of the shorter tracks on both "Street" and "Evening games". For instance, the version of "Fight" seems even more moving for its dedication to a perhaps departed comrade in the worldly sense.

Among the additional features are a couple of audio tracks from each album that were not in the setlist, an overly long video of the band rehearsing and kibbitzing, and, most interestingly, an official video of the romantic "Love is Around You" that leaves little question as to the orientation of the band's own heart.

As with COLLAGE, SATELLITE extinguished themselves with their own radiance, their next two albums matching neither the clarities nor the subtleties of their early work, and have been silent for over a decade now. Luckily we have this audiovisual register of Szadowski and company's second peak. One more time, Wojtek? Well, we can dream.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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