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Horizont - Summer In Town CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.81 | 94 ratings

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3 stars A somewhat patchy offering, with lush production and allusions to the 19th and 20th century Russian maestros that begins somewhere between ELP, King Crimson and Genesis, with the strongest ties to the latter, especially initially in "Snowballs".

As the music progresses, more original touches begin to shine through, in a fairly obvious attempt to produce a work of Prog Rock, with explorations in time signatures, out-of-context changes, and Copland or Ives-like juxtapositions of sound and style that I find somewhat irritating. But that's only because I find Copland and Ives irritating too - I've never been a huge fan of bi-tonality or polyrhythms - but there are plenty of people that are . The redeeming qualities for me lie in the Hackett-like guitar and "vocal" arrangements that for the present I find incomparable.

The band are all too happy to settle into long and meandering grooves, and break these up with tangential ideas rather than enter into any kind of development, so it quickly becomes old - but unquestionably stylised Prog Rock.

"Chaconne" begins with some atmospheric keyboards - whooshes of keyboard "wind" with drifting strings, and quasi-atonal guitar, that gradually build to a tonality underpinned by D with a decidedly major flavour - possibly a little syrupy, but unusual.

A bass begins to underpin everything, and I await the start of the Chaconne itself - distinctive by the 3 time feel (Possibly optional), ground bass, fixed chord progression via cycle of fifths over 8-16 bars and minor key feel...

This is not forthcoming - in fact, around 6:45, there is a strong major key feel, the bass is simply a pedal, the harmony drifts around a single chord with some suspensions, and the feel is decidedly 4 time.

So, ignore the pretensions - there is no Chaconne here!

The music is vaguely interesting thought, and well executed enough, but a bit busy really, and with no clear direction or development - a kind of ever-intesifying mush.

"Summer in Town" is more original in introduction, the "warped record" feel is strangely edgy and uncomfortable, and the tutti entry somewhat reminiscent of King Crimson. I'm reminded of parts of ALW's variations when the Moog follows the piano entry to lead the way into a rather ambling and wandering remainder of the piece.

The instrumentation is intriguing, and there are a lot of "surprises" - although I have to say that I fail to find them surprising, as the style of "Snowballs" sets you up to expect the sudden changes as part of the style. I'm not keen on most of the sounds - and it's only occasionally that the band get it together and produce a combined texture that actually holds my interest without me wishing they'd move on to the next bit.

It's interesting that the piece is supposedly divided into "March", "Minuet" and "Toccata", as the "March" appears to be in 2 time, (Marches are in 4 time, albeit with a duple feel) and the "Minuet" largely in 4 time (Minuets are in 3 time). Using unusual rhythms and combinations of rhythms is one thing. Implying other forms, especially when using the names of those forms is quite another - here it would suggest that the band does not understand these two very basic forms.

The "Toccata" is a real attempt at a free form, however, and consists mainly of dense swirling layers that suddenly shine through as a moment of real invention and understanding of the form being interpreted. Fragments of Gong's "Master Builder" appear in the bass, and thematic material from the other "movements" float past, in chaotic tension-holding that sounds dense, driven, and somewhat random, yet highly controlled.

This is possibly held a bit too long, but the near atonal invention that serves as a codetta is interesting if vague in direction.

So, in short, this would probably appeal to anyone that likes Prog Rock - it's not my cuppa tea, but to me, that's not the purpose of reviewing - anyone can state their opinion and surmise from that whether a body of work is "good" or "bad". It's harder to evaluate the "Prog Content" and appeal to other fans of Prog Rock - and this should have a wide appeal - especially to those who do not like "accessible" music, those who like "complex" music, and those who like Rock that has strong "Classical" allusions and pretensions - even if they're factually inaccurate.

Definitely one to try if you're bored of the same old same old!

3.5 stars, but it's not something I'd listen to very often.

Certif1ed | 3/5 |


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