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Steve Brockmann and George Andrade - Airs - A Rock Opera CD (album) cover


Steve Brockmann and George Andrade


Crossover Prog

3.50 | 14 ratings

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3 stars AIRS is a project based on the collaboration of US writer/lyricist and progressive rock fan George Andrade as well as multi-instrumentalist Steve Brockmann hailing from Germany, being responsible for arrangements, music and production. George is already well known to me for his essential contribution to the epic 'Back From Being Gone', recorded by THE ANABASIS, which came out last year. I really liked it - consequently I was keen on examing his new outfit too. Now they both have made up a new Rock Opera consisting of 18 segments - while being supported by a bunch of contributors, as for some additional instruments ... and the various vocal parts so much the more.

The outworking may not be attractive to everybody, as they do not implement their ideas like a consolidated band as such, which means entering the studio as a unity quasi. However, distances don't make a difference anymore today, modern recording circumstances offer the possibility to bring artists together from all over the world. This definitely can open new horizons ... why not? Finally the result counts, if it is appealing ... there we go! While immersing myself into this I can smell a cinematic vibe definitely, hence, on this occasion, when listening, in the meanwhile it's relatively easy for me to implement my personal movie scenes before my mind's eye corresponding to this affair. The reason is that George Andrade has elaborated an engaging script, something for the heart and mind.

The story is essentially based upon the demise of the Manisses Indian tribe on Block Island in the Atlantic - thus by far not a fictive place and background. The protagonist is Owen, returning back to his home by ferry. He had been locked-in for causing a car accident with the result of a seriously injured 9 year old girl named Hannah. Now he has been released from prison early with time served due to the news that his father is dying ... a tragical affair for sure. At least something very emotional - spiked with references to what had happened to the tribe in the past ... and as for the real essence covering the two sides of personality, self-perception and who you really are.

Several vocalists are mirroring the different figures which are playing a role in the story behind. 'Father, it's me' ... this is where Paul Adrian Villarreal represents Owen on the opening and closing ballad. Both songs are nicely embracing the whole production with corresponding melodies and emphatic piano chords. Alternatively on Grounded Steve Brockman's guitar stands for a heavier outfit otherwise. Comprising rock, pop and metal elements each song differs in style and execution. 'I'm still haunted by the day you left in chains' ... The Center excellently expresses Annabelle's and Owen's complicated relationship. To point out some other favourites I would call up Annabelle and especially The Great Salt Pond due to a nice groove and Floor Kraaijvanger's impressive voice which perfectly fits.

Attractive in the wake of expanded boundaries AIRS will appeal to prog fans as well as AOR and standard rock music lovers. It's not just that Dave Meros and Alan Morse (Spock's Beard) are enriching the sound. Additionally the production is flawless by all means. There is a gripping story to tell also touching stones, mills, kites, well, of course the Book of Airs first and foremost. And, important to remember, it's an Opera, hence the vocals certainly play an important role. Although not every track can thrill me music-wise, I'm really impressed by some catchy earworms which are embedded. Finally I take my hat off to such a musical and emotional kinship between Steve and George, surprisingly grown out of conversations at a music message board on the internet. So overall this makes me curious for more - 3.5 stars so far.

Rivertree | 3/5 |


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