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Focus - Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 65 ratings

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4 stars To be honest, I needed many listenings of that compilation just to have the final opinion about it. The reason is not that Focus music is too complex or heavy acceptable.

I always look critically on every symphonic rock band. No, it doesn't mean that I hate sympho-prog, no way! But there are so many posers and pretenders between sympho- prog musicians, that my more than 30 yrs experience in music telling me : "Just be careful with them!"

You want to know why? It's easy! If you're playing eclectic prog,heavy prog, fusion or jazz- rock, you demonstrate your technique and musical ideas openly. One can love your music or not, but at least everyone hear what you wanted to say ( and how you done it). But in sympho-prog you can use some classic themes, or even better - just heavy keys passages, plus overproduction in recording studio - and you are new genius!!! And with modern synth/ recording technologies it's become much more easy.

It's a pity, but many young neo-prog bands are doing it regularly!!!

Ok, now let return back to Focus. The difference there is that their sound is very acoustic!! Pure melodies, competent guitar, very correct keyboards(piano!), (o,God - you can hear all other instruments playing!!!), flute, jazzy drums. Different kind of sympho-prog!

Some songs sound as early Jethro Tull, because of rich flute and acoustics. Another are coming near to jazz-rock. But all sound is very acoustic ( I'm speaking not about instruments used, but about SOUND itself). Jan Akkerman is wellknown as very competent guitar player, so you will hear one of the best guitar line there. But no axe-man posing! Akkerman uses guitar as music instrument,not as Kalashnikov!

The compilation is representative as well, and I think it's one of the best entrance to Focus music for beginners. To be honest, even experinced listeners would have this one instead of big amount of Focus original albums quite often. Because of very balanced mid tempo sound and mainly instrumental nature, full list or Focus original albums is interesting mainly for Focus fans and collectors.

As I told above, total sound is very acoustic, well balanced, mid tempo, with light jazzy feeling, more cool then warm. In other words, typical "dutch sound" ( I spend two years living there, believe me, that sound is a mirror of dutch character). Because of reasons as above album could be a bit boring or monotonious for some listeners, but generaly very pleasant and competent work.

snobb | 4/5 |


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