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Transatlantic - SMPTe CD (album) cover

SMPTE

Transatlantic

 

Symphonic Prog

4.07 | 749 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm inclined to consider this album as a masterpiece of prog rock as the composition (arrangements and structure), songwriting, musicianship and overall performance are truly top notch. The only thing I'm facing is the overall structure of the album which I think needs some improvements because as an album it does not seem cohesive even on some segments of the epic track there is a bit of misaligned flow. One thing for sure, I always ask this question: "Is there any compelling reason why it must be a 31 minute long for an epic? Does the story require the epic consume that long? Or, was it due to musician ego to create something that truly prog by creating a song as lengthy as possible?". Having all of these questions in my mind every time I listen to this debut album, so that means I still have something missing to give this album with a well rounded five stars. An excellent album is a definite one!

The copy that I have on my hands is a pre-ordered 2 CD set with enhanced bonus CD. My chief reason to buy this enhanced version was the booklet which usually excellent - indeed, it is - and the special CD package. I was not eager to have the bonus CD because based on my experience it contains 'not so good' material - indeed, it is with this package. The extended booklet contains 32 pages full with colorful picture and lyrics. That's on the physical part; the most interesting thing is on the story behind the making of the album as the band members commented that most communication were done through the net because the members coming from different continents. It was okay for them but when it comes to artwork and final mixing, they found some difficulties. The situation was worsen with the facts that three members (Mike, Neal and Roine) were also leaders of their respective home grown band. You can imagine how the arguments were flowing around them. No wonder, after the final version and the album was released, Neal and Roine separately issued their individual mixes with CDs titled as "Roine Stolt Mixes" and "Neal Morse Mixes". Oh man .. what a bad idea! They should think big and not issuing another version proclaiming their own egos. Even though I had the two different mixes from my friend who lent me, I don't actually really care with these two different mixes. I still prefer the original version. Be it. I don't want to be dragged down into selecting which mix is better - I don't care man!

All of The Above (30:59) is an epic that comprises six parts. It starts with full energy and relatively fast tempo music heavily influenced by Spock's Beard music. Yes, overall album music has heavy influences from Spock's Beard. It seems like everything about this album is very Neal Morseish. The first opening part combines great sounds of keyboard, bass, guitar and dazzling drums. There are some organ sounds that remind me to the music of 70's. The changing tempo happens quite frequently with transition through quieter passages featuring vocals and piano touch. In the middle of the epic the music changes in style which happens not truly smooth. The organ sound inserts are really nice. The change to other style sometimes happen abruptly but it rocks as it continues with a stunning guitar solo. An excellent composition.

We All Need Some Light (5:44) is a ballad like Spock's Beard ballad song in "Day For Night" album with acoustic guitar as main rhythm section. It's a good one even though it's not my favorite track.

Mystery Train (6:51) is an upbeat tempo music with musical punctuation comprising a combination of dynamic drum, organ, guitar rhythm. When vocal line enters the music turns into funk style with some distorted sounds. The composition is really excellent combining funk and rock in complex style. This track has become one of Transatlantic favorite tracks. I like the part where only bass guitar and drum play the music followed with symphonic keyboard sound. Awesome.

My New World (16:15) starts off with a symphonic exploration in a classical music style. The music goes symphonic with guitar leading the melody accompanied with soaring keyboard sound. Nice piano work during first lyrical part. This track sounds like the Flower Kings song where it loans the style a lot from. The flow of music is excellent. The guitar solo followed by keyboard solo are stunning!

In Held ('twas) in I (17:21) is the band's cover for Procol Harum's sound and they do it excellently which I'm sure the members of Procol Harum would be very happy with this arrangement. Though it's arranged differently, some characteristics of the original version - like organ sounds - is maintained thoroughly and reminds me to the seventies music. This cover might be the reason for Procol Harum's fans to buy this CD enjoying another alternative of Harum's legendary track.

Overall, it's an excellent addition to any prog collection. Highly recommended. Keep on proggin ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |

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