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Magus / The Winter Tree


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Magus / The Winter Tree The Winter Tree album cover
2.86 | 23 ratings | 3 reviews | 9% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Voices From A Lost Age (1:53)
2. Babylon (4:40)
3. Guardian Angel (4:36)
4. Fading Shadows (0:41)
5. In May (3:33)
6. Now That You've Flown (4:41)
7. A Twilight In Middle March (3:23)
8. The Other (3:41)
9. The Three Hills (2:28)
10. Stranger (3:50)
11. The Adventures Of Prince Caspian (6:53) :
- Part I - Under a Narnian Sea
- Part II - To The End of the World
- Part III - Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Total time 40:19

Line-up / Musicians

- Andrew Laitres / vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion, programming, composer, arranger & producer
- Mark Bond / vocals, guitar, bass (10)
- Deb Bond / keyboards

- Charlie Schneeweiss / trumpet (10)

Releases information

Artwork: Minna Sundberg

CD Prog Rock Records - PRR 316 (2011, US)

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and to Quinino for the last updates
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MAGUS / THE WINTER TREE The Winter Tree ratings distribution

(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (48%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MAGUS / THE WINTER TREE The Winter Tree reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A strong start!

The Winter Tree is the new moniker for the American outfit formerly known as Magus. Both are the main creative vehicle for composer/musician Andrew Laitres, and his latest collaborators Deb Bond (keyboards) and Mark Bond (vocals and guitars). Magus dates back to the mid 1980s and has many full length releases, but in 2010 Andrew changed the name to The Winter Tree after a song from one of his favorite bands, Renaissance. I can detect a bit of Renaissance influence I believe, and The Winter Tree also reminds me of other independent progressive projects like Willowglass, Epignosis, Syd Matters, and Us. It also reminds me a little of the Yes track "Turn of the Century" and at times Alan Parsons Project.

This is really a very fresh album given the retro sensibilities I perceived upon my first listening and viewing of the wondrous cover art. Laitres blends many musical styles and flavors, from 70s Renaissance and Ant Phillips/Jon Anderson territories, to folk, electronic music, ambient soundscapes, world/ethnic tones (Babylon) and indie rock/pop. The comforting/pleasing (though not mind blowing) vocals of Bond and Laitres are backed by great synth atmospheres and e-piano, from swirly and spacey to pulsing and a bit of new age, but mostly just a knack for beautiful presentation of the melodies. An abundant acoustic guitar presence is bolstered by the occasional ripping electric guitar solo, full of welling emotion. I don't ever pay much attention to lyrics but here they often seem very uplifting and positive. "Stranger" is an exception, a rather devastating piece about missed opportunities (I think) which reminds me of Supertramp's Rick Davies. The closer "Prince Caspian" is pure fun, a full prog rock ride with a playful instrumental spirit.

Laitres is an eclectic composer who likes to mix things up. Just when you think the album could slip into a predictable single mode, he throws in some ambient sound or electronic part that breaks the mold and skips off sideways a bit. Yet it manages to not sound contrived, which is a problem sometimes when composers try too hard to be clever. Here the oddities and morsels all work well with the more grandiose pastoral prog pieces to create an experience I enjoyed much more than I anticipated, given my usual tastes. Another contrast at work is that there is complexity in the music but lightness to the sound. The components of the songs are very well thought out, interesting, complex, but not buried in mud or density. Music which can take you to some distant imaginary realm while staying tethered to the modern. Not always an easy trick to pull off.

The Winter Tree is a great debut for the next chapter of these musicians, who have just been signed to ProgRock Records and are working on new material. The album should please fans of sweeping, beautiful prog who like relaxing and pastoral adventures, but with some unexpected twists. 7/10

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars US band THE WINTER TREE is the latest creative vehicle for composer and instrumentalist Andrew Laitres. Following twenty or so years with his previous band Magus this new project is a small entity, consisting of Laitres himself plus Mr. and Mrs. Bond. Their self-titled debut album was picked up and released by Progrock Records in the spring of 2011.

Soft symphonic art rock with nods in the direction of folk music is what The Winter Tree explores on their debut album, music pastoral in spirit and expression, emphasizing gentle moods and careful melodies in a manner that should appeal well beyond the art rock universe. Not the most challenging material around, but with lots of charm and something of a 70's spirit in sound and expression.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The Winter Tree is a project formed in 2010 by the leader of Magus and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Laitres (aka Andrew Robinson).Entering the group were his former Magus keyboardist Debbie Moore-Bond along with guitarist and singer Mark Bond.In February 2010 the trio entered the Mill and Hidden Valley Studios to record the first official release of the new project.A year of work passed and in 2011 The Winter Tree's self-titled debut sees the light on ProgRock Records.

Laitres' decision to change the name of Magus wasn't followed actually by a change in the previous music style.Furthermore there is no true development either, as The Winter Tree's music is still plagiarazing the music of PINK FLOYD, filled with mid-70's FLOYD-ian soundscapes, too much depending on lyrics and vocal harmonies and with not enough room for instrumental work, although you wouldn't call ''The Winter Tree'' the most accesible album of this mighty world.The overall sound is very close to the ''Wish you were here'' days with a smooth atmosphere, based on lyrical textures, spacey keyboards with a RICK WRIGHT vibe and mellow electric guitars.Laitres' produces some good melodies and the vocal work is rather sensitive with clear and decent voices, but the similarities with PINK FLOYD hurt the band's image.Some acoustic parts and sampled flutes have a light GENESIS flavor, while a couple of tracks lean towards Electronic Music with loops and synthesizers in evidence, making the album pretty diverse.What this work lacks though is trully strong songwriting and some passionate musicianship to support some of its rather nice melodious themes.The lack of originality is a problem too, but this one is also a minus for hunderds of bands being influenced by PINK FLOYD.

''The Winter Tree'' faces the same problem as most of Magus' efforts.Solid music to go along with a pair of smooth melodies, however the absence of some real instrumental power and the static timeline of the band's style hurt it as a result.I would still recommend this to dedicated fans of PINK FLOYD or similar-sounding groups...2.5 stars.

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