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COLLAGE

Neo-Prog • Poland


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Collage picture
Collage biography
Formed in Poland in 1985 - Disbanded in 2003 - Reformed in 2013

This Neo Prog band from Poland was not only the most important band from this country in the 90's; It figures among the best Neo Prog bands in the world. Blending heavy keyboard background with extremelly melodical guitar and vocals, they were able to deliver an original and very interseting music. Intricate tempo changes differenciate this band from the competition amongst their style, with vocals in Polish and English depending on the album.

"Moonshine" is one of the greatest symphonic progressive rock CD's of the modern era. This CD features great production, wonderful melodies and singing with superb playing-both as accompaniment and tasty biting solos and fills. WONDERFUL!!!

See also:
- Satellite
- Strawberry Fields

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COLLAGE discography


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COLLAGE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.62 | 145 ratings
Baśnie
1990
2.65 | 48 ratings
Nine Songs Of John Lennon
1993
4.04 | 350 ratings
Moonshine
1994
3.47 | 125 ratings
Safe
1995

COLLAGE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

COLLAGE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.79 | 35 ratings
Living In The Moonlight
2005

COLLAGE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 9 ratings
Zmiany
1994
3.21 | 68 ratings
Changes
1995

COLLAGE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

COLLAGE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Baśnie by COLLAGE album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.62 | 145 ratings

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Baśnie
Collage Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The debut album from the first Polish Neo Prog masters--and what a debut it is! Can a band of young artists create a masterpiece right from the get go? Apparently many of these songs had been floating around since the mid- 1980s, so the band obviously had time to practice, perform, and re-work much of the content that ended up on this album.

1. "Jeszcze jeden dzien (One More Day)" (4:10) opens with a tight full force guitar wailing sound. Yep! This is Collage! Singer Tomek Rozycki joins in before the end of the first minute singing in Polish, sounding like FALCO. The guitar's counter-punch power chords offsetting Tomek's "yesh dai em" vocals are very cool, otherwise the vocal is rather lame and unengaging. One can't help but listen to the powerful wailing of Mirek Gil's guitar going on with increasing frequency and increasing fire throughout the song. Also, the drumming is quite good. (8.5/10)

2. "Ja i ty (Me and You)" (3:20) has a bit of a folk sound to both its structure and its melodies. The vocal is a bit weak but the song is refreshing. (8/10)

3. "Kołysanka '87 (Lullaby)" (4:50) (fragment) Despite being a supposed fragment from an 1987 tape called "Change," this song has all of the sounds, stylings, and positive attributes of the best of Collage's 1990s output. The background wash of the keys, the reverbed vocal, the catchy melodic hooks and the adventurous, emotional playing of a young, fiery Mirek Gil. (8.75/10)

4. "Baśnie (Fairy Tales)" (10:00) Though the title song and, thus, a centrally focused feature of the album, this may be one of the weaker songs on the album. It opens nicely, with some very pleasant key and gtr sounds playing arpeggi of two very pretty chords, and then it jumps into hyper drive around the one minute mark while retaining its pleasing sounds and melodies (thanks to the keys), but the vocal is a little strained and feels a little mismatched to the music. While the music continues to feel lively over the two chord structure (especially the drumming), there is little surprise or flair in the first four minutes. Then there is a slowed down, strumming guitar section through the fifth minute in which the singer returns, telling his story. The instrumentalists pick it up at the 5:00 mark followed by a nice Mirek Gil solo, but the vocal sections just fail to attain the same heights of interest or engagement. At 6:45 there is another stop gap before the music takes a right turn into a different key and chord progression but neither the vocal nor the instruments (other than awesomely chunky bass playing) fail to excite. Then, at 8:20, the chills begin as a single note from the oh-so familiar and oh-so revered Mirek Gil guitar sound peels forth from the lower registers of the A string. It's as if the floor is cleared on the basketball court to let Michael, Kobe or LeBron show us some of one-on-one their magic. Though the solo doesn't achieve mind-blowing heights--and is cut off by a much- to-early finish to the song--it does give us that shot of excitement and reminder of all that is to come from this guitar maestro. (17.5/20)

5. "Dalej, dalej (Farther and Farther)" (7:00) opens with electric guitar arpeggio and multiple layers of fairy-like synth sounds. Mirek switches to strumming just before the singer enters at 0:50. The music still hasn't quite gelled but the vocal is good, the music finally filling in fully at the 1:40 mark--just before a brief passage for a guitar solo. When Tomek returns to sing his voice is much more delicate, almost whispery. Nice melodies--especially the one dueted by Mirek and Tomek at the end of the third minute. Awesome guitar and synth solos in the fourth minute! Wow! Stunning peak! Lull and then everybody's back with Tomek singing before another wild though brief passage of synth and guitar solos. The section that follows is very pretty (guitar chord progression) and then we're into another Tomek-Mirek dual melody making before the final "tin whistle" synth solo before the Tomek-Mirek finish. Awesome, amazing, powerful song! Definitely my favorite on the album! (15/15)

6. "Stare ściezki (Same Old Paths)" (6:45) triangle and horn-synth open this one with a lush synth wash backdrop before Tomek enters around the 45 second mark. Drums and bass join in the middle of second minute and then Mirek Gil after the first verse with a different Pat Metheny-horn-like sound. Mirek and Tomek trade bursts of vocals and lead guitar, respectively, until a big switch in palette and pacing occurs at 2:30. From here the vocals are more constant while Mirek moves to more support with arpeggi and Jacek Korzeniowski's keyboards take over the role of adding bursts of synth riffs between phrases. At 3:52 the music moves back to the slightly slower base for an awesome instrumental passage with Mirek leading the way but bass and drums also embellishing a lot. At the end of the fifth minute Tomek returns in softer vocal style. In the sixth minute drums and bass drop out while synth wash, guitar arpeggi, and vocalese offer a very pretty soundscape which l=plays out to the end fadeout. Very nice song. (13/15)

7. "Fragmenty (Fragments)" (4:28) opens with strummed electric guitar before drums enter with flair and panache. Chunky bass, synth background, and wailing lead guitar then join in for a spell before alternating turns with Tomek's impassioned vocal. Mirek and Jacek really get to shine here, taking turns soloing between every moment of Tomek's singing. At 2:45 there is a prolonged bridge of power chords before Jacek switches keys and Mirek takes another turn at duelling melodic riffs before Tomek re-enters. The turn-taking continues through to the end. Powerful song on the line of "Heroes Cry" except with something lost because I don't know what Tomek is singing about due to my lack of translation of his Polish. Another favorite. (9/10)

8. "Rozmowa (Conversation)" (4:45) a song from their long-time stage play in which the drums and vocals play the most noteworthy roles though Mirek's captivating screaming guitar is strongly present throughout. I've had the privilege of hearing the band's 1986 studio recording of this song and I must say I like it very much: the delicate instrumental work in the middle (piano and electric guitar) is quite remarkable. Wish they'd stuck with piano, powerful drumming, and variety of guitar sounds. (8.75/10)

Total Time: 47:28

The album has such a polished feel to it despite its use of dated keyboards from the late 1980s; yo can tell the band had had a lot of time to rework and polish their repertoire to end up with such a mature-sounding sound and album. Still, after hearing some of the earlier versions of these songs I wish they had retained some of the styles and dynamics from their earlier days.

B/four stars; an excellent addition to any prog rocker's album collection and a truly remarkable Neo Prog debut.

 Nine Songs Of John Lennon by COLLAGE album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.65 | 48 ratings

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Nine Songs Of John Lennon
Collage Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Second full-length album by the neo-prog polish legends Collage after their debut Basnie!

And this time they returned with a new front man, Robert Amirian. Who sadly never was a very good singer despite his passionate interpretation of lyrics. And here is sadly no exception. Along with the too noisy and sometimes out of tune solos by Mirek Gil, his singing is the weakest point of this John Lennon's cover album.

Nevertheless, fans of Collage will be pleased with the typical beautiful keyboard's layers of the band, competent drumming and the typical ethereal and airy atmospheres that this band was so good at creating.

Best songs: I especially like the version of Woman and the beautiful melodies of Imagine, part of which were used again by the band in their posterior excellent album Moonshine, specifically in the band's best song called In Your Eyes.

Conclusion: this album is a mere curiosity for Collage (or John Lennon) fans, because it did not bring nothing new or too interesting to the prog world. But like I said, there is enough beautiful melodies included here to be an enjoyable (but also forgettable) experience.

Two years later, Collage released the named Moonshine and they entered directly in the prog-rock history!

My rating: **

 Safe by COLLAGE album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.47 | 125 ratings

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Safe
Collage Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the great success of Moonshine in the Neo-Prog scene, Collage could sadly not achieve the same level of quality in Safe.

And I think that one of the main factors of this failure is the subpar production, which makes the vocals of the album even worse than in Moonshine (the weakest part of this album, no doubt about it) specially the female choirs, simply horrendous sometimes. I don't know if they were in a rush making this album, or maybe they suffered of budget limitations, but I think some tracks simply need more work of them.

And the volume of the instruments? What's that? The mixing is also really bad sometimes? And even the remastered version could not improve this defect very much.

Nevertheless, the magic of Collage is not all gone. Some tracks are so enchanting as ever, like the marvelous Eight Kisses, the folk influenced The Chanting and the mellow and melancholic Made Again. This few moments (especially when the female vocals do not appear) are able to make us dream like no other neo-prog band has made in all the sub-genre history.

Best Tracks: This Time (a rock neo-prog which acts as a fine opener. I specially like the acoustic guitars on it), Eight Kisses (splendid keyboard melodies, precious atmosphere and a great final solo), The Chanting (a bit repetitive, but with marvelous melodies and fine folk influences), Made Again (a more modern sounding track which acts as a sample of the quality that Collage could have gave us it they had not split up)

Conclusion: if you can forget the poor production which makes the vocals sound awful sometimes and the poor mixing which set the volume of the instruments just wrong in some parts of the album, you Will find moments of true magic in Safe. It's too long, cheesy and old fashioned, but also beautiful and unrepeatable.

Sadly, the overall quality is not so high like in Moonshine. With a length of 40-50 minutes and a better production it could easily have reached a four-star rating. Nevertheless, it's unfair to forget this album in the sands of prog memory, because it really has some true talent invested on it.

My rating: ***

 Moonshine by COLLAGE album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.04 | 350 ratings

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Moonshine
Collage Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This album accompanied me in a difficult and lonely time of my life... And it well always have a place in my heart.

Nevertheless, it's far from being perfect. I think the production is a bit saturated. Sometimes it's hard to discern the instruments clearly because the dense mixture of guitars and keyboards and the detailed and the enlarged drums. It's part of the charm of this album, but objectively the production could have been better in my opinion. Technical and financial limitations, I guess.

The second fact that I find a bit annoying of this album are Robert Amirian's vocals. The guy sings in a very powerful and passionate way, but sometimes he is completely out of tone. He had potential and capability to make a great job in this album, but for some reason he sounds not really well here.

However, apart of these two problems Moonshine is a pure pleasure for the ears.

Heroes Cry starts the record in a very powerful and melodic way, with very dense echoed guitars from Gil and great keyboards from Krzysztof Palczewski. The drummer of the leader Szadkowski are also very competent, and a very important part of Collage's sound, because he is the main songwriter and many songs revolve around his drum kit. The Witkowski's bass is sometimes buried under the rest of the musicians, and Amirian... He just tries.

In Your Eyes is just a masterpiece of Neo-Prog music. A true classic and a song which is perfect if you want to introduce someone to this genre. Amirian sings in a very passionate and sentimental way the romantic lyrics and the songs evolves constantly offering an incessant stream of wonderful progressive melodies. Just wonderful!

Lovely Day is another lovely song based mainly in the keyboards, spoiled again by the weak vocals. And Living in the Moonlight is another Collage's classic with dreamy melodies and this time with competent vocals from Amirian, who luckily sings in a more restrained way this time. The Blues bring back the hard rock of influences of Heroes Cry, but with an even better instrumental section. After two slow tracks The Blues was a very good choice.

Wins in the Night is another long song with folk melodies, which give a very European feeling to this album. Not so good as In Your Eyes, but also marvelous. And the ending is an imaginative homage to Richard Strauss. Moonshine is a bit darker and it has the harder guitars of the album (don't worry, they are just a bit distorted) and also the best bass playing.

War is Over ends the album with a chorus which is a bit repetitive, but with another folk ending with a very beautiful accordion played by Witkowski.

Conclusion: Collage is a very passionate, dreamy and beautiful Neo-Prog album. The songwriting is really strong, the musicians are great and despite the weak vocals the music shines through the whole record. And despite the influence is there, Collage are one of the Neo-Prog bands which managed not to sound like a 80's Marillion rip-off.

With a better vocal interpretation, this would be a true prog rock masterpiece.

Best Tracks: all of them. But In Your Eyes is just outstanding and one of the best Neo-Prog songs in history.

My rating: ****

 Nine Songs Of John Lennon by COLLAGE album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.65 | 48 ratings

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Nine Songs Of John Lennon
Collage Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Iīve avoided this CD for years. First Iīm not really that big fan of John Lennon and to see a prog band doing an entirely album of his songs seems to be totally pointless. Even more so if the record was their second, after the promising but hardly essential Basnie. However, I had the opportunity to finally listening when a friend gave me a copy a few days ago. I was quite surprised of how good it actually was: the songs are mostly a total remake of the original, yet they preserve their essence in many ways and it is a respectful work. Looking back, it was also Collageīs first work with their classic line up of Robert Amirian on vocals, Mirek Gil (guitars), Piotr Mintay Witkowski (bass) and the genius Krzysztof Palczewski on keyboards, plus leader and drummer Wojtek Szadkowski.

Of course it is the classic case of hit and miss, but there is little double that they did a terrific job considering the iconic and legendary status of the author of the material. Imagine and Woman for instance donīt get even close to the beauty and power of the original versions. However, tracks like God (the longest and most progressive of them all), Tomorrow Never Knows, Give Peace A Chance and Cold Turkey are fine examples of how creative, bold and unique Collage was from the very start (and they understood Lennonīs message like so few actually did).

In the end, a nice homage to one of rockīs great songwriters. And they did it giving the songs the full Collage treatment that would emerge in all its power in the form of their next release, the classic Moonshine.

Rating: 3 stars. Good, but not essential.

 Moonshine by COLLAGE album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.04 | 350 ratings

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Moonshine
Collage Neo-Prog

Review by jmeadow

3 stars A nice melodic and atmospheric neo-prog album; an album for late night wind-down listening, rather than early morning get-up-and-go motivation! Although there are some long, quite complex compositions here, the emphasis on accessible melodies means that this album is quite poppy.

For me the stand-out tracks are 'In Your Eyes' and 'Living in the Moonlight' - two accessible and soulful numbers.

At times the lyrics can be a little melodramatic and the music a little too bombastic; perhaps for this reason the album doesn't always grab one in the way that the very best prog does.

I feel compelled to also report that there are some very cheesy photos in the CD booklet and one of the band members is a dead-ringer for Nigel Tufnel (though I haven't held this against them).

Nevertheless, overall this is a good, but not essential, album.

 Moonshine by COLLAGE album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.04 | 350 ratings

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Moonshine
Collage Neo-Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars This is the stuff I imagine accompanying Siegfried & Roy's act during their mid-90s Vegas glory; lots of mist, flashbangs, sampled orchestration, glitter suits, and over-groomed homoerotic showmanship. Liberace would've liked Collage.

That aside, it is what it is. Distended by melodrama and artifice, Moonshine is symphonic rock (okay "Neoprog" if you insist) at its worst and best. The material does sometimes remind of Genesis circa 1976 but not really, and frankly fourteen-minute 'In Your Eyes' is why pop music was invented. No one needs to sit through a quarter hour of unremarkable music. Cut it by two thirds and you might have something worthwhile. Just ask Peter Gabriel. 'Living in the Moonlight' is moany '80s romantic angst and 'The Blues' is merely an extension of said material. Complex 'Wings in the Night' isn't bad but at eleven minutes is sure to leave many listeners trailing off into what they're having for dinner, and the cinematic title track is probably the most progressive thing here with many rises and falls.

A matter of taste perhaps but either way, Collage lacks a certain humanity; a rock & roll spirit that thrives on less, not more; a blemished swagger raised to glory by the skill and inspiration of men, not machines. But then one can't blame an artist for what it is they do, only the quality of it.

 Moonshine by COLLAGE album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.04 | 350 ratings

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Moonshine
Collage Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The 1990-1992 period was definitely the more intense in Collage's history.''Basnie'' was warmly accepted by the prog audience, leading to concerts even abroad for the band and to a reissue of the album in 1992 by Vinyl Magic.On the other hand Tomasz Rozycki left the band suddenly to be replaced by Zbyszek Bieniak.Bieniak was a great singer and songwriter but he also quit in early 92', leaving his place for a while to Jarek Wajk.1993 was even more shocking for the band.Only Gil and Szadkowski remained from the ''Basnie'' line-up.The bass was now handled by Piotr Witkowski, keyboards by Krzysztof Palczewski, while the new singer was Robert Amirian.To test his voice Collage released the album ''Nine Songs of John Lennon'' in 1993 with cover tracks of Lennon's discography, followed a year later by the first full-length album of the new line-up ''Moonshine'' on Metal Mind Records.

The new album presented two big differences compared to ''Basnie''.Amirian would sing exclusively in English, having a more sensitive and romantic voice, eventually reflecting on the atmosphere of the album.Additionally the darker compositions of ''Basnie'' left their place to less-raw and more elaborate arrangements with a more positive aura.Of course the style of Collage remained equally grandiose, bombastic at moments and quite adventurous, enriched by series of softer passages inbetween.Overall the extremely unique band's style had developed even more with an aim towards foreign markets but always delivering a pure Neo/Symphonic Rock with dramatic arrangements and a huge rich sound throughout.Dreamy keyboards alternate with bombastic orchestral passages, smooth vocal-based parts are followed by superb guitar solos, the trademark of Mirek Gil, and polished melodies are blended with a great number of breaks.More importantly Collage set the basis of what we would call ''Polish Prog'' in the future, apparently having influenced a great number of local bands.A style characterized by the lovely symphonic keyboards, the deep esoteric vocal lines, the dramatic solos and often the very personal atmosphere of Polish vocals, which are absent on this album.

A great comeback by one of the most original Polish bands.Despite the line-up changes Collage returned with an album full of excellent, dreamy and challenging musicianship, an almost classic of the Neo Prog scene and highly recommended to fans of prog in general.

 Moonshine by COLLAGE album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.04 | 350 ratings

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Moonshine
Collage Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Collage's third album finds the album playing in a distinctive style which is more unique to them than the heavily Marillion-inspired approach of their debut, though occasionally aspects of early Marillion or 1990s Pendragon pop up here and there. The Collage sound as of Moonshine is sweeping, dramatic, and at times (as on the opening number Heroes Cry) thunderous, with keyboards, lead guitar and vocals all uniting to create a particularly emotive and passionate work. At points the production seems to stumble a little; there are parts where the synths sound a little cheap and dated and the drum sound is a bit thin, but just when my attention begins to drift the album turns around and enthralls me yet again. I think Basnie is a somewhat more well-executed work myself, but Moonshine is a little more original so the two complement each other nicely.
 Baśnie by COLLAGE album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.62 | 145 ratings

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Baśnie
Collage Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars There's a legion of neo-prog bands out there who take their lead from Marillion's sound during the Fish era, but for me Collage stand out as a particularly excellent one. Their debut, Basnie, is a case in point: whilst many other bands simply try to preserve Marillion's sound from whichever Fish-era album happens to be their favourite and don't really take the music forward, Collage learn lessons from all the phases of the Fish period - the angst of Script for a Jester's Tear, the anger of Fugazi, the delicacy of Misplaced Childhood and the wry wit of Clutching at Straws - and combine all of these moods (and the musical underpinnings thereof) to form the core of their sound and take it in an entirely different direction from the one Marillion seemed to be pursuing at the end of the Fish era: more raw, more energetic, and significantly more complex.

Their compositions are simply stuffed with energetic solos and performances from the band's instrumentalists, whilst frontman Tomas Rozycki's passionate and confident singing style is genuinely individual and could give most other singers from major neo-prog bands a run for their money. A brilliant debut to a career which after this was, unfortunately, rather patchy and inconsistent. Still, there was at least one more widely-embraced landmark to come.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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