Review by G. W. Hill
The bulk of this impressive set is purely instrumental. In some ways it feels like they use the songs with vocals as emphasis marks, while the rest of the album simmers away doing the real work. There is a definite electronic music vibe here, but the album feels more closely tied to progressive rock and fusion than to things like house music. This is artsy music with a real soul. Overall, the album is a great ride. This should appeal to fans of progressive rock probably more than fans of other styles. Yet, the music has a sort of universal attraction. It flows nicely and never fails to entertain. Yes, there is a progressive rock air throughout, but it’s more of mainstream feeling than anything overly complex or focused on a million notes a minute. This is a varied and intriguing journey.
Track by Track Review
Two to Three The opening piece is a beautiful number. It’s electronic in nature. It feels a lot like the shared ground between Vangelis, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and Synergy. It might be short, but it is still compelling.
Father “Father” is more complex and involved. It’s a powerful piece that has several different movements. While there are definitely some classical music elements at play, overall the composition leans more toward electronic progressive rock. There are segments that call to mind some of the more fusion-like stuff from Pink Floyd.
Half Duplex With more of a rocking energy, “Half Duplex” has a bit of that Kraftwerk thing in place, but also more Pink Floyd. The guitar soloing is particularly meaty and also brings a lot of that Floyd thing. Maniguruma This piece breaks with the established pattern of solely instrumental music. It’s gentle, classically tinged and very artsy. The electronic elements are still at play. The vocals are quite beautiful. The whole piece is on the mellower side instrumentally, but those vocals manage to soar above the base tapestry. The vocals really bring it into the kind of territory one might expect from Curved Air, mainly because the voice really does sound a lot like Sonja Kristina.
Venice Taking the album back to instrumental territory, “Venice” seems to dance along lines that are both fusion related and not far removed from Pink Floyd at times. It’s another satisfying piece.
Ostankino This is intricate and quite pretty. Its focus is more on the electronic music concept. It has some organic elements, but is more or less a melodic electronic tune.
Neige Another song with vocals, this is a bit more of a rocker, yet still remains measured and rather mellow. The vocals are not in English (French, perhaps?). The piece has some world music in the mix. It’s still electronic, too.
Different 8 Although some of the guitar soloing on “Different 8” calls to mind Pink Floyd, the piece is more like fusion. It has an echoey sort of texture and wanders into space at the end.
Art of Choice This is a more extensive and complex piece. It is another with vocals. It’s decidedly progressive rock oriented. It has a lot of classic prog sound along with more modern elements. The piano weaves some great melodies at times during the number. There are moments where the vocals almost call to mind Supertramp. The piece is one of the standouts.
Ohne Worte Taking the listener back into purely instrumental territory, “Ohne Worte” is a complex and dramatic piece of music. At times it has a mellower, almost classical vibe. At other points the rocking fusion reaches up toward Pink Floyd like territory. It’s a decidedly progressive rock oriented excursion for certain. Hold Me Tight Another with vocals, this has a more stripped back arrangement. It is set in an electronic music territory. Some comparisons to something like The Buggles wouldn’t be out of the question, but this is also closely related to Vangelis or even Kraftwerk. Some rock guitar brings another angle to it.
Feel The guitar soloing on the closer at times calls to mind Pink Floyd. There are also elements of Vangelis like electronic music built into the piece along with hints of Americana. It’s arguably the most hard rocking number of the set. Yet, it has mellower drop backs, too. It does a great job of bringing this to a close in style.
Review by G. W. Hill