Archive for February, 2009

Merajut Makna Melalui Prog Rock (21 of 99)

February 28, 2009

Marillion “Script for a Jester’s Tear”

(Bagian Satu dari Dua Tulisan)

Derek W Dick alias Fish boleh saja menuangkan pengalaman hidupnya ke dalam suatu untaian kata yang kemudian ia sempurnakan saat mengawinkannya dengan komposisi musik yang ia ciptakan bersama teman-temannya dari kelompok Marillion. Karena memang demikianlah musik diciptakan, sebagai ekspresi atas kehidupan yang dialami musisi atau kejadian lain di kehidupan ini. Tak ubahnya sebuah buku yang merupakan penuangan sebagian dari episode kehidupan yang ingin ditonjolkan oleh pengarangnya.

Sah-sah aja bila lagu Script For a Jester’s Tear merupakan suatu dimensi kehidupan bernuansa muram yang dialami seorang yang mengalami cinta yang kandas, yang sebenarnya merupakan pengalaman pribadi Fish. Namun, seorang penikmat musik seperti saya, sah-sah juga menginterpretasi untaian lirik dan nada yang dihasilkan dari sebuah komposisi, tergantung pada nuansa pada saat mendengarkannya. Bagi saya, lagu ini menorehkan makna yang sangat dalam dikaitkan dengan nuansa yg saya alami saat itu. Sejak awal 1980an saya mulai risau dengan perkmbangan musik progrock ditandai dengan tergerusnya idealisme proggers dunia dengan industri musik yg saat itu didominasi oleh punk dan new wave. Ditengah kekeringan tersebut, larik pembuka:

So here I am once more

In a playground of a brokenheart

..memberikan makna yang mendalam seperti oase di padang pasir kering kerontang. Gimana tidak? Untaian tersebut udah cukup memberi hiburan super dahzyat yang mengguncang adrenalin dan semangat saya saat itu bahwa musik prog masih ada! Jangan salahkan saya bila kaset yang saya beli saat itu musti saya beli sampai tiga kali lantaran selalu rusak terlalu sering diputar. Jiwa saya melayang bahkan sempat meninggalkan karya-karya legendari kelompok prog tujuh-puluhan seperti Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, ELP, King Crimson. Sepertinya Marillion merupakan hero yg menyelamatkan progrock dari kepunahan dengam sajian musik yang solid berkualitas dan sangat kuat di unsur melodi. Inipun saya bisa salah karena mestinya bila melodi merupakan unsur utama, mengapa pula manuver nada yang dibangun pada setiap segmen musiknya menghasilkan suatu pengalaman emosional yang menggairahkan. Seolah, musiknya dibangun dari komposisi dan melodi belakangan. Lihatlah liukan musik yang selalu bergerak mulus dari bagian akhir yang selalu berubah, naumn kita tidak merasa perubahan tersebut. Seolah kita dibuai dalam sebuah kamar dan dibius kemudian tahu2 kita berada di ruangan lain yang lebih nikmat. Wah!

Setiap penggalan episode di dalam lagu berdurasi sekitar 8 menit ini memang terasa nikmat dan menorehkan kesan elegant, dikemas dengan musik yg sebenarnya sederhana namun indah. Tanpa memahami liriknya sekalipun, lagu ini sudah cukup untuk menggambarkan beberapa episode kehidupan. Dimensi kegalauan hati memang terasa menonjol dari musik yang mengalir. Solo gitar yang disajikan meraung-raung oleh Steve Rothery di bagian interlude sudah cukup memuaskan dahaga atas kerinduan permainan gitar solo musik Genesis atau Pink Floyd. Belum lagi keyboard Mark Kelly yang memberi aksentuasi musik simfoni di setiap penggalan musiknya. Bass Rickenbacker yang dimainkan secara lincah dinamis oleh Pete Trewavas juga merupakan faktor yg membuat musiknya gagah menawan. Mick Pointer menorehkan rofel drums yang mengesankan pada bagian transisi dan memantabkan bass pada saat rhythm section bermain. Olah vokal Fish? Jangan tanya lagi. Dia menyanyi dengan penuh penghayatan, mulai dari desahan, tereakan dan permainan nada rendah mengggelegar mengingatkan perpaduan Peter Hammil (Van der Graaf), Peter Gabriel (Genesis) dan Derek Shulman (Gentle Giant). Maka, sempurnalah lagu ini dalam dimensi tema dan makna sebagai penyelamat musik progrock yang hampir punah. Untung ada Marillion … Kalau tidak? Progrock mungkin sudah tinggal kenangan. (bersambung) – udah kayak sinetron aja!!!

Script for A Jester’s Tear – Interpretation of Song Elements


 

IQ “Ever”

February 21, 2009
5 stars A True Masterpiece of Neo Progressive album!

Friends .. something has gone totally wrong with me: how come I’ve been reviewing 572 prog albums in this site and I never touched this master piece album? Oh no … this is a fatal error! In fact, this album means a lot to me because it remarked the return of my trust with prog genre in 1997 / 1998. Why? Practically after Fish left Marillion, I did not see any future of prog music and I was not aware at all by the time this album was released. Until one day I visited my old prog friend, Ricky, ’s house in Bandung sometime in 1997/1998. He played me this album and it struck my head the first time he spun the CD for me. Fabulous music! I asked him on how he purchased the CD and he introduced me to Malcolm of Cyclops where I finally placed my order of this CD. Yeah man … prog’s back to my life again after practically 5 years (or so) I was a passive prog lover. What I mean “passive” was that I still proggin’ but I did not grow my collection – I just played old stuffs of Marillion first four albums, early Genesis, Pink Floyd, VdGG, Gentle Giant, IQ The Wake, etc.

As I mentioned at my review on “ForEver Live”, this album was uniquely released through a live performance that was recorded and released later in the double CD format of “ForEver Live”. So it’s a critical album as far as the band’s career in prog music arena. The masterpiece of masterpiece of six tracks presented here is Further Away where the band admitted themselves that this song which consumes 14 minutes duration was hard to play on stage. They dropped this track to be featured in the live CD after long tension during rehearsal. I have to admit that this track is so powerful in terms of neat composition, multi-part structure, many tempo changes with very smooth transition. It starts off with a mellow and melodic opening of keyboard and vocals, augmented with innovative bass work by John Jowitt. The first three minutes is truly a killing melody with harmonious sounds. At the end of of three minutes part the music blasts off in heavy mode with powerful soft guitar riffs and dynamic basslines. The excellent sonic quality helps elevate the great nuance of music with jaw dropping drum line. WOW! What an energetic music man ….!!! The song ends up with another mellow part with floating keyboard work. Masterpiece! (Note: whenever I play this album I always repeat this track for 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 times. It’s so rewarding my friend ….!)

Nothing is good track in this album as each track is totally excellent PLUS or masterpiece. The opening track “The Darkest Hour” has a hard driving rhythm and pounding bass lines augmented with keyboards. This rocking track with heavy 70s prog touch is performed excellently by the band. The band then provides a slower track with “Fading Senses” which has a catchy melody using excellent combination of Nicholl’s voice and long sustain keyboard work by Orford. “Out Of Nowhere” brings the music back into another upbeat tempo and high energy combining the work of drums, bass and keyboard nicely – in a sort of staccato style music. Powerful music. The two concluding tracks “Leap of Faith” and “Came Down” wrap the album excellently. These two songs also very strong in melody.

It’s actually not a concept album from IQ. However, listening (read: enjoying!) this album is like going through a series of parts in one cohesive story because the combination of melody, tempo, compositions and beats from one song to another have formed naturally like a journey, like following a story. I have no little complaint at all with this wonderful album; even the sonic quality is excellent. I always play this album with LOUD volume at my amplifier while reading the lyrics and sing together with Nicholls. It’s a great joy, I tell you ….

So, how would I recommend this album to you? Simple, GET IT man! Especially if you love symphonic prog with catchy melody in moderate complexity of the composition. Yes, most of IQ music are not complex but they are very enjoyable and accessible to many ears. This album is a masterpiece of neo prog album. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Keep on proggin’ ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild Mother Brown has lost her child …..

Progressively yours, GW

Studio Album, released in 1993

Track Listings

1. The Darkest Hour (10:52)
2. Fading Senses (6:36)
i. After All
ii. Fading Senses
3. Out Of Nowhere (5:10)
4. Further Away (14:30)
5. Leap Of Faith (7:22)
6. Came Down (5:57)

Total Time: 50:27

Line-up/Musicians

- Peter Nicholls / lead and back vocals
- Martin Orford / keyboards, flute, backing vocals
- Mike Holmes / guitars
- John Jowitt / bass, backing vocals
- Paul Cook / drums

Releases information

CD Giant Electric Pea GEPCD 1006 (1993)

Report this review (#62313) | Posted 4:28:52 AM EST, 12/30/2005

Copyright © Prog Archives, All rig

Peter Gabriel in Genesis

February 19, 2009

The scattered pages of a book by the sea.

Held by the sand, washed by the waves.

A shadow forms cast by a cloud,

Skimming by as eyes of the past,

but the rising tide Absorbs them effortlessly claiming.

1974

Peter Brian Gabriel was born February 13, 1950 in Chobhan, Surrey, England. Peter founded Genesis in 1967 along with original bandmates, Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford, and drummer Chris Stewart. Early Genesis buzz spread throughout Europe largely due to Peter’s flamboyant stage presence. The concerts made extensive use of black light with normal stage lighting subdued or off. This lighting often left the band as a group of silhouettes with Peter’s flourescent costumes and makeup the only other source of light.

Moonlit Knight

Old Man

Flower Poster

Haggard “Tales of Ithiria” – review

February 15, 2009

 Tales Of Ithiria by HAGGARD album cover
Tales Of Ithiria
Haggard Crossover ProgReview by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Wonderfully-crafted concept album, masterpiece composition! I have been listening to this brilliant album more than 25 (twenty five!) spins in its entirety. And until now when I am writing what it’s gonna be a long, novel-like, review I have never been or will never be bored with the music offered by this wonderfully-crafted album. There are two significant reasons that have made me entangled with this album especially enjoying it in its entirety. First, this album came to me just one day after israel attacked Gaza in December, 2008. The situation I experienced was in sad mood watching news on television and newspapers that many civil people, especially women and children were killed by tanks, apache and rockets. No human being will accept the situation, I am pretty sure about it. It’s not that I am a muslim, but the issue is truly a fatal tragedy in human rights. How can you let women and children being killed while the rest of the world were just sitting and watching the news? Unbelievable. And under that powerlessness, this album came to me. It blew me away at first spin because the nuance that this concept album creates is in away similar with what happen in Gaza. Well, even though the story of Ithiria is actually fictious, but the nuance created fits the situation of Gaza, really. Well, at least for me, especially.Second, apart from subjective situation I was experiencing by the time I had this album, this is a true masterpiece as it has successfully combined the heavy stuffs of power metal music, great and killing melodies of every single song as well as bridges between song, and well-crafted composition by merging all classical music string sections into heavy nature of the music, and solid story-line. It’s not it! Most people are actually do not like growling (refer to research conducted by Classic Rock magz where 75% of its readers do not like growling vocal). But with this one by Haggard, I think most people would love the growling vocal style offered here: it’s heavy, pretty clear and so powerful! In fact, whenever I listen to this album I always expect when the growling part will take place.

This album has much more to offer as it also has …

a great narration that sets the overall tone of the album …

The Origin (1:57) kicks off the album brilliantly with a heavy narration backed with beautiful string arrangements. Imagine you are in a dolby-stereo surround theaeter where the Lord of The Rings movie starts to roll. It’s something like that you might be experiencing when you start this album using decent home stereo in loud volume, in order to get the subtleties of the music. Well yeah, you should scrutinize any detailed sound produced by this album because you must get it right. As the narration rolls with the story of the Ithiria, the story before the war that gives complete picture about the situation. Observe when the narrator says “But it has not always been like that”. I bet you love the sound produced by this record. Don’t stop there, follow the next sentence: “1700 Years ago, during the celebration of the two moons ..” you will be blown by the sound when he says “two moons” .. oh man .. it’s so powerful and inspiring! And .. the peak of the peak of this wonderful narration is when the phrase is said in inclining mood: “And it seemed as ïf all hope had been forsaken.”. Oh my God ….this is truly great!

Tales Of Ithiria (8:07) is a very logical follow-up right after the inclining narration ends up beautifully. It flows with great duet male and female vocal with high octave notes followed with melodic and killing melody string section combined with stunning acoustic guitar. The mood is so sad ..it depicts like Palestinian who starts to defend their land. “My son, now listen what I say: Keep in mind what you have learned Wrap your fingers ,round your sword. Maybe you will not return. Thousands that we once have been. Only a few are still here. I’ve to give this sacrifice…” hmmm what a great speech by dad to his son! What follows is a melodic clear vocal by male followed by powerful voice of growling vocal says “… oh, the autumn brought us fear!”. Wow…! Man …this is the most powerful growling vocal that I have ever heard so far! The music that follows is basically a great (and weird?) combination of heavy riff power metal with maneuver of string arrangements using violin, cellos and other instruments. I find many surprises demonstrated by this song. There is a dark and sad mood combined with heroic yells through the growl.

Well .. I believe if you have open minded progressive ears, you must love this song. There is no reason for disliking it as it offers the beautiful combination of choirs, heavy riff metal music, wonderful string section and melodic notes all over the song. The structure of the song is also progressive as it moves in unpredicted way but every single move is done smoothly.

From Deep Within (0:26) is a narration that provides a transition to the next track “Upon Fallen Autumn Leaves”. Again, this narration is great and it guides us to the stage where by the time arriving at his farmhouse, he saw his father’s lifeless body pinned to the front door by two arrows. It’s a sad happening, really.

Upon Fallen Autumn Leaves (6:38) starts nicely with a classical music intro, similar with what Rhapsody (of Fire) has ever made. What makes this song unique is the high register notes the female vocal followed powerfully with deep and wonderfully growl “Moonrise …On my path…” supported with white-knuckle speed guitar riffs and double bass drum in typical power metal scene. This is song is the combination of heavy side of power metal, classical music, melodic singing, clean and growl vocals and string section with cello / violin. In fact the string section has successfully demonstrated the ability to do riffs that usually delivered with electric guitar. In this case the electric guitar riffs provide the foundation for the riffs produced by the string section riffs. It’s a fabulous idea, indeed.

The Germany lyrics that the female singer sings “Als ich nun wand´re auf dem Pfad…” enriches the song nuance, coupled with many breaks followed by male growling vocal. “Suddently ..Along the mountainside” . What I consider as the peak of the peak of this song is the part where the singing is performed in choirs fashion using this lyrical verse: “Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine / Et lux perpetua luceat eis / Te decet hymnus, / Deus, in Ithiria / Sanctus / Dominus / Quid sum miser tune dicturus / Requiem / aeternam. Il mistero / Valli di Ithiria.”. The choirs flow beautifully in an inspiring mood. The great and expected segment is the growling vocal That dimmers deep within / Night at Gildeon´s Woods. And the peak has not finished as it continues with heavy, powerful and wonderful growling section starting with Did you ever wander? / And you got lost on secret paths? Oh man .. I like this part. And the most beautiful segment is the subtleties produced by organ sound at minute 4:00 when the lyric says That saved you from the dark. Oh my God .. this is truly great. The growl yells again with “Moonrise…”. And then the similar choirs style follows with Germany’s starting with Wenn auch die Hoffnung in mir schwand..

In Des Königs Hallen (2:05) is a nice instrumental in dark nuance that serves beautifully as a bridge to the next track. It comprises a nice combination of organ / keyboard and string section with classical music style.

La Terra Santa (4:56) is another great track which starts in sad mood using classical music string section with killing melody followed with deep, heavy and clean male vocal in narration style (a bit). The way the male vocal sings depicts the situation of the war quite well. At the end of the second verse of the lyrics the vocal moves smoothly from clean to growl Oh God, don´t let my heart be WEAK tonight. This song serves as a motivational part for those who want defense their land against the attacker or Zionist. You might have known that Roger Waters in his album “Amused to Death” did say in the “What God Wants” song where God wants jihad , it seems like the similar situation appears here. And the hero tells the young with great and inspiring motivational words: I hope you don´t fear Neither do I / Bring me my sword / And kiss me goodbye / This time I hold you / Here in my arms / Will be the last. I am really touched with this segment especially with the perfect words used here. To me it transcends the situation in Gaza perfectly where young men were permitted by their mother to defense for their Gaza land expecting the highest return if they die as syuhada (seek the blessing of Allah The Merciful due to the jihad they have made). The sad situation is when the lyric says “When Ithiria falls … When Ithiria falls”.

Vor Dem Sturme (0:36) is a narration that says : Marching long and far, day turns to night. Scattered campfires flicker on 3000 mighty warriors who sharpen their swords and axes, never knowing ïf they won’t return.

The Sleeping Child (6:12) starts with classical music string section followed with power metal music in high speed. The first vocal part is a male growling vocal followed with choirs section after two lyrical verses performed. The blend of power metal and classical music is really nice here. The female vocal also delivers in its best high register notes followed with string section maneuver that indicates the return of the music to power metal scene again.

Hijo De La Luna (4:21) is a mellow song with female vocal sings in non-English language backed with classical music as its foundation. The string section serves as main component of this song even though the music has heavy guitar riffs as well. Whenever the music requires some accentuation, the guitar riffs serves as main platform of the vocal to sing. In every transition piece the string section serves critical role. It’s a catchy tune.

On These Endless Fields (1:04) is basically a narration towards the end of the story and it depicts the situation where the war fields have always produced battles between two sides – it’s similar like Gaza, isn’t it?

The Hidden Sign (6:25) confirms that all tracks provided with this wonderfully-crafted concept albums are all excellent as this one starts with classical music followed with the powerful guitar riffs. The interesting part is, off course, the growl vocal that follows. Not only that, the break section after the growl singing where the keyboard takes its part as a symphonic music (approx minute 2:00) followed with great female choirs and growl. Oh man .. it’s really great. Piano is also used in some of the breaks to strengthen the classical nature of the music and confirms that this album is rich with textures, strong in nuance, solid composition.

In Conclusion…

What can I say more about this album. And excuse me my friends .. I do not intend to bring you into this level of detail and long review that makes you getting bored with it. My apology on that. My intention is to make a high appreciation on this brilliant concept album. In fact I did try to write the review sometimes ago but I could not make it as the more I listened to it the more I think I should add. If you ask me to rewrite again next month the list of good things will come up on my next write-ups. But I should end here this time as it has been now three and a half pages of write-up already. It’s probably the longest that I have ever written for any music review. I can not help it.

I can only recommend you to buy this album and have your opinion about it. I bet you will view it at least four stars rating. Well you can discount my five-stars rating due to my subjective view about this album. Hey, this is similar like when I heard Marillion “Script for a Jester’s Tear” at the first time in 1983. I repurchased the cassette three times because the cassette worn out due to many spins that I made. If this “Tales of Ithiria” is in the form of cassette, I might have done similar with Script. There is no single day since December 28, 2008 that I do not play this album in its entirety. It’s like my daily bread (well ..in my case is “rice” because Indonesian prefers rice than bread).

A true masterpiece. Go get the cd!

Peace on earth and mercy mild. Keep on proggin’ …!

Memanfaatkan Waktu

February 15, 2009

Oi oi ..siapa dia?

Oi oi ..siapa dia?

Hari ini (10 Feb 09) saya menuju Jakarta dari Bandung menggunakan Cititrans dgn nomor badan CT42, jam 14:00 dari pool di Dipati Ukur. Sejak saya masuk kendaraan, saya melihat seorang wanita berkerudung tapi tanpa kalung surban (emang judul filem?!) yang asik membaca foto copy an dari paper. Pikir saya, ini pasti mahasiswa S2 karena melihat penampilannya sudah bukan lagi spt mahasiswi S1. Tadinya saya pikir dia hanya membaca sekilas saja. Saya salah, ternyata dia juga asik menorehkan stabilo boss pada kalimat2 kunci. Pasti serius nih, mungkin menghadapi ujian semesteran ya kali.

Seperti biasa dalam perjalanan Bandung – Jakarta atau sebailknya saya selalu memasang musik progrock di iPod saya. Saat ini saya pasang Blackfield II dari Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), setengah album saja. Setelah itu saya pasang Marillion “Clutching At Straw”. Saking nyamleng musiknya, saya pulas tertidur dan terbangun saat penggalan lirik “Racing the clouds home …” yg nadanya miris dari lagu White Russian mengalun indah sukotjowati merasuk sukma tanpa wati…. Mak bleng huenak tenaaan …. Herannya, si wanita ini masih tekun membaca khidmat tumpukan paper yang ia bawa. Wah …saya salut dengan ketekunannya. Huebat babat mataram tenan! Daya juangnya tinggi. Yang dibacapun bukan bacaan ringan seperti review album Marillion di http://www.progarchives.com, misalnya. Bukan juga teknik masak-memasak. Tapi yg ia baca bener2 heavy duty stuffs yang keliatannya scientific banget. Pas beliau membolak-balik kertas, sempat terbaca judul yang sungguh aneh namun pasti ilmiah: New qnr Gene Cassettes Associated with Superintegron Repeats In Vibrio Cholerae O1. Embuh, ini tentang apa. Yang jelas pasti bukan bacaan santai. Uediyan tenan. Salut saya!

Pasti, wanita ini bukan tergolong umat yang merugi karena begitu arifnya memanfaatkan waktu yg sebagian MarillionClutching at Straws  album coverbesar orang memanfaatkannya untuk tidur. Lihat saja, dari 7 penumpang yang ada di perjalanan ini, hanya beliau ini yg satu2nya melek terus. Yang lainnya pernah molor sampe ngiler, kepala terantuk ke kiri, ke kanan kayak wayang golek. Tapi wanita ini tetap tegar istiqomah dengan bacaannya. Saya jadi malu karena hanya mrogrock aja kerjaannya. Meski saya sadar bahwa tanpa mrogrock saya gak bisa berkarya juga (dasar konsultan! Ngeles muluk …). Namun wanita ini, tanpa mrogrock tetep semangat. Hebat babat mataram tenan! Mari, kita manfaatkan waktu sebaik mungkin …mengikuti anjuran Pink Floyd di lagu “Time”, supaya gak dimurkai Allah swt …. Makanya jangan banyak ngeprog. Kerja hayo kerja! Ngapain juga buang2 waktu baca tulisan ini! Hua ha ha ….. Peace on earth and mercy mild.

It’s a Miracle

February 1, 2009

Sebuah renungan yang baik dari lagu bertajuk “It’s A Miracle” dari Roger Waters, album “Amused to Death”. Musiknya bagus banget, apalagi liriknya. Minggu lalu sampai hari ini (Minggu pagi) saya meresapi lagu ini sampai diputar berulang kali termasuk keseluruhan album tentang kematian ini….

———

Miraculous you call it babe
You ain’t seen nothing yet
Roger WatersAmused To Death album cover
They’ve got Pepsi in the Andes
Mcdonalds in Tibet
Yosemite’s been turned into
A golf course for the Japs
The Dead Sea is alive with rap
Between the Tigris and Euphrates
There’s a leisure centre now
They’ve got all kinds of sports
They’ve got Bermuda shorts
The had sex in Pennsylvania
A Brazilian grew a tree
A doctor in Manhattan
Saved a dying man for free
It’s a miracle
Another miracle
By the grace of God Almighty
And pressures of marketplace
The human race has civilized itself
It’s a miracle
We’ve got a warehouse of butter
We’ve got oceans of wine
We’ve got famine when we need it
Got a designer crime
We’ve got Mercedes
We’ve got Porsche
Ferrari and Rolls Royce
We’ve got a choice
She said meet me
In the Garden of Gethsemane my dear
The Lord said Peter I can see
Your house from here
An honest man
Finally reaped what he had sown
And farmer in Ohio has just repaid a loan
It’s a miracle
Another miracle
By the grace of God Almighty
And pressures of marketplace
The human race has civilized itself
It’s a miracle
We cower in our shelters
With our hands over our ears
Lloyd-Webber’s awful stuff
Runs for years and years and years
An earthquake hits the theatre
But the operetta lingers
Then the piano lids comes down
And break his fucking fingers
It’s a miracle

Complete review by Gatot Widayanto @ ProgArchives.


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