Archive for July, 2009

Steve Hackett “Live Archives 70, 80, 90′s”

July 29, 2009

Siapa gak kenal Steve Hackett? Kalau gak kenal ya ndak usah baca postingan ini karena bakal BBW (buang buang waktu, tauk! ha ha ha ha ….).  Waktu Live Archives ini dirilis, saya ndak begitu tertarik .. karena paling ya gitu2 aja …. Tapi ternyata …WHOOAAAA… ini album live prog nan indah tenan .. Pokoke jangan ngaku suka proclaro (istilahnya mas Tom Crimson) kalau ndak punya CD ini. Wajib punya! Di boxed set ini juga saya kenal drummer keren yang namanya Hugo Degenhardt. Wah gila dah ini drummer mainnya kerrrreeeennn…

Karena begitu hebatnya live record ini, saya kasih ponten lima bintang dan review yang saya tulis di http://www.progarchives.com pun sangat panjang. Silakan baca kalau masih kuat membaca. Maaf saya ndak bisa meringkas karena memang doahzyatszzz!!! Silakan baca ndiri …!!! Salam, G

CD Advert

5 stars True Masterpiece Prog Live Act – great shows, great tracks, great musicians, and . crazy audience!

Really sorry for long review, but I just could not help it as this box set deserves detail review because it’s a precious set.

Having watched and completely stunned with Steve Hackett “Once Above A Time” DVD, I played back some of Steve’s albums including this live archives from my collection. For some of you, you might have known Steve only from his tenure with Genesis and probably still label him with something like “ex Genesis guitarist” and you might not know what his work after he left the band. That’s the same case with me when I got the cassettes of his first two albums, I still considered Steve as Genesis guitarist instead of Steve as a solo artist and never played the cassettes intensely. Until one time in a rock show performed by an opening act of Uriah Heep Live in Bandung, Indonesia sometime in 1980, I think. There was a local band that played Steve Hackett’s “Ace of Wands” excellently. It strike my mind really – so when I went home I played this song over and over. That’s the first love I got with Hackett music. I was hooked with “Voyage ..”, “Please Don’t Touch”, “Spectral Morning” and “Defector”. For me, Steve has produced many great prog tunes that I consider now as a classic, such as: “Every Day”, “Star of Sirius”, “Ace of Wands”, “Narnia”, “Clocks”, “Shadow Of The Hierophant”, and many more great tunes.

When this live archives CD came out, I was not really interested to purchase because I thought that I would get some standard version of studio tunes performed live. But, finally I purchased the CD because it was relatively cheap for 4 CDs set and for completing my collection. When I spin the CD, I was stunned with the fact that all 4 CDs contain great show recordings, great performance, great tracks and dynamic nuances indicated by the audience during the show. The four CDs span across live acts in three different venues: Hammersmith Odeon 30/07/79 (CD 1 & CD 2), Castel Sant’ Angelo – Rome 13/09/81 (CD 3), and The Grand Theatre – London 08/06/93 (CD 4). As I’m impressed with the contents of all four CDs, each concert deserves detailed review, I think. For those who do not like to read long review, my advise is: get this box set! You will not regret!

Hammersmith Odeon – London 30/06/79 CD 1: 55:32 and CD 2: 56:29.

The band: Steve Hackett (guitars, harmonica and vocals), John Hackett (flutes, guitars, bass pedals), Dick Cadbury (bass and vocals ), John Shearer (drums ) and Pete Hicks (vocals )

The show starts with an ambient keyboard solo performed very soft to give a nuance for the show. It flows seamlessly http://www.stevehackett.com/images/albums/708090s/stevebig.jpgwith “Please Don’t Touch” with the mark of dynamic drum sound in a very energetic mood with excellent guitar and keyboard works. The track is best to open the show as it has an uplifting style and it’s a classic prog tune. I can hear clearly how Steve guitar plays great sounds and its effects. The next track “Tigermoth” (from “Spectral Morning” album) opens with a classical guitar outfit followed by full music led by guitar work. The track has some segments with quieter passage in avant-garde style. It ends-up with a nice church organ and it continues with my all-time favorite Hackett tracks “Every Day”. This track has a simple structure – at the beginning part it seems poppy or straight forward rock song with some quieter passages in Hackett style. True adrenalin-exploding segment occurs when long guitar solo enters the scene. The guitar melody is really wonderful with some complicated fills by Hackett unique style and it goes into higher register notes, combined with flute sound. I usually repeat this track 2 or 3 times because I want to replay this part frequently. Great guitar, Mr. Hackett!

Another classic track “Narnia” (from “Please Don’t Touch” album) continues the show in an upbeat tempo. The slow style with eastern music flavor “The Red Flower of Tai Chi” (from “Spectral Morning” album) gives an excellent break on my listening pleasure and it then moves up again to a groundbreaking classic “Ace Of Wands” started with a dazzling drum. The intertwining works of guitar, keyboard and flutes are really good. Oh man . this is a wonderful track performed better in live version! It continues with “Carry On Up The Vicarage” in happy mood because the voice line is performed by children with programmed sounds and effects. Interesting track.

“Etude in A min” – “Blood On The Rooftops” – “Horizons” is an acoustic outfit. The audience seemed longing for this track especially when “Blood On The Rooftops”, all of the audience shout and gave applause. It is then continued with “Kim”, performed excellently with acoustic guitar, keyboard and flutes. The audience participant becomes really obvious just before and during “The Optigan” – “A Tower Struck Down” (of “Voyage .” album) are performed. A very good track composed in horror mood with variety of styles. CD 1 concludes with a classic prog tune “Spectral Mornings”.

CD 2 opens with introductions to the band members. The band then plays Hackett’s classic “Star Of Sirius” (from “Voyage .” album) with quiet opening – demonstrating keyboard and guitar fills in mellow style. The music then turns to full stream with bass, drums and other instruments in a faster tempo. The track performed similar with the studio version. An interesting track. The other classic “Shadow Of The Hierophant” that featured Sally Oldfield (vocal) in studio version is now performed nicely with this live record. “Clocks” (from “Spectral Morning” album) is performed dynamically as the audience participate in hand clapping during the tune is played. From the beats that follow the clocks it turns to a medium tempo beat music with stunning guitar in rocking style. It ends up with an excellent drum and percussion solo. An excellent performance! It seemed like this track was intended to close the show . but . the audience give more and more applause to request the band returns on stage. Finally they made to the stage with Genesis tune “I Know What I like”.

On Genesis’ “I Know What I Like” part, the audience is really getting into much more crazy and more dynamic to participate the show. It’s a great audience with thousands people in the crowd, I would say. This tune is suitable to play as “encore” role for the show. The singing style is modified to stimulate much audience participation, bass guitar is played differently combined with improvised drumming. Guitar work is extended and in some part features the “Dancing and The Moonlit Knight” combined with excellent flute sounds and piano / keyboard. It’s a great and dynamic live track. The ending part of this track is also modified in such a way that it differs with the original Genesis version but it’s nice and dynamic.

The music is then continued with “Wardrobe Boogie” in a great guitar improvisation in boogie style. It seemed, again, audience did not want to leave the venue with this encore. They clapped hands and shout for approx. 3 minutes – and it is not cut-off in this live record (thanks!) that indicates the “true” stage situation during the show – and finally the band came back on stage!!! What a crazy audience man! And Mr. Hackett said “It seem you force us to play another one tonight .” and the audience replied with “Yeaaahhh .!!!”. Now the band continues with “Racing In A” (from “Please Don’t Touch” album) in relatively long duration (10:15) and “Racing In A Coda” – an acoustic outfit by Hackett.

Even though the sonic quality of CD 1 and 2 is not very good, but it’s acceptable for me and the performance and the music are really wonderful!

Castel Sant’ Angelo – Rome 13/09/81 - CD 3: 74:50

The band: Steve Hackett (guitars, harmonica and vocals), John Hackett (flutes, guitars and bass pedals), Nick Magnus (keyboards), Chas Cronk (bass and vocals) – usually played with Rick Wakeman and Ian Mosely (drums) – whom later you would know him as permanent member of Marillion replacing Mick Pointer after the performance of Script for A Jester’s Tear tour.

As Steve put it in the CD sleeve “And don’t forget the crowd. They couldn’t have been more enthusiastic – spontaneously bursting into applause for anything that grabbed them, never mind waiting for solos. What I am saying is, that this show was, I think, possibly the best this line-up ever performed”. – this is a dynamic live concert.

The CD 3 starts off with a track from an under-rated album “Cured” with an instrumental piece “The Air Conditioned Nightmare” and it continues with another instrumental from “Defector” album called “Jacuzzi”. Both tracks receive great http://wpcontent.answers.com/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6a/SteveHackett.jpg/230px-SteveHackett.jpgapplause from the audience. After the opening two tracks, Steve introduces Nick Magnus and continues with third track “Funny Feeling” with vocal line. It’s a poppy stuff but it’s nice. After this track, Steve continues the communication telling the crowd how he felt at home with some local language.

He then introduce the next feature from “primo album” called “Ace Of Wands”. As usual, this is my all-time favorite track of Hackett, it starts with a dynamic drumming. The crowd give applause throughout the performance of this track. This track has been improvised in this live version. Before it continues with “Picture Postcard” which is another pop outfit – Steve does some communication again. The next three tracks are really my all-time favorite “The Steppes” (from “Defector” album), “Every Day” (from “Spectral Mornings” album) and “Overnight Sleeper” (from “cured” album). “The Steppes” is an instrumental piece in a medium tempo, blues based, with an eastern music nuance on guitar and keyboard styles. It’s an album opener for Defector album and it’s very nice and easy to digest. The guitar solo is stunningly performed here with soft touch on the guitar strings.

“Every day” receives great applause from the crowd as they clap hands when the song starts to blast the air. It seems they love this classic track. This has made this track more dynamic and lively. With many times this song featured in Hackett live performances, I still enjoy this version. Each version has its own nuance that I love almost all of them. This version has great drumming solo (very short) and some improvised part at the ending session. Well, it all confirms that Steve is better doing solo than as a guitarist of Genesis!

“Overnight Sleeper” opens with an acoustic guitar work followed with dynamic keyboard sounds with great melody. I love the opening part. One of my chief reason on why to buy the “Cured” album which most people under rate it was because of this wonderfully crafted song. In this live version, Steve does perform it with enthusiasm and fulll of energy as the song itself has variety of styles – that is also combining some traditional music with woodwind sounds. Oh man . this track is WONDERFUL!!!

Other three tracks are really Hackett true classics with great compositions: “Slogans” – “A Tower Struck Down” – “Spectral Mornings”. Yeah .. another great live performance! “Slogan” is performed really lively and has been improvised to feature extended guitar solo and drumming solo. Really greaaaatttt ..!!! It rocks man ..!! “A Tower Struck Down” is performed lively and continued without break to “Spectral Mornings”. It’s a killing track man ..

“The Show” (from “Defector” album) is an upbeat tune that can accommodate crowd applause throughout the tune performance on stage. It flows semalessly to the intro of “Clocks” (from “Spectral Mornings” album) that concludes this CD 3.

The Grand Theatre – London 08/06/93 CD 4: 70:54

The band: Steve Hackett (guitars, harmonica and vocals), John Hackett (flutes on “Kim”), Julian Colbeck (keyboards), Doug Sinclair (bass and vocals), Hugo Degenhardt ( drums and vocals).

On top of great performance of CD 4, one thing that stands out clearly with this live performance: the great contribution of Hugo Degenhardt. He is a fantastic drummer! Who is he? Well, for sure I have searched through the nets and I found very minimum info about him. He did contribute to Mark Owen “In Your Own Time” which John McLaughlin contributes as producer. I am keen to know about him because his drumming style is top notch! The other great musician in this line-up is Doug Sinclair (bass). You can see how great his and Hugo’s works on track 10 of this CD 4. Both musicians contributed in Steve’s “Dark Town” album.

From the start “Medley” where it features Myopia / Los Endos / Imagining / Ace Of Wands / Hackett to Pieces in relatively fast pace – sounds like a jazz rock fusion tune, it’s clear how powerful the drumming style of Hugo here. I think, “The Hugo factor” has in a way made a great contribution to the great performance of this CD 4! He sets the powerful and energetic tone of the show, I would say. It’s very dynamic!

“Vampyre With A Healthy Appetite” starts off with rocking guitar solo and followed with a medium tempo music that features guitar rhythm and fills. The harmonica takes the lead during interlude followed with bass guitar solo. In “Sierra Quemada” and “Take These Pearls” the band offer mellow and nice instrumental tunes. It continues with a classic track “In The Heart Of The City” – “Walking Away From Rainbows” – “There Are Many Sides To The Night”. A tribute to Steve’s wife “Kim” is also featured.

“Dark As the Grave” explores acoustic ventures with great sound effects. An interesting song. “Always Somewhere Else” is really a GREAT track that explores the talents of Mr. Hugo Deggenhardt and Mr. Doug Sinclair. Oh man . their dynamic play in this track is really superb! I keep repeating this track because wanting to enjoy more and more . Bravo Hugo! Bravo Doug! Bravo Steve! (who has successfully brought together great musisicians like Hugo and Doug in this wonderful live set!).

“Lost In Your Eyes” is not may favorite but it’s OK. But the “Medley: Spectral Mornings / Firth of Fifth /Clocks” – “Cinema Paradiso” and “In That Quiet Earth” are really excellent tracks! They are well positioned to close the show.

Newcastle City Hall – 26/10/79 & Hammersmith Odeon London – 30/10/78 [bonus-disc]

Well so sorry . I can not review this CD as I did not order through Steve’s website (poor me .) but I’m sure it’s another great show with crazy audience, especially those in Hammersmith!

OVERALL RECOMMENDATION

Before I make my final recommendation, I would emphasize on the sonic quality first. I would say the sonic quality is not excellent but it’s okay to my ears. On ten-scale system, I would put overall sonic quality rate is 6.5 out of 10 – with exception to CD 4: 8 out of 10. But, considering that this is a live archives and I still can grab the music in pretty detail manner, I have excluded the sonic quality in my overall recommendation. So, my final rating is 4 ¾ out of 5 stars. You are the final judge on your purchase decision. If you love Hackett era of Genesis, I would be pretty damn sure you would love this live archives. On top of music, the 40-page booklet is really nice as your prog reference. Long live Hackett!! Keep on progging!!!

Yours progressively,

GW – Indonesia.

| Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 30, 2005

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Live, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1: (55:32)
Hammersmith Odeon – London 30/06/79
1. Intro (2:00)
2. Please Don’t Touch (5:46)
3. Tigermoth (3:37)
4. Every Day (7:29)
5. Narnia (4:36)
6. The Red Flower of Tai Chi (4:03)
7. Ace Of Wands (7:23)
8. Carry On Up The Vicarage (3:33)
9. Etude in A min (0:37)
10. Blood On The Rooftops (0:18)
11. Horizons (1:58)
12. Kim (2:36)
13. The Optigan (1:29)
14. A Tower Struck Down (3:30)
15. Spectral Mornings (6:57)
CD 2: (56:29)
Hammersmith Odeon – London 30/06/79
1. Introductions (1:07)
2. Star Of Sirius (10:16)
3. Shadow Of The Hierophant (9:35)
4. Clocks (7:18)
5. I Know What I Like (8:50)
6. Wardrobe Boogie (5:02)
7. Racing In A (10:15)
8. Racing In A Coda (2:06)
CD 3: (74:50)
Castel Sant’ Angelo – Rome 13/09/81
1. The Air Conditioned Nightmare (5:00)
2. Jacuzzi (5:04)
3. Funny Feeling (5:07)
4. Ace Of Wands (7:47)
5. Picture Postcard (5:18)
6. The Steppes (6:50)
7. Every Day (6:28)
8. Overnight Sleeper (4:28)
9. Hope I Don’t Wake (4:25)
10. Slogans (5:18)
11. A Tower Struck Down (3:26)
12. Spectral Mornings (5:39)
13. The Show (3:52)
14. Clocks (6:08)
CD 4: (70:54)
The Grand Theatre – London 08/06/93
1. Medley: Myopia / Los Endos / Imagining / Ace Of Wands / Hackett to Pieces (4:46)
2. Vampyre With A Healthy Apptite (6:13)
3. Sierra Quemada (4:20)
4. Take These Pearls (4:56)
5. In The Heart Of The City (5:32)
6. Walking Away From Rainbows (3:38)
7. There Are Many Sides To The Night (5:20)
8. Kim (2:25)
9. Dark As the Grave (5:26)
10. Always Somewhere Else (6:17)
11. Lost In Your Eyes (5:02)
12. Medley: Spectral Mornings / Firth of Fifth /Clocks (8:13)
13. Cinema Paradiso (3:16)
14. In That Quiet Earth (5:20)
CD 5: (75:32)
Newcastle City Hall – 26/10/79 & Hammersmith Odeon London – 30/10/78 [bonus-disc]
1. Please Don’t Touch (7:53)
2. Tigermoth (3:41)
3. Every Day (7:26)
4. The Steppes (5:52)
5. Narnia (4:10)
6. The Red Flower of Tai Chi(3:02)
7. Sentimental Institution (2:38)
8. Star Of Sirius (9:39)
9. Spectral Mornings (6:42)
10. Clocks (5:29)
11. Ace Of Wands (5:05)
12. Hands Of The Priestess (6:04)
13. Racing In A (7:51)

Total Time: 05:33:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Hackett / guitars, harmonica and vocals
- John Hackett / flutes, guitars and bass pedals
- Dick Cadbury / bass and vocals
- John Shearer / drums
- Pete Hicks / vocals
- Nick Magnus / keyboards (Disc 3)
- Chas Cronk / bass and vocals (Disc 3)
- Ian Mosely / drums (Disc 3)
- Julian Colbeck / keyboards (Disc 4)
- Doug Sinclair / bass and vocals (Disc 4)
- Hugo Degenhardt / drums and vocals (Disc 4)

Four CD Box set + One CD bonus
This compilation is comming with a booklet of 40 pages and covers 3 decennies of HACKETT lives performance. Bonus Track CDs no 5 is avalaible on the official HACKETT web site only.

Releases information CD-Inside Out-IOMCD 090-UK-2001

Golden Earring “Wall of Dolls” – A Review

July 26, 2009

Kalau ngaku 70an, udah barang pasti kenal band yang namanya Golden Earring dari Belanda ini. Sebetulnya band ini sudah berdiri sejak 1961, namun baru album ke enam ‘Wall of Dolls’ atau ‘self titled’ yang berhasil karena komposisi yang sudah matang. Bagi saya sendiri, band ini saya kenal sejak kakak saya, Jokky W Hidayat, main ke Madiun (dia saat itu tinggal di Jakarta) membawa beberapa kaset termasuk Focus 3, Golden Earring (rekaman Peony). Kalau gak salah ya sekitar tahun 1974 atau 75 gitulah. Begitu denger lagu ‘From Heaven From Hell’ dan juga ‘Brother Wind’ saya langsung jatuh hati sama band ini. Baru beberapa tahun kemudian saya dengar band ini popular dengan hit nya ‘Radar Love’ yang belakangan dinyanyikan juga oleh band metal.

Beberapa minggu lalu saya mulai mendengarkan lagi musiknya Golden Earring melalui beberapa CD yang saya koleksi meski gak lengkap. Inipun gara2 saya lihat band ini masuk di situs http://www.progarchives.com. Makanya saya juga mulai menulis review nya di situs tersebut mulai dari album ‘Wall of Dolls’ yang dirilis 1970.

Golden Earring Golden Earring (AKA Wall Of Dolls) album cover

4 stars Golden Earring was one of the bands that colored my childhood in the 70s through their song ‘From Heaven From Hell’ taken from ‘Together’ (1972) album because my brother, Jokky, kept playing the cassette. Since then I was quite familiar with the music and I explored other albums like ‘The Wall of Dolls’ (Golden Earring). I was then aware that actually this Dutch band started in 1961 in The Hague. I always consider GE (not general Electric, of course) as rock’n’roll band with their compositions mainly using rhythm section as basic elements of their music. On top of that are the guitar, vocal plus sometime flute. This album is actually a sixth album while the previous five I have never heard it until now. One thing that I admire from this band who initially put The Beatles as their main influence is their solod line-up of Barry Hay (vocals, guitar, flute and saxophone, member since 1968), George Kooymans (vocals and guitar, founder of band), Rinus Gerritsen (bass and keyboard, founding member), and Cesar Zuiderwijk (drums and percussion, member since 1970). They have sold millions of albums worldwide, and they are the oldest rock band in the world that are still performing today. This year they celebrate their 48th birthday ? one year younger than me! (ooops! I’m getting old ?,oh dear ?)

Solid composition combining psychedelic and blues

The roots of their music are basically psychedelic, pop with some flavor of prog, using blues style in some of the compositions. Like in ‘Yellow And Blue’, the acoustic guitar at intro part layered by ambient flute work confirms their standing in psychedelic with bluesy style. It’s a killing track and it’s good being put as the album opener. As the music moves, it changes into energetic style maintaining good melody through the vocal line. The harmonies created through vocal and flute are excellent. It might reminds you to the music of Jethro Tull, actually.

‘The Loner’ relies in itself with the soft guitar riffs that bring the music into medium tempo composition with good melody. You can see the bass guitar playing is quite attractive throughout the song combined with catchy guitar riffs. The guitar solo is also stunning. ‘This Is The Time Of The Year’ brings the music into break with vocal line performance followed later with soft guitar riffs that bring the music flows in an attractive way.

The opening part of ‘Big Tree Blue Sea’ would definitely remind you to the kind of Focus / Jethro Tull music. This track has various styles as it moves from one segment to another. That makes a progressive move, actually, in terms of music structure. You might really categorize this as a prog song. The guitar solo and interlude at ‘The Wall Of Dolls’ are really stunning. ‘Back Home’ is like The Rolling Stones tune with flutework. The other excellent track is ‘As Long As The Wind Blows’.

Overall, I consider this album as an excellent classic rock album especially with its vintage style plus flutework. Keep on proggin’ ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild – GW

Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Yellow And Blue
2. The Loner
3. This Is The Time Of The Year
4. Big Tree Blue Sea
5. The Wall Of Dolls
6. Back Home
7. See See
8. I’m Going To Send My Pigeons To The Sky
9. As Long As The Wind Blows

Line-up / Musicians


Rinus Gerritsen / Bass, Keyboards
Barry Hay / Flute, Vocals
George Kooymans / Guitar, Vocals
Cesar Zuiderwijk / Drums

guests:

Bertus Borgers / Saxophone
Eelco Gelling / Guitar

Releases information

LP Capitol # 11315
CD Polydor # 8414222

DT cracks the US Top 10!

July 11, 2009

from Monte Conner (Roadrunner Records):

We did 40,285 units in the first week to come in at #6 (!!!)

That is DT’s highest US chart number ever, beating “Systematic Chaos” which charted at #19 back in May 2007 and until now was the band’s highest chart debut.

That is also DT’s highest first week units total ever – handily beating “Awake” which did 36,160 first week back in October 1994 (#32 on the chart). “Awake” was the first (and very heavily anticipated) DT album in the wake of the band’s previous breakthrough album “Images And Words” – with its smash hit “Pull Me Under” – and yet here we are 15 years later totally crushing it.

Previous DT highs:
Systematic Chaos:  35,689 (#19) – May 2007
Awake: 36,160 (#32) – October 1994

FYI, 4,783 of those sales were digital (over 10%), and we have actually scanned 40,591 to date because there were pre-release street violations of 306 units last week.

AND lastly, we are the #2 debut of the week. Below is the Top 10:

1  BLACK EYED PEAS E.N.D. (ENERGY NEVER DIES) \
2 JONAS BROTHERS LINES VINES & TRYING TIMES
3  SPEKTOR*REGINA FAR
4 MATTHEWS*DAVE BAND  BIG WHISKEY & THE GROOGRUX KIN
5 EMINEM RELAPSE
6 DREAM THEATER BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS
7  TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE F
SOUNDTRACK
8 LADY GAGA FAME
9 GINUWINE MAN’S THOUGHTS
10 HANNAH MONTANA HANNAH MOVIE SNDTRK

So there you have it. To achieve all of this 25 years into the band’s career is simply a monumental feat, not to mention it was done in a poor economy, where it is hard to find a real record store and where sales are down 52% since 2001 and probably down close to 20% this year from 2007.

Congrats to all!!!!!!!!!

<message edited by Portnoy on Wednesday, July 01, 2009 9:22 AM>

Karmakanic “Who’s The Boss In The Factory?”

July 11, 2009

5 stars Talking about Karmakanic we cannot ignore the existence of bands like The Flower Kings and The Tangent as they all actually big family. As far as The Flower Kings concern one of the musicians that I admire his skills is Jonas Reingold (bass guitar). In The Flower Kings he has played his bass guitar wonderfully and in fact he is one of the best prog rock bass players of the Karmakanic - Who's The Boss In The Factory? CD (album) cover90′s and 2000′s. Well, the third rebirth of progressive rock was quite impressive with bands like Spock’s Beard, Porcupine Tree, Transatlantic in addition to The Flower Kings. The interesting thing about Jonas Reingold was that during his spare time he composed music and joined forces with Roine Stolt, Jaime Salazar, Zoltan Csörz, Johan Glössner, Göran Edman, Robert Engstrand and Tomas Bodin, all prominent members of the progressive rock family. Karmakanic was born with good debut album ‘Entering the Spectra’ (2002) followed with ‘Wheel of Life’ (2004).

This third album titled as ‘Who’s The Boss In The Factory’ (2008) represents the best release so far. It sounds to me that the band has been perfecting their compositions learning from their previous two releases. The beauty of prog music is when we previously had an album that was not quite impressive and later on we find another excellent release of the band we try to trace back the older albums. That comes true with me as I spin this album and I start to have curiosity with its previous release ‘Wheel of Life’ which when I re-spin the CD again I have another perspective about the band. In general, Karmakanic I could say is the prominent prog rock band of the 2000s as this album proves to me.

Do not try to understand, just enjoy it …!

For me, this album is quite hard to understand and it reminds me to when I first enjoyed Yes ‘Tales from Topographic Ocean’ for the first time in the 70′s. I think I spun until more than 5 times and I still did not get it quite right in my ears, so was the case with ‘Topographic’. Then I remember with The Flower Kings ‘Paradox Hotel’ where I experienced similar thing. I felt that I was being ‘topgrahicized’ by Jonas Reingold and his friends. But when I tried to enjoy the music segment by segment I found the treasure on how great Reingold’s bass playing in any segment I paid particular attention to. Not only that ?Zoltan Csorsz’s drums as well as Lalle Larsson’s keyboard playing. And I then tried to shift my paradigm from trying to understand the music to just enjoy it.

The major cause is I think because the opening track ‘Send A Message From The Heart’ is an epic that does not sound quite catchy at first spin and it took me many spins to be able to enjoy it. The track that consumes more than 19 minutes duration has practically little orientation towards a song because it changes unexpectedly in medium to fast tempo. Melody-wise there is nothing peculiar that I can draw from the epic but when I look into segment by segment movement it started to create an enjoyment to me and it really grew on me. And .. well, yeah .. I finally really love this opening track and its powerful lyrics. The ending part of this epic sounds like the epic continues to Roine Stolte’s debut album titled ‘The Flower King’. I think the band did it intentionally.

http://www.reingoldmusic.com/pictures/karmakanic_group_picture.jpg

When the band plays the next track ‘Let In Hollywood’ (4:53), it does not really favor me especially the intro part that comprises acoustic guitar rhythm in fast tempo with energetic vocal line by Göran Edman. Unfortunately it’s not something that creates enjoyment to my ears. But as the song moves I like the way keyboard plays its solo in the vein of Chick Corea in ‘Return to Forever’. On top of that, the guitar solo is stunning and rockin’ ?

The title track ‘Who’s the Boss In The Factory’ (13:04) is another great track with intro part which starts with lyrical words ‘One by One ?step by step’ has similar style with Roger Water’s ‘What God Wants’ in ‘Amused to Death’ album. I think the band was not aware of it and it does not quite bother me at all. This song is quite unique as it blends beautifully the components of symphonic prog with jazz rock fusion style like Chick Corea’s ‘Return to Forever’ band. I can see clearly through the piano work by Larsson where he provides nice shot during the musical break where plays catchy notes softly and it moves wonderfully into jazzy music where piano takes the lead as soloist. Not only piano that sounds nicely, the guitar solo is truly stunning and rockin’ ..it reminds me to the guitar sound typically played by Mick Box of Uriah Heep fame.

‘Two Blocks From The Edge’ (9:51) starts mellow in the Floydian ambient through the use of guitar solo. The song moves with saxophone as soloist as well as rhythm section at background when vocal enters. The song features nice bass guitar solo in the middle of the song. I am really impressed with Reingold even though he does not play complex bass guitar solo but the sound is really great especially when it continues with guitar and sax solo. Acoustic guitar also creates good texture combined with stunning electric guitar solo by Krister Jonsson who plays in different style compared to Roine Stolt.

The closing tracks ‘Eternally Part I’ (1:51) and ‘Eternally Part II’ (6:21) make an excellent closure to this album, overall. With the first part focusing on piano solo in classical and jazzy style, it opens a great gateway to the next final track, Part II. Part II is a wonderful track with great combination of bass guitar solo and piano touch back beautifully by string arrangement. Bass guitar plays as main melody while piano creates fills strengthened by string section. When vocal line enters it sounds jazzy style with clarinet serves as filler at back ground. It’s a mellow track with great clarinet / soprano sax solo and excellent piano playing.

Conclusion

If I were requested to make review with only three spins of the album I would give only three stars rating because the music was quite hard to understand. But I have listened to this album in its entirety fo more than eight (8) spins and it really grew on me everytime I listened to it, I finally cannot afford to give this wonderful album with less than five stars. It’s really a masterpiece! Remember, do not try to understand the music! Just enjoy it segment by segment. If you cannot enjoy it, use Sennheiser PX-100 (PX-200 is better) headphone on your ears and play it loud. I believe you would enjoy it. Keep on proggin’ ..! ?because proggin’ is healthy and it cheers your life, definitely …!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild – GW

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Send A Message From The Heart (19:28)
2. Let In Hollywood (4:53)
3. Who’s The Boss In The Factory (13:04)
4. Two Blocks From The Edge (9:51)
5. Eternally Part I (1:51)
6. Eternally Part II (6:21)

Total Time: 55:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Göran Edman / vocals
- Krister Jonsson / electric and acoustic guitar
- Jonas Reingold / electric and Fretless bass, additional keyboards
- Zoltan Csorsz / drumkit
- Lalle Larsson / keyboards

Releases information

Released by Inside Out Music on October 27, 2008

A Simple Guide for Music Review

July 11, 2009

How do you rate composition? For me, there are five components that form a final rating of musical composition:

  • First, is the melody – i.e. the degree to which the main melody of the song is constructed from a combination of notes.
  • Second is the harmonies ie. how each instrument contributes in creating sounds and notes.
  • Third is the complexity of the arrangement i.e. the degree in which the instrument (including vocal) being played by the musicians and how they generate a piece of music stream or segment of the music.
  • Fourth is change of style i.e. how the style changes in a song which includes tempo changes and/ or heavy or soft musical sounds.
  • The last one (fifth) is the structural integrity i.e. the degree to which all musical segments, including changes of style, form a cohesiveness of the music as a whole  from start to end. The five components are very fundamental for me to assess my rating towards the music, especially progressive music.

I’ll See You on The Dark Side of The Wall (6/9)

July 2, 2009

Dear proggers,

Thanks a lot for your presence at spectacular show “The Dark Side of The Wall” on June 23, 2009 @ Kamasutra. You have proved yourself as a true progger and I do appreciate you very very much! High five for all of you who came there at the event. And I think, all of you must have agreed with me: … that was “the” very special night for all of us who are really true proggers. I know, the rest of you who read this blog  may disagree with me and I know the only reason was that because they were not there! Because of that, this group of people are basically not a true progger – they just like ‘blowing in the wind’ with no clear direction on what sort of music they actually intend to listen to. This has marked a very clear line that separate us from them – no wonder David Gilmour and Roger Waters composed what so called “Us and Them“. Those of you who attended are classified under “Us” and those who did not attend are classified as “Them“. (of course there is a distintive characteristic that differentiates us from them because for us there was a great album dedicated to us by Peter Gabriel titled as “us”. Yeah …! That album was intended to all of US! And .. so sorry there is no such prog musician that creates an album with “Them” as album title.

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As the event was so successful, I cannot afford to write a representative review for that yet. Even, if I could make it, it would consume a novel-long review which I believe you won’t be interested to read it. So, for the time being…let me bring you to the review at leading news paper KOMPAS.com. (this link can only be read by TRUE progger). Enjoy!

Salam,

G


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