Archive for September, 2009

Simon Says “Tardigrade” – A Review

September 28, 2009

Wah ,….saya seneng sekali hari gini masih ada musik yang warnanya seperti musik prog 70an ala Genesis, ELP … Ini band Swedia yang dahzyat sekali! Sialakan simak review saya yang puanjaaaaaaang pol ini:

Salam,

G

Simon Says Tardigrade album cover

Tardigrade
Simon Says Symphonic ProgReview by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Gatot says “Listen to SIMON SAYS!”
I know this Sweden band very late from their latest album Tardigrade (2008) and I regret not knowing it since their debut in 1995. It was a friend of mine who introduced me to this album only three weeks ago. Surprisingly it blew me away at first spin. It was actually quite complex in terms of composition and the melody is not as catchy you might have expected, may be. Well, at least for me when I first spun the album. So my knowledge about the band is limited only to this album and I have no comparison at all on how the band performed in their previous two releases.

Just before I go into detail, let me explain how good this album in terms of its composition, ie: melody, harmonies, complexity, change of style, and structural integrity. Even though the melody was quite hard for me to digest at first spin, but it grew on me when I spin more and more. And by this time, I have been listening to this album in its entirety for more than ten times. And ..surprisingly I don’t get bored at all with the music. Come to think of it, actually, I’d rather have a music which does not have catchy melody at first listen and later on it would grow steadily. I remember vividly how hard I digested Yes’ ‘Gates of Delirium’ at first listen. But now, that song from Yes is my best favorite track from Yes. So is the case with this album. The first time it was hard for me to accept the melody of the opening track ‘Suddenly The Rain’. It applies to other tracks in the album.

The harmonies created from the talents of the musicians involved are really great. Each musical segment creates its unique beauty combining the instruments which work in a balanced way and great vocal line. The music is quite complex involving multi-layered keyboards / synthesizers, Hammond organ, mellotron intertwined with great guitar playing, dynamic drumming and solid basslines. The complex part reminds me to the music of ELP even though major influence is from early Genesis (Hackett era). The album also demonstrates frequent changes of style that happen throughout every single song it offers. The most important part is on the structural integrity. Yeah, this album has an excellent structural integrity in each individual song AND the whole album, in a cohesive way. It’s quite strange, though, as this album comprises songs with varied duration from 0:30 to 26 minutes epic!

Having considered thoroughly on the composition and performance, I finally conclude that this album deserves a 4 ½ stars rating ? it’s almost perfect! Do you know why I retain ½ star from being masterpiece? It’s actually not a big issue at all, but I don’t feel it right if I do not put a NOTE on this. It’s basically on ‘Circles End’ track. The composition is actually great, perfect. But I have one concern: it has a pretty close style and nuance of Genesis’ ‘Entangled’ especially on the background keyboard work. You should compare it with Genesis ‘Entangled’ last part. No harm, no imitation actually .. but the nuance is so close… If you do not have any issue with this ..then you should rate this album with a FULL five star rating!

Let’s have a look on track by track basis …

This was what Genesis should sound after Hackett left the band!

‘Suddenly The Rain’ (14:47) opens brilliantly with a relatively fast tempo symphonic prog music with multilayered keyboards / synthesizer work combined with howling guitar work. Having demonstrated great opener the music slows down and let the vocal of Daniel takes part. His voice is excellent and most importantly he does not seem to force his voice to be Gabriel-like or Collins-like. If you know Citizen Cain, try compare Daniel’s voice with Cyrus. You will find the difference because Daniel’s voice sounds natural while Cyrus forces himself to be Gabriel-like. Or, you might compare with Unifaun’s vocalist who also forces his voice to be both Gabriel and Collins alike. The music then moves beautifully with many changes of style combining electric and acoustic guitar being used at the same time in this song. The music sounds like Genesis Gabriel / Hackett era. I am sure if you are Genesis fan, you must recognize this music even though the song is not an imitation of any Genesis song. All musicians involved in this album demonstrate their skills in a balanced way and all of them are very talented. Unlike The Watch in which the guitar player is lacking, Simon Says guitarist is really expressive in his guitar playing. The music turns different when it comes to minute 8:50 with catchy keyboard work. The music changes into marching style that reminds me to the music of ELP. Oh man.. this opening track is really GREAT! The guitar solo is really killing! If you don’t like this track, I challenge you with this intriguing question: ‘How prog are you man..?’

‘Tardigrade’ (3:43) is short track with energetic beats, running in relatively fast tempo, combining the style of Gabriel era Genesis with ELP. Through this fast tempo track I can see how each musician contributes brilliantly to the music. The drums run dynamically throughout the song, making a fast beat for inventive keyboard work, guitar, bass as well as vocal. You may compare how the vocalist sings with Gabriel. The guitar solo is stunning and it sounds very 70s! It’s not played like Hackett but it’s really great!

‘The Chosen One’ (5:44) is another excellent track with great acoustic guitar, keyboard and vocal work at the opening part. I did influence my friends on facebook by posting a link of youtube of this track. Some of them comment that the music is quite Genesis – like Cinema Show. But I think the opening part of this track is similar (in nuance) with Steve Hackett solo album, not with Genesis. But when the music performs its full instruments with bass guitar and drums, I can see the sound of Genesis combined with Patrick Moraz solo in Yes.

‘Moon Mountain’ (2:33) is a great instrumental with classical nuance using acoustic guitar combined with electric guitar. It’s excellent how the solo moves from acoustic to electric guitar. Brilliant!

‘As The River Runs’ (10:40) starts with an ambient nuance followed with catchy keyboard solo combined with organ and guitar fills. It’s a very nice solo and it reminds me to the music of The Flower Kings, especially when the drums enter in marching style combined with mellotron sound at background. I am sure you like this opening part and this song as a whole. When the music breaks with repeated guitar fills, it reminds me to early King Crimson – something like ‘Starless’. It’s very nice! Especially when the vocal enters in register notes. Oh my God .. I love this track. Especially on the inventive piano solo that starts at 4:12. it’s truly GREAT!!! When this part is playing, I kind like sing ‘My mind is clear now ..’ from Jesus Christ Superstar. After the great piano solo it continues with great keyboard work accompanied with complex arrangement combining bass guitar and drums. I think Genesis members must listen to this song…and I think this was what Genesis ought to do after Hackett left the band! The later part of this song contains great multi-layered keyboard / synthesizer work combined with guitar solo. It reminds me to ELP even though mostly dominated by early Genesis style.

‘Your Future’ (0:29) is just a computerized acapela followed beautifully with an excellent instrumental ‘Strawberry Jam’ (2:32). The opening bass guitar work is really solid and dynamic, combined with dazzling drumwork. The instrumental goes in fast tempo with guitar solo and inventive bass guitar and drum as the main attraction point.

‘Circles End’ (6:19) starts beautifully with guitar fills and vocal in low register notes followed with acoustic guitar work backed with nice keyboard with flute sound. When the mellotron enters, it creates a great musical nuances. Even though the melody is different, this song reminds me to Genesis’ ‘Entangled’ from ‘A Trick of The Tail’ album while the vocal sounds like Gabriel. You might imagine Gabriel sings ‘Entangled’. The part that sounds similar like Entangled starts at minutes 3:20 especially on the acoustic guitar work as well as the keyboard.

‘Brother Where You Bound’ (26:33) reminds me to Genesis’ Supper’s Ready even though this one by Simon Says starts with the full blast of music, not with acoustic one like in Supper’s Ready. This epic runs nicely from opening until end with many changes of style throughout the song. The song is special to me because I do not feel of getting bored from start to end because everything moves nicely and smoothly. The keyboard work reminds me to Tony Banks but sometimes to Keith Emerson. Surprisingly, in this epic there is a shot of Hammond organ that reminds me to the music of Procol Harum at minutes 5:50. If you have prog head and prog heart, I believe that you would love this epic!

‘Beautiful New Day’ (0:43) concludes the album with acoustic guitar and vocal.

So, what do you think? Do you think I am exaggerating the review? Do you think I am overrating it? It’s up to you to decide whether or not to have this album. The only thing I can guarantee you is that this album is definitely not a less than four stars! For me, it’s more than four stars because the composition is truly brilliant!

Tardigrade is much better than any Three-Piece Genesis albums (you name it!). In fact, it’s at par excellent as A Trick of The Tail or even Foxtrot. Try it out!

Keep on proggin’…..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild – GW

—–

Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Suddenly The Rain (14:47)
2. Tardigrade (3:43)
3. The Chosen One (5:44)
4. Moon Mountain (2:33)
5. As The River Runs (10:40)
6. Your Future (0:29)
7. Strawberry Jam (2:32)
8. Circles End (6:19)
9. Brother Where You Bound (26:33)
10. Beautiful New Day (0:43)

Total Time: 74:11

Line-up / Musicians – Daniel Fäldt / vocals
– Magnus Paulsson / keyboards
– Jonas Hallberg / guitars, percussion
– Matti Jarlhed / drums, percussion b-vox
– Stefan Renström / basses, keyboards, vocoder

“Musician” by SILVER (1976)

September 28, 2009

SilverBagi Anda yang hidup di jaman kaset bajakan di sekitar pertengahan hingga akhir 70an mungkin ada yang pernah punya kaset kompilasi rekaman Perina Aquarius warna kuning bertajuk SUPER HITS ACTION – 2. Salah satu lagu yang ada di kaset tersebut berjudul “Musician” dibawakan oleh kelompok yang menamakan dirinya SILVER. Lagu tanpa drum dan hanya vokal diiringi keyboard ini sangat indah dan liriknya sangat menyentuh, tentang sulitnya menjadi seorang musisi. Makanya lagu ini disebut juga sebagai It’s Not An Easy Life. Pada saat kaset itu beredar, saya sangat menyukai lagu tersebut karena melodi dan harmoni vokalnya begitu menawan. Untunglah beberapa tahun lalu saya beruntung mendapatkan lagu tersebut dari koleksi PH nya kolektor kelas Wahid Ali Gunawan. Hari ini seharian saya setel lagu ini berkali-kali ..indah sekali … Liriknya memelas dan sangat menyentuh.

Saya cari info band ini dan ternyata ada di wiki, silakan KLIK.

Apa ANda ada yang kenal lagu ini? Coba cari deh …keren banget!

Salam,

G

Musik+ Sarinah

September 25, 2009

Toko CD Musik Plus di Sarinah itu langgananku. CD nya bagus2 termasuk yang langka2 juga ada. Dulu saya dapet fasilitas diskon 10% kalau bayar cash dan bayarnya di toko, bukan di counter sarinah. Belakangan diskon itu dicabut karena rupanya ketahuan sama pemilik sarinah. Nasib dah …

Banyak CD Yes, Genesis, ELP, UK dan grup 70an lainnya dijual di situ termasuk grup prog rock baru seperti The Flower Kings, Spock’s Beard dll. Biasanya kalau hunting CD di sini saya bisa berjam-jam karena asik banget. Apalagi disediakan rak khusus classic rock – udahlah jadi gayeng .. Akhirnya kenal baik dengan salah satu supervisor di situ …makanya dapet diskon …ha ha ha …

Tempat ini menjadi rendezvous temen2 penggemar classic rock atau progrock. Seringkali kalau kita barteran CD ketemuannya di toko ini terus dilanjut ngobrolin musik rock di cafe terdekat …bisa di McD atau Hot Planet. Tapi karena cari yang sunyi kita belakangan ini sering kongko nya di Cafe Cartel di gedung seberangnya (Djakarta Theater). Di Cafe Cartel inilah obrolan santai jadi nikmat apalagi sambil nyruput Oreo Frappe yang top markotop nyus markunyus … Kalau waktu maghrib atau isya tiba, kita tinggal dulu buat shalat berjamaah di masjid Sarinah yang letaknya di belakang gedung Djakarta Theater ini. Masjid ini udah tua dan nuansamatik sekali.

Pernah dulu kita mau nonton konser metal dari band Helloween (German), kita charter bis dan kumpul di Sarinah. Kita naik bis bareng menuju Ancol (pantai Karnaval) buat nonton konsernya. Pulang dari konser, udah jam 23:00 kita sambung kongko di McD membahas konser yang baru saja digelar … Keeper of The Seven Keys …

Oh ya…kalau hunting CD di Sarinah gak puas, maka kita jalan kaki ke Duta Suara Sabang … asik banget …

Sayang anak muda sekarang lebih suka download MP3 ketimbang beli CD …

Salam,
G

Am Back to Blog!

September 24, 2009

Dear progers and clarockers!

Here I am back to life! I am ready to blog now. How are you? How is Iedul Fitri holidays? So tired sowan sono-sini sungkem ke pini sepuh? He he he …. Selagi lebaran dengerin apa aja? Kalau saya, begitu diumumkan pada Sabtu malam bahwa lebaran jatuh hari Minggu, langsung deh hari pertama lebaran bales dendam menikmati musik prog setelah sembilan hari sembilan malam puasa dari musik lantaran itikaf di masjid Jami Nurul Ikhlas. Pokonya kenyang dah menikmati musik prog pada hari pertama lebaran, bahkan sampe sekarang! Hanya ada satu band yang menjadi fokus pendengaran saya, yaitu sebuah band bernama aneh tapi musiknya keren: SIMON SAYS  (Sweden). Saya kagum dengan komposisi musiknya yang mateng banget dari album mereka terakhir “Tardigrade” (2008). Hari ini pun saya bekerja di rumah sambil menikmati album ini. Uediyan muanteb banget! Ntar saya tulis reviewnya dah …

Salam,

G

Selamat Idul Fitri

September 10, 2009

Fantasy “Paint A Picture” – a Review

September 10, 2009

Jangan-jangan masih banyak yang belum tahu band 70an ini ya? Musiknya sih gak sedahzyat Genesis, namun sangat 70an sekali sehingga wajib koleksi juga neh ….

———————————————————–

3 stars Another band from the seventies era that I only knew recently from a friend of mine who knew the band in the seventies. As this was released in 1973, the only connection I can make is that by that time Genesis had already released ‘Foxtrot’ and at the same time of Fantasy debut, Genesis also released ‘Selling England By The Pound’. And talking about Yes, they already released ‘Close To The Edge’ a year in advance and ‘Tales From Topographic Ocean’ was released at the same time with Fantasy’s debut. Nope! I am not trying to make a connection between Fantasy and Genesis nor Fantasy and Yes in terms of music style as they are NOT alike. My point is pretty simple: what would I think about Fantasy ‘Paint A Picture’ when I knew it in 1973 and at that time I had already been familiar with Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, ELP? Well of course I would not consider this ‘Paint A Picture’ at par excellent as ‘Selling England By The Pound’ or ‘Tales From Topographic’. Worse, maybe I was not interested at all with the music as the composition is so simple and nothing as complex as ‘Supper’s Ready’ or ‘The Battel of Epping Forest’ or ‘The Ancient’. See my point?

Well, I need to make that connection because I am afraid if I only make a review of this 1973 album that I knew only in recent years, I would tend to rate it higher to compensate my ‘mistake’ for not knowing the band for such a long time. I also want to avoid the ‘halo effect’ because of the feeling of peacefulness enjoying vintage record like this.

Composition-wise, nothing really spells out from this debut album of Fantasy. Each composition revolves around song approach where the music was most likely composed on top of previously written melody as typically pop song. In fact there are many pop elements in the music even though the music is much more to psychedelic prog. I may refer the music is in the vein of Procol Harum even though they are not precisely the same. But don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy spinning this album especially with its vintage sound and simple composition. All of the ten tracks provided here have good to excellent melody as this is a song-orientated album.

The opening track ‘Paint A Picture’ (5:24) lays down the overall tone of the album nicely with an atmospheric opening using long sustain keyboard as background of vocals. It moves in soft to medium tempo. The key of the song is on vocal harmonies backed with long sustain organ / keyboard work. The electric guitar sometimes provide its solo. It’s a psychedelic music, really. ‘Circus’ (6:18) is a nicely composed track with bass guitar providing the role of beet keeper combined with drums. The electric and acoustic guitar become a rhythm section that overlays keyboard sound. The interlude of the song is nice, exploring organ work backed with solid bassline and electric guitar fills. ‘The Award’ (4:52) brings the music back to mellow style with nice guitar work. The tempo is slow to medium. ‘Politely Insane’ (3:27) sounds like an unfinished pop song.

‘Widow’ (2:12) is a nice mellow track with catchy melodies and very nice acoustic guitar work accompanying vocal line. ‘Icy River’ (5:53) brings the music into much upbeat style at the opening part followed with a break using acoustic guitar work and organ sound. ‘Thank Christ’ (4:06) sounds like a ballad. ‘Young Man’s Fortune’ (3:41) brings the music in upbeat mode with organ and guitar as main instruments on top of solid basslines. ‘Gnome Song’ (4:19) is a nicely composed song in dark nuance using a combination of piano and catchy acoustic guitar work accompanying the vocal line. The acoustic guitar work is excellent. The album concludes nicely with an ambient organ work that remarks the intro of ‘Silent Mine’ (4:39). The concluding track is an organ-driven composition.

Overall, this is a good album and will favor you if you really love vintage music. Composition-wise there is no complex track offered here, but I am sure you would enjoy the album. Keep on proggin’ …..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild – GW

Fantasy Paint A Picture album cover


Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Paint A Picture (5:24)
2. Circus (6:18)
3. The Award (4:52)
4. Politely Insane (3:27)
5. Widow (2:12)
6. Icy River (5:53)
7. Thank Christ (4:06)
8. Young Man’s Fortune (3:41)
9. Gnome Song (4:19)
10. Silent Mine (4:39)

Total Time: 44:41

Bonus tracks on remaster (Lake Eerie 2005) taken from Fantasy – Beyond The Beyond:

11. Beyond The Beyond (5:37)
12. Reality (2:58)
13. Alanderie (9:01)
14. Afterthought (5:51)
15. Worried Man (2:56)
16. Just A Dream (3:32)
17. Winter Rose (3:27)

Line-up / Musicians

- Paul Lawrence / 12 string guitar, vocals
– David Read / bass, vocals
– David Metcalfe / keyboards, vocals
– Peter James / lead guitar, vocals
– Jon Webster / percussion, vocals

Releases information

LP Polydor 2383 246 (1973)
CD Polydor KK ERC-29229 (1991, Japan)
CD Lake Eerie LER 43007 (2005, remaster)

Please Don’t Add

September 7, 2009

Kalau saya bisa bikin musik prog kayak Steve Hackett, barangkali judul albumnya “Please Don’t Add”. Lho, apa hubungannya sama Hackett? Karena hari ini di FB saya terdaftar ada 888 Friends! Kebetulan banget lho! Opo tumon??? Makanya, jangan kasih tahu temen2 ya bahwa saya punya account di FB. Kalau temen nambah bisa berabe nih ..ndak lagi 888!!!

Please Don’t Add!

Salam,

G

Bila YES Masuk Islam …

September 7, 2009

maka…inilah yang terjadi:

Sumber: Ary Kurniawan

Wass,

G

Steve Hackett “Cured”

September 5, 2009

Kalo ini progrock fanart dari Mita Hapsari: (maaf, jangan terus berbuka puasa liat foto ini ye …he he he ..):

Menurut saya, foto di atas adalah plesetan dari Steve Hackett CURED:

Steve Hackett Cured  album cover

Bener kan, Mita?

Fanart Mita lainnya keren2 lho! Coba aja KLIK disini.

Salam,

G

Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side 1
1. Hope I don’t Wake (3:46)
2. Picture Postcard (3:54)
3. Can’t let Go (5:39)
4. The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (4:42)
Side 2
5. Funny Feeling (4:02)
6. A Craddle of Swans(2:47)
7. Overnight Sleeper (4:30)
8. Turn back Time (4:19)

Total Time: 33:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Hackett / guitars, bass, vocal
– Nick Magnus / keyboard, drum machine
– Bimbo Acock / sax on “Picture Postcard”
-John Hackett / flute on “Overnight Sleeper”, bass pedals on “The air-Conditioned Nightmare”

Releases information Lps-Epic-FE 37632-Can-1981
CD Virgin 2007 (remastered with 3 bonus tracks)

Ramadhan ala ELP

September 4, 2009

Dari foto albumnya bro Ary Kurniawan di Facebook ada gambar keren ini:

Tuoooooooooooobbbzz!!!!!!!!!!

Salam,

G


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