Archive for May, 2012

‘Ghosts’ by Frequency Drift

May 18, 2012

Beberapa saat yang lalu saat mengulas sediti tentang Crossover Prog, saya sempat menyinggung Frequency Drift. Ternyata memang nyamlenk tenan musiknya. Dijamin melayang menikmati band yang menamakan dirinya cinematic prog – opo maneh iki? Prog Bioskop? Embuh .. Tapi nikmat tenan!

Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Crows (2:02)
2. Dreams (11:53)
3. Sadness (4:10)
4. Tempest (10:02)
5. Ringshine (2:56)
6. Dance No More (9:57)
7. Mermaid (9:44)
8. Come (7:54)

Total time 58:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Antje Auer / vocals, violin
- Sebastian Koch / guitars
- Christian Hack / guitars, flute
- J?rgen Rennecke / bass, stick
- Andreas Hack / keyboards
- Martin Fox / drums
With:
- Wolfgang Ostermann / drums
- Frank Schmitz / violin
- Rainer Hartmann / guitars
- Nerissa Schwarz / electroharp

 

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The flow that kills!

As we all know that many prog albums that refer themselves to book as their landscape to develop the storyline of the concept album. But then I find Frequency Drift positions themselves as cinematic prog band from Germany. I am not quite sure I understand this kind of prog subgenre, but looking at the CD artwork that has many graphic art and no photos of the band members it then confirms my understanding that this band use movies as their musical landscape. I am not a movie lover but I enjoy this album without any reference to any kind of movie.

The album starts atmospherically good with an opener Crows (2:02) that beautifully serves the coming of the next track Dreams (11:53). Oh man, I love this second track as it flows naturally from the opener and brings me peacefully through a series of different music moods from intro into end of the music. There is component of Pink Floyd with great insertion of violin to augment excellent vocal line. The guitar work is also stunning. I think the most enjoyment of this second track is its flow which is really great combining changes of mood, demonstrating great vocal, violin, flute work as well as guitar solo. It’s really a track with memorable melody enriched with excellent musical passages. It’s hard for you for not loving this second track, really! The violin work man …….it’s killing me! Especially with its follow-up of guitar solo! Try this one and I guarantee you will love it! Sadness (4:10) starts something Pink Floyd really – but of course with different energy. Again, I love the flow really! From the track starts I feel blown away throughout the song as the composition offers excellent articulation of every musical segment through excellent female voice backed with guitar and long sustain synthesizer at background. The next track Tempest (10:02) starts atmospheric using keyboard effects followed with nice piano fills. The music moves slowly followed with very nice guitar solo. Yes, you might refer to Pink Floyd even though it’s different. Again I enjoy every bit of musical segment while listening to this album. It creates great listening atmosphere if you play it loud while sipping a cup of coffee! Oh man ……what a life! It’s terrific!!!

Ringshine (2:56) serves like a short break through a musical silence exploring some musical instruments without drums. It plays its role nicely to bring the music into next long track Dance No More (9:57) which is another interesting track. If you love something psychedelic, you will find this song is great. It has great flow, excellent composition especially with its ability to bring wonderful listening experience through different kinds of moods. Again, I love the combination of excellent vocal and guitar – keyboard combined effort. I love the stunning guitar work! The rest two tracks Mermaid (9:44) and Come (7:54) are all excellent and I enjoy the violin work combined with piano fills at background. The concluding track Come really kills me through its flow and instrument solos at the end part of the song. Excellent!

Overall, I would rate this album as four stars PLUS because it has excellent composition and very good performance of the players. The dominant factor is the flow that is really great! You must have this album. Keep on proggin’ …!

Peace on earth and mercy mild – GW

 

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Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012

‘Union Live’ DVD by Yes

May 18, 2012

Baru kesampean nonton DVD yang sebenernya rekaman konser mereka tahun 1991 namun baru dirilis 2010 yang lalu. Wah, tak diduga sebelumnya, ternyata ini live concert yang menawan karena menampilkan hampir semua yang pernah main di Yes. Luar biasa!

DVD/Video, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

8 Aug 1991 Mountain View show at the Shoreline Amphitheatre:

1. Intro: Firebird Suite
2. Yours Is No Disgrace 
3. Rhythm of Love
4. Heart of the Sunrise
5. Clap
6. Owner of a Lonely Heart
7. I’ve Seen All Good People
8. Solly’s Beard
9. Saving My Heart
10. The Fish / Amazing Grace
11. Rick Wakeman Solo
12. Awaken
13. Roundabout

 

 

Review by Gatot 
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Could not imagine if I was there …….Well yeah, I might jump to the stage to express my gratitude having seen the band plays live with almost all who have ever played in Yes except Patrick Moraz (keyboards on Relayer album and some works in Going For The One album), Peter Banks (guitar on early days of Yes), Trevor Horn (vocals on Drama album – 1980) and Geoffrey Downes (keyboards on Drama album – 1980), Igor Korochev (keyboard – Open Your Eyes).. I can see the rationale of not bringing every ex members on stage as it’s too many and it might commercially not viable as they have to divide the revenues with so many people. But the idea of bringing most of them is really brilliant and it creates powerful nuance to the crowd who were there in the concert and also for me personally as one of the DVD viewers.

The moment is about right for me as I’ve just seen the band played live in Jakarta last month on 24 April 2012 at The Ritz Carlton Hotel Ballroom, Jakarta, Indonesia. The lineup was Jon Davison (Glass Hammer), Chris, Alan, Steve and Geoff. It was a great show despite Geoff’s inability to perform inventive licks usually performed by Rick. But overall it was excellent and I could not see the significant difference with the one I watched in 2003 with ideal line-up (including Jon and Rick) in Singapore. As the mood was really Yes, I started to make countdown from 35 days before the concert date with a series of articles and reviews about Yes in my personal blog. In the middle of that mood I found this DVD from amazon – the place I used to order CDs, books and DVDs. I clicked this one and Peter Gabriel’s New Blood live in London which I did not have a chance to see the DVD yet. This morning I had a chance to see this Union DVD and I was amazed by the concert filmed from 8 Aug 1991 Mountain View show at the Shoreline Amphitheatre.

I can not explain how I felt when I started to play the DVD as I was so happy beforehand knowing the eight members play together in a single concert. It starts wonderfully with their classic Yours Is No Disgrace with all eight members on one single stage. Right before watching the DVD, I thought the eight members would not play together. They would only play based on the song being performed – if it’s in the era of Trevor, then he would play his part. And in fact it’s not – they all share the same stage regardless what song being played with some exceptions. During this opening track Trevor Rabin play guitar at the first part of the song. But in the middle of the song, there is a wonderful guitar solo parts played by Howe at the first part and followed by Rabin. These two gentlemen play really well on each individual role. Their style is different but I really enjoy the solo parts. Trevor plays more rockin’ guitar style while Steve is typical classical / flamenco influenced style.

On the Rhythm of Love there is great guitar solo by Rabin followed with Rick solo. This is something I did not predict to happen as Rick was not involved in the studio version of this song. Right after the song finished Jon takes the microphone saying “Wake up and dream! This is something we remembered …something we forgot ..” and the music enters with Heart of The Sunrise. Wow! It’s a cool opening speech followed beautifully with nice music passages. The Chris Squire bass guitar solo at the beginning of the song is really amazing and I do enjoy watching his stage act. He once stopped playing his bass guitar and let the keyboard at the back played and he continued excellently. It’s really an enjoyment part for me to see long bass guitar solo at the beginning of this legendary song.

Jon then introduced Steve to play guitar solo using his acoustic classical guitar. As usual, Steve guitar solo has always been fascinating especially looking at how his fingers dance dynamically at the guitar strings. He played the energetic The Clap from The Yes Album and Mood For a Day from Fragile album. On the Owner of A Lonely Heart there were no Bruford at the beginning of the song. It’s because Steve needed to take a rest at the backstage after performing such a great solo. What really surprise me is the fact that Rick played his solo and he did it while walking to the crowd at the front row. Wow! At the end of the song, Bruford rejoined the band.

Jon was then communicating with the audience saying that the band had been on the road for 12 months and this performance was their last. He specifically asked the crowd to sing along when the band then played I’ve Seen All Good People. Right after that Jon introduced the brief history of a young boy who wanted to be a rock’n’roll guitar player. While Jon was introducing the young boy, Chris served a stool to be seated by that young boy whom Jon finally said …”This is rock and roll guitar genius ….Mr Trevor Rabin ….”. I have never seen Trevor played guitar and this is the first time I watch him playing acoustic guitar solo. It’s an excellent solo and it differs from Steve’s style. He played Solly’s Beard with his style partly influenced by Al Di Meola, I think.

Now is Chris’ turn to play bass guitar solo and he performed it really well through White Fish as well as part of Tempus Fugit. His combined work with Alan White on this bass guitar solo is really nice. Jon then introduced Rick to play solo. As usual, Rick’s keyboard solo always captivating and I do enjoy with his style. He played excerpts from his legendary albums Six Wives and Arthur. It’s really great! Trevor Rabin jumped into the stage while Rick played his solo to insert some guitar part.

Awaken

For some reasons, Awaken has been one of favorite tracks from Yes as it has great melody and composition including the wonderful keyboard solo at the end of the track. I have always loved Yes live records when Awaken is included in the setlist. It’s not about Rick who played it but in fact I also enjoyed when Igor Korochev played this track in Yes Live at The House of Blues. Right here, Awakanen was being played excellently, flawless with great contributions from all members of the band. I really enjoy Ricks’ keyboard solo at the ending part combined with Jon’s triangle work.

The ritual encore part is Roundabout. This track has never been left out in any performance of Yes – or may be most performance of Yes. Overall, I am very satisfied with this DVD despite the picture quality as well as audio quality are not that superb – but it’s OK to satisfy the hi-fi requirements or standard. For those who love Yes, this is the DVD that do not split the band between Howe and Rabin era as both of them are OK and you would not have a chance to think about it as this DVD is really excellent. It’s a four stars PLUS as far as rating. Keep on proggin’ …!

Peace on earth and mercy mild – GW

 

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Posted Thursday, May 17, 2012

TEMPO: Musim Prog Tiba

May 1, 2012

Majalah Tempo edisi 30 April – 6 Mei 2012 mengulas sepanjang 10 halaman berwarna konser Dream Theater dan Yes di Jakarta bebarapa saat yang lalu:

Ulasan 10 halaman berwarna untuk konser Dream Theater dan Yes

Jakarta di Memori DT

Oleh: Purwanto Setiadi – TEMPO

Untuk pertama kalinya Dream Theater berpentas di Indonesia. Dengan drumer baru, tak ada yang berkurang, justru seperti melepas beban.

Bersepeda dan menonton konser rock seharusnya menjadi paduan yang istimewa bagi Gatot Widayanto pada Sabtu dua pekan lalu. Sudah lebih dari lima tahun terakhir lelaki 51 tahun yang bekerja sebagai konsultan manajemen dan menggemari musik rock itu bersepeda ke kantor (bike-to-work). Pada akhir pekan pun, jika tak harus mengantar keluarganya, dia kerap memilih bersepeda untuk mengisi waktu. Dua pekan lalu, dia berencana gowes untuk menonton konser Dream Theater. Dia bahkan memesan jersey khusus, berwarna biru langit bersablon cover artwork album mutakhir band dari Amerika Serikat itu, untuk menjalani trip ke tempat pertunjukan di Ancol.

Cuaca tak bersahabat sejak siang membatalkan rencana Gatot. “Mulai jam dua, di rumah saya dan Bintaro hujan…, terus teman-teman di sekitar Sudirman bilang mendung gelap. Wah, nyesel pol,” katanya. Tapi dia tak mengurungkan niat untuk hadir di Mata Elang International Stadium, gedung yang belum sepenuhnya rampung dibangun dan menjadi tempat konser berlangsung.

Malam itu, setelah nebeng teman untuk sampai di venue, dia bergabung bersama sekitar 8.000–tua-muda–penggemar band yang dianggap sebagai pionir progressive metal itu. Lebih dari sekadar menonton dan melebur diri ke dalam antusiasme dan kegembiraan audiens, dia pun menjadi saksi band kelas dunia dari aliran musik yang luput masuk radar arus besar itu tampil di Indonesia untuk pertama kalinya.

Salah satu foto DT di majalah TEMPO

“Dream Theater, the most awaited rock band….” Begitulah baliho berwarna latar merah menyala di beberapa sudut Jakarta mempromosikannya.

Iklan yang tak berlebihan. Ketika lampu panggung meremang dan Dream Is Collapsing–lagu karya Hans Zimmer yang menjadi soundtrack filmInception–terdengar membahana, penonton yang hampir memenuhi gedung berkapasitas 10 ribu orang itu bagaikan mesin menganggur yang baru mendapatkan injeksi energi. Mereka seperti mengekspresikan keyakinan bahwa, pada akhirnya, band yang ditunggu-tunggu sudah di depan mata. Begitu suara mirip orang bersendawa di pembukaan Bridges in the Skyberkumandang dan disusul intro gitar bertempo cepat, hampir tak ada yang bisa menahan diri untuk menjerit, mengacungkan tangan, bahkan berjingkrakan. Layar telepon seluler berpendaran di segala penjuru.

James LaBrie, sang vokalis, muncul menyusul John Petrucci (gitar), John Myung (bas), Jordan Rudess (keyboard), serta Mike Mangini (drum) dan langsung tarik suara. Di bawah siraman cahaya lampu warna-warni yang menawan, dia menyanyikan cerita tentang pengalaman seorang shamanmelewati kegelapan jiwa menuju penyembuhan–semacam penemuan jati diri.

Blackness awakens/ Visions come alive

Seeing through darkness/ With borrowed eyes

Selama lebih-kurang 10 menit, kuintet ini menyajikan paduan riff gitar yang kukuh, melodi yang megah, interlude menawan, juga perubahan tempo dan birama yang mendebarkan serta volume yang menggedor. Inilah sesungguhnya etalase dari repertoar yang dibawakan dua seperempat jam malam itu.

Seluruhnya ada 15 lagu dalam paket setlist yang disajikan, masing-masing dengan energi dan kegairahan memainkannya seperti orang sedang bertemu dengan sahabat lama: 6:00Build Me Up, Break Me DownSurroundedThe Root of All Evil…. LaBrie, suaranya bertenaga dan tanpa cela, seperti berdansa di antara nada-nada meraung dan mendentam yang berasal dari kegesitan jemari Petrucci pada gitarnya, kukuhnya betotan bas Myung, dan luasnya eksplorasi bebunyian keyboard Rudess.

It’s Mike Mangini right there everyone!” LaBrie memperkenalkan sang penggebuk drum, wajah baru yang bergabung mulai April tahun lalu menggantikan Mike Portnoy.

Bukan semata aplaus, gemuruh sambutan penonton bisa dibaca sebagai persetujuan terhadap LaBrie, yang memang terdengar mirip seorang penggemar. “Dia (Mangini) tidak sekadar mengisi porsi Portnoy. Improvisasinya juga menawan,” kata Gatot, yang pernah menonton konser Dream Theater di Singapura pada 2006. “Kalau layar ditutup pun, orang tidak bisa tahu bahwa yang main bukan Portnoy.”

Mangini, bagaimanapun, memang salah satu pusat perhatian. Dalam 27 tahun riwayat Dream Theater, keberadaan drumer baru merupakan perubahan besar–barangkali tak terbayangkan sebelumnya. Portnoy bukan saja anggota pendiri, tapi juga sudah seperti, katakanlah, sutradara satu film atau manajer suatu klub sepak bola: dia diganti, maka keberadaan band atau setidaknya arah musiknya bisa sangat bermasalah.

***

Perkenalan dua sekawan Petrucci dan Myung dengan Portnoy adalah momen yang menjadi titik awal Dream Theater. Ini berlangsung di Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts, pada 1980-an. Dengan minat musik yang beririsan, antara lain menyukai Rush, Yes, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, bahkanband-band speed metal dan hair metal kala itu, mereka bersepakat membentuk Majesty pada 1985. Kevin Moore (keyboard) dan Chris Collins (vokal) melengkapi formasi.

Sempat merekam sejumlah demo, lalu mengganti Collins dengan Charlie Dominici, dan menukar nama dengan Dream Theater, mereka mengeluarkan album debut pada 1989. Tapi, karena promosi minim, album berjudul When Dream and Day Unite ini kurang bergaung.

Baru pada 1992, melalui Images and Words, dengan LaBrie menggantikan Dominici, mereka mencapai sukses artistik dan komersial. Kritikus menahbiskan album ini sebagai tonggak penting persemaian aliran progressive metal. Dan berkat Pull Me Under, salah satu lagu di dalamnya, Dream Theater memperoleh ekspose tinggi di radio-radio dan kemudian juga MTV.

Jalan menjadi lapang. Pergantian personel berikutnya–Kevin Moore keluar dan posisinya diisi Derek Sherinian, lalu Jordan Rudess menggantikan Sherinian–sama sekali tak menghalangi laju kreativitas. Album-album selanjutnya, meski tak menyamai sukses komersial Images and Words, kian mengukuhkan formula musik dan pencapaian mereka. Penggemar baru bisa dijaring. Awake (1994), album sebelum Moore mengundurkan diri, misalnya, menyadarkan Gatot, yang pada 1990-an merasa kehilangan musik kesukaannya, bahwa “musik progresif masih ada”.

Salah satu penggambaran gaya musik Dream Theater adalah ini: ada elemen progresif ala Rush, kegarangan khas speed metal, dan melodi megah yang bisa mengajak penonton sestadion ikut bernyanyi. Portnoy punya versi lebih ringkas: musik Dream Theater berfokus pada tiga elemen, yakni metal, melodi, dan progresif. Mau dipakai yang mana pun, tuntutannya adalah kemampuan bermain instrumen yang tak sembarangan.

Dengan itu, sampai saat merilis Black Clouds & Silver Linings (album kesepuluh, 2009), Dream Theater telah menjual sepuluh jutaan kopi album-albumnya di seluruh dunia. Mereka bisa dibilang sudah menjadi entitas bisnis dengan mesin uang yang terus berdering. Sukses di sisi lain: Petrucci, Portnoy, dan Myung juga mengoleksi aneka penghargaan, masing-masing dalam pencapaian sebagai gitaris, drumer, dan pemain bas.

Ketika, pada September 2010, Portnoy memilih keluar setelah usulnya agar mereka rehat dulu ditolak, Dream Theater, meminjam kata-kata Petrucci dalam satu wawancara, “berada dalam situasi yang asing”. Sesuatu yang tak terbayangkan terjadi juga. Tapi Petrucci dan rekan-rekannya memilih jalan terus. Melalui audisi yang melibatkan tujuh drumer yang dianggap paling jago sejagat, masuklah Mike Mangini. Bersama profesor di Berklee College of Music ini, mereka merampungkan A Dramatic Turn of Events, yang dirilis pada September 2011.

Sebagian besar materi dari album kesebelas itulah yang menjadi tulang punggung repertoar tur dunia mereka kali ini. Termasuk pertunjukan di Jakarta, yang ditopang peralatan seberat 8,4 ton.

***

Di panggung dengan backdrop tiga segi enam (atau kubus, dengan cara pandang lain) yang menjadi layar bagi tayangan beraneka klip dan animasi, malam itu Mangini terus menebar senyum di balik instalasi masif perangkat drumnya. Rambutnya tergerai, lebih panjang daripada saat mengikuti audisi tahun lalu, yang rekamannya disisipkan sebagai bonus di album terbaru. Dia melalui titian sempit antara kesempatan berimprovisasi dan keharusan memainkan bagian yang sudah tersusun ketat seolah-olah tanpa bersusah payah.

Namun kesan rileks dan lepas tak hanya terlihat pada Mangini, tapi juga pada Petrucci, Rudess, dan Myung. Mereka terlihat seperti seharusnya satu tim. “Itu salah satu beda konser ini dibandingkan dengan konser di Singapura enam tahun lalu,” kata Gatot. “Mungkin karena kini justru tidak ada Portnoy.”

Selepas Outcry yang penuh tikungan dan duel unison, tempo diturunkan sejenak. “Ini sungguh menakjubkan,” kata LaBrie sebelum mengambil napas menyanyikan The Silent Man dan Beneath the Surface diiringi gitar akustik Petrucci–momen kesekian yang mengundang penonton ikut bersenandung.

Dan momen kor datang lagi sebagai keniscayaan ketika Pull Me Underdibawakan di bagian encore untuk mengakhiri pertunjukan. Penonton kembali histeris sejak Petrucci membunyikan not-not intro pada gitarnya.

Lost in the sky/ Clouds roll by and I roll with them

Arrows fly/ Seas increase and then fall again

This world is spinning around me/ This world is spinning without me

Jakarta pun masuk ke memori Dream Theater. “Salah satu pengalaman konserDT terbaik,” Rudess ngetwit di akunnya tak lama setelah pertunjukan tamat. Gatot merasakan kesan serupa. Meski batal datang bersepeda, dia tetap merasa puas karena keinginannya menghirup atmosfer di antara audiens Jakarta–yang dia yakin pasti jauh lebih menggairahkan ketimbang di Singapura–terpenuhi.


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