Friday, May 31, 2013

05/31/13 - I Brought my Pencil

Intro:  Hey folks, it's been a while.  I wasn't certain what I was going to listen to today, nothing was quite moving me and I remembered the project I started last year.  Now is the time to start this bad boy up again.

The Albums:
  • The Dreams of Man - Pallas
  • Drops of Jupiter - Train
  • Dub My Funky Groove - Timewarp Inc
  • Dubnobasswithmyheadman - Underworld
  • Duke - Genesis
  • Dulcenia - Toad the Wet Sprocket
  • Duran Duran (the first self titled one)
The Wrap Up:  

The Final Tally:
  • Winner

  • Growers

  • Keepers

  • Wibblers (no opinion one way or another)

  • Moodies (Albums for a certain mood)

  • Bleh

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    01/10/13 Review - Steve Hackett - Genesis Revisited II

    Artist:  Steve Hackett
    Album:  Genesis Revisited II
    Rating:  2 Stars


    So I love Genesis, new, old, blue, bold you name it, I'm a fan.  There have often been times that I've thought to myself that I'd love to hear updated versions of some of the old classics, seriously, who wouldn't want to hear Apocalypse in 9/8 with a Heavy Devy (Townsend) style wall of noise holding down the bottom as Clive Nolan soars through the keyboard solos with something other than a forty yer old organ.  

    Ok, I get it, maybe not everyone has that hope, I did though.  

    The one thing that I didn't want was a recreation of the original recordings as true to their initial recording as possible.  I believe that Phil Collins was considering doing an album recreating fifty's standards note for note.  He received a certain amount of ridicule from the prog community for this endeavor.  Unfortunately, for me this is the same basic concept, only with better starting music.  If I just wanted an updated recording of the music, I'd have bought the original 5.1 remasters that were reissued a few years ago . . . oh wait, I did.

    I don't mean to sound terribly bitter, but I was so excited about this release prior to buying it, when it came out, it sounded like another version of the originals rather than a remake.  The Mellotron was a fantastic keyboard in its time, it was a pioneering instrument, cutting edge.  That was forty years ago.  Same with the Hammond B3, it was fantastic and fresh in the heyday of progressive rock, but when today's keyboard players rely almost exclusively on these keyboards it sounds like they haven't moved on in forty years.

    We've moved past the electronic toms and Jan Hammer keyboards of the eighties.  If this album was to be an updated version of the seventies classics that I love so much, it failed.  It wasn't as much an update as it was a rerecording.

    Now, with that being said, there are still some highlights.  Some of the songs do have additional vocal harmonies which somewhat satisfies my 'time to do something different' twitch.  The Musical Box and Eleventh Earl of Mar both have harmonies added by Nad Sylvan that were welcome additions to my ears.  In addition, the expanded chorus in Ripples featuring the mixed choir of voices is absolutely beautiful.  The addition of the female voices adds a wonderful touch.

    I do realize that this album is partially a showcase album designed to create excitement about an upcoming tour of the material with Mr. Hackett's new band.  I am excited to see the tour and would even buy a live album from the tour.

    In the end though, I have to give this CD a two star rating.  While I would give five star ratings to many of the albums that these tracks originally appeared on, this release did not do enough to distinguish itself from the original songs and give it merit on it's own worth.

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    1/9/13 Review, Corvus Stone -

    Artist:  Corvus Stone
    Album:  Corvus Stone
    Rating:  3 Stars


    When looking at the top albums of the year on The Prog Archives, I noticed "Corvus Stone" as a common choice among my fellow collaborators.  As it turns out, Corvus Stone was formed through the power of the internet and it's ability to bring people together.  I was intrigued and found it on Spotify.

    The CD starts out wonderfully with a worldly sound building the tension through a series of effects and noodling weaving a soundscape that had me eager and ready for more.  I would love to say that the rest of the album lived up to initial soundscape.

    Both Pasi Koivu's keyboards and Colin Tench's guitars sound fantastic and they get a lot of time to shine on the mostly instrumental CD.  This is both a good and a bad thing.  While they're both phenomenal musicians, they did not start the project with a drummer or vocalist.  This makes the album sound mostly like a showpiece / jam album.  The majority of songs are relatively simple chord progressions with extended jams over lack luster drum programming.

    One of the highlights of the album gives an exciting picture of what is to come, "Ice King" features vocalist Blake Carpenter, a late addition to the band.  Mr. Carpenter's voice is a wonderful fit to the spacey atmosphere that they create, again hearkening back to the ambient soundscape that led the album off.  The addition of drummer, Robert Wolff, to the band, unfortunately came too late to save the album from the doldrums of the drum machine.

    Another highlight is the production, for an album that was recorded all around the world, the production sounds amazing.

    I truly look forward to their next release, the addition of vocals and live drums to the majority of the band will represent a huge leap forward.  In addition, additional musicians should help add some diversity to the song writing process.  Honestly, this is a good debut album and shows a huge promise of things to come.