Solution, The Ultimate Collection, 2005

solution - ultimate collectionYesterday and today I spent my available listening time to the 3 CD package that is The Ultimate Collection by Dutch classic prog band Solution. It had been sitting on my want list for quite some time, so I was very anxious to find out how it would work for me.

The first disk was the hardest to get into. It is mainly instrumental music, with a lot of sax. Musically very challenging and competent, but takes more time for me to digest. Disk 2 weighed a little less. Some beautiful melodies and also vocals. Makes it easier to enjoy.  The 3d disk is labelled as a bonus disk, but is the most interesting for me. Not only because it contained the only songs I knew before buying this set, but also because this is the most melodic side of Solution. Hey and finally some guitar solo´s! Maybe because a lot of material on this disk is live. It just seems to have a touch more power behind it.

The material on these CD´s sounds excellent, a remastering job done well. Especially considering the time table; 1971 – 1983.

Personal Play tips: French Melodie, On My Own, Black Pearl, It´s Only Just Begun, Runaway

Karl Jenkins, The Armed Man, 2001

karl jenkins - the armed manRecently my father in law mentioned he bought an album based on a song he heard on the radio. He thought I would like it as well so played me the disk. It turned out to be a classical piece by Karl Jenkins, The Armed Man. Subtitle ” a mass for peace” .  The subtitle gives it away I guess. It is a mass, but nog in a strict sense. Songs include a Kyrie, a Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Benedictus as well as several other pieces  of music. Used Languages in the singing are Latin, French, Arabic, English, etc..

He asked me if I would be so kind as to translate the story behind it. I did and thought it was a worthwhile cause. There can never be to much peace in this world, or?
The first minute of the music did not do much for me, some marching drums? Right, heard it before…. He just smiled and said ” wait for the Sanctus”.  And I must confess: that hit me hard. What a great use of harmonics, what a tension. Absolutely stunning and very inspirational.

Despite the rest of the album not being as instant as the Sanctus, I think this is a truly beautiful album with a great message. Highly recommended, even if you´re not religious. Just to make sure, this is a classical piece of work, so no guitar solo´s or hard hitting drums. But worthwhile for any serious music lover. The singing sometimes reminded me of Carl Orff´s Carmina Burana, but all in all, this work has it´s own character. Give it a try!

Personal Playtip: Sanctus, Hymn before Action, Agnus Dei

Site: http://www.karljenkins.com/index.php

Magic Pie, Motions of Desire, 2005

magic pie - motions of desireThanks to a great sell out action from the good folks at ProgRock Records I was able to lay my sweaty hands on a batch of so far unknown bands (to me that is).

An album that I liked instantly upon first play was Motions of Desire, from Magic Pie.  I believe they are from Norway, and recently suffered the loss of all their equipment due to the burning down of their rehearsal room. So hopefully I can encourage some more people to buy one of their records as I believe they deserve it.

Why I like this record?: lot´s of melody, great Hammond playing, riffing guitars, and multi layered vocals always do it for me 😉 The way they are able to combine the strengths of bands like Spock´s Beard, Deep Purple or Uriah Heep, with some pop sensibilities puts them high on my favelist. Plus they don´t shy away from playing epic tracks, without making them sound forced. Just lots of light and shade. Oh, and their guitar player knows his way around the frets, awesome!

The production is spot on, so all I have left to say is; find the albums and buy them! Personal play tips: Change,  Motions of Desire, Without Knowing Why

Site: http://www.magicpie.net/kat/000046.asp

Kayak

kayak - close to the fireKayak - Coming Up For AirRecently I bought some cd’s from Dutch band Kayak. Kinda lost track of them after Periscope Life (1980), but I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. I listened to “Close To the Fire” (2000) and “Coming Up For Air” (2008).

And some more albums are waiting to be heard.

In comparison to the older work I know, the dynamics have improved. By this I mainly speak of the guitar work; it is at times more heavier than I recall. That said; I like it a lot. Adds more bite to the music. Also the voice of singer Cindy Oudshoorn is a welcome addition to the sound of the band. I should mention however that both albums are recorded with a somewhat different cast.  But the rest of the band knows what they are doing also. Most players are accomplished musicians and veterans on the scene. Shame drummer Pim Koopman died unexpectedly not so long ago.
Still the trademarks of the band are there; melodic, varied, sometimes even radio friendly songs. But for the proggies amongst us, they still know how to write some decent and varied tunes.

Personal Playtips:

  1. Close to the Fire:
    Close to the Fire, Crusader, Two Wrongs
  2. Coming up for Air:
    Alienation, Man in the Cocoon, Time Stand Still

If you haven’t heard from them in a long time; go check them out again, it’s worth it!

Site: http://www.kayakonline.nl/

Hello world!

This is the first post on this new blog. Always exciting 😉

First let me explain a little; as a musician myself I am becoming more and more tired of reviewers who lack the decency of paying enough attention to the music they are about to review. This results in obvious mistakes (ranging from wrong country, wrong discography to making the guitarist the singer, etc.). Also they sometimes don’t seem to understand the effort that goes into recording and releasing an album. Not all music is instant, the least one can do is acknowledge that… In my book good music improves on repeated listening and thus withstands the tests of time.

So I figured, hey, I listen to a lot of music myself, why not share some of my thoughts about it. And while on it, create a platform for others to contribute to…

So here it is, ENJOY and please, feel free to comment!