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Bill Pohl (USA) - 1992 - "Solid Earth"
(45 min, "Long Dark Music" - LDCD2)
The Fool Pt.1 Light Years Threshold of Winter Bone of Contention New Frontier The Incognizance Solid Earth The Fool Pt.2
Produced by Bill Pohl. Engineered by Chris Shirley, except tracks 3&7 by Bill Pohl and John Livingston. Recorded at the CHRIS SHIRLEY SOUND Lab January through May 1992.
Line-up: Bill Pohl - guitars, vocals; John Livingston - drums, percussion; with Tom Main on keyboards (tracks 2,5 & 6)
To those our visitors who haven't read the review on the Underground Railroad debut album "Through And Through" click here. I would highly recommend to do it before reading this review. Then you'll get a clearer picture about both masterminds who created the aforementioned masterpiece - guitarist/vocalsist Bill Pohl and keyboardist/vocalist Kurt Rongey (the review on his first solo album can be read here). I'd rather not compare these two albums created by close friends, especially since Italian "Mellow Records" in the first quarter of 2000 released the second Kurt Rongey album, which presents Bill Pohl, however, as a full-time member. Originally performed and recorded around 1993, Rongey's second production called "That Was Propaganda" was not released either by (apparently) a friend's own label "Long Dark Music" (since Kurt's debut album "Book In Hand" was numbered as LDM-001CD) for some reason, but most likely, for financial problems, or by any other recording company until Italian "Mellow" done it, at (long) last. Unfortunately, I haven't heard this, as I guess, conceptual album about some 'Soviet' problems, as Bill, who sent me a package with wonderful journals and both - Kurt's and his own - debut CDs, didn't put it among these gifts. Otherwise I would 'create' an Overall View on all this wonderful 'conglomerate' - Bill Pohl + Kurt Rongey + The Underground Railroad (and they're currently in progress of recording a second TUR album). Despite the fact that Bill's guitar plays a prominent role throughout the album, it is impossible to put "Solid Earth" into the category of 'typical solo albums'. And although there are lots of Bill's (masterly and original, on the whole, - I don't like talking of some not obvious influences in general) solos here, most of the arrangements on the album are made in a way when each of the 'supporting' musicians could show their abilities too. In short, this is a solo album with a band-like sound. Since I've already said about the masterful and original style of Bill's playing, guitar lines and all the other structures of the music presented on "Solid Earth" are distinctively original. So, if the album's short description should probably sound as a guitar-based work of the Classic Art Rock genre, then the album itself, viewed separately, sounds exceptionally original. It's really hard (if not impossible at all) to compare it to any other existing albums. But, if Bill's (excellent) music on "Solid Earth" completely corresponds to my conception of originality as the main trump of any serious artist of any kind of Art, his album, however, is not so crowded with different musical ideas as his latest team-work with Kurt "Through And Through" under the 'banner' of The Underground Railroad. That's a real masterpiece, - not even an excellent album - even in the truest sense of the word "excellent".
VM. March 28, 2001
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