ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


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Falygos (Italy / Sweden) - 2003 - "Stigmatized" ******

Falygos is an Italian band, which is led by the Swedish composer and musician Gabriel Hermansson: he plays an acoustic guitar and sings here. The other musicians on the album include Paola Raccanello (cello), Valentina Messina (violin), Valentina Pochettino (flute), and Simone Pavan (piano). The 20-minute "Stigmatized" is the debut mini-CD of the band. There are five tracks on it, three of which are songs (2, 3, & 4), and both of the 'boundary' tracks of the album are instrumental compositions. Consisting of diverse, complex, highly virtuosi and, at the same time, very beautiful interplay between passages and solos of acoustic guitar, those of piano, cello, and violin, and solos of flute, all the contents of this album represent nothing else but Classical Music. Most of the instrumental arrangements are here in the state of a constant development, which is regardless of whether they support the vocals (in English) or flow free. This music is of a dramatically romantic character and is unique by all means. Highly recommended! (The CD will soon be distributed through Musea Records.) content

First Band From Outer Space - 2006 - "Impressionable Sounds..." *****+
(68 min,
Record Heaven)

It was Ken >(KW) who reviewed the previous album by this Swedish band, "We're Only In for the Spacerock". I haven't heard it, so their new CD, "Impressionable Sounds of the Subsonic", marks my first acquaintance with their work. The album includes eight tracks ranging from five-and-a-half to thirteen minutes, and all of them suit well my personal taste. This quartet (drums & vocals / guitars & vocals / bass & synth / flutes) performs heavy space rock-meets-space metal with elements of fusion, psychedelic and electronic music, which, while manifesting numerous influences, sounds surprisingly fresh and compelling. Try to imagine something that blends together Hawkwind, Clear Blue Sky, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Gong and Ozric Tentacles, and if the result impresses you, be sure you will be delighted with this CD as well. content

Fish (UK) - 1997 - "Sunset on Empire" ***+

I will return to the best and only one decent album, as I think, for such an imposing person as Fish, ex-Marillion vocalist. Appraised by most critics as the hour of triumph of his solo-career (though, fortunatelly, it was appraised as not in the least a masterpiece), "Sunsets..." is, in my opinion, just a second decent album from Fish's extremely mediocre, on the whole, creation. This album sounds mostly as hard-meets-soft-rock than Progressive: simply nice songs with a small quantity of decent arrangements, all made by Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree. Incidentally, for the first time Fish has a chance to be compared with the now very weakened Marillion. Self-release of "Dick Brothers Records". content

View From The Rating Room:
Flamborough Head (Holland) - 1998 - "Unspoken Whispers" ****

Genre: Neo (Symphonic) Art-Rock
Manifestations include: Classic Art-Rock (all-instrumental pieces: tracks 2,5,7)
Playing Time: 54 min
Label: "Cyclops"

Themes: interesting and original on the majority of the album's tracks
Arrangements: more or less complex and varied just on a half of the album's tracks, whereas all the songs are quite accessible, though melodious
Performance: masterly on all-instrumental tracks, but a bit boring on others (an excellent keyboardist, good rhythm-section, and openly weak guitarist)
Vocals: very ordinary, usual voice; poor and monotonous vocal themes and arrangements
Producing: good, all-instrumental tracks (such a hallmarks of the album!) are successfully mixed among the compositions with the obvious domination of vocalist
Sound: satisfactory: not bad, though not good either

Overall Rating: **** (thank to all-instrumental pieces)

Flower Kings, The (Sweden) - 1996 - "Retropolis" *****+

There's no secret that about one half of compositions from "Retropolis" were written by band-leader R. Stolt in the distant '70s (hense it follows the title of the album), but all over rearranged. And the rest consists of the latest songs created specially in the same vein. It's possible, that it is the main reason why this album has become an almost masterpiece of Symphonic Progressive, whereas two previous works were made in conformity with the laws of Neo (one of the best Neo that I've heard, though!). After all, it is well known, that melody and accessibility are the standards so as to join British Classic Rock Society whose members The Flower Kings are. Thus, "Retropolis" is by far the best album of this Society. And it is worthless to ignore that (the best album of 1996 year CRS declared Pendragon's "The Masquerade Overture"). On the whole, most compositions from 70-minute "Retropolis" are quite comparable to the songs from the middle (1976-1980) period of Yes, Genesis, etc. All of these tracks, as well as any Flower Kings' album, were created without any open musical influences, with the exception of only one thing: vocals from excellent guitarist and composer Roine Stolt often is not unlike John Wetton's. The presence of King Crimson's spirit in its different forms is a regular phenomenon among most Swedish bands. content

Flower Kings, The - 1997 - "Stardust we are"(2CD) *****

Album after album, they are back every year and with over 130 minutes of music on this one. They have preserved the last year's vigour, and more than one half of the compositions there are high-grade Symphonic Progressive, though the rest, in comparison with album-predecessor, shows working backwards to early colourful, more accessible forms. Incidentally, these quite different songs were well intermixed, so another very good album is added to the band's discography. As usual, this one also is released on band's own "Foxtrot" label. content

Flyte (Holland) - 1979 - "Down Dancer" *****
(39 min, "Musea")

I can't say the only album by this Dutch band is filled with intricate and intriguing arrangements, which, for example, was typical for Arachnoid's only album released the same year and by "Musea" as well. However, the moderately complex Classic Symphonic Art-Rock, presented on "Down Dancer", is marked by a wonderful warmth and charm. They're typical not only for the music of Flyte, but also for Lu Rousseau's vocals. I'd even say in the latter, they're especially evident. As for Lu himself, he was undoubtedly one of the most unique singers - at least within the framework of Progressive Rock. However, it must be mentioned that all lyrics for this album wrote percussionist Hans Marynissen. content

Fonya (USA) - 2000 - "Sunset Cliffs" *****

This is a very unexpected album from the direction of Chris Fournier, who is, probably, the best Solo Pilot of all instrumental progressive rock in the history of this genre. Yes, up to now our amazing multi-instrumentalist has released only fully instrumental albums, so his "work of the Millenium" is the first Fonya proGduct with vocals.Of course, Chris worked on "Sunset Cliffs" one as an acolyte, as always. The only instrumental track on the album is the last one, and the others contain his vocals alongside the instrumental "fields". It is obvious that Chris has changed his usual "structural" way even in the instrumental arrangements. And although stylistically this way remains very original, structurally this is quite an avant-garde side of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock closer to early Yes, as an example. So, this music is not so easy to quickly comprehend, rather, it is necessary to listen to it several times to have a clear idea of what Chris has shown himself capable. Please pay a special attention not only to the guitar / keyboards solos, but also to as if pulsating solos (!) by the bass guitar. Of course, the work of the whole rhythm-section is also outstanding. Vocal themes are interesting and quite diverse in themselves, but Chris's vocal range is not so extensive to reproduce all the possible shades of a wonderful lyrical "polette" he's conceived. Also, I can only hope that the majority of traditional fans of Fonya / Fournier will appreciate this album (a step forward, on the whole) properly. This CD is available on-line via credit card at: content

Free Souls Society - 2006 - "Fiction At First View" ***
(56 min: 10 tracks, Record Heaven)

According to the press kit, "Fiction At First View" is the second release by FREE SOULS SOCIETY from Sweden. Apart from the keeper of the project's name, as well as being its songsmith, Patrik Skantze (vocals, bass, guitars and keyboards), the lineup on this album includes Christopher Korling on drums, Eva Bjorkner on vocals and flute and Patrik Ohlin on cello and bass. The music is straight-ahead mainstream pop Rock with elements of Euro Disco (think ABBA), and since it has almost nothing to do with Prog, I see no reason to enlarge on the matter. content

French TV (USA) - 1995 - "Intestinal Fortitude" *****+ (71 min, "Pretentious Dinosaur")

One of my dearly loved works from French TV together with "The Violence of Amateur" (1999), though the latter album contains more adventurous RIO-like structures. "Intestinal Fortitude" consists of six quite diverse songs, but all of them, including few tracks with vocals and a cover-version of Van Der Graaf's Pioneers Over "C", are brimming with exceptionally diverse, innovative arrangements, changes of moods and tempos. All compositions from this album demonstrate a unique, very original mix of Classic Symphonic Art Rock and Jazz Fusion, but despite many jazzy moments I have to notice: the Symphonic structures form the basis in this interesting work. content

Fritsch, Eloy - 2006 - "Past & Future Sounds" ****+

Keyboardist Eloy Fritsch is above all known for being the primary mastermind behind the Brazilian neo-prog band Apocalypse. However, he also has several solo albums to his credit. "Past & Future Sounds" is his latest release and is a compilation of 16 instrumental compositions, most (precisely three fourths) referring to his past work, regardless of what the title of the CD may suggest. Four previously unavailable pieces add nothing new to Fritsch's traditional sound, typical of each of his earlier solo creations. In all, the album is synth-based electronic music with either distinctly symphonic or spacey-avant-garde tendencies. Although the recording is not devoid of some attractiveness, as well as progressive elements, the CD can only be recommended exclusively to fans of the said style.

Musea Records

Fruitcake (Norway) - 1994 - "How to make it?" ***+

Led by the drummer/vocalist Pal Sovik, this Norwegian band performs quite decent Neo. Their music is accessible, very melodious and not without a touch of originality, which is also typical for Scandinavians, on the whole. The band of "Cyclops". content

Fugu (France) - 2000 - "Harmonia Maudit" *****
(56 min, "Musea")

Fugu was formed by the ex-members of the known French band Eclat Philippe Trossi (guitars) and Thierry Masse (keyboards), and the other musicians that feature Fugu's debut album are L. Bencini (bass) and F. Pasqua (drums). "Harmonia Maudit" is an all instrumental album and musically it lies far from Eclat's stylistics. Actually, the music of Fugu's debut album represents a blend of Jazz-Rock and Classic Progressive, that is real Jazz-Fusion, though the motives of Classical Music are pretty much noticeable in some of the arrangements too. Seemingly ubiquitous, Philippe Trossi's electric guitar moves and the solos, all of which are remarkable, play a prominent part on the album as a whole. It is also okay when the tight work of the rhythm-section is just a kind of excellent background for both the main soloists in the band. But the lack of keyboard solos from maestro Thierry Masse makes an overall picture of the album less colourful than I may have expected to see (to hear, sorry). That said, this is the only weak spot of this excellent and on the whole highly original "Harmonia Maudit" album. content

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ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages