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Horizont (Russia)
Overall View


Discography:

1985/2000 - "Summer In Town"
******

1989/2000 - "The Portrait of a Boy"
******


1985/2000 - "Summer In Town" ******
(38 min, "Boheme Music")


1. Snowballs 8:34

2. Chaconne 10:37

3. Summer In Town 18:46

All compositions written by S. Kornilov and arranged by Horizont. Recorded in Moscow, 1985, by A.Vetr & G.Lazarev.

Line-up: Sergey Kornilov - keyboards; Vladimir Lutoshkin - guitars, flute; Alexey Eremenko - bass; Valentin Sinitsyn - drums; Andrey Krivilev - vocalize, keyboards; Igor Pokrovsky - vocalize; and: Yuri Beliakov, Sergey Alekseyev - voicess

Prologue. While there have been plenty of excellent Progressive Rock groups in the USSR, Horizont (Horizon) was, in my view, the best among them. The band was formed in the mid '1970s in the city of Gorky (now Nizhni Novgorod, i.e. Lower Newtown, named so after another, Great Newtown, in Russia) by a few schoolmates. Along with Arsenal Horizont was one of the most active 'live' bands, playing concerts usually with an invited string ensemble. The band gave hundreds performances on tour, including its native town and, apart from the titles included in both Horizont's LPs, there were lots of new compositions, including the whole "Fahrenheit 451 Ballet", recorded during shows, but it's hard to say where those unique recordings have ended up now. After the fall of the USSR Horizont, similar to many other USSR progressive artists, dissolved in the chaos of events together with their works. Now, thanks only to a truly progressive activity of the people at "Boheme Music" in search for the 'Soviet' musical legacy we now can enjoy (and will continue to do so as long as "Boheme" carries on this way) a wonderful possibility to familiarize ourselves with this creative output. As for the Horizont musicians, it is sad that nothing is known even about their further fate.

The album. Horizont was a group of experienced, mature, profound proggers long before the recording of their debut album. "Summer In Town" was composed and recorded at a time when the musicians were already going to stop being "a Classic Symphonic Art Rock super-group with highest compositional skill and musicianship" (a quote from the well known, one of the most 'progressively thinking' composers in the USSR/C.I.S., Yuri Saulsky) and started to search for new, (even!) more complex musical structures. Unlike many other Soviet progressive bands, including such quite famous an act as Autograph, Horizont was dubbed as a "Chamber Instrumental Ensemble", and not a rock-group, already on the cover of their debut LP. But it becomes clear why actually a rock band was named differently just after a couple listens to "Summer In Town". Both compositions from the album's "Side A" (LP talk) stand for clear-water Classic Symphonic Art Rock. Snowballs and Chacconne, striking their unique balance (a union!) between high complexity and a melodic beauty as if taken from the first half of the 1970s, are wholly comparable to the best works of the genre in the heyday times. However, thanks to their overall futuristic sound a better point of comparisons would probably draw from "unvocal" Yes in 1972-1974. A 'side-long' titletrack sounds distinctly unusual and unexpected in comparison with the first half of the album. That's what the band had been searching for by the mid "dark decade" of the '80s - newer musical forms. The "Summer in Town" is nothing less than another manifestation of RIO - alongside with Neo-Classical music one of the most complex and intriguing genres created in the 20th century. And unlike Snowballs and Chaconne, here there's no place for comparisons regarding the album's centerpiece.

Summary. Well, RIO. Such a 'fulminating', avant-garde, complex, probably really revolutionary mixture of Progressive Rock (often of all the three main progressive genres together - like in case of Happy Family, for example) with, mostly, Neo-Classical music. It's a kind of Neo-Classical music itself. I would call RIO eternally young music for its plasticity and, thus, 'ability' to create new fresh musical forms in itself with ease, whereas all the other progressive genres are much more 'conservative'. Actually, I would go as far as to name RIO another one 'independent' Progressive Rock genre together with the 'Holy Three' of Art Rock, Prog Metal and Jazz Fusion. If I should search for the fifth element* like the heroes of Luke Besson's movie of the same name* I would probably find it right away. Since all the Marillion etc poor imitators like Grey Lady Down, Galahad, etc play all in all somewhat related to (wretched) Progressive, I feel the need to form a Pseudo Prog section on ProgressoR quite often. Back to the Horizont debut album's third composition, I only want to add that it's a good example of RIO plasticity. From the first to the last note "Summer in Town" has that typical yet extremely unique RIO sound, the most 'electronic' and innovative I (perhaps you, too) ever heard within the genre. Dark, complex and highly magnificent, this piece creates a mind-blowing impression. And that was just a beginning... Are you ready for more incredible music from "another branch of the RIO-tree"? Then wait just a bit.

"Boheme Music" website is at: http://www.bohememusic.com/

The CD ordering is via e-mail: boheme@iol.cz

VM. January 2, 2001


1989/2000 - "The Portrait of a Boy" ******
(40 min, "Boheme Music")

Tracklist:


1. The Portrait of a Boy  19:50

(Suite in 3 movements)



2. Prelude Fis moll 4:06



3. Guy's Solo 3:36

(the fragment of Horizont's "Fahrenheit 451 Ballet") 



4. The Final 8:21

(of "Fahrenheit 451 Ballet") 



5. Vocalize 3:49

All compositions written by S. Kornilov and arranged by Horizont. Recorded in Moscow, 1988, by A.Vetr.

Line-up: Sergey Kornilov - keyboards; Vladimir Lutoshkin - guitars, flute; Alexey Eremenko - bass; A. Pavlenko - drums; Andrey Krivilev - vocalize, keyboards; Igor Pokrovsky - vocalize, guitars

Prologue. A complex philosophy, full of dark and gloomy idioms, covers "The Portrait of a Boy", the second and, unfortunately, the last Horizont album, from the first to the last note. It will be quite correct to mention now that "Side A" of the band's previous album is like a northern yet bright sun in comparison with this cold nocturnal music, as if taken from a mad genius's nightmare.

The album. I think, the "side-long" title-track of this album is one of the most complex and intricate "epic" instrumentals ever created in the Progressive Rock genre. The freaking conglomerations of strange and unusual, often atonal, sometimes as if illogical (maybe, ill logical?) musical structures (you have never heard before) with a wide-variety of 'hidden things' - that's what, in my view, would be the most correct description of A Portrait of a Boy suite. Other compositions are practically of the same 'musical quality': complex and intricate arrangements, a dark and sometimes even sinister sounding of each piece are the things that are typical for this album as a whole. But, despite the fact that with such epithets like 'dark' and 'sinister' "A Portrait of a Boy" can justly be compared to the famous Univers Zero's "Heresie" album, Horizont's music is, however, not as sinister as in "Heresie". Although both these works have also the same stylistic roots (see Summary), "A Portrait of a Boy" is probably the only 'RIO album' which was (specially) performed with electric instruments only, and so - this is probably the only 'RIO album' which sounds so futuristically and, perhaps, urbanistically. More. While using the vocalizes is the most rare thing concerning RIO in general, their presence here - with a very specific sounding which, at the same time, always meets a 'current' musical situation looks simply wonderful, and so - much more than just defensible. Two parts of Horizont's famous "451 Fahrenheit Ballet (one and a half-hourly conceptual work, based on Ray Bradbury's self-titled novel and performed tens times during the band's live shows, was probably their most fascinating work ever), whose complete recording was irretrievably lost, shine on the album like diamonds.

Summary. It is probably obvious for most our visitors that ProgressoR contains, perhaps, the largest collection' of reviews dedicated to a kind of music, whose abbreviation RIO has already become a common noun (whereas, at least the original meaning of Rock In Opposition lost its topicality and urgency already many years ago). So I'd want you to believe me if I conclude this review with the next words. "A Portrait of a Boy" represents the most unique manifestation of RIO and one of the most interesting works in this genre you've ever heard, as well as myself up to now. But unlike those RIO and RIO-related works that have been created by mixing of quite diverse progressive styles such as Symphonic Art Rock, Jazz Fusion and avant-garde, "A Portrait of a Boy" is a (Russian) 'RIO-child' of pure Classic Symphonic Art Rock. For an experienced music lover it won't be too hard to reach the conclusion that all these "freaking conglomerates of strange structures", typical for the album on the whole, work, however, in the full conformity with the laws of Harmony originated from the European School (of Classical Music). Thus, not only those into the RIO, including the "adventurous", but also all the other ("traditional", but experienced) Prog-lovers will find a great pleasure listening to this wonderful album both presently and in many years later, as this music is nothing but a real Classic for the Future. ("Boheme Music" production.)

VM. February 27, 2001


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