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Inquire (Germany)
(an overall view)


Discography:

1999 - "Inquire Within"
*****+

2000 - "The Neck Pillow"
*****+

1999 - "Inquire Within"

  1. The Inauguration of King Kong 3:36 (instrumental)
  2. KonGfrontation 7:08 (lyrics by T.Kohls)
  3. Kindergeburtstag 6:47 (instrumental)
  4. Maze of Despair 8:26 (lyrics by T.Kohls)
  5. Der Mann 6:14 (instrumental based on "Toccata" by Aram Khachaturian)
  6. When Darkness Turns To Light 26:35 (lyrics by M.Eckert)

(All lyrics are in English.)

Line-up:
Dieter Cromen - guitars & vocals
Thomas Kohls - drums/percussion
Robert Kohler - keyboards
Michael Eckert - bass

Music and arrangements by Inquire. Produced by Inquire.
Recorded Live-in-the-Studio (at "So Far"), Solingen, January-1999.
Engineered and mixed by Carsten Steffens.

2000 - "The Neck Pillow" (inspired by the movie "Die Bettwurst")

  1. Die Bettwurst (part I) 20:44
  2. Circles 17:39 (instrumental - inspired by Ralph W. Emerson)
  3. The Death of Ase 2:28 (instrumental - excerpt from E.Grieg's Peer Gynt - suite 1, opus 46)
  4. Swidwin 7:09
  5. Die Bettwurst (part II) 16:22
  6. Die Berliner Bettwurst (part I) 1:57 (instrumental)

(Note: (a lot of) Narration is in German. Lyrics are in English.)

Line-up:
D.Cromen - guitars & vocals; bass
T.Kohls - drums/percussion
R.Kohler - keyboards
Uli Muckenheim - bass
(+ Carsten Steffens - additional percussives)

Music and arrangements by Inquire. Produced by Inquire.
Lyrics by T.Kohls.
Recorded at the "So Far" studio, Solingen, January & February - 2000.
Engineered and mixed by C.Steffens.

I didn't request these albums, as I'd never heard of Inquire earlier. As far as I know, Solingen is a small town, located in Eastern Germany. What are you waiting to hear from me, a guy who was always interested** in Rock Music from Eastern Germany? Wow!.. (several times running) would be the most adequate reaction, please believe me. Back to **, don't you really know, why? It is because until the beginning of the 90's we, the citizens of USSR, could get Rock Music productions only from countries of our notorious 'socialist sector'. What is more - then even that 'socialist' Rock production we could get with difficulties. Can you believe it? It doesn't matter in reality, but... what need do I have for telling you lies (in general!)? But, no... sorry, I was mistaken. Have just looked at a map. Solingen is in Western Germany, so now I am not a bit surprised these guys are really HUGE, as they're from the country that was/is always rich in excellent progressive minds...

Inquire have themselves proposed for me to review their works. I cannot refuse to do the same for anybody, but I am really happy the members of Inquire sent me all their discography. Yes, I honestly consider the two aforementioned albums already the whole discography. Firstly, they contain more than 130 minutes of music in all, by the way, and I remember the musicians of Gentle Giant, too, - whose any 4 full-length albums play the same time... Back to the heroes of these lines, I am very sorry, guys... It required quite a long time to do IT properly. First off, it is not a top secret that I write alone ALL the materials for the site, not to mention the wide-variety of all my other occupations relating to the Progressive Rock Movement. You can be sure, though, - I'll write about your works honestly, at least. And if the works you've done are bad, people will know it, anyway.

Fortunately, as I let it out already, this young band is really huge, and I am deeply impressed with both the works they released during the two last years, including the current one. The first album was recorded 'live in the studio', ie on-the-spur-of-the-moment (because of financial problems, I guess), but, as a matter of fact, I love it, all in all, no less than the second one, recorded 'properly' during two months.

Really, thank God, lately I am lucky, as the majority of the albums I receive to review are good, at least. I agree, the phrase I am going to say now became a cliche a long time ago, but anyway, its actually remained the same presently, and it won't change in the future, too, just because the music we love is progressive... So, the more I listen to "Inquire Within" the more I like it. "To have even a few listenings" - it's not some formula used with respect to Progressive Rock - it's a great axiom that helps us to make progressive things (ie works) more clear. And it really works - especially with Progressive works. Constantly. This is exactly the case when we can talk about some Classic for the Future... For the first sight (sorry, listening) "Inquire Within" looks like something that is already familiar in some ways. Compositions are mainly pretty/very long, and most of them, on the one hand, are full of 'atmospheric' episodes and sound effects, though on the other hand, of excellent musicianship and complex arrangements. No, I didn't find any comparisons in their music. "Inquire Within" is an excellent example of a very well composed, constructed and played Progressive Rock album, original in all ways.

By the way, as I see it, it is by far not a good thing to search for comparisons and 'find' them in the music that doesn't contain any direct relations with all the existed/existent bands. And as for our 'Prog WWW', I see, it is doing relating to actually all progressive rock albums recently/currently released. Is this the way to help our readers to orient them in an ocean of Progressive Music? I think, not. Sad to know, but mainly this is a direct way to baffle them. Also, sometimes this is a way to overestimate some quite ordinary bands (read the "Clones, Clowns, Strangetudes" Key Review here), that is equal to an underestimation of some great bands. And also, often this is a direct way to underestimate the 'reviewing object' or the object of comparisons itself. And it's not a secret that in the reviews 'we' mainly use the same set of (poor!) Titans that are already tired - to put it mildly - of these endless naive comparisons.

I can say: "The Neck Pillow" - the second album by Inquire - is a more mature work than their first album: this is quite a comfortable method to describe any band, because any band MUST develop with time, but especially after their debut. Pseudo-logically, maybe, it sounds OK, and it will always be sounding OK if someone decides to create "A textbook for the beginners: the easiest way of writing the musical reviews". So, going a bit different way, I won't say what I could say in the first sentence of the paragraph. I'll say the next: these young guys were mature already before writing the material for their debut album, and "The Neck Pillow" is the work of the same level of maturity... but it needs to be said, their level is quite high. For the first time, however, I hear a lot of narrations in German on that album (all lyrics are in English, as always), - and what? I really like how these narrations are coming in handy - ie how skilfully these guys put them into the (conceptual) musical context, though, of course, I can't consider narrations themselves as innovations.

Inspired by the elitist "Die Bettwurst" film, Inquire created "The Neck Pillow" - a real elitist album with wonderful original music and quite profound lyrics. But, although almost all Inquire songs mostly consist of instrumental parts, not to mention about a half of their compositions are originally pure instrumentals, please don't search for a bombastic sound here. In spite of the fact that their music at first sight looks, on the whole, rather like 'atmospheric', listen to it several times running, and (maybe, even unexpectedly) you'll find this is nothing else than quite a wise Classic Symphonic Art Rock with a lot of 'hidden' interplays between varied instruments and some very fine solos from the keyboardist and guitarist. Yes, these young Germans are quite wise men already. I don't know, maybe, they were 'currently' born on Earth for the tenth time, but sometimes I feel like I touch their souls with some abstract questions, and then I 'as if' understand these young guys have souls that are very old in comparison with their 'current' Earthly age. It is obvious, they have by far not an ordinary Understanding of some Earthly problems, and their point of view on Classic Art Rock is a bit unusual, too. (Real) Progressive Rock is a genre which is diametrically opposed to any kind of hassle, and there are too little people in our dual world who can unite some absolutely polar contradictions. This is another theme, though... content

VM: July 27, 2000

"Within" Musea Records
"The Neck Pillow" Musea Records


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