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(78:04, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Searching for the Son 8:07 2. Future Flight 7:47 3. Blind Man's Dream 6:57 4. Distant Light 10:37 5. Wings of the Wind 11:17 6. Messiah Will Come 7:11 7. Had Enough 4:37 8. Way to Zion 6:17 9. The Mirror 6:37 10. On a Cherub 5:27 11. Sonic Dances 4:06 LINEUP: Jeremy Morris – guitars, bass; drums; Mellotron, piano, synths Vitaly Menshikov – synths, organ; guitars, bass; drums With: John Bundrick – keyboards; guitars, bass; drums, percussion; loops Jon Dawson – keyboards; guitars, bass; drums, percussion; loops Bill Morris – trumpet, saxophone
Prolusion. The multinational project JEREMY & PROGRESSOR is a collaboration between US composer and musician Jeremy Morris, a highly productive and prolific artist who has somewhere around 50 albums to his name, and Uzbekistan composer and musician Vitaly Menshikov, arguably best known for being the driving force of this very website, but also a musician who has a handful of releases to his name in bands and collaborations. Following “The Pearl of Great Price” from 2005, "Searching for the Son" is the second collaborative effort Jeremy and Vitaly have made together. Just like its predecessor, it was also released through the Russian label MALS Records.
Analysis. I presume I'm right now in a position many reviewers won't ever find themselves to be in: to cover a CD made by the person who actually runs the website I'm writing for, and the person who has been my mentor and guide in the art of writing reviews to boot. I am also keenly aware that just about anything I write in this very review will be regarded with critical eyes by readers, as many will be skeptical about the very context this review is written in. So rather than trying to hide any facts that may be seen as logically clouding my judgement here I have chosen to bring them all out in the open, and do hope readers will believe me when I state that in this case as well as in all others I have full liberty to be totally honest. From preludes to music, which is the important matter here after all. "Searching for the Son" is a CD that comes with a user instruction: “Repeated listens required”. An instruction I advice anyone who wants to inspect this album to follow, and on a personal note I might add that it will probably be an advantage if you have listened to a lot and a lot of different music before you take this production on. If you're a novice in the halls of progressive rock, chances are that this is an album that will overwhelm you. The most accessible composition is the one that concludes this production: the bonus track Sonic Dances: a gentle, pleasant guitar instrumental with layered guitars, light in tone and subtly melancholic in mood. On the opposite end we're treated to a select few compositions, that most likely should be sorted under the symphonic progressive rock description, that are far more overwhelming. Distant Light, Messiah Will Come and Way to Zion are the prime examples among those, structurally fairly advanced creations with quite a few alterations in pace, intensity and mood throughout. In terms of overall sound and the manner in which the different arrangements are assembled still fairly easy on the mind and the ears mind you, but the total scope covered in the songs of that type still makes this fairly challenging fare. The greater majority of songs are, arguably, much closer to psychedelic rock or even space rock in expression. Vast amounts of psychedelic guitar soloing and details in particular, but also with a fair amount of keyboards, synths and effects of the kind many would describe as cosmic. I suspect. Guitar soloing that to my ears isn't that far away from the likes of David Gilmour or the late Huw Lloyd Langton bring with them some automatic associations towards that kind of music too, and the occasional but effective use of electronic details in a manner that does remind ever so slightly of artists such as Tangerine Dream don't exactly take these compositions too far away from the cosmic associations either. The inclusion of occasional jazz-rock oriented passages in these constellations is one of those details that made me conclude that novices will most likely find this album to be a somewhat overwhelming experience, and while I'm among those people these days who don't find psychedelic music and jazz to be that far removed from each other as stylistic expressions, I do recall how I only a few years back thought I knew for certain that those two styles were separated by a universe of differences. That the occasional symphonic oriented theme finds its way into some of those compositions isn't the greatest of surprises at this point either. There's also room for psychedelic and cosmic oriented escapades flavored with atmospheric and cinematic details on this album, Future Flight the most distinct of these, and then there's the case of the brilliant opening track Searching for the Son of course. A track that comes across as a natural Jeremy song, with Beatlesque details going in Electric Light Orchestra and with a bit of Kansas here and there as well. With Jeremy's very distinct, trademark vocals, and nicely brushed up with a nice array of trumpet, sax, additional keyboards and additional guitar layers. Additional in the sense of more than what is commonly applied on compositions by Jeremy Morris on his own albums, and the whole composition comes across as a creation written by Jeremy where his partner Vitaly have added some of his trademark effects. Fans of Jeremy, for which this paragraph is mainly written, will be surprised to learn that this composition is, in fact, written in full by Vitaly Menshikov. A fact that, presumably, documents just how well these two fine people cooperate in the true and literal meaning of the word, and how well they understand each others as creative souls.
Conclusion. Jeremy & Progressor is a collaboration that has a lot to offer to progressive rock fans with a fairly broad taste of music made in the genre, and especially those who have a general fascination for music of this kind with an emphasis on both the symphonic and the psychedelic oriented parts of the art rock genre. There is a need, or perhaps a prerequisite, to be the kind of person who does want to invest a fair bit of time to get under the skin of a production to be truly able to enjoy this disc, but if you are such a person and you have a taste in music as described I suspect you'll conclude that "Searching for the Son" is a production worth spending time on, even if not at once.
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