ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages

[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]

Lunar Chateau (USA)
Overall View


Discography:

1994 - "Lunar Chateau" (59 min, 'Lunar Chateau' / "Musea")
****

2001 - "Beyond the Reach of Dreams" (39 min, 'Lunar Chateau' / "Musea")
****+


1994 - "Lunar Chateau"
****
(59 min, 'Lunar Chateau' / "Musea")


The Trust 3:11 (instrumental)

The Lunar Chateau 4:59

Brothers In Blood 4:56

The Eyes of a Child 4:16

Ancestors 5:25

Transformer 3:43

Consequences 6:27

On Your Way 6:20

To Be Alive 4:06

Metropolis 3:49 (instrumental)

Fearless 2:45 (drum solo)

Aurora Borealis 8:15

All music & lyrics by . Arranged & produced by Lunar Chateau. Digitally recorded and mixed mostly at "The Chicago Recorded Company", Chicago, USA. Engineered and mixed by Richard Denhart.

Line-up: Novak Sekulovich - keyboards, backing vocals; Paul Sekulovich - bass, lead vocals; Milo Sekulovich - drums & percussion.

Prologue. It's obvious that Musea just manufactured the Lunar Chateau CDs since only the band owns all rights on them. So, while CDs were released under the banner of Musea, as well as under the corresponding catalogue numbers of the label, actually both these albums were self-financed by three brothers who called their 'family' band Lunar Chateau. All I knew about this band to date is that their second album was released seven years after the debut. Most likely the full-time jobs of the brothers have nothing to do with music. On the other hand, it's clear that in the depth of their hearts they all are Muse's Acolytes.

The Album. Since I've already heard both Lunar Chateau albums attentively I have "all rights" to compare them to each other anytime I wish. So, though the band's first brainchild is quite long, and also consists of a dozen tracks, most short and featuring vocals, this one looks more like an integral album than its second 'brother' - a real long distance runner. The latter, however, has a few aces of its own in the sleeve. This trio performs keyboards based music and it's obvious that Novak Sekulovich took kind of corresponding lessons from ELP's leader Keith Emerson. It seems, however, that Novak is not the best Emerson's learner and his capabilities to play the keyboards are far from virtuosic, at least, so Maestro's clear influence is heard just in few episodes on each of the two albums. Unlike the said ELP, there are no speedy solos and bombastic arrangements at all in the music of Lunar Chateau. Particularly, at least relatively strong arrangements akin to those that we mean talking about the works of Classic Progressive could be found on both the instrumental pieces of "Lunar Chateau". These are The Trust and Metropolis, but of course, not the drum solo which I just couldn't imagine as a separate track of a studio - not live - album. Now it's time to talk about positive points of Lunar Chateau's music. Really, I don't know why Novak considers the presence at least of bits of Emerson's 'spirit' as essential in his compositions since his own style of playing the keyboards is quite original and nice on the whole, despite the absence of high-tech virtuosity. Sometimes his not too speedy yet quite enjoyable prolonged solos sound impressive: particularly, on Aurora Borealis and on The Lunar Chateau. The latter contains simply wonderful, highly original piano roulades and passages from Novak, so it must be said that playing mostly the piano of all instruments is (and should be in the future), in my view, his main trump. Unfortunately, the piano doesn't sound as often on the band's debut album as I'd like it to. As for the second one... a bit later. Actually, all three brothers work approximately at the same level of musicianship (not sure that it has anything to do with compositional depth). Particularly, Paul's (Pavel's?) bass guitar lines sometimes sound even more efficiently than the others play at the moment. And of course, although I don't like studio tracks representing just drum solos, all in all, I have to admit that there wasn't another way on "Lunar Chateau" to show Milo's capabilities as a drummer.

The Album. Thus, the first two and the last three tracks on the Sekulovich brothers' debut album are special. Not that all the other middle songs aren't good (i.e. just mediocre). Since one way or another I hear influences of the 'Titanic' trio on this album too, - slight yet more or less clear Greg Lake's inflections in Paul's several vocal themes, - (additionally to Novak's keyboards), I would be satisfied if both the ELP's albums in the 1990s had approached at least the quality of the middle songs of "Lunar Chateau". I can easily imagine all these songs as kind of really good alternatives to ELP's obviously wretched albums in the 1990s (especially compared to their second of 1994). Well, it seems to me that all my thoughts on the Lunar Chateau's debut album are more or less clear already - for you dear readers.

VM. May 31, 2001


2001 - "Beyond the Reach of Dreams"
****+
(39 min, 'Lunar Chateau' / "Musea")


Olympus Mons (instr.) 3:56

Far From Home 3:52 

Consequences-II5:40

Solange In Rio (instr.) 4:33

Beyond the Reach of Dreams (instr.) 10:01 (in 3 parts)

Zeta Reticuli 11:01 (in 3 parts, too) 

Notes: Olympus Mons - this is the name of the biggest volcano in our solar system, located on the planet Mars (track 1); Zeta Reticule is the name of a star system located 37 light years from Earth (track 6).

All music & lyrics by Novak Sekulovich. Arranged & produced by Lunar Chateau. Recorded and engineered by Bob Friedman at "Sound Sound". Mixed by N. Sekulovich at "Phaeto" studio, WI, USA.

Line-up: Novak Sekulovich - keyboards, lead vocals; Paul Sekulovich - bass, backing vocals; Milo Sekulovich - drums & percussion.
Prog-charade: find a difference between the same line-ups to win nothing to raise your IQ.)

Looking at the booklet of the second Lunar Chateau album before I heard to it (when I listened to their first CD) and being not too happy with a nice and quite original, but accessible, on the whole, Neo-sounding "Lunar Chateau", I was amazed with the booklet contents of the "Beyond the Reach of Dreams" album. I've thought, no matter this one is 20-minutes shorter since there are practically four instrumentals on it, - all lyrics of Consequences-II is just a quatrain, according to the booklet's version, - with a playing time about 25 min, that is almost two third of the album total playing time. After reading the first review (above) it becomes obvious why I was amazed seeing that most of the Lunar Chateau album tracks are pure instrumentals. First, however, please allow me to mark the two most noticeable drawbacks (same, as you'll see later) on this album. Although all the various keyboards themes, passages, etc beginning with the second track, as well as the majority of them on the first one, are free of any influences, Novak decided (for some reason, and I just wonder for which?) that the very first motives on the album should sound in Emerson's typical manner. Keith, however, was (and still is, though) the only one who can create kind of royal pompous passages with very fanfares-alike sounds. Fortunately, these worse than just useless borrowings sound only three times on the band's second CD: in the very beginning of the first instrumental with repeating the same theme closer to the end of it and on the last track (not so obviously this time, though). I really wonder why a musician who has his own original way of composing and especially playing the piano still plays the game of imitation! Of course, Olympus Mons, taken as a whole, is a very good and original instrumental, as well as almost all the other compositions on the "Beyond the Reach of Dream" album. Far From Home is the only piece that could remind you of most of the songs from the band's debut album. It's clear, however, that this one sounds better than any early Lunar Chateau songs (exactly), though Far From Home doesn't even contain a separate instrumental part. A second drawback I've mentioned above I find here too. Despite the fact that Novak is the lead vocalist on this album instead of Paul, their voices are too similar not to notice some (this time just slight, though) Greg Lake's inflections on Far From Home once again. The second part of Consequences really consists of mostly instrumental canvas and the only thing here that comes off a bit unexpected is that the quatrain I meant is repeated twice. It doesn't really matter, though, as instrumentally this track is the second among the album's three winners, including two short instrumentals. These are the opening track I just talked about, and especially an effective thing brothers have dedicated to (a woman) Solange in Rio (don't know, if it's done specially or not). This one demonstrates the band at their most tight playing and a high level of musicianship of each brother. Especially I liked a thoughtful work of the bassist there. Two remaining compositions are the longest the band ever created. But while the album's last song Zeta Reticule, being even filled with vocals almost entirely, is the best Lunar Chateau song (though it also contains some synth solos a-la Emerson), the previous instrumental is what I didn't expect to hear from Lunar Chateau at all. Don't the guys have enough time really to put into this (so short!) album, - the first since their already seven years standing debut, - something different than this 10-minutes self-titled track - free of any ideas, almost? Excluding its third part with acceptable mellow piano passages somewhere 'in space', the first two parts represent one of the strangest things I ever heard. This is nothing but a kind of non-committal (ambient, new-age, spacey?), empty even with regard to the styles in parenthesis, an instrumental that has nothing to do at all with the music of Lunar Chateau and Progressive in general (at least it had nothing to do with the LC music until now). Even with another simple song like Far From Home instead of Beyond the Reach of Dream and also without those few borrowing themes this album would be really excellent. What is more, then it would be one (if not the only) of the most unique albums created within Neo Progressive. So, if "Lunar Chateau" is really just a good, original Neo album, its second 'brother' could have all the five 'excellent' stars in the rating had it not been for those two drawbacks. Back to Novak's playing the piano, "Beyond the Reach of Dreams" also contains several of his wonderful, original piano passages. Well, I'm just a reviewer... While there is a few significant critical points in my reviews on the two Lunar Chateau albums, the majority of Neo-lovers would not probably even notice these things. And bearing in mind that Lunar Chateau performs one of the most unusual (unique in some ways) Neo Progressive I ever heard, I'd highly recommend to all the open-minded Neo-heads to get hold on both albums described to discover one of the most unexpected and interesting bands of this progressive sub-genre to be amazed at their specific creation. Finally, I wish the third 'brother' of the two previous albums by the three brothers of Lunar Chateau to be the strongest among them.

VM. May 31, 2001

Musea Records


[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]

ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


Неудивительно, что к материалу, фактуре поручня,.