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(63:45; Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. No Answer 6:53 2. Seven Doors 14:02 3. Criminal Kind 3:47 4. Alexander Supertramp 6:13 5. Sensuality 5:24 6. Portrait of Men 3:36 7. Poisoned Homeland 4:40 8. Into the Wild 19:10 LINEUP: Markus Roth - keyboards Sebastian Schleicher - guitars, bass Reiner Wendland - guitars Dennis Degen - drums Maurizio Menendez - vocals with: Robin Mock - saxophone Art Lip - trumpet
Prolusion. German project MARQUETTE is the creative vehicle for composer and musician Markus Roth. While veteran musician Achim Wierschem was involved in the first Marquette album, as of 2020 Roth now appears to be the sole driving force of this venture. "Into the Wild" is the second album to be crafted under the Marquette moniker, and was released in the summer of 2020 through German label Progressive Promotion Records.
Analysis. Sometimes I have a hard time understanding the decisions made by my former colleagues, if that word is proper to use for people involved in a spare time unpaid interest, at the website Progarchives. After listening to this second Marquette album and seeing the band categorized as Crossover Prog - i.e. progressive rock with strong ties to mainstream rock - I became rather bemused. In the category system used at that website, my impression based on the music on "Into the Wild" is that their Eclectic category would be a much better fit, as the music is eclectic in scope, and with certain characteristics that merits the description challenging too. I will pretty much state that the music on this album doesn't readily fit into any niche description, and that there isn't really a foundation at hand that can be specified into a specific context either. Progressive rock is the name of the game for sure though, as key components used throughout this album are compositions that ebb, flow, surge, spin and twist in a myriad of different directions, and with at least one distinct repeated motif or theme in each of the songs emphasizing the progressive rock nature of the material quite nicely indeed. Everything is well put together too, all the different parts blends together very well indeed, flow and tension are maintained, and effective use of dramatic elements one of those factors that aids splendidly in making the journeys we are taken on to be interesting. Such aids are needed when you have songs that close in on 15 and 20 minutes, especially when they are instrumental. Hard prog, progressive metal, symphonic progressive rock, neo-progressive rock, folk music with and without progressive and rock elements, chamber music, ambient music and ambient industrial music are the main genre descriptions I noted down as being a part of the totality on this album. In addition just about all of the songs have at least a section or a moment where Roth and his companions take us into the jazz universe in part or in full. Most of the compositions feature several of the different style facets detailed, and my impression is that for this artist and this album this is all about moods and atmospheres, crafted without any thoughts as to what particular style we are dealing with. The constant twist and turn of the songs as well as the myriad of different expressions used does make this a challenging album to listen to, and while moods and atmospheres are emphasized there's a fair few sections featuring quirkier instrument details and developments as well, even touching base with some subtly Crimsonian details here and there. Multiple layered arrangements kind of adds to the challenging aspect of this production, making it a real task to try to keep track of all the sounds at various stages of the songs. For this album challenging is a complement of course, as everything is really well put together and executed. A strong album, without any obvious weaknesses, apart from what personal taste dictates obviously.
Conclusion. I wouldn't be all that surprised if Marquette's second album "Into the Wild" made it into quite a few of the best of 2020 lists some people enjoy to write down in late December. The compositions are subtly quirky and challenging, but without being overtly so, the musicianship is excellent, as is also the case for mix and production. Eclectic, mainly instrumental progressive rock is the overall name of the game, and those who find music described in this manner to be interesting should give this album a spin. On a small side note, there's a very minor treat in store here for Swedish listeners, one I suspect they'll appreciate when they encounter all three instances of it.
Progmessor: September 2020
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