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(79:03, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Overture 3:52 2. Klubkin's Voyage-1 4:00 3. Books and Dreams 5:06 4. Beginning 4:14 5. Geographic Society 5:41 6. Insanity 1:59 7. Confusion 3:06 8. Non-accidental Meeting 3:44 9. Decision 4:02 10. Klubkin's Voyage-2 8:41 11. My Land Where Are You 8:17 12. Discovery 7:10 13. World Is Laughing at Naivety 3:40 14. So Tired 7:36 15. Klubkin's Voyage-3 2:37 16. Voyage Goes On 5:08 LINEUP: Dmitry Shtatnov – vocals; keyboards; bass, guitars Pavel Barabanov – guitars; programming Sergey Niconorov – drums Dmitry Drogounov – flutes; voices Elena Kanevskaya - backing vocals
Prolusion. The Russian band QUORUM was formed way back in 2003, but the usual (and at times unusual) complications that sometimes faces a band in its infancy saw to it that it would take a few years before they managed to really get going. Or rather, it was when the latter was about to settle that they had their odd encounters with chance and circumstance. Be that as it may be, in the spring of 2011 they had their debut album "Klubkin's Voyage" ready, released by the Russian label MALS Records, and are already working on their next CD too apparently, as most of the material for their follow up effort was written a few years back.
Analysis. When a new band enters the scene of the progressive rock universe, it will in most cases be guaranteed that it will be placed inside a box of some kind, most commonly one congested with other artists. References towards plausible and possible influences will be forthcoming in great numbers, and not always in the direction the bands or artists themselves will find logical. Quorum is a good case in hand in that respect. They describe a fair number of influences, and conclude that their overall sound is one that resides within the neo-progressive corner of the art rock universe. Personally, I disagree ever so slightly with that notion, but would imagine that they might agree on a few of the names I'll pull out to describe their stylistic expression. Generally speaking, Quorum is a band that I'd place somewhere on the outer edges of the symphonic part of the art rock universe. They utilize a fair degree of different keyboard instruments throughout, and while the piano perhaps is the most common of them, those fond of 70's-style organ motifs, fluctuating synth textures utilized as secondary motifs or good old fashioned soloing will find plenty to enjoy too. Used in an elegant and refined manner rather than a virtuosic and demanding one, I might add, with the occasional nod in the direction of acts like Genesis and Kansas. Camel is another band that comes to mind, the dampened and dream-laden approach utilized throughout emphasizing this association to an even greater extent. As both flute motifs and mournful, longing guitar soloing are other essential parts of the picture, this may strengthen that notion for most after an initial encounter with the creations explored on this CD. Dark but dampened guitar riffs combine quite nicely with lighter-toned electric and acoustic guitars throughout, most frequently utilized in a subservient manner underscoring gently whatever dominating theme is explored at the time. And in the name-dropping department, this often made me think of a US band not too frequently pulled out in the association game, namely Ambrosia. Steady drums and a nifty, insistent bass line are other elements of note, the latter in particular making a positive impression. As did the CD itself I might add. It's a well-planned, -produced and -performed creation, a concept album with a slightly unusual subject, and with compositions exploring territories of a subtle, elegant and refined nature, beautiful and sophisticated rather than challenging and boundary-breaking. Perhaps not the stuff that gods are made of, but I'm pretty sure that many of the latter will consume such material to sustain themselves – as their modern-day nectar and ambrosia.
Conclusion. If your tastes in music adhere positively to artists with a 70's-tinged symphonic expression of the gentler variety, Quorum is a band you might want to get more familiar with; in particular if acts like Camel are regular visitors on your turntable, but I'd imagine that quite a few followers of acts like Genesis, Kansas and Ambrosia might find this disc intriguing too. The all-Russian vocals are perhaps the main Achilles heel of this fine constellation of musicians, at least as far as getting international attention is concerned.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: September 8, 2011
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