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TRACK LIST: 1. The Waiting Song 4:43 2. I'm Only Happy 7:04 3. Joey Sails Away 3:18 4. Tragedy 5:18 5. The River 4:05 6. Serenade 5:36 7. My Love For You 4:12 8. J'accuse 4:29 9. Elegie 5:05 10. Louange 6:32 All tracks: by Urban, except 6: by A. Roussel, 9: by C. Ives, 10: by O. Messiaen. SOLO PILOT: Robert Urban - - electric, acoustic, & bass guitars; vocals; - pianos, organs, & synthesizers; drums & percussion With: Anthony DeMarco - percussion (on 1, 4, 8, & 9) Peter Farrell - keyboards (on 8 & 9) Steve Sullivan - bass (on 3) Produced & engineered by Robert Urban. Recorded at 'Urban Productions'.
Prolusion. "Elegies" is the third album by the American multi-instrumentalist Robert Urban. You may access the review of Robert's latest effort, "Rock Widow", by clicking >here.
Synopsis. Above all, I must say that I am very much impressed with "Elegies" - as much as I was with Yes's "90125" when I heard it for the first time. In fact however, there is nothing in common between the music of Robert Urban and that of Yes; I use this comparison to give you an idea of an effect that this album has on me. With the exception of two guitar solos that are featured on the instrumental pieces: Serenade and Louange (6 & 10) and remind me of those on King Crimson's Indiscipline and Industry, all the contents of "Elegies" are outstandingly original and are just wonderful. Even though it's stylistically almost as diverse as "Rock Widow", this is by all means a very coherent album, and Robert's great compositional, performance, and producer capabilities are here especially evident. He easily works with different styles, and the changes of a musical direction on the album occur gently and fluently. The music on the first three tracks here: The Waiting Song, I'm Only Happy, and Joey Sails Away represents a fusion of both of guitar and symphonic kinds of Art-Rock with a classic approach to instrumental arrangements: they are always intensive - throughout each of the said songs (as well as the entire album, though). A brilliant, truly progressive Hard Rock with elements of Symphonic Art-Rock is presented on Tragedy (4), and a confluence of both of these genres is what The River (5) is about. Beginning with Serenade (6), which is a piece of Classical Music, the music becomes more complex and more keyboard-oriented with the amazingly inventive passages of piano and a string ensemble at the forefront of arrangements. Robert is a true multi-instrumentalist, and his solos on keyboards - especially those on piano and organ - are as virtuosi as those on guitar and bass. All three of the following songs: My Love For You, J'accuse, and Elegie (7, 8, & 9), the latter of which was performed in French, contain too few repetitions to regard the style that they're done in differently than Classic Symphonic Art-Rock, which though, is highly original. Finally, the stylistics of another instrumental piece on the album: Louange (10) is in my view nothing else but Urbanistic Classical Music, though the coincidence with the name of creator of this album is just accidental.
Conclusion. Each of the songs presented on "Elegies" is the product of genuine inspiration. Like a pleasant greeting from the past millennium, this album is from the category of those memorable masterworks that make our life richer in positive emotions.
VM: June 27, 2003
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