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Robert Urban (USA) - 2003 - "Rock Widow"
(53 min, 'Urban Productions')


****+
                 
TRACK LIST:

1. You Don't Wanna Know 5:07 
2. Compulsion 3:35 
3. My Silent Friend 4:18 
4. No Love In Sight 5:51 
5. Ode to Central Park 5:12 
6. Waiting For Rome to Fall 6:47
7. The Cage 1:03
8. Don't Ask Don't Tell 4:29
9. The Burning Heart 4:56
10. Deserted Cities of the Heart 3:13
11. The Boys From Paradise 6:43
12. Serenity 2:26

All music: by Urban, except
6: by Urban / O' Neil / Vollenweider, 
7 & 12: by C. Ives, & 10: by J. Bruce/ P. Brown.

All lyrics: by Urban, except
9: by Urban / DeMarco, 7: by C. Ives, 
12: by P. Whittler, & 10: by J. Bruce / P. Brown.

SOLO PILOT:

Robin Urban -
- guitars & basses; synthesizers, organs, & pianos;
- drums & percussion; vocals

With:

Anthony DeMarco - drums (on 2, 7, & 9)
Peter Farrell - saxophone (on 3 & 9); piano (on 4)
Tom O' Neil - synthesizers & programming (on 6)
Mark Vollenweider - drums & percussion (on 6)
Yolanda - chorus vocals (on 6)

Produced by Robert Urban.
Engineered by Urban & E. Douglas at Urban Productions.
Mastered by T. Brick at Absolute Audio, NYC.

Prolusion. I wasn't acquainted with the creation of this American composer and multi-instrumentalist before. According to the CD press kit, "Rock Widow" is the fourth official output by Robert Urban, and the titles of his previous albums are "Godless", "Elegies", and "Who I Was".

Synopsis. Stylistically, the music on "Rock Widow" is almost kaleidoscopically diverse - like that of Queen, which though, is just for example, as everything that is presented on this album is distinctly original and can't be compared to anything. This music is by no means complex, yet this is not Neo. This is not Classic Progressive either, yet this music is definitely progressive - at least overall. What's central however is that this album is both very bright and impressive - regardless of the varied styles that the songs on it are about. As for the stylistic palette of "Rock Widow" in particular, it looks as follows. You Don't Wanna Know, Compulsion, and The Cage (1, 2, & 7) are about a pure Art-Rock, Prog-Metal, and Jazz-Fusion respectively. Art-Rock with elements of Hard Rock is presented on My Silent Friend and Ode to Central Park (3 & 5), though the first of these songs features also the bits of Jazz-Fusion. The music on The Boys From Paradise (11) represents a blend of Progressive Hard Rock and Symphonic Art-Rock, and that on Don't Ask Don't Tell (8) a triple union of both of the said genres and Jazz-Fusion. No Love in Sight (4) consists of structures that are typical for Progressive Hard Rock with elements of Symphonic Art-Rock, and the style of The Burning Heart (9) is Classic Jazz-Fusion with elements of Hard Rock. Each of the aforementioned songs was performed with a complete set of Rock instruments, including synthesizers, though My Silent Friend and The Burning Heart contain in addition the solos of saxophone. Along with those of the other instruments, the solos and passages of acoustic guitar are mostly at the forefront of the arrangements on any of the three songs where they are: You Don't Wanna Know, Ode to Central Park, and The Boys from Paradise. Deserted Cities of the Heart and Serenity (10 & 12) are about Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Classical Music and are clearly dramatic in character. Both of them feature only vocals and the interplay between passages of the ARP-like string ensemble and those of acoustic guitar and piano. While not that bad overall, Waiting for Rome to Fall (6) sounds too flashy in comparison with any of the other songs on "Rock Widow" and is the only track here, the inclusion of which in the album wasn't necessary, to say the least.

Conclusion. It is impossible not to appreciate such high-quality music as is presented on "Rock Widow" by Robert Urban. This album just shines with tastefulness and mastery and, being both definitely progressive and accessible, should please a large audience. Recommended. ("Rock Widow" and all the other CDs by Robert Urban are available at CD-Baby and Woodstock-CD)

VM: May 8, 2003


Related Links:

Robert Urban


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