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TRACK LIST: 1. The Best of What Dreams Are Made Of 1:21 2. Magic 9:33 3. We're Not Normal 4:28 4. Honey 19 6:07 5. Rock Story 6:21 6. Dream Home 6:47 7. Your Laughter 6:32 8. The End 4:25 All tracks: by Yarkoni. LINE-UP: Roy Yarkoni - keyboards; programming & sampling Ishay Sommer - programming; acoustic guitar; vocals With: Paula Vaistein - vocals (on a few tracks) Udi Simhon - electric guitar (5) Tal Akta - trumpet (7) Produced & engineered by Yarkoni. Co-produced by Sommer.
Prolusion. Roy YARKONI is the Israeli keyboardist and composer, who, as well as his longtime friend and collaborator Ishay Sommer, should be known to many connoisseurs of RIO and Avant-garde Progressive for being part of the Cuneiform label-based band Ahvak. You may laugh, but I am not included in the number of those whom I imply in the previous sentence, and my remark on the matter is based exclusively on the information from the CD press kit. But then, I was succeeded in getting another brainchild of the friends: the eponymous Thin Lips album, which I have already >reviewed. As to "The Best of What Dreams Are Made Of", this is the first solo album by Roy, which, still, was created not without Sommer's participation.
Synopsis. Drawing parallels between the aforementioned "Thin Lips" and the hero of this review, I inevitably incline to the thought that Roy worked on this stuff rather simply and unpretentiously. So I am also not going to philosophize while reviewing it. Which, however, doesn't mean that I don't like it. Although the arsenal of the instruments used on the album is small rather than large, most of the trumps, distinguishing a musical work from a potboiler, are available here, starting with originality. Nominally, five out of the eight tracks can be called songs: We're Not Normal, Rock Story, Your Laughter, Honey 19, and Dream Home (3, 5, 7, 4, & 9 respectively). As a matter of fact, only the first two of them contain some thematic, meaning-bearing lyrics, while on the latter two, there are no other words but the titles of the tracks, sung, theatrically narrated and just spoken in different intonations by Ishay and Paula. In short, the album is largely instrumental. The music is an accessible, but tasteful and, often, rather dark and hypnotic electronically symphonic Art-Rock. Inasmuch as solos and passages of classical guitar are available on each of the first four tracks, these have a much warmer sound than the others. On the other hand, the compositions located in the second half of the album are noticeably more diverse than those, especially the first three, the weakest spot of which is the little number of tempo changes. Surprisingly, apart from a couple of more or less eclectic interplay between the harp-like solos of synthesizer and those of acoustic guitar, there is nothing extraordinary in Magic (2), which, while being about 10 minutes in length, contains many recurrent themes and, thus, is definitely overlong. On Honey 19 and Rock Story (4 & 5) are present the brief, but impressive, distinctly improvisation-like solos of synthesizer and electric guitar respectively. These two are very good pieces. However, the best compositions on the album are Dream Home and Your Laughter (6 & 7), the first of which is notable for the classically influenced solo of piano, and the latter for elements of Jazz-Fusion, provided by a trumpet player, of course.
Conclusion. As mentioned above, there are features of symphonic and guitar Art-Rock, as well as some of those related to Jazz-Fusion, on this pretentiously titled album. However, "The Best of What Dreams Are Made Of" can really be best for Electronic Rock fans only. The other kinds of Prog-lovers are definitely able to appreciate it, but they might be much happier with the works of the other projects that Roy Yarkoni is involved in. Nevertheless, my respect to Roy is already so profound that I can't rate the album lower than I've rated it.
VM: May 20, 2004
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