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(57:26; Uneasy Dreams)
TRACK LIST: 1. Once Again 5:15 2. 2020. Hopes and Alarms 3:39 3. Last Hope 6:54 4. Pilot. Dream 3:32 5. Tension 6:39 6. Pilot. Conceit 2:49 7. Flywheel 6:27 8. Pilot. Anticipation 4:24 9. 2020. Move on 8:37 10. Pilot. Triumph 3:10 11. Everlasting Quest 6:00 LINEUP: Victor Go - vocals, all instruments
Prolusion. Ukraine composer and musician VICTOR GO first appeared, at least as far as I can tell, back in 2017. He released three albums at the same time the following year, and one may perhaps suspect that these had been developed over some period of time prior to this triple release. "The Leap" is the fourth album by Victor Go, and is copyrighted to the brand Uneasy Dreams, which I presume is his own label.
Analysis. While there is a lot to say about Victor Go's fourth studio album, I think that the most important bit is that this is an album of accessible and melodic progressive rock, to the extent that using the description art pop is very tempting. This mainly due to the liberal use of soft keyboard textures throughout, which does add something of a pop music ambience as well as an ambient vibe to the album. That many of the arrangements are light and elegant in tone and spirit also emphasize this. There are some additional aspects to note though. First and foremost is that Victor by plan or accident often strikes me as trying to emulate Jon Anderson in the vocal department. The soft, light and controlled high pitched voice he as will at times have an uncanny resemblance. The control isn't as good in the lower registers though, and Victor has a somewhat accented and at times nasal tinge to his delivery as well, but in the higher tone ranges his vocals are at times impressively engaging. With that name drop out of the way, there are also structural passages here that give me associations to Yes, and then for me at least the "Big Generator" era of the band in particular. Busy sections with use of contrasts, dramatic impact effects and quirky instrument maneuvers do appear here and there, and in a manner that gave me some instant associations. Elsewhere we are in the land of art pop meets ambient music, with a wee bit of jazz tinged details tossed in for good measure. Easygoing and smooth, but with at times clever use of dramatic effects. Cue the orchestral and strings inspired details used on 'Pilot.Triumph', which stands out as a clear highlight for me. Another association that was strong for me throughout this album, and one I suspect will be very accidental indeed, is that quite a few of the percussion elements and dramatic keyboard effects used throughout made me think of Stewart Copeland's 80's album "The Rhythmatist". The tone of the instruments and the manner in which they are used first and foremost, and then often for the arguably more subtle ones of these at that. I'm mentioning this because I think Victor might have some fun listening to this somewhat obscure Copeland album to see if he can hear for himself why I get this association. Other than that, I note that Victor has some weaknesses in the vocal department as described, and that the music has something of an artificial flavor to it. Some of the busier sections, at least for me, also suffers from having a bit too many sounds given a dominant placement in the mix. This latter part obviously a matter of subjective taste, but it merits a mention.
Conclusion. Those with a strong affection for accessible and melodic progressive rock with something of an art pop and ambient music tinge to it is the audience I suspect would get the most out of this album by Victor Go. It is a one man production, which usually does have it's shortcomings due to this, and there are some aspects of this album that strikes me as slightly flawed. For those who love and treasure music similar to what I defined this won't be too much of an issue of course, but for others this may be a detrimental aspect of this album. Hence I'd sort this album as one with more of a niche appeal, but also a production that has some very fine moments as well as a few strong songs that will have a greater appeal.
Progmessor: July 2020
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