[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(78:50, Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. A Continent of Joy 2:42 2. The Great Maker 5:53 - New Sky 3. Part I: The Plan 3:25 4. Part II: The Bridge 0:58 5. Part III: Atlantropa 2:52 6. Now is Always Past 1:32 - Time to Bid Goodbye 7. Part I: A Key for Peace 3:03 8. Part II: Unknown Waters 1:44 9. Part III: Last Goodbye 2:40 10. They Want to Steal the Ocean 6:56 11. Thinking Further Than a Generation's Life 1:21 12. Gotta Stem the Greedy Water 4:52 13. At the Mercy of Progress 1:42 14. Walk Across the Sea 6:18 15. Mare Nostrum Dream 3:07 16. To Understand What Understanding Means 1:07 17. When We All Speak Atlantropan 9:00 18. It's Time for New Dreams 1:34 19. Dream My Dream 6:58 - Star Atlantropa 20. Part I: Look to the West 3:06 21. Part II: We Still Have a Lot to Learn 5:03 22. Part III: Shining Stars 1:44 23. Reprise 1:13 LINEUP: Lothar Krell - vocals, keyboards Heinz Kuhne - vocals, guitars Michael Wollesky - bass, vocals Wahrmut Sobainsky - drums, cajon, vocals Ralph Brandmuller - guitars Michael Wolff - vocals Elinor Pongracz - vocals With: Ralf Hubner - violin Juliet Wolff - backing vocals Jasper Wolff - backing vocals Tony Clark - mandolin, voice Richard Kersten - guitars, voice
Prolusion. German venture ATLANTROPA PROJECT has been a project in the works for many years it seems, with a planned CD launch in 2015 and eventual CD launch of their album in 2016 if I have read the history correctly. Someone figured an English version of the album might be a good idea as well, and at the tail end of 2017 this slightly reworked version was released through German label Progressive Promotion Records.
Analysis. Atlantropa Project is a good, old fashioned concept album. But one that, perhaps, takes a slightly novel approach. The concept is one from the annals of history - look up Atlantropa Project on Wikipedia - and if I understand this album correctly it seeks to detail the plans, thoughts and visions about this Utopian concept. A concept that, I should add, would be interesting to have explored also from the side of fiction either in the form of music or in the form of novels. My gut reaction is that it would be a fine foundation for something of a dystopian nature. Aside from that, the music is of course the obviously most important part of this package. And we are in fairly accessible waters here, which is something of a surprise given the sprawling nature of this album. With 23 tracks and more than 78 minutes of playtime there is a lot to digest here, and for most this is an album that demands several play-throughs to be able to "get it" I suspect. A good handful of narratives ties the whole album together, and they have been set up properly. The narrator has a good voice for the task, and the musicians have seen to it that the voice is backed by compelling, cinematic sounds and textures that fits into the overall scope of the album very well. Often ambient in style, as a backdrop for the voice, but well made and alluring at that. The songs themselves offer a wee bit of variation. The general tendency is that the songs hones in on either the gentler side of neo-progressive rock, complete with both atmospheric laden as well as more spirited keyboard overlays, or a firmer, simpler type of AOR style rock and hard rock. Several songs use aspects of both of these main style variations, and all of them come across as compositions both easy to enjoy as well as well worked out and with the sophistication needed for a progressive rock concept album. Some of the songs have been given a subtle folk music flavoring, which also works very well in the overall context. All in all Atlantropa Project comes across as a production made with meticulous intent at times, a creation that has been given more man hours to create and perfect than most listeners will ever suspect. Not a classic in my book, but a high quality production on all levels.
Conclusion. If you enjoy big, sprawling concept albums with a concept based on fact rather than fiction, Atlantropa Project is a name you should take notice of. If your taste in music relies more on style than on substance, then I'd suggest that those fond of the more accessible aspects of neo-progressive rock should find this production to be a compelling one, and obviously in particular if you like such creations to be conceptual.
Progmessor: May 27th, 2018
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]