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TRACK LIST: 1. Slingshot Round the Moon 4:48 2. Cobalt Coast 5:28 3. The English Room 6:35 4. Freak Weather 13:46 5. Cape Canaveral 3:29 6. The Battle of Morton Ridge 2:13 7. Spirit 11:30 8. Drift Glass 9:55 All tracks: by D. Lodder, except: 3 & 7: by J. Lodder, 4: by BLUE DRIFT. LINE-UP: Dave Lodder - electric & acoustic guitars; keyboards John Lodder - fretted & fretless basses Arch - drums & percussion Produced & engineered by D. Lodder. Recorded at "Bombay Trout", Salisbury, UK. Artwork: by Colin Masson (The Morrigan).
Prolusion. The English band Blue Drift consists of the Lodder brothers: John and Dave, the latter of whom was a member of >The Morrigan from 1995 to 2002, and the permanent drummer for The Morrigan Arch. "Cobalt Coast" is the debut album by the trio.
Synopsis. England, the fatherland of Progressive Rock, is presently poor in Prog talent as never before. So it's especially wonderful to hear a contemporary English band playing progressive music, which is top-notch in every respect. Blue Fish's "Cobalt Coast" is an amazing all-instrumental album and, what's central, this is a product of genuine inspiration. The music is both highly original and complex and is just filled with magic, which is typical only for true masterworks. Most of the tracks on the album feature arrangements that are for the most part, in the state of constant development and are completely unpredictable. Of course, the repetitiveness of themes, by which is explained the success of Neo Progressive for instance, makes music attractive already after the initial hearing of it. However, any profound Prog-lover knows that the constant development of musical events is like Ariadne's thread: catch it and follow it, and sooner or later, you will certainly reach a treasure. Generally speaking, it's impossible to reach any treasure without difficulty; and yet, due to the full-scale offensive of "mass culture" (via mass media), oversimplification has already become the norm, if not the rule, of life; and thus, the depersonalization of humanity grows by leaps and bounds. Back to the hero of this review, it needs to be said that there are two categories of compositions on "Cobalt Coast". The album's predominant stylistics is a classic (yet truly unique) Symphonic Art-Rock with pronounced elements of Prog-Metal and is presented on: The English Room, Freak Weather, Cape Canaveral, The Battle of Morton Ridge, and Spirit (3 to 7). However, the latter piece is also filled with flavors of music of the East, and the guitar solos sound here like those of Turkish Saz. Both of the first tracks on the album: Slingshot Round the Moon and Cobalt Coast, as well as the last track on it: Drift Glass (8), are about Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Jazz-Fusion and the bits of Prog-Metal. I am familiar with Dave Lodder's work on The Morrigan's latest three albums, though there, Dave hadn't enough room to show all of his talents. While on "Cobalt Coast", he looks as one of the most profound composers and probably the most gifted multi-instrumentalist on today's progressive scene in England, and his solos on guitar are as virtuosi and tasteful as those on organ and synthesizers. Both of his band mates are also outstanding musicians and are truly masterful players of their chosen instruments.
Conclusion. Indeed, it is presently very hard to create something really fresh and unique within the framework of Symphonic Progressive, and there are too little bands now that would be equal to the task to do it. In short, Blue Drift's "Cobalt Coast" is the album I've been really waiting for. This is an absolute masterpiece and is assuredly one of the ten best albums released in the UK in the new millennium.
VM: Agst 22, 2003
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