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(77 min, CPR)
TRACK LIST: 1. Over the Waters 7:31 (Dave Bainbridge) 2. Orphan Found 5:09 (Orphan Project) 3. Significance 3:48 (Simon Apple) 4. Reunion 9:14 (Neal Morse) 5. Waiting for the Sun to Rise 5:09 (David Wallimann) 6. Secrets in the Valley 6:00 (Soulful Terrain) 7. Heroes & Dragons 5:34 (Glass Hammer) 8. One True God 10:01 (Young Earth) 9. Under the Sun 5:51 (Eric Parker) 10. Quantum Fizzix 4:18 (Scott Rice) 11. Liars 9:03 (Revelation Project) 12. I Can See Clearly 5:41 (Bill Hubauer) Produced by R George & G Crout.
Prolusion. CPR is an acronym for Christian Progressive Rock, and here is the second compilation of works by the artists, who are part of that society. Some participants of the project are well known to the Prog audience, and some are new artists, presenting their first recordings. Being acquainted with some albums by the first four artists in the list, I can tell you that not all of the songs included were created especially for this compilation, though of course, it doesn't matter much. The participants' websites are listed at CPR's website. Those interested please check Related Links below the review.
Analysis. The very first chords of the composition that opens the album, Dave Bainbridge's Over the Waters, produce a positive emotional mood due to the excellent quality of its sound and the transparent overall atmosphere. However, the initial theme is slightly overextended. Dave's masterful solos on the electric guitar diversify it, but really interesting events begin only after the voice appears. This is one of the lightest and most peaceful compositions here. The powerful beginning of Orphan Found by Orphan Project sounds very promising, and most of the further contents well match with it. The expressive vocals in combination with memorable melodic lines make an immediate impression upon the listener, the dialog between guitar and violin arousing direct associations with Kansas. Then follows the energetic Significance by Simon Apple, another good composition, with an interesting instrumental section in its second half. I only regret it's too short and, thus, some undeveloped. The orchestral-like arrangements in the beginning of Reunion by Neal Morse arouse a pleasant presentiment, which has been fully warranted afterwards. The music swells more and more to finally transform into a bombastic symphonic Art-Rock. The powerful finale sounds appropriate and very convincing simultaneously. David Wallimann's Waiting for the Sun to Rise is arranged both delicately and inventively. This song is notable for the musicians' skilful work with different timbres and tonalities, particularly in the instrumental fragments, the strong vocals with a wide timbre diapason and the interesting melodic decisions. Soulful Terrain's Secrets in the Valley begins with the beautiful interplay between violin and acoustic guitar, which has a distinct chamber feel to it. Later on, the music develops from a guitar-driven Art-Rock to a kind of astral trance with a good dramatic singing. The final part, however, could've been some more coherent in its harmonic construction. One True God by Young Earth is much more strained emotionally, with brilliant, blistering, ever-changing Art-Rock arrangements covering no less than two thirds of it. However, the same theme, that the song begins and ends with, is exceptionally plain and unimpressive, especially in comparison with the basic material. Heroes and Dragons by Glass Hammer has something in common with Elton John's deepest symphonic investigations. The music is filled with fine acoustic piano solos; the string arrangements are elegant, and the rhythm section works appropriately smooth and tactful. The excellent vocals perfectly harmonize with a truly exquisite music. Like Orphan Project's track, Under the Sun by Eric Parker is filled with nostalgia for a classic Kansas. The song is abundant in the parts of guitar, violin and keyboards and is very tasty, though the rhythm section could've been more diverse and inventive. Scott Rice's Quantum Fizzix takes the tenth position. This is a rather short instrumental piece, the main virtue of which is the virtuosi guitar solo done unexpectedly in the bluesy key. Revelation Project's Liars is symphonic Art-Rock at its best and is one of the best of the presented works in general. It is characterized by the nearly constant development of musical events, excellent vocals and a very saturated emotional palette. The CD ends with Bill Hubauer's I Can See Clearly. The music is nice, with original (a bit hoarse) vocals, although it's much more transparent than its predecessor and, hence, is easily accessible.
Conclusion. There is nothing revolutionarily new on this compilation, but it's pretty exciting. The CD presents the works of the musicians having a different approach to composition, arrangement and sound, which is always interesting. Besides, while the songs differentiate by duration, impressiveness and the level of complexity, the album, being really well compiled, has a rather integral fabric and doesn't look like a motley patchwork quilt (which is so typical for many compilations). Another unquestionable merit of the project's producers lies in the fact that the CD doesn't contain any ersatz experiments with electronics, and all of the tracks presented concern a true progressive music. Recommendations.
VM: July 31, 2005
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