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(122:33, Ichthyander Dad's Only Dolphin)
TRACK LIST CD: 1. Through the Gates of the Universe 11:48 2. Biometry 5:18 3. Opus 16 4:35 4. Castle of Birmingham 3:18 5. Unmeasured Spaces 7:36 6. Countdown 2:39 7. Epiphany 8:07 8. Come Back to Life 8:17 9. Starless 12:11 Track list DVD: 1. Through the Gates of the Universe 2. Biometry 3. Opus 16 4. Castle of Birmingham 5. Unmeasured Spaces 6. Countdown 7. Epiphany 8. Come Back to Life 9. The Boys in the Band LINEUP: Dmitry Dorosh - guitars Oleg Vorona - bass Viktor Sirotin - drums Sergei Kadenko - keyboards Olena Yeremenko - violin With: Jason Offen - vocals Nikolai Dorosh - cello, percussion Anatoliy Antonenko - keyboards Ruslan Fedoseyev - guitars Anatoliy Don - guitars Denis Fedchenko - flute Viatcheslav Burtniak - saxophone Elena Smotrenko - violin Vita Vereshchagina - viola
Prolusion. Ukraine band ICHTHYANDER DAD'S ONLY DOLPHIN, hereafter referenced as Idod, was formed back in 1994, but the band fell apart a few years later without ever releasing any material beyond a demo. Some 15 years after the band decided to have another go however, resulting in a live concert where old and new material was performed and recorded for their first ever official production: The live CD and DVD "At One Music Fest 2014", which was self released by the band in 2015.
Analysis. Opting for a live CD and DVD as your debut album is a daring choice, but perhaps also a cost effective one. As long as the concert was planned anyhow, you won't have to spend time in a recording studio to capture your material, and you can always apply some finishing touches to the music if something goes slightly off kilter in a performance. On the other hand, it is a fact that live productions in general are rather less popular than studio productions, so making a grand first impression by releasing a live production will always be something of a gamble. Apart from that small detail, what we are dealing with here is a band with members that by now presumably are fairly seasoned hands: While Idod was on hiatus I rather doubt that the members didn't dabble in other musical endeavors for almost two decades. From what one can hear from this band, they sound and comes across as seasoned hands as well: As far as their qualities as a live band are concerned, this is a tight unit that know their material as well as their instruments very well indeed. The songs themselves is a mixed and eclectic bunch on multiple levels. Some of the songs do come across as a bit too one-dimensional and functioning as vehicles for the various instrument solo runs, while others comes across as more well developed and enthralling also on a level beyond that. Opening cut Through the Gates of the Universe comes across as the weakest of the lot for me, while the curiously Asian-tinged atmospheres of Comeback to Life, complete with a sound and atmosphere that doesn't really invite to any immediate associations towards well known artists, is perhaps the most charming of the lot. Their take on King Crimson's classic Starless is undeniably the highlight here though, a tight and vibrant take on this timeless classic that should please the greater majority of the fans of that band and that track that comes across Idod's take on it. Prior to that concluding cover piece we're treated to eight original compositions though, and apart from the aforementioned Comeback to Life the greater majority of these comes with associations towards many of the great names of progressive rock. More often than not with multiple associations in each of the songs, as Idod by accident or design combines elements from several bands into each of their compositions. Associations towards the likes of King Crimson, Gentle Giant and arguably also The Mahivishnu Orchestra are most prominent, but fans of Pink Floyd and Kansas will also find familiar sounding elements here and there, and occasionally also some slight nods in the direction of The Beatles may be argued to be a presence. These aren't cases of replications, but rather strong associations towards two or more artists that to my ears comes across as strong and dominant aspects of the material explored, to the point of being defining features and aspects of this band as they came across on this live recording. Otherwise one might note that this is primarily an instrumental band, the sole song featuring vocals being the cover of Starless, and that the violin and saxophone alternates in being given limelight roles in most songs, with the flute and a string trio also given room to shine on occasion. Musically the band exists on the border between artrock, jazzrock and symphonic progressive rock, touching base with all of these to a lesser or greater extent throughout. The live DVD is for the most part the same as the audio CD, but we are also given short moments betyween the songs telling us a bit about the band and the songs, and at the end of the DVD the cover of Starless have been replaced with Gentle Giant's The Boys in the Band, and like Starless on the CD I find this cover track to be the most appealing of the songs at hand. That is the good and bad about performing cover songs I guess, most of the songs covered by other bands tends to be time proven quality songs that will shine brightly if performed in a proper manner. Otherwise I find the DVD to be a good quality albeit simple production as far as such creations go: The audio is, obviously, of the same quality as the CD, and like most anything captured live in this day and age the audio quality is good throughout. The images are reasonably sharp and defined, with good colour balance, and while I cannot say that the band's stage presence is a riveting and mesmerizing experience we do see a band that are having a good time. The relatively small amount of cameras used, I'd estimate two or possibly three, does limit the options available when this video was assembled though, and we are limited to having two full stage angles and one presumably handheld camera zooming in to one or more members of the band for variation. As such this live DVD isn't one that will transfix any viewers beyond a dedicated fan base, but it is a good and representative documentation of this live concert as seen from an audience perspective.
Conclusion. Ichthyander Dad's Only Dolphin have made themselves a nice debut album with this live CD and DVD package. Just how much of a fan base the band does have is something I'm unsure of, but the quality of the band as they come across here indicates that it most likely should be larger than it is. Those who like their progressive rock to be instrumental and eclectic in scope should find this production to be an interesting one, and in particular if bands like King Crimson and Gentle Giant are among your favorites.
Progmessor: August 27, 2017
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