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(71 min, Progrock)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Floating World 7:13 2. Living Under a Blue Sky 4:22 3. The Desert Planet 2:21 4. The Civilization 7:24 5. Mechanical Dragonflies 5:56 6. Arriving 5:29 7. Warming Up the Machines 4:53 8. Artificial Satellite 7:12 9. Intervening 2:27 10. Creating Atmosphere 3:27 11. First Species 4:25 12. The Shining Planet 4:27 13. Cheops 5:08 14. Returning Home 7:01 PERSONNEL: Hugo Flores - vocals; keyboards; sitar, guitars, bass; programming Vasco Patricio - guitars Carlos Bateras - drums Paulo Chagas - flutes; saxophone Nuno Silva - cello; bass Tiago Linx - vocals Aida Reis - vocals
Prolusion. PROJECT CREATION is, well, a new project by Portuguese multi-instrumentalist and composer Hugo Flores, who is known to many as the founder of Sonic Pulsar with whom he crafted two studio CDs, "Playing the Universe" and "Out of Place" (released in 2003 and 2005 respectively).
Analysis. I'd like to note already from the outset that good few of the fourteen tracks from this 71-minute CD are definitely Flores's best compositions to date. The lineup of Project Creation's "Floating World" looks much more impressive than that of Hugo's initial outfit. This matter is quite vividly reflected in the music, though not everywhere, most of the tracks from 9 to 14 featuring only three of the five players declared, namely Vasco Patricio on guitars, Carlos Bateras on drums and Flores himself - on vocals, bass, keyboards, guitars and programming (he also plays sitar on a few pieces, but these aren't among that number). That said, the first two songs, the title track and Living Under a Blue Sky, and also The Civilization and Warming Up the Machines, are for the most part performed by the same personnel as well, the first two of these having received some really noticeable contributions from saxophonist/flautist Paulo Chagas and cellist Nuno Silva. However I wouldn't say the others miss anything significant because of that, as all four are thoroughly composed, resourcefully arranged, properly recorded (no unnecessary overdubs) and masterfully executed. Musically, each falls squarely into the Space Rock realm - not too far away from Sonic Pulsar's habitat:-), but this time out, with plenty of truly essential manifestations of that very flexible genre - symphonic, heavy, atmospheric and more, the former two being prevalent though. The Floating World and The Civilization each contain numerous instrumental sections, in which everything is in a state of constant development: familiar paths soon become impassable, former traps disappear, new ones appear, the way becomes now easy, now confused beyond words. Artificial Satellite brings together all the features typical of the said tracks and many others, even including those not belonging to Space Rock. The culmination of Flores's work to date, this is an extremely diverse composition, revealing novelties on many levels, partly thanks to a wide use of flute, acoustic guitar and sitar (the latter unmistakably bringing a rich oriental flavor to the stuff) - brilliant! Another piece displaying Hugo and his cohort forging their own way far outside of the genre's usual limits is the relatively short instrumental The Desert Planet - a piano and cello-rich piece with a nearly chamber sound, which is in many ways kept even in its finale where the sunny piano suddenly meets eerie guitar riffs. The instrumental sections of the songs Arriving and Cheops can be described with the very same words and terms I've used while commenting on Artificial Satellite, save the mere fact that these two are free of heaviness. Creating Atmosphere is a beautiful symphonic Space Rock ballad. That being said, Cheops is the only truly remarkable (okay, genuinely progressive) track from the disc's conditional second third, which begins with a nice, yet very simple instrumental Intervening representing traditional synthesizer space music. The remaining three songs, First Species, The Shining Planet and Returning Home, are all driving and meaty Space Metal, only with a strong Eloy vibe which discloses itself almost everywhere, being especially striking in the parts of a mixed male/female three-voice choir. My main complaint however concerns their relative straightforwardness: they lack purely instrumental arrangements. Oh, almost forgot: Mechanical Dragonflies begins with a distinctive vocoder and has quite a lot in common with Eloy in general too, although it's atmospherically-symphonic throughout.
Conclusion. Well, Flores still continues to indulge his superfluous passion for maximally filling the space of a CD. Without the five tracks described last, this material would have run for 50+ minutes and been in every respect a perfect release, complete masterwork - from head to toe. Nevertheless "Floating World" is already more than a merely remarkable album as it is, which I believe is clear from the review. Strongly recommended to fans of Space Rock and Metal, especially since I am sure that most of you aren't at all as ferocious regarding "the purity of the genre" (meaning Progressive as such) as I am.
VM: Agst 19, 2006
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