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(47:59, Apollon Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Exobiology-1 5:11 2. Procrastination Song 4:44 3. River of Genes 6:24 4. Shores of Yorkshire 5:00 5. The Wolf 3:57 6. Great Future 3:31 7. Waves 3:03 8. When the Stars Were New 3:30 9. Exobiology-2 10:48 10. Final 1:51 LINEUP: Sam Fossbakk – guitars; keyboards; vocals Svein Magnar Hansen – vocals Stein Hoegseth – bass David Sundby – drums
Prolusion. The Norwegian band PROFESSOR TIP TOP, despite being rather less than visible in the media, is a venture that has been ongoing for quite a few years. They have three studio albums to their name so far, and “Exobiology” is the most recent of those. This production first appeared back in 2014, but was reissued on CD in 2016 by the Norwegian label Apollon Records.
Analysis. Professor Tip Top is a band that traverses the more psychedelic landscapes of the progressive rock universe, and does so in a rather elegant manner, blending in bits and pieces from a fair few different variations of that approach to progressive rock. Perhaps not one might expect from a band with that name, nor of an album named as it is. While ‘exobiology’ is defined as "the branch of science that deals with the possibility and likely nature of life on other planets or in space", this doesn't mean that this is an album filled to the brim with futuristic music as such, although shimmering cosmic and futuristic effects can be described as something of a mainstay element. However, the album is far removed from what you could describe as space rock. Gentler, folk-music oriented maneuvers have their place here just as much as more distinctly blues-based excursions into Pink Floydian landscapes. Some compositions will have more of an electronic edge to them, closing in on the type of music a band like Tangerine Dream might consider creating, while other tracks are driven forward by tight, elegant drum and bass, at least in part. The lead vocals tend to be sleepy, distanced and calm, invoking a ‘60s UK psychedelic pop feel as an expansion to this blend. Furthermore, the band is suspect to throw in some jazz-oriented details as well, mainly by way of rhythms but also by the occasional use of plucked guitar details. Also expanding the scope somewhat is the just over ten-minute long composition Exobiology-2, and then mainly due to this track appearing to have some sensibilities towards improvisation. This all adds up to an elegant production, using elements and arrangements with a distinct flavor of the ‘60s and ‘70s, but explored in a more contemporary manner. Most of all, this is a psychedelic progressive rock album, but one that is liberally flavored with futuristic and cosmic elements.
Conclusion. If you fancy and think you might enjoy a band that explores psychedelic progressive rock in a few different varieties, with subtle cosmic flavoring as the recurring trait on an album that in style ranges from folk-oriented escapades through Pink Floydian landscapes and more synth- and keyboards-driven pieces closer to the likes of Tangerine Dream, then this CD by the curiously named band Professor Tip Top is one that should be worth investigating!
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