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(70:05, Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Journey to Earth 6:20 2. Azu Kene Deke Lepe 5:20 3. Desert Rush 7:23 4. Aargh 4:42 5. Instant Karma 10:56 6. Chopsticks and Gongs 6:07 7. Indigofera 5:22 8. Yah Roste Fooroap 8:04 9. Cowdians 10:04 10. Journey from Earth 5:47 LINEUP: Pete Mush - synthesizers, programming Jaro bass; djembe; didgeridoo, sax Gino Bartolini drums, djembe Dario Frodo guitars With: Anaisy Gomez bagpipes, ocarina Charles Sla flute Nele Casneuf harp Gracerooms synthesizer; tablas
Prolusion. The Belgian band QUANTUM FANTAY was formed back in 2004 by Pete Mush and Jaro, and was fairly soon expanded into a proper band project. They released their debut album in 2005, and since then two live albums and an additional four full length studio productions have seen the light of day. "Terragaia" is the most recent of the latter, and was released through Progressive Promotion Records in 2014.
Analysis. Quantum Fantay specializes in instrumental progressive rock of a very particular nature, and I suspect that they have just as many fans that don't belong to or don't really know what progressive rock is as they have followers with a deep interest in that kind of music. The reason for this being the bands rather liberal inclusion of stylistic elements normally not found in progressive rock as such, and that their chosen form and style bear little resemblance to the classic progressive rock bands from the 70's. And while their music does tend to be sorter under the space rock tag, those expecting to find something in the style of Hawkwind or Pink Floyd will most likely be surprised, some probably disappointed too. Quantum Fantay belongs to the category of bands that create music you can dance to. Pumping bass guitar and energetic rhythms are a key feature throughout, and you can move along quite nicely to those at whatever dancefloor you'd like. The relation to progressive rock is still there though, as the songs contain multiple parts, developing and recurring themes, alterations in pace, sound and intensity, alongside a liberal use of keyboard textures and electronic effects. At times the band will throw a good, old spanner in the works though, the bluegrass inspired opening on Cowdians will puzzle a few I guess, although it does develop into a high energy space rock affair after a bit. Much the same can be said about the rather distinct reggae opening of Yah Roste Fooroap. While somewhat alien in this context, both styles of music do represent a folk music tradition, and that is a tool Quantum Fantay uses rather extensively for their opening sequences. Middle East and Asian inspired sounds and instrument details are often the styles bands of this kind tend to work with though, and Quantum Fantay does indeed visit those territories on this production too, but bluegrass and at least to some extent reggae are more novel choices in the folk music inspired opening sequence. That they also draw in some Celtic inspirations is arguably more appropriate and at least more expected. Which does indeed lead to occasional snippets of sound reminding ever so slightly of good, old Jethro Tull. That you'll also encounter sequences where the band opts to shy away from the cosmic sounding keyboard details and electronic effects, resulting in a fairly smooth and pleasant neo progressive style, also needs to be added at this point I guess, and that there are certain details here and there, mainly in the guitar solo department, that also does bring good, old Hawkwind to mind. When all the elements gel this is a band that creates stunning music. On this album there's one clear highlight as far as I'm concerned, namely Desert Rush. As one might suspect this is one of the compositions that draws in Middle East oriented musical details into the high-energy space rock oriented realms, and does so to very good effect indeed. The main challenge for Quantum Fantay at this point, besides that this album is ever so slightly uneven in my book, is that there's another band out there that is firmly established with a highly similar sound. The name of that band is Ozric Tentacles, and while there is probably room for many bands exploring this type of music as well, these are two bands that at least superficially may be a bit too close to each other in specific sound for some.
Conclusion. More or less exotic folk music details blended into a setting with driving bass, energetic rhythms and liberal use of keyboards and cosmic effects is the name of the game for Quantum Fantay. They do have their calmer and mellower passages of course, and also venture into more distinct neo progressive oriented landscapes at times, but by and large they explore just about the same universe as the veteran UK band Ozric Tentacles: Energetic space rock, of the kind that you can dance too. Recommended to fans of the Ozrics and other bands of a similar nature.
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