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(44:53; Bad Elephant Music)
Zopp started life back in 2010 as the brainchild of composer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Stevenson, and over the years he has developed the sound and has now finally released the debut album. Although he produces a vast number of the sounds himself (keyboards, Mellotron M4000D, Hammond organ, Arturia analogue synthesizer, Korg CX-3 organ, piano, Hohner Pianet T, bass, electric guitars, Nord Electro synth, voice, sound design, noises, field recordings, percussion) has also brought in Andy Tillison who not only played some additional keyboards, mixed and mastered the album but also brought in The Tangent bandmate Theo Travis to provide flute on one song. The other mainstay of the band is Leviathan drummer Andrea Moneta, while Caroline Joy Clarke provides vocals on three songs and Mike Benson tenor sax on another. This is Canterbury to its very core, with vintage fuzz bass and Hammond organ mixing and meandering. It is a very English sound, progressive and making one think especially of Egg, although there are plenty of elements of Hatfield & The North. There is a simple complexity, with lead roles being switched between different instruments and it certainly never sounds as if this is a project but more as if it were a full band. Complex time signature changes mix with melodies which are intricate yet compelling, non-conforming yet somehow also familiar, taking the listener on a journey which is never straightforward and the direction and destination rarely in sight, but fun and enjoyable for all that. There is a clarity within many of the guitar leads which are quite different the distorted bass, and while there are times when it is quite frantic there are plenty of others where it is restful and gentle. It is both a class and classic album which any fan of this style of prog from forty years ago would do very well to investigate.
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