• Prog Acts by Popularity: Symphonic

    2 May 2011, 11:46 by Mark_H

  • In Spe (1983)

    17 Mar 2006, 09:16 by Progbear

    I’ve long been fond of the debut album by Estonia’s In Spe. It’s mainly notable nowadays for being one of the first musical outings by renowned classical composer Erkki-Sven Tüür. Musically, I often hear Pekka Pohjola mentioned as a comparison. I initially likened them to Kenso, but they do have a distinctive musical voice all their own. The heavy use of flutes and recorders adds a gentle, breezy tonality to the music.

    I assume group member/sound engineer Priit Kuulberg is largely responsible for the sound quality of the CD reissue. I don’t know what magic he performed, but the sound quality is crystalline. I used to own the Melodia-label vinyl issue of this, and it sounded like it was recorded under a heavy layer of mud, with the bass drowning everything else out. The CD sounds 100% better, with the bass at a sensible level and all the various instruments getting good separation in the mix. Well done!
  • Metamorfosis: Papallones i elefants

    11 Jan 2006, 20:38 by Progbear

    Papallones i elefants is an unjustly overlooked album by Spanish/Catalan group Metamorfosis. Totally instrumental, there are only five lengthy, exploratory tracks. I often see this one erroneously listed as “fusion”. While there is a definite jazzy feel, it feels more like textured sympho-prog with a jazzy touch, largely in the Pekka Pohjola-like bass playing and the fine piano work, which can at times bring Herbie Hancock or Chick Corea to mind.

    The keyboards are largely piano-based (it sounds like they’re using a Yamaha CP70 Electric Grand, but it could be an acoustic), but the band use synths as well. Synthesizer use is tasteful, but also original. To our great fortune, 1982 is too early for DX7’s, so the synths are all analog. Warm synthesizer tones crop up, but they are used sparingly. And this isn’t your usual “string sounds and Moog solos” synth work, there’s actually some nicely creative, textural synth stuff going on here.