User Page: Windhawk
Art Cinema - Art Cinema 2008
Art Cinema is a project formed in 2007, after the recording of the "Soundwall" album by Taylor's Universe. The collaboration between Taylor and Denner was so good that it warranted a project of its own, and thus Art Cinema was born.
The musical content will sound familiar to fans of Taylor's previous outings; jazz and rock with symphonic influences; spiced with warm, textured layers of keyboard and synth sounds, organ and sax given much room to create and enhance moods, and a detailed, round production that manage to soften the music while retaining the finer details.
On this release extensive use of vocals in the tunes are a brand new element, vocalists Jytte Lindberg and Louise Nipper both providing excellent singing, and the compositions are less complex in structure, while containing just as many detailed complexities in the soundscapes as most other releases Taylor is involved in.
Accessible tunes, strong on melody, mood and atmosphere - and one of the top albums of 2008 so far.
Sky - FM Sky Pieces 2000, Best Of
Seven tunes here, written by Francis Monkman, previously released on Sky 1, Sky 2 and for last track Dies Irae on a single.
Monkman have remastered these tunes himself, but sadly there doesn't seem to be anyone interested in releasing this collection; not that Monkman have set the earth in motion to make it happen though. But it says a lot bout the record industry that he hasn't been approached to get this released. Musically: Slightly complex rock with fragmented sounds and layers of guitars and synth sounds, with heavy influence from jazz and classical music. If any better or worse than original recordings I can't tell; but have a more modern sound and mood compared to the other Sky tunes I have at least.
If this one ever should be released - get it.
Bel Canto - Magic Box 1996
Replacing those elements are influences from folk music and world music in general, generally lighter and more uplifting tunes and they try out at making some certifiable pop tunes here as well; with mixed success.
Adding melodic guitars to some of the tunes sounds invigorating in places, the light melodic touch bringing energy to songs otherwise dominated by keyboards and synths; but when ... -> show full review
The Gemini Project - I 2002
The Gemini Project is a rather odd musical project. As far as I can tell from the information on the band's homepage - www.thegeminiproject.net/ - this is a one man band based in Germany. "I" is the first of several albums released by the artist; and they are all unavailable in any store. To get a chance to listen to the music you have to download it from the band's homepage. The odd part is that it is all for free. The artist would like some feedback on the music, but nothing else.
Musically the first release from this project is slightly confusing. All the tracks here twists and turns from one mood to the next, often covering different types of styles in one song; as well as covering different styles in each of the seven songs on this release.
The album starts out with a track dominated by ambient industrial themes, the second track starts out as some sort of ambient techno track before venturing back and forth between that mood, ambient moods and more hard rock inspired moods.
The third track here sounds like Kate Bush inspired music once it gets going, while the fourth song is a very jazz-tinged number. On the fifth track the track moves back and forth between ambient and mellow rock, before ending in a prog metal inspired territory, the sixth ... -> show full review
Blitzkrieg - Sins and Greed 2005
Musically Blitzkrieg are still very much a band playing music in the NWoBHM vein. This is what is known as "true metal" these days, recognizeable for anyone familiar with this type of music.
They have updated their sound though, and it seems that the band actuallt has been influenced by bands they themselves have influenced; especially the guitar work here have moments where influences from bands like Metallica, Megadeth and even Anthrax can be heard. The music is still very much true metal though.
Fans of Blitzkrieg from the early 80's will need time adjusting to this music though. Early Blitzkrieg had a sound closer to a band like Motorhead, these days their music are closer to what Iron Maiden made in the 80's, though without being a copy or derivative of that band.
The one recognizable element Blitzkrieg still has is the voice of Brian Ross, who still is an excellent metal vocalist.
The songs in this release is a mixed lot though. There are moments of sheer brilliance on this record, but also cheesy moments that'll give most listeners large goosebumps of the wring kind. Still, the good moments outweigh the ones that aren't; and there are quite a lot of sweet tunes here.
I'd recommend checking this one out; even if you have to use the skip function on the remote a couple of times here.
Beltane Fire - Different Breed 1985
British based band Beltane Fire represents something unique in the annals of rock history. Until the early eighties the band was known as "The Blue Cats" and played rockabilly, and did that quite good as well. Then they landed a record contract with CBS, changed their name and their style, released their debut album as a new band; and started getting some momentum going. And then suddenly CBS decides not to follow up the release, and the band sinks without a trace - more or less. Still, the bands uniqueness isn't in their history.
Musically Beltane Fire had a sound I've never encountered either prior or since the release of their debut album. With big drums, a heavily tinged rockabilly bass, guitar picking defining the melody in most tracks in a style not totally unlike early Marillion and carefully used synths in a manner not too dissimilar to what neo prog bands did; only much more sparingly, the combined sound here was indeed something else. Add to that a soulful vocalist with a really good voice, and there is something special going on.
As ... -> show full review
Bel Canto - Shimmering, Warm and Bright 1992
Musically this album is solidly placed in the world of electronica. Analogue instruments can be heard throughout the album, but the most important and defining sounds in the soundscape here are electronic.
There are really two kinds of songs on this album.
Some songs are a bit up-tempo, often with a thumping bass line being the defining rhythm instruments in those songs, and with highly melodic patterns being weaved with electronic and analogue instruments to create a dreamy atmosphere; often underlined with a floating synth.
Other songs are very mellow, with at most slight use of rhythmical patterns, and with dreamy and often sad sounding synths being the dominant instrument besides the voice of Anneli Drecker.
Mellow, dreamy, melancholy and slightly sad sounding is as good a description as any of this album in general.
As for the individual songs here, all of them are good. There are differences in rhythms, tempo and style en masse here, but all of the songs are mesmerizing and captivating.
Personal Highlights: Summer, Shimmering Warm and Bright, Le Temps dégagé
Rating by Windhawk
23 Current - Curve of the Universe 2005
Moods and melodies are in focus here, and while the core of the songs seems to be old fashioned rock and hard rock, the soundscape is fleshed out with layers of different instruments creating interesting atmospheres and captivating melodies, as well as inducing the songs with subtle complexities pleasing to the mind.
Mostly mellow rock and hard rock on offer here though - fans of aggressive music should look elsewhere.
Kopecky - Blood 2006
Great moods, too bad about the songs.
Blood is the first album I've heard by the Kopecky brothers. And the dark, sinister and eerie moods and atmospheres they create are really interesting and likeable.
But the songs as such doesn't work though. Themes are repeated to death with too little variation, the songs hardly move forward at all, and there's a distinct lack of nerve and tension in the songs here as well.
Give these guys some good songs and they'll make killer versions with the moods they are creating. But as songwriters themselves they are found lacking, at least on this release.
Sylvan - Posthumous Silence 2006
And with a reason.
Although the music do resemble Marillion in places, most of all Sylvan sound like themselves for 95% of the time.
Lush keyboards filling up the soundscape and enhancing moods, the melancholic and somewhat sad soaring voice of Marco Glühmann, the metal guitars utilized as musical backdrops to create sinister atmospheres where needed, the piano and the fuzz-less guitar carrying the melodies in most of the songs.
And the songs. 15 is listed, but really there's just one or two tracks - depending how you view it - where individual parts have been given a song name. And all of the parts are good as well.
Strong melodies, good drive, strong moods and emotions throughout.
Some will probably feel that all the catchy chorus parts aren't true to the idea of progressive music; but if you can stand the idea of having chorus parts you can hum along to there's a good chance that you'll judge this release the same way as I do: As a masterpiece.
Michael Orlando - Sonic Stomp 2006
As usual when it comes to guitar records, the aim here is to showcase Orlando's skills as a guitar player. What sets Orlando apart from others in this genre, is that he has laid down good work in the musical backdrop here - the songs aren't just backdrops with the sole purpose of being platforms for soloing and shredding, but actually come across as well thought out and planned melodies.
Too much shredding and songs with a great variety in quality ultimately makes this a so-so release for the average music fan. Fans of guitar records and/or fans of purely technical musical abilities should have this one high up on their purchase lists though.
Moonlight - Downwords 2006
On this 2005 release, they have produced a dark and eerie album heavily tinged with gothic moods, subtle dramatics and weird sounds in the back of the soundscapes - creating at times ghoulishly creepy moods in the songs.
This album is a taxing and demanding release though, demanding full concentration of the listener. This is not a release suitable to be used as background music, it's as simple as that.