(All Album Reviews by Ivan_Melgar_M)
One World Tapestry was a project of Musea Records originally intended to support the Tsunami victims, but before the album was completed, most charitable organizations closed their tsunami aide appeals, so the money collected is being sent to help Sudanese refugees, a situation that got less attention from the world. So if you buy this album, you won’t only have some great music, but also help people who desperately require our assistance.
The album is an excellent compilation of folk prog music with a symphonic touch, what makes it a very rich experience, both in classical oriented prog and ethnic sounds from around the world. Being a multi artist album I have to make a track-by-track review because it would be unfair not to mention any artist who gave their time and music for this project.
The first track is “All Gone” by the Australian band Waak Waak Jungi, who after 20 years of experience have developed a very solid style. The song is incredibly beautiful and melancholic, based mostly in acoustic guitar and chorus which flows gently from start to end. The vocal work blending male an female voices is perfect, maybe too predictable but the beauty is so great that who cares. The band pretends to show the coexistence of two cultures with the blend of synths and sequencers with didgeridoo and tonlon that leaves it clear, great start.
“Karakoram Waltz” by the Swedish band In The Labyrinth is another soft folksy track but with some electronic orientation. Really nice work, even when a bit too calmed for my taste. Reminds of Mike Oldfield at some points but much more controlled.
José Luis Fernandez Ledesma from Mexico presents us a dreamy track called “Ave Luz” where the beautiful vocals of Margarita Botello and the delicious mixture of instruments all played by José Luis, who after being member of Nirgal Valis dedicated to explore oriental ethnic sounds that blended with a 100% prog sound.
“Hawah el Sahra” by Steve Warner is a very interesting track, specially being Australian, because he captures the spirit of gypsy flamenco guitar and blends it with Arabic influences. The violin work is simply outstanding; IMHO the best track at this point.
The USA multi instrumentalist Steve Unruh gives as an excellent track named “InstruMental Breakdown” which is delightful, not only for the original idea, but because it’s a wonderful mess. Somehow he sounds like Aaron Copland with an oriental flavor, but the radical changes plus interesting instrumentation add a lot of interest. Great track again and excellent bass work, even better than the previous. This what I expect from a prog track.
Topeka plays “Like the Road That Rolls On By”…..Well, not all the tracks have to be great. It’s simple with excellent vocals by Tanya Livingstone (Sounds like a more melodic Stevie Nicks.) Closer to ambient than any other track, not bad if you like new age, but it’s not for me.
“Madrugada” by Wiermann & Vogel With Quaterna Requiem is a incredibly dramatic song where Elisa Wierman’s piano and Kleber Vogel’s violin create a dramatic and melancholic sound. Another high point, not sure if it’s prog or some form of neo-classical but that doesn’t matter at all.
“Epigram” is performed by the Swedish band “Ensemble Nimbus”, another track that seems closer to Neo Classical than to any form of Prog, soft and gentle, not special but relaxing.
“Tolv Man” (Twelve Men) based in a traditional story is performed by the also Swedish duo formed by Styrbjorn Bergelt And Ronald Hakansson. The Medieval spirit is present in this track with some Nordic instruments and influences. Very well crafted even when very soft and placid. The final section is simply pompous and brilliant, loved this one. Sadly Styrbjörn Bergelt passed away in February 2006 during the post-production of the album.
“La Tour Haute” by the French band Vital Duo is a song where the lute and flute take the lead. A bit repetitive but interesting into the general atmosphere of the album, but suddenly the soft medieval atmosphere collides with a hard and aggressive synth/percussion section with an excellent backing vocal job. Another outstanding track.
Attila Kollar from Hungary performs “Alchemy” which starts with a choral section that leads to another medieval song where the flute takes the lead, until the choirs (now with a full band) hit us directly in the face and again move to a pastoral section. This radical change keeps going “in crescendo” until the middle of the song where a heavy distorted guitar makes us remember we’re listening to a progressive ROCK album. The end is just perfect; the folk instruments blend with the band to create an outstanding finale. By far the best track of the whole album,
“Gregorian” by Robert Erdesz (As Attila Kollar ex Solaris) makes honor to it’s name blending male Gregorian choirs with a nice female vocal. The collision of the sober almost religious chants are perfect with the voice of Martha Sebestyen and Zsuzsa Ullmann. Love the way Erdesz blends the pastoral medieval with religious gothic pre-renaissance and a touch of rock, another excellent track.
“Paradise Lost” by the Aussie band Brainstorm could be considered a filler. Soft and a bit boring, with some jazzy moments. The vocals don’t help too much, borders the limits of prog folk. World music and new age, for fans of the band only.
“Geracao Perdida” is another good track but now by the Brazilian band Pocos & Nuvens. By the sound, it’s evident they started in the 80’s because the neo prog sound reminds clearly of the guitar and keyboards by Marillion. The vocals in Portuguese are perfect for the track. Very good for neo prog fans.
“Seuri” by Sabah Habas Mustapha & Jugala All Stars is a folk Indonesian track with ethnic instruments like khendang (large double headed drum), suling (bamboo flute) and ketipung (three smaller drums with a very particular way of playing placing pressure with the heel) and based in a duet of vocals by Sabah and Tati Ani Mogiono who blend perfectly the male and female aspects of humanity. Some poppy arrangements but still the song is very good.
I sincerely recommend this album, not only because it gives us the chance of appreciating the new tendencies of prog folk blended with world music and symphonic by very competent bands but also because we’re helping a good cause.
Don’t expect all the tracks to be 100% progressive in the literal sense (even when most are), but most of the music has such a good quality that I’m sure this small issue won’t bother any person really interested in a great album.
Iván Melgar Morey - Perú