(All Album Reviews by BrianG)
The Quiet Earth Orchestra is another one-man's project, with a few guest artists. John Ludi has been working on soundtracks and instrumental projects for several years, culminating in this very provocative, interesting, but cynical 2008 release. As much story telling as a symphony, most of The Prophet's Theme follows the career of a Prophet who finds himself without appreciation in his own land. He is persecuted and ends up with more than a little paranoid sense of mind, merging himself with the land and abandoning mankind to its fully deserved fate. As I said, he is cynical!
Similar instrumental sounds might come from bands as diverse as IQ, The Cure, and The Church. The darker sections lean toward Anekdoten and Sinkadus. The guitar work lacks punch and attack, but does not detract from the overall quality of the album.
"Limitations" seems to be his manifesto. It contains influences from the 1980's through the early 90's, but in a progressive vein. Some of the longer tracks fall into the habit of meandering, using heavy church organ to overwhelm the listener. But allowing for that, one will find a lot of interesting sounds and ideas from the Quiet Earth Orchestra.
(All Album Reviews by Windhawk)
John Ludi (all instruments)
The not at all aptly named Quiet Earth Orchestra is anything but, as it is the one-man project of one John Ludi, who has done mostly everything on this release with some small writing input from Michael Moore (of the band Tin Scribble) as the only external help. Ludi has been working on and off on this creation since 1999, and he released it himself at the start of 2008.
John Ludi's list of influences on his MySpace page is quite impressive, and it's crystal clear that we're talking about a hardcore music fan here. This is a guy that seems to have listened to more music than most people manage to get familiar with in a lifetime. Although his list of acts he believes his work sounds similar too is relatively short, it's obvious that these 10 compositions are a mix of inspirations from many different acts.
The musical style explored is a symphonic one though, and I expect that fans of most of the great acts from the 70's will find similarities to their heroes of yesteryear in this music. It is kinda hard to produce symphonic rock without making segments or passages similar to the classic outfits after all. Personally I didn't find the music to be cloning any specific band though, which for me indicates that the casual listener won't be troubled by hearing to obvious influences when checking this one out.
That Ludi has done everything himself on the album, and I get the notion that at least some instruments are emulated, will see to it that there is an individual sound going on here. In most cases doing everything yourself will lead to some weaknesses in the finished result; for me the drum sound (extremely sharp) and the vocals (a bit on the weak side, and not always placed optimal in the mix) were the weak point here. Strong, compelling compositions more than make up for those weaknesses though; layered keyboards, captivating soloing and intriguing themes are explored aplenty; and although one might not be that impressed on a superficial first listen to this material, a more in-depth concentrated exploration of these tunes should convince many listeners of the quality of these songs.
One for fans of symphonic rock mostly this album and followers of modern progressive rock with strong roots in the classic bands of the genre should also find it worthwhile checking out this release.
My rating: 78/100
Reviewer: Olav Björnsen