Artland (Israel / Progressive Rock, Instrumental)

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Artland (Israel / Progressive Rock, Instrumental)

Post by Musicgate on Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:26 am

Artland - Between The Sky And Earth (2001, Israel) - NMR

Country: Israel
Recording Date: 2001
Label: Artland Records
Genre: Progressive Rock, Instrumental

Israel rarely gives a birth to anything worthy in terms of progressive music but now witness a new entity, ARTLAND, the band consisting of the guys hailing from former USSR. Maybe it's their struggle for inner freedom that determines ARTLAND's approach to instrumental epics. "Vote Of Heaven" comes based on folky motifs with synthesizers delivered flute and bagpipe and liquid jazzy guitar interspersing polyrhythmic structures. Seems, there's no sense in the titles as they strike no accord with the music. There's an interesting difference in guitar playing with one of the guitarist overtly showing his love for metal while the second flies around his riffs - two versions of "Real Peace" is an illustration. In this piece bass goes dancing around keyboard solo in the Moog mode. Something remindful of Steve Hackett appears in another Celtic-tinged track, "It Will Be Still Good", that sounds as if came from "Till We Have Faces" with irksome unimaginative drumming. "Travel To Life" is the most atmosperic and spaced out of the whole collection and could be categorized as ambient or new age. Synth rain with an acoustic guitars strain and a good dose of funk to enliven a picture. "Something Lyrical" is such, indeed, yet unfocused a bit and may resemble the Steve Howe collaboration with Paul Sutin.

"Between The Sky And Earth" proves a mature work overall and while the band consider it a demo it's frightening what they will come up with for real album.

About albume:
The title of this album officially, i.e. as it is on the CD booklet cover and on the CD, sounds as "Between The Sky And Earth". Also, while the CD's playing time is 'originally' 43 min, one of the songs here (Real Peace) sounds twice. The album's last song is just a remix of the same song, so actually this is not even a bonus track (i.e. at least a live version of Real Peace). I think that in case of a Progressive Rock band this is not a worthy, but rather a worse addition to the short yet real full-length album of five original songs. "Between Sky And Earth" is the debut album by this Israeli band and there are five pieces (without that throwaway remix) on this all instrumental album. Stylistically, Artland's music has no strong progressive 'borders'. While the music of "Between Sky And Earth" could be, on the whole, described as an all instrumental blend of Classic and Neo Art (Symphonic) Rock structures, some episodes there have a metallic feel, other ones sound as typical Jewish folk-music. Although most of the themes, parts and solos (at times) by two guitarists and a keyboardist are quite interesting, the programmed drums always remain the "main drawback " for all albums where they're used. The same goes for the drum sound on the debut album of Artland, though, when Losinsky adds his own manual work on the electronic percussion to the programmed drums the sound gets slightly more diverse than otherwise. Finally, the bassist is the only band member who really impresses me with his extensive, diverse and always enjoyable playing the album throughout. Also I'd like to note that the Artland music is moderately complex (not counting just a few accessible arrangement parts) and quite original at the same time, although all the arrangements develop within the traditional (I'd even say "usual") direction of Art (Symphonic) Rock. All five compositions are practically of the same good, on the whole, quality: they're somewhere between Neo and Classic (Symphonic) Art Rock with leanings towards the latter, though the sound of the recording itself isn't too rich. Thus, a half of a rating star is in the minus. But all in all, this album is quite a worthy debut for a young band. And, by the way, Artland is the first Israeli band whose album I happen to review.

Tracks info:
Vote of Heavens*
It Will Be Still Good
Travel To Life*
Something Lyrical
Real Peace*

All tracks composed by P. Losinsky & A. Tantsiurah.
In (*) guitar solos by S. Nikolaev.
Produced by Artland.
Recorded & mixed by P. Losinsky & Artland.

Personel info:
Patrick Losinsky - guitar, electronic percussion & drums, samples, loops
Alex Tantsiurah - keyboards
Sergey Nikolaev - guitar
Sandy Bagnov - bass

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