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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Amarok - Amarok - 2002

"Special thanks to Mike Oldfield & Pink Floyd"

Another release of the Polish label Ars Mundi (see also the review or Turquoise). The project has the name Amarok and there are three tracks with the name "Fieldmour" (I, II & III). So it is not a big surprise to me that the names of Mike Oldfield and Pink Floyd are in the "thank you" section of the credit notes. Amarok is the project of multi instrumentalist Michal Wojtas. The tracks "Fieldmour I" and "Fieldmour II" he composed together with Bartosz Jackowski.

Michal Wojtas - guitars (electric, electric slide, acoustic, classic), bass guitar, Hammond, Electric piano, synthesizers, sampling, ethnic drums & percussion.

Special guests:
Malgorzata Stoch - violin; Joanna Jaworz-Dutka - flute; Krzysztof Pitula - drums; Agnieszka Dudek - voice; Marta Wojteczek - voice; Robert Srzednicki - voice; Bartosz Jackowski - voice.

The album cover is a picture of a rock standing in the sea, which is packed with a lot of birds. In the Netherlands we call them "Jan van Gent". The picture reminds me of a holiday in New Zealand, it could be exact the same spot where I witnessed a colony of this kind of birds. The intro of the album "I'm a rock" (2:16) let us hear a sample of the noise those birds make, which seamless flows into a kind of Pink Floyd meets Oldfield intro. It is a bridge to one of the main themes of the album "Fieldmour I" (9:08). The first notes of this track reminds us of Pink Floyd but the music develops more into an Oldfield sound with beautiful acoustic and classical guitars and a violin. The electric guitar solos are played with that typical sound of Mike Oldfield. This instrumental and longest track of the album is one of the highlights of this album. The music is very beautiful and delicate. Later on also a guitar sound ala Gilmour appears. So the name "Fieldmour" is well chosen and can't be a coincidence.

"Fieldmour II" (6:36) has a female voice without words and a flute. The music of this second Fieldmour part is more up-tempo and has a joyful character. It is all very beautiful and the mix is crystal clear (what was also the case with the Turquoise release on the same label). "Avalon" (3:16) is an Oldfield like electric guitar piece played with a lot of emotion. Next comes part three of the Fieldmour suite "Fieldmour III" (8:33). This track has a lot of variation with several up-tempo themes. Because of Michal's solo guitar sound the piece also has often an Oldfield atmosphere. But in the end it reminds me also of the beautiful compositions of Micheal Gettel.

"Lavera" (3:30) (in the booklet it is called "Zamora" -the name of one of the most beautiful cities in Spain-) is an up-tempo guitar orientated song. "Aqu" (2:51) is an acoustic/classical guitar piece, which sometimes brought the name of Gorden Giltrap into my mind. "Meriba" (6:49) is more up-tempo again. The music of Amarok has so many different themes and instruments (in this piece we have Hammond and flute) that it becomes never boring. In "Meriba" the atmosphere is more like Jethro Tull.

In "Seya" (6:28) the violin is present and gives a folky touch but because of the guitar playing it has in overall again an Oldfield atmosphere. The last long track of the album is called "Massa" (8:02). And here we have a complete different guitar sound. It is the sound of Dire Straits. Never thought I would hear someday a track with a combination of Dire Straits and Oldfield guitar sounds. But because I am not a big Dire Straits fan the track doesn't has my full attention during the whole running time. Maybe this track is just a little bit to long, there are a few themes that are repeated over and over again.

After this up-tempo track the album is closed with two small tracks. "Astron" is slow and very atmospheric. And "Khana" has a modern rhythm and is build around some synth samples.

"Amarok" is besides some vocals without words completely instrumental. And a full hour of instrumental music without getting bored is a great compliment. The album has a very strong opening with "I'm a rock", "Fieldmour I", "Fieldmour II", "Avalon" and "Fieldmour III". But the second part of the album has not the same quality as the first part. But it is a very good album and if you like the kind of music Mike Oldfield is playing, this album of a very talented Polish musician won't disappoint you. His name: Michal Wojtas.

Douwe Fledderus - May 2002
rating - Ars Mundi

 

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