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progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members.

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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

Sigmund Snopek - Trinity / Seas seize sees - 2000

An initial statement: We are so lucky that there are record labels such as Musea that bring to light masterpieces practically forgotten such as this. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

This is a wonderful concept album in two Cds (120 minutes) of master Sigmund Snopek, a gentleman from Milwaukee of whom I didn't know anything until I received this album. From now on I have promised myself to look for more references of his extensive career, already thirty years long. He embraces progressive rock, musical comedy, contemporary and choral music, as well as electronic music.

The album presents a curious history. The work, "Trinity", is about a Martian that returns from the Earth to his planet of origin Seize, where he discovers a race of controllers that direct everything. The Bubble man arrives to the planet and convinces its inhabitant that they should look for a new home far away from the controllers. They travel in the first place to Seas, a paradise planet full with water, of which they must also escape, taking the water with them and leaving a desertic planet behind. They arrive to Sees, populated by a race of a thousand wise eyes, of which they have also to depart, but taking with them their wisdom. Finally they arrive to Freesfriezefreeze, a distant trinity of planets, in which the controllers find them, getting involved in a battle to death that leads to total annihilation. After the battle, a few survivors land in the passage of Godcar, the warehouse of the roots of the religions and beliefs of the universe. The narrator returns to Earth, a sufficiently familiar world to give him the courage to accept, to continue and to survive. A beautiful metaphor of human being’s destruction and the search for freedom.

In 1973, Sigmund and his friends starting the rehearsals of this long conceptual piece, composed and written by Mr. Sigmund, but they only ended up recording the first part, the first 19 songs of the first Cd. In the 1996-99 period, Sigmund took back the story, and helped by more friends, finished the recording of the work, with 29 more songs included in the end of the first Cd and in the fabulous second Cd, that includes the second and third act of the story. To enumerate the list of collaborators of Snopek in these songs would be eternal, more than forty names that include people from rock, jazz, classic, opera or theatre. The only known names to me are Brian Ritchie (of the excellent Violent Femmes, with whom Snopek has played in concert in many tours) and Warren Wiegratz (member of the bands of Al Dimeola and Jaco Pastorius). The instrumentation includes the traditional instruments of a rock band (guitars, keyboards, bass and drums) plus excellent masculine and feminine singers, as well as sax, cellos, sitar, trumpets and flutes.

The first 70’s phase is shown in the 19 first pieces of the album, included in the first act of the album, "Discovery". The group displays here a sublime combination of musical styles, influenced mainly by Frank Zappa and Captain Beefhart, the space music of Hawkwind or Amon Duul, and the progressive of Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson or Pink Floyd. We can also hear abundant touches of psychedelic music, blues, boogie, rock, jazz or krautrock.

A beautiful example of unleashed imagination that splashes around in an earthquake of sentiment and styles that converge happily in the own and exciting style of the group. For some, this mixture can be quite dispersed and incoherent, and sometimes it comes this way, but in my opinion, it reflects perfect and marvellously the musical greatness of its era, the first fabulous seventies. A jewel to discover.

The recording of the remaining 29 songs of the double Cd was carried out between 1996 and 1999. It shows a less dirty and more modern production and sound, with a music more influenced by his adventures in classic and electronic music, as well as abundant examples of wonderful progressive music. In particular, the songs that give shape to the second act of the album, "Consequences" (track 28 to 38) turn out to be in my opinion a masterpiece of the space-progressive genre. It is a great instrumental suite with references to the calmer Hawkwind, and overall to the krautrock of Faust, the first Pink Floyd, ELP in "Tarkus" or Tangerine Dream in the 70s.

This progressive musical sensation is also transmitted in the third and last act of the work, "Aftermath" (tracks 39-48), in which we can add to the cocktail influences of modern musicians such as Kate Bush and 90s ambient, contemporary classical music or even the first Renaissance. The last song recaptures the recording of 1973 again, and rebirths the spirit of the crazy genius Syd Barret.

In conclusion, an excellent and long album that should attract, on the one hand, fans of hard progressive, and those that love the mixture of styles and sound in our groups. Miraculously, in spite of its extensive duration, I have not been bored for a single moment. Ah, before I forget, the impressive artwork in the cover and booklet of the Cd is really worth of accompanying this great masterpiece.

José Nafría - April 2000
rating - Musea

 

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