Amber Foil is a conceptual and independent progressive rock project originated in Lisbon. It was created by the composer, guitarist and vocalist João Filipe and it was launched on November of 2016 although the whole conceptual playground started to be created in 2013 in sketchbooks and on his own home studio. It welcomes different art forms such as literature, painting and cinema, and it always aims for an innovative, contemporary and magical approach.
On their Facebook page you can find the following description of their music; “The music flows naturally through emotive, magnificent and mysterious scenarios, cinematic sometimes, as if a secret is hidden somewhere behind it, maybe on a tiny hollow full of a secret light, where everyone can go on a imagistic and lyrical journey. This is an invitation for you to go on a journey of discovery and contemplation within Amber Foil and, ultimately, within yourself.”
Vocals, Guitars - João Filipe
Vocals - Célia Ramos
Bass - João Pascoal (Griot)
Drums - Diogo Contreras (Lotus Fever)
Analogue Synthesizers on "Machinery Haze" - Guilherme Luz
Piano/Vibraphone on "The Forest" - Vasco Vilhena
Ending guitar solos on "Machinery Haze" and "Perception of an Unknown" - Manuel Cardoso
Voice in "Machinery Haze" - Manuel Cardoso
Produced by Manuel Cardoso (Tantra)
"The Forest" lyrics by João Filipe
Story & Concept by João Filipe with Pedro Barão wand's touch
Composed by João Filipe
Drums composition and occasional keyboards by Manuel Cardoso
Following João Filipe this debut EP “An Invitation” is the result of an organic meeting of a fantasy story, a concept, visual art and music. The EP is housed in a beautiful digipak and the drawing on the front reminds me slightly of the back cover of one of my favorite Jethro Tull albums “Songs from the Wood”. Maybe this is a coincidence but a part of the story on “An Invitation“ takes place at a forest. So maybe there is a connection. There is definitely a connection with some other fine Portuguese musicians from the Progressive Rock scene. The bass is played by João Pascoal from the band Griot. You can find a review of their debut album here on progVisions. And surprisingly for me, there is a connection with my favorite Portuguese Progressive Rock band Tantra. The album is mixed, mastered and produced by Manuel Cardoso the leader and guitar player of that band. On the cover of this EP the musicians who participated are not mentioned. But I am quite sure that I hear the guitar of Manuel Cardoso and also the synths of Tantra's keyboardist Guilherme Luz. After contacting João Filip this seems to be correct. For anyone interested, all the credits are on their BandCamp page (and mentioned above).
On “An Invitation” you can find three tracks. The first instrumental song is entitled “Machinery's Haze” and opens with a little sample of the sounds of the subway in London. With a duration of more than ten minutes this is also the longest track of this EP. The story is about a character called Pete. “A cloud of noise with all of the arrogance, lies and falseness which human beings persistently slide into, inhabits his feelings and thoughts. Who is he in the middle of all this? Who are we? What are we doing in the middle of this haze?” The music is a wonderful journey through progressive rock landscapes full of mysterious and Cinematic atmospheres. After a slow opening the music becomes more complex with some spacey synth sounds. The atmosphere of the music reminds me of Tantra. Guilherme Luz (Tantra) is responsible for this. Also the guitar playing reminds of Tantra. The ending guitar solo is played by the master himself (Manuel Cardozo). Only for this composition I would buy this EP. What a lovely surprise this is. The second song is called “The Forest”. Pete runs away from the city and finds himself wandering through the forest. He starts to hear echoes of strange melodies. Reality seems to be an illusion more and more .. In this song we can hear the voice of Célia Ramos. The vocal melodies of the duet with João Filipe are wonderful in this track. It is a rest point in the music with some fairytale like atmospheres. In the last song “Perception of an Unknown” Pete comes a long wooden house. In the digipak you will find a small leaflet with a map of the forest and the location of this mysterious wooden house. The music is like the opening track more complex and progressive. Lovers of the music of Tantra will love this kind of music ... just because at some point it breathes the atmosphere of Tantra. Especially of course during the ending guitar solo of Mr. Cardoso himself. This said Amber Foil is searching for and developing an own sound. The music is adventerous and mysterious. And I am very curious how this project will develop in the future.
What a wonderful project this is. I would describe the music of Amber Foil as a wonderful journey through progressive rock landscapes full of mysterious and Cinematic atmospheres. A debut album housed in a beautiful and detailed digipak. Great to see that one of my progressive rock heroes, Manuel Cardoso (Tantra) has helped this Portuguese and very talented young man named João Filipe to make his dream come true. Hopefully this is only the start of the Amber Foil project. Would love to see a full length album of Amber Foil in the near future. Amber Foil's “An Invitation” is highly recommended by progVisions and a must buy for Tantra fans.