In the year 1920 the visionary Hermann Sorgel was fighting for his idea to build a massive dam between Gibraltar and the African coast to seperatehe Mediterranean sea from the Atlantic ocean in order to drain it and win new land. Was it a brilliant plan of a great mind or just a crazy idea. This story forms the basis for the Altlantropa Project. A group of ambitious musicians and producers who got inspired by the visions of the ingenious engineer. So it became the source of inspiration for this concept album that has been released on the Progressive Promotion Records label.
Lothar Krell - keyboards, sound design, lead vocal (15), backing vocals; Heinz Kuhne - acoustic and electric guitars, lead vocals in bridge (6), backing vocals; Michael Wollesky - bass, backing vocals; Wahrmut Sobainsky - drums, cajon, backing vocals; Ralph Brandmuller - acoustic guitar, 12 string (2,13); Michael Wollf- lead vocals, backing vocals; Elinor Pongracz - lead vocals (6,8,11), backing vocals; Ralf Hubnet - violin (13); Juliet Wolff - backing vocals (10); Jasper Wolff - backing vocals (10); Tony Clark - narrator (1,4,7,9,12,14), mandolin (2,11); Richard Kersten - reporter (6,10,13,15,16), acoustic guitar (11)
Personally I love those ambitious concept album projects. Especially when the listener is guided through the story by a narrator. On this album there is a narrator (Tony Clark) and a reporter (Richard Kersten). Those voices extend the atmosphere in a positive way. You can also find such narration parts in the music of the British bands Big Big Train and Kaprekar’s Constant. Because of the fact that some songs are devided into several parts, you can find 23 tracks on this album. But you can listen to the whole album as one long song.
The music is on the mellow side of the progressive rock spectrum. You can find beautiful melodies and arrangements on this album. It is difficult to compare this highly original music with other bands. If you think about the atmosphere of the music you could maybe imagine a concept album of The Allan Parsons Project. Also because the band has several singers (both male and female voices). If you visit the website of the Atlantropa Project you will notice that the core of the band were members of the German band Waniyetula which is a word in the language of the Sioux tribe. It means Winter.
After the first narrative part in the album opener “A Continent of Joy”, the band goes full throttle in the opening of the song “The Great Maker”. You can enjoy aggressive guitars and a fat synth solo before the first vocal parts can be heard when the music becomes more mellow. Love the synth parts in this fine progressive rock song. The music has great diversity. The song “New Sky” is divided into the three parts “The Plan”, “The Bridge” and “Atlantropa”. Especially Part III “Atlantropa” is very nice with nice melodic guitar melodies. The song flows seamlessly into the next track “Now is always Past” which includes again a narrative part. This is then followed again by a song that is devided into three parts “Time to bid Goodbye”. Part III “Last Goodbye” has a beautiful vocal line. You can find some wonderful melodies on this album. The next powerful song “They Want To Steal Our Ocean” has an intriguing atmosphere. You can find besides all the male and female voices lovely keyboard parts in this song.
In the opening of “Gotta Stem The Greedy Water” a female voice is accompanied by acoustic guitars, a piano and delicate percussion. In the middle section you can find some wonderful keyboard parts. Another personal highlight is the song “Walk Across The Water”. Tasteful keyboard, guitars parts and lovely vocal parts. Because of the fine melodies and the wonderful violin and electric guitar parts I would also mention the longest (9:00) track of the album “When we all Speak Atlantropan” as a personal highlight. The song “Star Atlantropa” is divided into three parts (“Look To The West”, “We Still Have A Lot To Dream”, “Shining Star”). Part II “We Still Have A Lot To Learn” is the most interesting part with lovely keyboard strings, organ and synth melodies. The album closes with “Reprise”, a short piano melody.
The story of Atlantropa is a perfect subject for a concept album. I love that the listener is guided through the story by a narrator and reporter. You can find some wonderful melodies on this album. The music has diversity also because of the use of both male and female voices. Don’t expect complex or overwhelming progressive music. But if you like the mellow side of the progressive rock spectrum and are into nice melodies, please check out this lovely release. Personally I enjoyed listening to the “Atlantropa Project” very much. Another fine release on the Progressive Promotion Records label.