Folk Iván - Sea of glass - 2002
“Ultimately thanks to The Creator for giving us the language of music”.
The above quote (with which I certainly agree) comes from the cd inlay
of the album “Sea of glass”,
a production of Hungarian musician and composer Folk
Iván. He not only composed all the pieces on this album
but also plays guitars, virtual instruments (probably sampled instruments),
violin (that literally plays a significant role), marimba, keyboards and
noise loops. He also is responsible for the vocals on the concluding track.
On this album he is joined by Mády Kálman
(percussion and rhythm arrangements), Kovács
Simon János (bass and bass grooves), Kedl
Ildikó (cello and “ahahaaha” vocals) and last
but not least Kedl Lásló
I guess the alt sax I hear is probably one of the “virtual instruments”.
I must say that in the light of the country of origin I find this a very remarkable album. A significant part of the nine tracks on the album bear influences of songs like “Discipline” from King Crimson. They are based on a repeating guitar pattern that, if I’m correct, in the case of King Crimson was played by Tony Levin using a Chapman Stick.
Especially the three opening tracks “All in a mirror” (6:55), “Babel” (5:30), “Cheater” (5:28) and track 7 “Turning burning” (6:10) and the title track “Sea of glass” (6:58) have the style and sound of this King Crimson classic. Intriguing compositions with nice melody lines and solos played by guitar, sax and violin (track 2), sometimes jazzy, sometimes “folky” and “guided” by an adequate rhythm section.
“Turning burning” is at first glance a bit monotonous and quite jazzy, but finishes with a part where a nice countermelody also reminds me of Yes. “Sea of glass” is one of the strongest pieces of the album with beautiful guitar chords and a melody that is sequentially played by acoustic guitar, saxophone and synthesizer. Fine themes build up a pleasantly floating song that also features a violin solo.
The remaining songs that are not characterized by the typical repeating pattern also have influences of folk and jazz, because of the use of cello, violin and saxophone.
“Book of Esher” (4:43 ) is an easy instrumental with an atmospheric melodic intro played by guitar and violin, soft percussion and drums and featuring a “classic rock ”violin solo with cello accompaniment. “Four moments” (1:19) is a short and peaceful intermezzo: a nice guitar melody accompanied by acoustic guitar.
“As flashes are burning” (7:20) is a more solid rock song with “Great gig in the sky” like female vocals without words. Nice and relaxing with strumming guitars and some sequenced synthesizer parts, always pleasant fretless bass and a guitar solo that sounds as if it is played on a kind of oriental string instrument.
The album finishes with a strong composition entitled “My feast” (5:27), where we hear the (English) vocal qualities of Folk Iván, that certainly aren’t bad. It is an mid/up tempo song with nice rock guitar chords and melody lines. A good guitar solo followed by a jazzy saxophone solo splits up the song. The second half shows a reprise of the opening theme that this time sounds like Yes, but also brings in mind the Canterbury sound of Caravan. The finale is again a jazzy saxophone part.
A surprising album that is quite enjoyable of your interested in prog with rock, jazz, folk an classical influences, that is not freaky or too experimental.