Macabre Studios - Macabre Studios - 1999


This instrumental duo formed by Gustav Tilleby (acoustic and electric guitars, bass) and Mattias Snygg (keyboards and sequencers) comes from the north of Europe. They have sent me an interesting and well produced demo that, for its quality, is worthwhile to comment on. From 1997, when they started year as a trio, Macabre Studios has evolved, always having as a core basis the admiration for bands and musicians like Yes, Vangelis, Pink Floyd or Genesis.


In their recording debut, I am positively surprised that these young musicians move far away from the most usual styles played by current bands. We do not find Neoprogressive sketches or metal discharges. I would rather define the music of these guys as electronic progressive, based on the overlapping of keyboards and synthesizers, smooth guitars, and a very ethereal concept of music, coming close to a mixture of Vangelis, Kitaro and Pink Floyd.

The CD lasts 25 minutes. It opens with "In Orbit" (2:23), an adequate title for a song in which keyboards make their way in between guitar arpeggios, while we listen to background voices (supposedly from the Nasa), and in which a very interesting change of rhythm takes place. After this promising start, "Moonmadness" (4:31) maintains the interest, being an energetic piece, in a Camel vein as you could have expected, and with a good work of synthesizers. In this case, keyboards are not just a support, and they take much more of a leading role, again very versatile on rhythm changes. "Playground of Yesterday" (2:23) is a more intimate piece –the background voices return- but it is not as interesting as the previous songs. "The Dances of a Thousand Shadows" (3:37) raises the quality level again, with an introduction totally a la Vangelis, and a very film-like epic development, inside its softness. "Parnass" (3:09) follows the path shown by "Moonmadness", in a more progressive and less ambient style, and with great arrangements. "Evolution" (1:52) is in the ambient-new-age style, with a keyboards cushion and developments over the same melody. It is not amazing, but it serves as an adequate prelude to the longest song in the CD, "Daydream" (5:32), without a doubt, a good summary of the CD. It has an exquisite introduction in an Oldfield mood, changes of rhythm, interesting instrumental developments and melodies that flow between the naive and the professional.


Maybe the only negative aspect of this CD is that it lacks more "punch", although I must recognize that it is clearly better than many of the CD's that are defined as "electronic progressive music". The first work of this young people shows a lot of care for melodies, plenty of experimentation and a good instrumental work. I hope they do not feel disappointed as they could surprise very positively in the future. A "pass" grade to start with, but with the possibility to obtain better results in the future.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - February 2000 -   - Independent Release