Héctor Gómez already mentioned it in his review of Hasse Bruniusson's "Flying food circus"; this year is great for The Flower Kings fans. Two weeks after the release of "Pinup Guru" the second solo album of The Flower Kings keyboard player Tomas Bodin, The Flower Kings came up with another double CD entitled "Unfold the future". Personally I think this is their best and most adventurous album up to date. And I believe the recording of "Pinup Guru" which also includes the complete rhythm section of The Flower Kings (Jonas Reingold & Zoltan Csörsz) has directly been influenced by the new The Flower Kings (TFK) album. Jonas Reingold also made an album under the name Karmakanic ("Entering the spectra") featuring old and new members of TFK. And if you can't get enough of it you can buy an Official Bootleg "Live in New York" released on Foxtrot Records. This CD is an audience recording of April 2002 with today's line-up and includes the complete epic "Garden of dreams" (47:08).
Tomas Bodin – Nord Electro, Nord Lead 3, Nord Modular, Akai 5000, Emagic ES2 synt, EXS24 sampler, EVP 88 rhodes, Novation Supernova, Korg Prophecy, Roland VK7, MC 505; Jonas Reingold – Warmoth/Bartolini custom bass, Yamaha bass, EBS Profssional bass system; Zoltan Csörsz – Precision drums New York.
The album opens with a church organ in "Sodium regale" (3:39). A piece inspired by the "Jerusalem" interpretation of Emerson Lake & Palmer (EL&P). This is a very nice opener on this keyboard orientated solo album. The spirit of EL&P also can be found in the second track "What's going on" (13:37). Delicious Hammond organ and Mellotron played on his Nord keyboards. On December 1st I witnessed a concert of TFK in Holland and could see Tomas play on this keyboards. The Hammond and Mellotron sounds of these modular keyboards are just amazing. People who have the limited edition of "The rainmaker" album of TFK will recognise that "Violent brat" was a preview of this track that was then in the making. The second part has more ambient and world music influences. This is one of the many highlights of the album.
The title "Me and Liz" (11:12) comes from his stranding marriage with Elisabeth. It is a piece with a slow pace. The melodies are simple but very beautiful. Also I would like to mention the nice jazzy bass work of Jonas Reingold. "Harlem heat" (8:20) is more up-tempo and inspired by his first visit to New York. The main theme played on synth is melodic and the atmosphere is happy. Tomas also uses a lot of samples in this track. The second part has gospel influences. There is a lot of variation in this track.
"My beautiful neighbour" (2:23) includes also a lot of samples and the sound of a pounding heart in the beginning before the real start of this fast piano piece. "New in the 'hood" (7:18) is about his moving to a new neighbourhood in Uppsala. In this area live people of all kind of different cultures. The first part is up-tempo but the second part has some jazzy influences. In his interview with progVisions Tomas told me that he also likes the classical symphonic music of Shostakovich. In "Blood" (5:42) are some links to the tenth symphony of this Russian composer. Tomas stays a little bit longer in a classical atmosphere with "The ballerina is not getting closer" (1:51) a short piece with only classical piano.
The connection with the next track "The last eagle" (5:50) is tastefully done with a classical Cello sound and so you are brought almost seamless from the real classical world into the classic trio sympho ala EL&P. You can hear nice synth and Hammond solo's on top of great bass and drumwork done by Jonas Reingold & Zoltan Csörsz. The peaceful ending seamlessly integrates into the last track and highlight of the album which is called "The final swig" (10:58). The slow start has fantastic jazzy fretless bass work of Reingold. But later on when the track develops more Jonas plays like the new Chris Squire. This is one of the more freaky pieces with Yes and Jazz Fusion influences and a typical TFK ending. Also the church organ from the beginning is back and so the circle is round.
This completely instrumental album is a melting pot of all kind of influences. I heard sympho, gospel, classical music, tango, gypsy, ambient, world music … but everything is tastefully stitched into a consistent album that sounds like one piece of music. And because of all this variation the album will never bore you. Every time you hear some new things. The choice of the classical trio formation is also a good one I think. Jonas Reingold & Zoltan Csörsz are getting the space to proof once and for all that they are musicians with high musical skills. For people who witnessed the latest tour of The Flower Kings this is nothing news of course. And Tomas Bodin proofs that he is one of the most original keyboard players of today. We had to wait for six long years after the release of his first solo album "An ordinary night in my ordinary life". But the waiting was worthwhile.