Piazza Del Campo

Live CD recorded on 8/29/03 in Siena. Expanded lineup marks the return of violinist extraordinare Mauro Pagani. Lucio Fabri also appears on violin. Nothing particularly groundbreaking but a nice selection of old material well played by these legends.

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  • This is the new 40th anniversary edition.  The CD features the expanded set and given a new mix courtesy of Robert Fripp, Tony Arnold, and David Singleton.  The DVD-A features a hi-rez (24/96) stereo mix and hi-rez (24/48) versions of the 2005 mix as well as the 30th anniversary remaster.  You also get a 24/96 vinyl transfer.  I think Robert has definitely beaten this one to death.  Once you have this version there isn't anything left.
    $21.00
  • "The tangled history of Imaginos, Blue Oyster Cult's last (1988) album for Columbia, has passed into legend for BOC fans. The name and concept comes from late-'60s sci-fi/fantasy writings by band manager/producer Sandy Pearlman that inspired the original band name; they then became the basis for a planned trilogy of solo albums by BOC drummer/songwriter Albert Bouchard, who had been working on the material since the early '70s with Pearlman. After Bouchard was fired from the band in 1981, he recorded a 90-minute album with such sidemen as Aldo Nova and the Doors' Robbie Krieger, but this version of the album was rejected by Columbia execs in 1984. After the release and commercial disappointment of BOC's Club Ninja, Pearlman then resurrected the idea and began production in 1986, adding vocals by BOC's Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom and guitar parts by Joe Satriani among many others. The result was no surprise BOC's most controversial album (and ironically, the first in years to feature the original line-up), probably their heaviest and most proggy outing, and an appropriately complex swan song for a complex band. Our Real Gone reissue features a new 2012 remaster and new notes by BOC expert Scott Schinder, along with the original album and inner sleeve art."
    $13.00
  • "In October of 2012, Motorpsycho entered Brygga Studio in Trondheim for the first time in many, many moons -- this being the studio where they recorded a few of their first albums some 20 years ago -- the vibes were good, and the music happened like it was supposed to. As this was the first time in quite a while that the band recorded stand-alone songs -- as opposed to pieces connected by a concept or a narrative -- it felt quite odd working in this way again, but it was also a refreshing approach that highlighted other aspects of their work that perhaps had been ignored over the last few years. In the end, it still very much felt like Motorpsycho music, albeit with a twist: for three days of the two-week session, the core trio was augmented by guitarist Reine Fiske. Best-known for his work in Swedish psych-combos Dungen and The Amazing, Reine is an old acquaintance of the band, and his recent exploits with Ståle Storløkken's Elephant9 made the pairing seem like a potentially interesting one for Motorpsycho as well. It's always good to have a wild card and someone from the outside to mirror your work, and the fruits of Reine's involvement, as presented on this album, speak for themselves: his finger-picking dexterity on the acoustic guitar provides both "Barleycorn" and the old Love chestnut "August" with a solid organic bed for the musical escapades of the other three, and on "The Afterglow," his tasteful guitar shadings and mellotron work adds immensely to the mood of the song. But it's on "Ratcatcher" that his talents shine the best: he slips right in there, and proceeds to glue Snah's lead guitar and Bent's "lead bass" together in a different way than heard before, adding light and shade and splashes of color to the musical repartee, but never getting in the way or hogging center stage in an unwelcome fashion. It's the work of a musician with huge ears and an uncanny musical insight."
    $18.00
  • This is John Carpenter's first non-soundtrack album and its a killer.  Carpenter always provided the soundtracks to all his movies.  If you are a fan of Goblin or Fabio Frizzi this will blow your mind."The films of John Carpenter are perhaps best known for their atmospheric qualities. His horror classics are drenched in a level of darkness that owes a great deal to the films’ score. Who doesn’t immediately get chills down their spine when they hear the foreboding piano theme to Michael Myers in Halloween? These cult classics are almost universally recognizable. Few others have been able to achieve the kind of nostalgia and level of influence as Carpenter has in his almost half-a-century long career. The announcement that Sacred Bones Records were releasing an album’s worth of newly recorded stand-alone John Carpenter material not intended for any particular film score brought forth a unanimous level of excitement from fans of his previous work. Carpenter’s music has always played an integral role in what made his films so exciting.Lost Themes is a record that is immediately characteristic of the John Carpenter name. The title is actually a bit misleading, as these themes were not collected over the course of his career but recorded for fun during jam sessions with his son. Each of these nine tracks are separate themes and tell their own self contained story, but it is worth noting how complete and cohesive the album feels from start to finish. In a Pitchfork interview, Carpenter stated that he viewed the record as “a soundtrack for the movies that you have in your mind. Everybody walks around with a movie playing in their head. Just imagine this is the soundtrack for you.”From the opening piano chords of “Vortex” we are thrust into an ominous realm reminiscent of Carpenter’s ‘80s films. The song plays out as less Halloween inspired and more Escape from New York. He uses the same kind of progressions here that are present in his previous scores by letting the original melody to each theme transition to something entirely different before coming back full circle near the end. This only adds to the thrilling presence that dominates each of these themes. “Obsidian” utilizes this technique in a profound way. The soundscape unfolds from the background music of an eerie midnight drive through a dystopian metropolis into an organ driven chamber music style interlude. “Domain” serves as one of the most fun tracks here, somehow managing to be groovy and danceable yet still somewhat sinister in nature. Its synth arpeggios harken back to Carpenter classics such as “Pork Chop Express” from Big Trouble in Little China. “Mystery” boasts twinkly synths that evoke the classic science fiction nostalgia from films like Prince of Darkness or The Thing. “Abyss” moves in much the same fashion, with a neat rhythm progression near the end that further builds the tension the track begins on. Fans of Escape from New York’s ascending and descending synth patterns need look no further than the true gem of the record, “Purgatory” which builds from a quiet and dissonant opening minute into an ‘80’s style jazz laden groove.Lost Themes further cements John Carpenter’s legacy as a master composer. His music remains as relevant today as it was forty years ago. Carpenter brilliantly utilizes a plethora of musical influences in these nine tracks including ‘70s and ‘80s prog rock, synth rock, chamber music, disco, electronica, and hints of jazz fusion. Though we may not have any images to accompany these themes, what dwells within our minds could very well prove to be much more effective." - Sputnik Music
    $14.00
  • "2013 five disc (three CDs + two DVDs) digipak. It takes a legend to bring a myth back to life. A unique treat for music fans worldwide, Steve Hackett's critically acclaimed live production 'Genesis Revisited' has so far triumphed in Europe, Japan and North America alike and is still going strong; on May 10th it celebrated its success at a sold out London's Hammersmith Apollo with an ecstatic audience. Genesis Revisited - Live at Hammersmith - a unique performance with guests including Nik Kershaw, John Wetton, Jakko Jakszyk, Steve Rothery and Amanda Lehmann. The pioneering guitarist comments: "The 5.1 DVD with stereo CD is a feast for all the senses. I was blown away by the fantastic response to those May UK gigs!""
    $25.00
  • "The legendary Marillion guitarist and founding member Steve Rothery has long been known for his unique playing style, and in the live setting the experience cannot be matched. ‘Live In Rome’ sees the Steve Rothery band captured over 2CD’s and 1 DVD at a magical sold out show in Italy on stage at the Cross Roads Live Club earlier this year. ‘Live In Rome’ sees his intricate musicianship and atmospheric soundscapes given the space they deserve.This brilliant live set sees Rothery airing tracks from his forthcoming solo album ‘The Ghosts of Pripyat, due out on the 22nd September. Financed by an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign which reached its fifteen thousand pound target in the first 24 hours, it went on to raise almost sixty thousand pounds and cements the already rock solid relationship that he has built with his fans worldwide. At one point it was even the second most popular music project on Kickstarter in the world. The studio album not only sees him helped by his fans, but a raft of guest musicians too, including Steve Hackett, Don Airey and many more.‘Live In Rome’ also features some brilliant performances of classic material from the Marillion cannon, with Rothery’s chosen band proving a natural fit for the music despite it being just the second time this particular group of musicians had played together live. Joining him for the evening were Dave Foster (Mr. So & So) on guitar, Yatim Halimi (Panic Room) on bass & Leon Parr on drums, as well as guests Riccardo Romano (RanestRane) on keyboards and vocalists Manuela Milanese and Alessandro Carmassi. The former bringing her sweet tones to ‘Waiting To Happen’ and ‘Sugar Mice’, and the latter packing a punch on classics such as ‘Cinderella Search’ and ‘Easter’.With the interest in Steve Rothery’s solo career at an all-time high thanks to his successful crowd-funding campaign, ‘Live In Rome’ is a fantastic look into the progression of the forth-coming ‘The Ghost of Pripyat’ album and a brilliantly crafted document of what the man him-self called “an unforgettable experience.”"
    $16.00
  • One of the greatest albums of all time! Seminal German mindf**k killing machine of extraterrestrial guitar solos melded with organ and pounding drums. Trio of Manuel Gottsching (guitar), Hartmut Enke (bass), Klaus Schulze (drums, electronics) created a masterpiece that still reverberates today, spawning a new generation of krautrock bands like Magnog, Fuxa, etc. New edition remastered by Manuel Gottsching.
    $17.00
  • Fine symphonic rock from Oz. Recorded in 1977, this is essentially the third Sebastian Hardie album. This new lineup revolved around S.H.'s keyboardist Toivo Pilt and guitarist Mario Millo, both of whom wrote all of this material. Stylistically identical, I'm not quite suire why they ever bothered to change the band's name. Features a bonus live rack recorded by Mario Millo's new band in 1998.
    $15.00
  • ‘Minstrel in the Gallery,’ Jethro Tull‘s eighth LP, is being remastered and expanded for its 40th birthday.The band’s fifth consecutive U.S. Top 10 album — and the last to feature the longtime lineup of Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, John Evans, Barrie Barlow and Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond — ‘Minstrel’ was originally released in September 1975, and spun off one single with the title track, which peaked at No. 80. The new edition, which supplants a previously available 2002 remaster, is being released on May 5 as a limited-edition two-CD / two-DVD set.The deluxe version, titled the ‘La Grande’ edition, adds seven bonus tracks (six of them previously unreleased) to the original album, including two mixed to 5.1 surround, and all to stereo by Steven Wilson, plus a flat transfer of the original LP mix at 96/24 and a flat transfer of the original quad mix, both of which include the B-side ‘Summerday Sands.’This edition, which is available for pre-order now, also includes an eight-minute film from 1975, featuring the band performing ‘Minstrel in the Gallery’ in Paris during July 1975, and adds a case-bound DVD book with an 80-page booklet featuring essays and photos as well as a series of track-by-track annotations by Anderson. For those who don’t have a ‘La Grande’ budget to match the deluxe pricing, ‘Minstrel’ will also be reissued digitally and on a single CD, as well as a 180-gram vinyl limited-edition pressing.Jethro Tull, ‘Minstrel in the Gallery’ 40th Anniversary La Grande Edition Track Listing:Disc One – New Steven Wilson Stereo Mix‘Minstrel in the Gallery’‘Cold Wind to Valhalla’‘Black Satin Dancer’‘Requiem’‘One White Duck / 010 = Nothing At All’‘Baker St. Muse’: a. ‘Pig-Me And The Whore’ b. ‘Nice Little Tune’ c. ‘Crash-Barrier Waltzer” d. ‘Mother England Reverie’‘Grace’‘Summerday Sands’‘Requiem’ (Version 1, previously unreleased)‘One White Duck’ (Take 5, previously unreleased)‘Grace’ (Take 2, previously unreleased)‘Minstrel in the Gallery’ (BBC version, previously unreleased)‘Cold Wind to Valhalla’ (BBC version, previously unreleased)‘Aqualung’ (BBC version, previously unreleased)Disc Two – Live at the Palais Des Sports, Paris, July 5, 1975 (A Jakko Jakszyk Stereo Mix)‘Introduction (The Beach Part 11)’‘Wind Up’‘Critique Oblique’‘Wond’ring Aloud’‘My God’: a. Flute Solo Including: ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/Bouree/Quartet’ b. ‘Living in the Past’ c. ‘My God’ (Reprise)‘Cross-Eyed Mary’‘Minstrel in the Gallery’‘Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day’‘Bungle in the Jungle’‘Aqualung’Guitar Solo‘Back-Door Angels’‘Locomotive Breath’ with improvisation and including “Hard Headed English General” and “Back-Door Angels” (reprise)The DVDs  feature the DTS & DD 5.1 surround mixes as well as the 96/24 PCM stereo mix and and an eight and half minute film of the band recorded in Paris on 6th July 1975.
    $41.00
  • "The kings and queens of Scandinavian folklore are back! Thundering in on a north wind from the ancient forests and Scandinavian skies full of fire and mystery. Once lost inside ice and snowcapped mountains and forbidden islands, where you cannot remove a stone, lest you face the curse of bad tidings forever…returns the wonder of Kaipa, with their latest effort: "Vittjar". This time they return to inject wonder into the dog days of summer, much as they did for the springtime with their last album, "In the Wake of Evolution". Kaipa, in case you are new to the band, includes such well-known artists and composers as Hans Lundin, on electric and acoustic keyboards and vocals; Per Nilsson, from Scar Symmetry, on electric and acoustic guitars; Morgan Ågren, from Mats & Morgan and Zappa on drums; Jonas Reingold, from The Flower Kings and Karmakanic, on electric basses; Patrik Lundström, from Ritual; on vocals, and Aleena Gibson on vocals. Hans Lundin is the leader of the band and has been making music since 1965. The band's discography dates back to the mid – 1970s, so these are old pros venturing into new uncharted territory, with music that combines inspiration from the folklore of their past. It makes for a wonderful combination that will provide hours of listening pleasure. I didn't stop playing their last album until deep into the summer after receiving it in early spring. "Vittjar" will be available in the USA on August 28th, 2012. The opening, "First Distraction" is a Renaissance – like, triumphant march, full of flutes, keys, and later lead guitar and strong drums. You can almost visualize the musicians emerging from an opening in the forest to join the field of play. Off to a nice start. Then the action truly begins. "Lightblue and Green" opens with firepower from keys, heavy drums and power lead guitar…just like…yes…one of your favorite Yes songs from the past. Lundström begins the story, "painting my morning in light blue and green…a nice picture indeed. You can visualize early morning sunbeams and the feeling of awakening from some interesting dreams. The power drums, bass, and keys set an excellent tone and build a strong soundscape to surround Lundström's "visions". An awakening from winter and its frigid surroundings, into the fullness of spring. The heavier guitar licks and drums separate this album from the golden charm of the last, with its spring – tinged softness. "Our Silent Ballroom Band" is the epic and longest track at 22:11 minutes, on the album. Few bands can pull off the epics. And even fewer can do it well by adding a great story that raps you into the theme like Kaipa. This track brings the return of Aleena Gibson, reprising her role, singing as a little girl sharing her experiences and reflections of the world around her. The flutes that surround her take you right to Scandinavia and a field, where she is "dancing in the misty summer grass…in a deafening dance of her life". Lundström's vocals return to compliment Gibson's. The keyboard and guitar instrumentals add even more wonder to this, my favorite track." "Reach for the stars"… and they do. The Yes – like power of this journey – filled track will bring back memories of the power of the 70s. "Vittjar", the title track is up next and it features Lundström's vocals, in native language providing a violin filled, Renaissance – like track which is easily the second best track on the album. Even if you don't understand the lyrics you can feel the emotion in the vocals and the strings, guitars, keys, bass, and drums. The instrumentation helps create that magic environment we fans remember so well, from all of their albums. "Treasure House" is a good track full of amazing guitar."A Universe of Tinyness" is another of the best songs on the album. The violin work so compliments Gibson's careful vocal delivery that holds the listener spellbound to the story. "Tiny soldiers reach my shore"…"I'm moving back in time…in search of missing lines...I'm moving in reverse in my own universe". The violin is back in "The Crowded Hillsides", and this time it and the cool lead guitar play a major role. Simply spectacular music. The track is full of great Squire-like bass reminders that really help make this track an instant classic like some of the best tracks off "In the Wake". "All of the wonders that hide in the sky…the sky is the limit"…yeh! "Second Distraction" is a great closer full of fantastic lead guitar, bass, mysterious keys and explosive drums. This is a great follow up album to "In the Wale…" This band is expanding its abilities and delivering on the promise of mixing modern rock music with the folklore, music and traditions of the past." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $12.00
  • "Steve Morse is best known for being the current guitarist of Deep Purple. But his passion for rock started long before joining the legendary British group. Out of all the musical endeavors he participated in, the Steve Morse Band is perhaps the most significant and personal one. This instrumental trio is well known for re-inventing rock in all possible ways, mixing it with jazz, country, funk and even bluegrass. "Southern Steel" from 1991 is to this day considered one of the finest albums the band has ever released. This exclusive reissue bring back true classic of one of the world's most talented rock guitarists... Features a guest performance by guitarist Jeff Watson (ex-Night Ranger). New digipak edition is limited to numbered 2000 copies. Re-released on a golden disc."
    $16.00
  • "In 2013, Norway's ever mercurial Motorpsycho released Still Life with Eggplant, with second guitarist Reine Fisk added to the fold. It was a collection of "other songs," those written for previous albums but not recorded. Those five cuts, despite their random sources, did have another connecting thread: they reflected some of the band's earliest explorations into hard rock and neo-psychedelia as displayed on records like Demon Box and Timothy's Monster. The way forward for Motorpsycho was apparently through the lens of the past. Behind the Sun marks the band's 25th anniversary, and once again, they journey further into that back catalog of unrecorded material. Produced by bassist and vocalist Bent Sæther, Motorpsycho once more employs Fisk as well as violist Ole Henrik Moe and violinist Kari Ronnekleiv. These nine tracks are as focused as those on Eggplant and often more adventurous. Opener "Cloudwalker (A Darker Blue)" begins as something of a Baroque psych tune and unwinds into a taut dynamic rocker with the strings and multi-part vocal harmonies adding texture and force. "On a Plate" is furious, riff-driven guitar rock that recalls the unhinged energy of the band's earliest sound. Rumbling tom-toms and pulsing synths introduce the instrumental "Kvæstor (Incl. Where Greyhounds Dare)," but are quickly joined by the twin-guitar attack of Hans Magnus Ryan and Fisk. A throbbing bassline and strings drive the front as the guitars sing, churn, and shape-shift between intensity and melody. The "Hell, Pts. 1-3" is a suite that began on Eggplant. It continues here with "Hell, Pts. 4-6: Traitor/The Tapestry/Swiss Cheese Mountain." Over nearly 13 minutes, it commences as airy, twisting prog rock with blended acoustic and electric guitars, synths, and strings, all buoying Sæther's urgent vocal. While a fingerpicked vamp holds the center, tension begins to ebb and flow as stinging guitar solos, dreamy keyboard interludes, and cymbal washes gradually erect an architecture of transcendent, anthemic rock. "Entropy" reveals Motorpsycho's more subtle dimensions. At over seven minutes, it gradually unfolds with a lyric bassline, lush, layered vocal harmonies, shuffling drums and skittering cymbals, and breezy keys and guitars, all contrasting sharply with its melancholy lyrics. "Hell, Part 7: Victim of Rock" closes the set with a screaming solo guitar and drum assault over a frenetic bassline. Unhinged sonic psych effects -- loads of reverb, backmasking, etc. -- frame this labyrinthine, careening rock ride that sends Behind the Sun off on stun. After more than 20 records, Motorpsycho remain inexhaustible in their creativity, fully, energetically, in command of a musical vision that is boundless." - Allmusic Guide
    $18.00
  • Its been quite some time since we've heard from Guy LeBlance and Nathan Mahl.  He's been busy touring with Camel and now having to deal with some serious health related issues.Justify finds Nathan Mahl with a reconstituted lineup.  Guy displays his prodigious keyboard abilities once again but this time he's also playing drums.  The new lineup features a twin guitar attack and bass.  For a keyboard player he sure as hell gives a lot of room for the two guitarists to stretch out and shred.  The album is split about 50/50 between instrumental and vocal oriented tracks.  You can tell his time in Camel has rubbed off on him - just check out the albums finale "Infinite Light".  It features a guest appearance on guitar and keys from none other than Andy Latimer!  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • After all these years, Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery has finally released a solo album and frankly it isn't at all what I expected.  First off the album is all instrumental (not a bad thing frankly).  Don't expect insane shredding here.  Rothery presents a very refined symphonic rock album that, to these ears, owes a big debt to Pink Floyd.  Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson appear as guests and that is a nice plus but to be honest even without their contributions the album would satisfy anyway.  Rothery has put together a nice band, drawing musicians from British neoproggers Mr. So & So and Italian symphonic band Ranestrane.  Expect  mellow parts that meld with sections that have an electrified smoldering intensity.  As long as you don't expect an instrumental Clutching At Straws I think you'll find a lot to dig your teeth into here.  Highly recommended."Steve Rothery is best known as guitarist for those whipping boys of the mainstream press, the progressive rock band Marillion. For over 30 years, Marillion have surprised and delighted fans old and new with some truly outstanding music. Musical fashions have come and gone, governments have formed and fractured… and Marillion are still here, not just unbowed but positively revelling in their role as eternal underdogs, having now delivered more than 15 studio albums of tremendously well-wrought and highly emotive music. The cornerstone of Marillion’s music, perhaps, is Steve Rothery’s elegaic guitar. Influenced by players such as Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Camel’s Andrew Latimer but with a style all his own, Rothery – as the longest-serving member of the band – is in many ways the core of the band and one of its chief writers.Yet in all those 30-plus years, Rothery has never released a solo record. He has enjoyed a largely-acoustic based side project in the shape of The Wishing Tree, who have now released two albums (1996’s Carnival Of Souls and 2009’s Ostara), but has never released an album under his own name. Until now. A strikingly successful Kickstarter campaign – for a brief time, the Ghosts Of Pripyat pre-order was the most successful Kickstarter project in the world – has allowed Rothery the time and supporting talent to produce something very different to his day job; yet familiar enough to fans of Marillion to forge a strong link to Rothery’s work in that band.Whilst The Ghosts Of Pripyat is a solo album in name, Rothery has assembled a strong band to record it. A reflection of the strength of the band is that two previous live albums that Rothery has released in the run up to the release of this, his first studio album, were billed as being by ‘The Steve Rothery Band’. The band form a next-generation progressive rock supergroup of sorts: Dave Foster (Mr. So & So, Panic Room) on guitars, Leon Parr (ex-Mr. So & So) on drums, Yatim Halimi (Panic Room) on bass and Riccardo Romano (Ranestrane) on keys & acoustic guitar. Throughout the album they add further colour and crunch to Rothery’s instrumental flights of fancy, giving it an appealing earthbound energy.The album opens in almost cinematic style with ‘Morpheus’. Marillion fans will delight in the way this track builds with an almost sensual slowness from barely audible ambient wash to a circling riff comprised of Rothery’s signature guitar sound, a crystalline chorused sustain that is powerfully evocative in its simplicity. ‘Morpheus’ is half over before the band puts its full weight behind Rothery’s playing, but this is one of this album’s strengths. It is not a ornate shred-fest, nor is it a somnolent none-more-authentic bore; the music – like Rothery’s playing – is effortlessly melodic and atmospheric, almost a film soundtrack without a film. It is here that Rothery’s fondness for the playing of Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett is most evident, and it’s entirely fitting that Hackett himself makes a guest appearance on this track. The two veteran guitarists trade off against each other beautifully, as if they’ve been playing together for years.Like any good soundtrack, each part of the album is very different in tone. Where ‘Morpheus’ was dreamy and reflective, ‘Kendris’ toys with a rolling, almost African-style drum pattern. Romano’s keys are especially important to this track, colouring in the backdrop to a musical safari whose shimmering heat haze makes for a warm, feelgood part of the album. This contrasts wonderfully with ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’, which is in many ways the centrepiece of the album. A near 12-minute track, it covers a range of moods very effectively. Opening with wave sounds, whale song and a mournful, lonely guitar fed through a Leslie effects pedal, it sounds beautifully Floydian – an effect only magnified when Rothery’s more familiar signature sound emerges to pick up the story. From these tentative but wonderfully evocative beginnings, the track gradually builds in intensity, musically and emotionally until it becomes as powerfully elemental as the sea that is its muse. The closing section in particular is one of the feistiest things that Rothery has committed to tape recently, featuring some forthright riffing built on top of a powerful performance by the assembled musicians, notably the muscular rhythm section of Halimi and Parr. In mood and subject matter, ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ sits comfortably alongside Marillion’s epic ‘Ocean Cloud’. Steve Hackett makes another guest appearance at the end, as does progressive rock wunderkind Steven Wilson – with Rothery’s presence, there are essentially three generations of progressive rock’s finest all delivering some great playing; a rare treat.‘White Pass’ was inspired by a treacherous icy path used by prospectors during the American gold rush, and its steadily rising tension is perfectly matched to its subject matter. A chugging, almost metallic riff crunches in midway through the track, the ideal accompaniment to this immersive tale of survival in a hostile environment. You can almost taste the icy chill of the howling winter winds. ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ also builds slowly, although the mood is almost antithetical to ‘White Pass': the track – a remembrance of Rothery’s late stepfather, a World War II veteran – forms a delicate and deeply emotive elegy that displays some of the most restrained playing on the album. Here, more than anywhere else, Rothery evokes the feel of mid-period Dire Straits, the gentle washes of keys and E-bowed guitar building to an affectionate but achingly sad solo that Mark Knopfler would have been extremely pleased with. This is the essence of Rothery’s playing, bottled in concentrated form: less is most definitely more. The closing two minutes display another marked influence, as the band dial up the blissful introspection into a dynamic gallop, accompanied by some very Latimer-esque playing, as Rothery tips his hat to another formative influence. Perhaps understandably the most intensely moving track, this is very special indeed.The penultimate track, ‘Summer’s End’, is another slow-burner, building from a sleepy, bucolic opening into an organ-driven hard rock riff that powers along, with a number of solos built over it, as Rothery trades some intense workouts with Foster, both of them clearly egging the other on to greater and greater heights. The magnificent atmospherics of ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ and the emotional intensity of ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ are hard to top, but if the restraint shown on the rest of the album leave you longing for heads-down rock and roll, here it is.The closing title track was inspired by photographs of the now deserted town of Pripyat in Chernobyl. After the nuclear accident there in 1986, the town was abandoned after radioactivity rendered the region uninhabitable. Reclaimed by nature, Pripyat makes for an eerie monument to those who died, and the displaced workers whose lives have never been the same. That same uncanny sense of loss and aftermath informs the track, which almost serves as an epilogue to the album. Rothery and Foster, joined by Romano on 12-string acoustic, build a slowly expanding web of limpid acoustic lines, almost like a musical round that becomes more ornate as it develops. The rest of the band arrive a few minutes later, developing the pattern of the round into a cyclical, almost Zeppelinesque riff. In five minutes the track goes from reverent near-silence into a muscular rocker, and you barely notice it happening; it feels effortless, utterly uncontrived.It’s striking, on an entirely instrumental album written and produced by a guitarist, how few solos there are on this album given its running time. Rothery’s economy is admirable in that it is never forced; this is just how he takes care of business. That in itself is one of the reasons he is so beloved as a guitarist: yes, he can be truly devastating when delivering a solo; yes, he can crank out a chunky riff with the best of them; but his playing is always in the service of the piece. His reliably deft hands deliver not riffs or solos so much as they paint with six strings. Here, freed from the constraints of delivering songs – as in Marillion and The Wishing Tree – those sound paintings are given centre stage 100% of the time, and it’s testament to Rothery’s abilities as a player and a writer that the results never fail to hold your attention.Those familiar with Rothery’s work in and out of Marillion have waited a long time for his first solo album, but it has most definitely been worth the wait. Richly atmospheric, dynamic, emotive and beautifully recorded and mixed, The Ghosts Of Pripyat is everything that those who waited for it with baited breath were hoping for. For everyone else, the album is a stunning showcase for one of the UK’s least-acknowledged guitar maestros; the perfect introduction to a talent whose indefatigable muse continues to serve up some truly extraordinary music." - Echoes & Dust
    $12.00