When I listened to Rain, part 1, a track recorded by Freedom To Glide, Pink Floyd immediately crossed my mind. Reading their biography made me realize that this wasn't coincidental. This new musical project was put together by Pete Riley and Andy Nixon, two musicians who both played for many years in the British Pink Floyd tribute band Dark Side Of The Wall. While playing in this band they started to collaborate and to work on each other's music, which was also the start of Freedom To Glide! According to their website they're'not afraid to push the boundaries'.
The fruits of their labour got physical evidence with the release of the first CD, which is a kind of intro to their forthcoming debut album Rain later this year. Rain EP only lasts thirteen minutes and contains three tracks. Their music is 'compelling, thought provoking and sometimes deeply moving', at least that's what has been written on their website. Sure, these are nice characteristics and of course everyone is entitled to have its own opinion, but what I heard during these thirteen minutes was excellent progressive rock music mainly performed by Pete Riley (keyboards, piano, vocals, sampling, programming) and Andy Nixon (lead guitar, acoustic guitars, vocals, bass, drum programming).
This three-track taster for the album starts with Rain, part 1, the title track of the forthcoming album, which was inspired by the story of a Corporal Robert Wilson. His experiences in WWI sowed the seeds for the album which has evolved into a compelling and sometimes personal journey through a century of war and the consequences that affect us all. It's also a song about the soldiers in WWI falling like rain on the battlefield. Music wise Rain, part 1 sounds like a combination of the Floyd-tracks Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Run Like Hell and especially The Great Gig In The Sky because of the strong vocal contributions of Francesca Genco.
Next track Anywhere Else But Here completely differs from the opening piece; gone are the links with Pink Floyd! This time it seems that Riley and Nixon were inspired by the Gaelic sound of bands like Clannad and Iona. This kind of Irish music works well and creates a strong atmosphere. On the last track the music once again undergoes a change in musical style. On Path Of Reason a band as Porcupine Tree served as a model. Unfortunately the music stops after this track; thirteen minutes of music is way too short for this high-levelled and very enjoyable kind of music.
Freedom To Glide made their mark with this three-track EP in the world of progressive rock. If the quality of the other songs on their debut album will reach the same high level the prog rock community has really something to look out for. I can hardly wait to listen to the extended version of Rain. Please check out the music of Freedom To Glide on their websites and Soundcloud. You'll be surprised just like I was!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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