Redshift is the debut album by the American prog rockers of Ultraviolet Daydream. According to their website this album shows references to bands as Genesis, Yes, Rush and Camel. While listening to it the first band that crossed my mind was Yes. Sure, the other influences are also audible on Redshift, but the connection with Yes can easily be made with a singer who sounds a lot like Jon Anderson. On many internet forums Ultraviolet Daydream is labeled as a band that nowadays comes closest to the sound of Yes. Many people think that Redshift is the album Yes should have made instead of Fly From Here (see review). Well, whether you agree with that or not depends of course on your personal point of view, but nevertheless Redshift is a beautiful prog rock album, which should be loved by Yes-fans all over the world!
The album was recorded by Dutch Noss (lead vocals, guitar), Mark Mingrone (keyboards), Jeff Brown (drums), Jaymi Millard (bass) and Lee Warren (steel guitar, sitar) in Nashville, Tennessee. Most of the tracks were written by Noss and Mingrone with contributions of the other band members. All tracks are of a very high quality level, especially the opening piece Contact is a sublime up-tempo prog rock tune with strong slapping on the bass guitar. The use of the sitar provides for an original band sound. This instrument is used on several tracks, but unfortunately never so emphatically as on the opening track. Maybe that's why the guitars and synthesizers got more room to show off. The more you play the album, the more you realize that not only Yes was a source of inspiration. I think that's good, otherwise they might have been called a Yes copycat.
Production wise the album sounds very good either. That's not so strange if you know that Dutch Noss has been a producer and mastering engineer with many artists like Wilco, The Alarm, Steve Cropper, Al Cooper, David Arkenstone, Tommy Emmanual, Chester Thompson, The Bangles and Jolene, amongst others. The other band members are no rookies in the music business either. Mark Mingrone grew up in a musical family and with his dad being a musician and a music teacher he got plenty of opportunities to learn and to be exposed to good music. Jaymi Millard already played the bass in progressive bands as Vertical Alignment and Kinetic Element. Jeff Brown's body of work ranges from movie soundtracks like Fantastic4 and Elektra with recording artist Megan McCauley to sessions and tours with Jen Foster, singer-songwriter Patrick Davis, Los Angeles indie rock band Kill Devil Hill and pianist Sali Hagan. Lee Warren is a Nashville-based multi-instrumentalist, who was born in London. He has recorded and performed with a comprehensive list of international artists including Michelle Wright, Glenn Tilbrook, Kim Carson, Leanne Douglas, Dash, Jeremy Randolph, Salamander Crossing, Steve Benoit, The Texstyles and Tom Barlow, just to name a few.
Most of the above-mentioned names have hardly anything to do with progressive rock. But the musicians in the band all loved this style and they used the musical efforts with all the other artist to get the knowledge to perform this difficult type of music. They succeeded in playing real prog rock which can be heard throughout the album. An instrumental like Clockwise and numbers like Far And Away prove they can play anything they want. On their website it's said that Redshift sets the mood to take the listener on a voyage through space and time. Well, who am I to disagree! Redshift is highly recommended to people of whom Yes belongs to their favourite bands!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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