Mastermind Tom Luchies is well known from the band Sky Architect, a Dutch band that made a few albums to date. In 2015 Tom made a world trip and during this trip he wrote the music for this album. The musical styles that I hear vary from Steven Wilson to Crosby Stills & Nash.
The following people contributed to the album: Christiaan Bruin (drums, pitched percussion), Rik van Honk (horns, moog synthesizer), Auke Haaksma (bass guitar) and Linda Baur (piano).
The album opens with the longest song, Setting Foot On The Hills. It starts with an acoustic guitar and the warm voice of Tom. He sings about places where he used to belong in his past. The lyrics are repeated a number of times, assisted by the acoustic guitar in the first four minutes. Then the music changes, becoming heavier with beautiful woven percussion in which a singer is not needed, the music tells the story. After a minute or six the music gets a more threatening character, the guitar gets a prominent role and you can feel the atmosphere. There's a lot of variety in this first song!
Lake Okaru starts with a beautiful, quiet solo on guitar, nice percussion and a little singing. After a more quiet first 90 seconds the drumming arrives on the foreground. It all sounds really oriental. At a given moment you hear two acoustic guitars playing exactly the same thing, lovely! In the last part of the song there is a huge role for the horn, a beautiful element in the song. This song is totally different from what you normally hear, really inventive.
City One starts a bit heavier, after which it sinks away. Tom is singing about the city and plays some nice guitar. The drums are up tempo, a lot of atmospheric passages and sometimes the guitars sounds remind me of Pink Floyd. City One runs into the next song, City Two, that starts with an aggressive guitar part. If Tom starts singing the music is quiet again, so that his voice expresses itself beautifully and the story is emphasized even more. At the end of the song there is a beautiful guitar solo that is supported by the really great rhythm section of Christiaan and Auke.
In Dark Night's Rising the lovely singing of Tom stands out. Close your eyes and let the music tell its story, it all comes to mind. Halfway there is a bridge to a more heavy part in which the combination of the rhythm section and guitar stand out. There is room for the driving bass lines. This song runs into On The Ground, that starts with a military drum roll. The singing of Tom touches you, he sings with so much emotions. In the last one and a half minute the horn tells the story and it feels that you win the victory, great job.
City Three is a song in oriental style in which a beautiful, heavy guitar solo is included and in which are a lot of instrumentation can be heard.
The not mentioned songs touched me less and are a bit of a repeat from what I'd heard before.
I think that Tom has written for himself a very beautiful album in which his adventures and emotions are translated by beautiful music that cannot be captured in one particular style, which is of course very clever. Surprise yourself and listen to the album once, you will enjoy it.
***+ Michel Stolk (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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