The Romanian-Hungarian multi-instrumentalist Ákos Bogáti-Bokor (guitars, keyboards, bass, vocals) is best known in the prog rock community for recording the albums Holdfénykert (2006, see review) and Colours Caffé (2011, see review) with Yesterdays, and A Szavakon Túl (2009, see review) with Tabula Smaragdina. I had the pleasure to meet him twice with his band Yesterdays: during the Progfarm Festival in 2006 and at the Starsound Studios in Utrecht (2010, see review). We talked a lot then, but I actually didn't know that he intended to record a kind of solo album which in a way started coincidentally. During a summer break with Yesterdays in 2012 he stumbled across some unfinished demos waiting to be completed.
Soon he had gathered a lot of material for a solo album. However, he decided to record the stuff with some friends who would help him out to complete the compositions he had chosen for an album. He found three musicians who were willing to form the core of a project. He called it The Cosmic Remedy featuring himself on guitars, keyboards, bass and backing vocals, the Finnish drummer Kimmo Pörsti (The Samurai Of Prog, Paidarion, Mist Season ), the Italian bassist Francesco Faiulo and the Brazilian singer Tico De Moraes.
Apparently he still wasn't satisfied enough and so he asked some musical friends to contribute. So on this project's eponymous debut album you'll also find Ulf Yacobs (Yacob, Argos, lead vocals on Childhood Suite), Kecskeméti Gábor (Yesterdays, flute), Iulia Paradau (lead vocals on Story Of A Prince, Blue Sea and backing vocals on I'll Be Your Friend), Vera Klima (lead vocals on Daylight Dreaming), Ercsey Andrea (additional vocals), Zsigó László (additional drums), Popomájer Tibor (additional bass), and Kiss József-Tamás (bass on Story Of A Prince).
The Cosmic Remedy contains four suites spread over fourteen songs. The love for the music of the sixties and the seventies comes clearly to the surface in all these pieces. Childhood Suite immediately reveals the influence of Yes, just like on the albums Ákos Bogáti-Bokor recorded with Yesterdays and Tabula Smaragdina. You'll hear the same musical style performed on the keyboards, guitars and bass guitars as this famous prog band recorded on many of their albums in the seventies. While the second suite A Suite - Case Of Memories develops, you'll hear another musical influence of Bogáti-Bokor, namely The Beatles. However, occasionally the prog rock roots shine through while listening to these Beatlesque tunes. Especially the frequent use of the Mellotron provides those tracks a prog rock touch.
Lost Marbles Suite sounds quite similar to the music Bogáti-Bokor recorded with Yesterdays mostly due to the female vocals. Here the line between radio-friendly sounding music and prog rock is very thin. Don't get me wrong; the music is still enjoyable. The Farewell Suite once again seems to be inspired by the fab four from Liverpool. Not only music wise but also as far as the subtitles are concerned. I immediately associated a title like Welcome To The Pepperland Lounge with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Yellow Submarine In Pepperland. I couldn't help that Train To Nowhere strongly reminded me of Ticket To Ride and Nowhere Man. And Hiding From The Sun comes pretty close to Here Comes The Sun. However, I can't blame him for choosing such titles being a big fan of The Beatles myself. Also this time the last suite's music gets a proggy touch by the use of the Mellotron.
All in all I found the four suites on The Cosmic Remedy very enjoyable, especially because Ákos Bogáti-Bokor and I share the same love for the music of Yes and The Beatles. When you use the influences of those bands in strong compositions of your own there's not much to complain! It looks as if everything has been arranged through the internet, so thumbs up for completing a great album this way!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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