Barock Project -
Time Voyager

(CD 2024, 70:58, Private Release)

The tracks:
  1- Carry On(6:35)
  2- Summer Set You Free(4:44)
  3- An Ordinary Day's Odyssey(6:03)
  4- The Lost Ship Tavern(4:40)
  5- Voyager(8:08)
  6- Morning Train(6:08)
  7- Propaganda(6:33)
  8- Shibuya 3 A.M.(4:30)
  9- Lonely Girl(5:09)
10- Mediterranean(5:17)
11- Kyanite Jewel(5:35)
12- Voyager's Homecoming(7:36)

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The 5-piece Italian formation Barock Project is rooted in 2003, with keyboard player and composer Luca Zabbini as the prime mover and musical brainchild. From the start the goal was to blend classic music (mainly baroque), rock, some jazz and the pop structure to renew the beloved 70s Classic Prog. I am only familiar with the first two albums Misteriose Voci (2007) and Rebus (2009), I had to get used to the huge variety but in the end I was delighted about these two efforts, especially the latter one. In 2021 the band released the digitally remastered Barock Project - The Boxset, and one year later performed on the prestigious German Night Of The Prog festival in Loreley, and was the support-act of P.F.M. on their Italian tour in 2022. So how about the new Barock Project album entitled Time Voyager (2024), 15 years after my latest listening session with this acclaimed Italian band?

Band info. "Time Voyager is a journey through the folds of time. Songs are like doors that swing open into unknown dimensions, traveling through the darkness of the past and the uncertainty of the future. In this new record, time is not just a straight line, but an intricate labyrinth of endless possibilities. With 12 new tracks, over 70 minutes of length, this album represents a natural evolution for us as a band. While in our previous works we explored different themes and various musical approaches, this record stands out for its deep immersion into the theme of time travel. We worked intensely to create a sonic experience that transports the listener through different dimensions, blending elements of nostalgia with futuristic visions."

Fifteen years ago (my last musical encounter with the music of Barock Project) I wrote about the band and its progress, and the huge variety on their second effort entitled Rebus (2009). Well, anno 2024 I can write the same: I am stunned about the band's progress, and the huge variety! Barock Project sounds as a tight and experienced unit, the 12 melodic and harmonic compositions are very tastefully arranged, alternating between Classic Prog, Neo-Prog, AOR and classical music. It sounds very dynamic and varied, loaded with exciting work on guitar and keyboards, and topped with inspired English vocals.

The one moment a catchy beat or a mellow atmosphere, the other moment a Keith Emerson kind of organ solo or fiery work on saxophone. The one moment bombastic classical orchestrations or heavy guitar, the other moment tender piano and vocals.

My highlights.

The varied and dynamic Carry On: from mellow and a swinging mid-tempo to prog metal, tastefully coloured with classical orchestrations, tender piano, sparkling piano, and heavy guitar and thunderous drums. The melodic rock with strong, higher pitched vocals reminds me of Styx, the heavier parts with swirling Hammond organ and rock guitar bring Kansas to my mind.

An Ordinary Day's Odyssey. First a spacey synthesizer intro, then a bombastic outburst with fiery guitar, in a slow rhythm, and featuring powerful vocals. Then fat synthesizer flights, followed by a break with sparkling piano and tender vocals, gradually the sound becomes more lush and compelling with emotional vocals, and a moving guitar solo.

The epic Voyager starts with an instrumental first part, the keyboard layers contain an Arabian atmosphere, it sounds sultry and exciting. Next rock guitar, with a tight mid-tempo beat, spectacular synthesizer work and heavy rock guitar. Now a slowdown with delicate sequencing, halfway tender vocals and sensitive electric guitar join. In the second part a sensational break with funky bass, rock guitar, and back to that sultry Arabian keyboard sound. Variety rules, now first an exciting instrumental part with blistering guitar solo and thunderous rhythm-section, in the best prog metal tradition, and then again that delicate sequencing, wonderful electronic music.

Mediterranean delivers tender piano and vocals and soft bass, a ballad like Styx, the second part features a sensational break with Hammond and heavy guitar, what a variety and dynamics!

Voyager's Homecoming. The first part (instrumental) has strong echoes of Kansas: a mid-tempo with exciting rock guitar and Hammond, lots of tension and dynamics, topped with a swirling Hammond solo. Then a catchy blend of classical and rock, embellished with Hammond, classical orchestrations and rock guitar. Halfway the mood shifts to mellow with pleasant vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar, to me it sounds like a rock opera. In the end a slow rhythm and a sumptuous climate, topped with wonderful brassy keyboards, a top notch composition!

If you are up to the huge variety that Barock Project presents this is an excellent prog album, what a variety and dynamics.

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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