Bernard & Pörsti is a musical spin-off from The Samurai Of Prog, including Marco Bernard (bass) and Kimmo Pörsti (drums and percussion). Bernard and Pörsti have released 3 albums so far, Robinson Crusoe is their latest effort, based upon the classic novel by Daniel Defoe, written in 1719. The duo has invited a wide range of guests, including the Hackett brothers Steve Hackett (guitar) and John Hackett (flute), and members from current Italian prog bands.
To me this album often sounds like a Rick Wakeman Seventies solo album, due to the blend of classical music and symphonic rock, with cascades of sparkling Minimoog flights. Especially in the varied and dynamic instrumental Overture (from dreamy to a swinging mid-tempo and sumptuous outbursts, embellished with flute, French horn, choirs and propulsive rock guitar riffs), Like An Endless Sea (including powerful Hammond organ, heavy guitar and swirling violin, topped with celestial female vocals) and The Rescue (tasteful work on violin and keyboards, and inspired Italian vocals by singer Stefano Galifi from the legendary Classic Italian Prog band Museo Rosenbach).
In some songs the music is strongly coloured by the presence of different singers: powerful by Bart Schwertmann from Kayak in the beautiful progressive blend of folk and classical in The Island Of Despair (featuring the distinctive guitar of Steve Hackett, with fiery runs and sustain) and the theatrical vocals of Marco Vincini from Mr. Punch in Friday (bombastic atmosphere with Hammond and sensitive guitar play).
The two other tracks are the instrumentals New Life (dreamy start and end, in between sparkling flute by John Hackett and a moving guitar solo with howling runs) and the Voyage Begins (mellow solo piece on the Grand piano).
A pleasant and varied effort.
***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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