Since the Norwegian band Gazpacho started to support Marillion during their Dutch concerts I began to follow them. When I contacted the band they were so kind as to send me some albums. I discovered that the original core of the band consists of Jan-Henrik Ohme (vocals), Jon-Arne Vilbo (guitars) and Thomas Andersen (keyboards, programming). Gazpacho started to make music in 1996 and developed as a band while releasing quite a number of CDs. I once called them a light version of Marillion in one of my reviews. Others described their music as 'classical post ambient nocturnal atmospheric neo-progressive folk world rock' - what's in a name? - and compared them with bands like A-ha, Radiohead and Porcupine Tree. Over the years several line-up changes took place. The band expanded to six members with Mikael KrÝmer (violin), Lars Erik Asp (drums) and Kristian Torp (bass). In 2007 they released their fourth studio album Night which has always been my favourite one. It has been re-released by Kscope lately.
The album contains a musical interpretation of a dream or a stream of consciousness. Night was the band's first concept album holding one long piece of music divided into five parts. With this structure they attempted to recreate the pattern of a dream as the mind of a dreamer floats in and out of different memories and worlds. The music tries to give an answer to the question where dreams end and reality begins with the mind as a tool to distinguish between those two entities. During the dream the 'protagonist' travels through various memories, both real and imagined, and he sees the world from different angles by different people. The way they transposed this concept into music immediately attracted me when I listened to the album for the first time.
Musically they build up this concept towards a beautiful climax. While the music proceeds they add more and more instruments such as brilliant violin parts or massive string synthesizer parts. As the music progresses the pace increases towards its ending. Sensitive parts are included as well, beautifully performed on the violin or the acoustic piano. While listening to the entire concept I never had a dull moment. Unfortunately I didn't experience this with the albums Gazpacho recorded after Night.
Night introduced the band to a larger audience. Despite the fact that the album was regarded to be their best, there have always been a few small issues concerning the sound that have bugged the band members. That also applies to other features of the songs that emerged while playing them live during the last five years. The new Kscope edition has allowed the band to address these issues yet remaining faithful to the original. For the new edition the band wanted to re-record the drums by their current drummer Lars Erik Asp and replace the parts that were done by Robert Risberget Johansen. Once they started this process they found that there were a few other changes that could be made.
To make this new release more interesting for their fans they changed the cover and added more artwork from their original graphic designer Antonio Seijas. They packaged the disc in a deluxe digibook and added a bonus disc as well. This disc features live recordings of three songs from the Night album. You can enjoy strong versions of Dream Of Stone, Chequered Light Buildings and Upside Down recorded at the Gloria Theatre in Cologne during the European tour to support their acclaimed album March Of Ghosts (2012).
If I compare the new version to the old one I can't deny that the new one has an even bigger impact than the first time I heard the concept. Therefore it was certainly a wise decision to rebuild the original album. While listening to this fine piece of music I wished that someday the band will make such a strong album again!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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