Roman Odoj - Fiasko

(CD 2020, Lynx Music - LM180CD)

The tracks:
  1- Titan(5:44)
  2- One Of You(5:55)
  3- Castaway(4:24)
  4- Deux(5:11)
  5- Eurydice(3:27)
  6- Human Cartoon(4:10)
  7- Annunciation(3:24)
  8- Fiasko(6:28)
  9- Quintans(6:50)

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Roman Odoj is a Polish guitarist, entirely unknown to me before I got this album, titled Fiasko. Now, solo albums by guitar players tend to give expectations, but this is not a flashy guitar album with finger-fast playing, and neither is it an album with endless jazzy noodling. Instead, we get a varied album with modern and song-based melodic prog with a variety of influences (and a host of guests, some of which I did actually know). Let's go through the songs.

Titan opens with sounds of wind, slightly Orientally flavoured guitar. There is a cool funky bass, and a very good singer with a slightly melancholy voice. This is a driving rock song that vaguely reminds me of Porcupine Tree. Halfway there are spacey synths and some sound effects from a space program after which we launch into a jazzy interlude with electric piano and fusion guitar in the second half. Super cool.

One Of You is a mid-tempo song with a chorus that might be radio compatible. There's a heavier edge in some instrumental lines, but mostly it is a gentle piece. I might say ballad-like. Very nice with the addition of violin and saxophone at the end.

Castaway opens with a string section and calm vocals (I am reminded of Broadway musicals such as Phantom Of The Opera), gradually developing into something more swinging by adding dance rhythms, but in the long run the song is rather lame and a bit repetitive. Might appeal to a wider audience, but I doubt that this song is really something for progheads.

Deux is another introspective song. On one hand I hear Pink Floyd-moods, on the other side it also reminds me of title songs for a James Bond movie...

Taking its title from Greek mythology, Eurydice (a nymph who was the wife of Orpheus) starts with vague sounds, quiet guitars. It's a bit like No-Man maybe. One might nearly categorize the quiet guitar with soundscapes as new age! I assume that this instrumental piece is meant to symbolize Orpheus' journey into the underworld?

Next is the dreamy Human Cartoon. This song has a fusion flair, but it is a calm ballad with a lengthy saxophone solo accompanied by piano in the middle.

The relatively short instrumental piece Annunciation brings something entirely different. Here we have flashy progmetal with fiery guitar work and a busy, riffy rhythm section. This was probably what I would have expected from a guitarist's album, but to be honest I am quite pleased how this CD turned out. However, Roman shows that he is fully capable to show some muscle and I hope he does so more often in the future!

The title track tends towards new art-rock (think Porcupine Tree, Riverside, etc.). As fits with this style, the music is quite moody, starting with guitar and eerie synths and dark singing (one of the few occasions that a slight Eastern-European accent is audible, by the way). I think there is also a hunch of mid-phase Rush here. Interestingly, there is a quasi-bass solo halfway through with some vague contributions from the other instruments before the song picks up again with a guitar solo.

The longest track (but still, not even 7 minutes) is closer Quintans. It is an instrumental, again with some Floyd-like influences, but also a progmetal edge with a nudge of Porcupine Tree also. There is a nice synth solo halfway into the track, soundwise reminding me a bit of Jan Hammer, but in his jazziest mode. The ending with bleeping and blubbering synths and other industrial sounds could have done otherwise for all I care, but whatever.

To make a cheap play of word on the title - this CD is not a “fiasco” at all. I like it a lot and saw myself playing it over and over again for the past two weeks.

***+ Carsten (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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