The Turkish band Siddhartha was founded in 1992; nine years later they decided to call it a day. During that period they only released Trip To Innerself in 1998, but it never reached a large audience. Now, several years later after their break-up in 2001, the American label Trail Records thought that this album should be discovered by a larger audience. They subsequently issued an alternative take of this debut album replacing two tracks with others recorded eleven years ago. During the recordings the band consisted of Özgur Kurcan (vocals, guitars), Ege Madra (guitars), Orkun Oker (keyboards), Volkan Yildirim (keyboards), Kaan Sezgin (drums) and Ulas Akin (bass). The album features several guests as well, but I won't mention them because their participation isn't relevant.
Turkey isn't a country that is known for progressive rock bands, so I had no idea what to expect from this record. However, the music on the nine tracks isn't that difficult to describe. Right from the start it was obvious that the band were influenced by kraut rock, space rock, psychedelic rock and progressive rock. Especially the music from the second half of the seventies of bands like Pink Floyd and Eloy came to my mind, but it can also be compared to the contemporary music of bands like Riverside and Porcupine Tree. The compositions are rather strong and the musicians are really skilled on their instruments. The only negative remark concerns the English vocals; these are not always of the highest level, but in view of the origin of the band it's not that strange.
People who have a copy of the original album will notice that this reissue has a brand new cover design, the music is remastered and a conceptual sequence of the songs is present as well. However, the best thing on this re-release could have been the new version of the song Baroque. Unfortunately this bonus track doesn't really improve the one on the original album. This reissue was dedicated to the memory of Özgur Kurcan who passed away in 2011. He was one of the three founder members of Siddhartha who worked on a revival project called Saint-Ethique. However, after his death it's unknown whether this project will be continued or not.
The fine production makes sure that this album can still be enjoyed nowadays. Although these tracks were recorded fourteen years ago, they haven't lost much in terms of their intrinsic qualities. Since the music contains many elements of Pink Floyd and Eloy it will certainly appeal to fans of both bands.
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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