Space Project "Beyond Imagination"
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Review by Peter D
I was looking forward to getting Beyond Imagination after listening to previews in the last few months. The first thing that strikes me is the maturity of the album. Unlike your simple Daylight and some of Laser Dance’s productions, which incorporate 4 different melodies repeated with space effects, Tomasz Gillert brings a certain complexity that of late is much missing in space synth with his masterly composing skills. He builds songs much in the old Jarrresque way, slow but to a satisfying peak. What also impresses me is the attention to detail; no stone has been left unturned. The Album itself is a top-notch production with a good use of variety sounds made in the grand old manner of the 80’s. There are many influences, Laser dance, Anders Lundqvist, Proxyon and Jarre, however calling it a clone would be erroneous. The Album holds up on its own and is a fantastic example of what one can do by taking classic influences and implementing his own individual touch. As expected there are the trademarks of the 80’s and the album is big on echo claps, choral voiced backgrounds, orchestral hits, grand chord stabs, various astro speeches, vocoder singing etc.
The Interlude sets the mood of the beginning of the album and with that sort mechanical synth sound lets the listener know that the beginning journey is going to be dark. This emotion is brilliantly followed into the next track.
A New Revelation: As mentioned above the dark mood is carried into this track and we know from the start that is this going to be different than your typical spacesynth track, particularly with the sound of thunder and that very atmospheric synth followed by the pan-flute. Reminds me a bit of Anders Lundqvist here. Nice vocoder singing followed by wonderful atmosphere. I also love the way at 4:16 min how there is a change in tempo that is very skillfully executed; very Jarresque!
Star Fighter: This track reminds me of the early 80’s particularly some of Giorgio Moroder’s productions i.e. Fame. To me this track is a great example of up-tempo spacesynth. A solid synth lead accompanied by some great chord stabs. Great Stuff.
Looking for New Stars: A fairly solid number with all the elements required to make a good track. Continues on with the dark heavy mood.
Astronauts Dream: Awesome slow track, beautifully captures the essence of ambient spacesynth with elements of a chill-out session. This track is oozing with details and has everything from atmospheric speeches to a nice synth-accordion melody ala Jarre, as well a distorted guitar ala Anders Lundqvist. Just when you thought that track couldn’t spring any more surprises, it changes tempo and then switches to a slow piano. One of the greatest ambient tunes in spacesynth!
Dance in Time: A delightful upbeat tune that sort of takes the listener away from the seriousness of the previous tunes and the heavy mood. Interesting use of choral voices as a lead, but the boys pull it off without any hesitation. Another very good tune to listen to.
Beyond Imagination: A lone somber voice begins this tune and it’s kind off telling as once again the album heads in a darker direction. Overall the tune evokes a slow journey into the unknown. The recurring synth lead further reiterates a dangerous path and then the track breaks into this wonderful sort exploring type of feel. Very easy on the ears.
Alien Voices: Signature tune from the boys that was released as a teaser many months ago. To me this track sounds like a typical Laser dance tune from the 80’s, great synth, Juno bass, echo-claps and vocoder singing, all the elements are there for a memorable tune.
Hunters Moon: Once again this track screams of Laser dance! The speech used is very reminiscent of Proxyon. I love the bit at 2:39 min how the melody changes to that beautifully synth. And off-course how could I forget that cool vocoder singing.
Light Speed: WOW!!!!!!!! Excuse the pun but this track is just out of this world! I’ll start off by saying, sit back in your favorite chair and crank up the volume and enjoy the ride (I’ve had the floorboards vibrating!) There are not enough superlatives to describe this outstanding track. It is made in the grand old manner when Laser dance were on top of their game. It has everything in it, just so much detail that it just amazing and a privilege to listen to. Without question right up with best of the best in spacesynth and probably the best new generation spacesynth track that I’ve heard!
Her Memories from earth: To me this is probably the only weak point in the whole album. That is not to say that the track is bad but rather average compared to the whole host of awesome tracks. The melody and the feel just don’t do it to me. I would have preferred Phantom Ship (Tomasz’s track for the 2nd Spacesynth Contest), I think it would fit perfectly here and bolster an already tremendous album.
Keep on Music: Can this Album get better? Just when I thought I’d heard it all comes this absolutely awesome remix of a signature Italo Tune. Absolutely infectious and wants me to “Keep on Dancing”. Note: even though I’m not a fan of Polish Disco Music (Disco Polo) I have to say that the vocal of this is very fitting!
Legends of the Past: Space Project goes italo-ish and one is amazed how they capture the soul and feel of that genre with this simple tune. It could have been produced by Scotch or Savage for all I’ve known.
Starfighter Vocal Remix: And how fitting having a female vocal. Is there anything these guys can’t do. Like the original just another solid and wonderful tune.
With the sheer effort and detail one is amazed how the guys could have come up with all these ideas. The Strength of the album lies with the minute and intricate details, to soften moods or sharpen the atmosphere I could go on forever listing them but it just show what an extraordinary effort went into this. This Album is on par with Anders Lundqvist and Macrocosm’s best. Without question it’s the best spacesynth release in the last two years. (A must for all spacesynth fans.)
Review by Matek
For a start we have intriguing and awesome cover art made by Komakino. It leaves no doubt about the album being spacesynth.
And the music? Well... album is just A-WE-SO-ME. One can hear a huge leap of technical quality as well as artistic quality in comparison with the previous Tomek's album, released as Spaceraider. Every piece is polished in very tiny detail. Every has has its own mood, unique melody line and distinctive accompaniment. But what's equally important (at least for me, because I often miss it in spacesynth tracks), every tune starts and ends with decent intro and outro, distinctive for each track. Simultaneously they are enriched with great SFX's (and I don't have Humph's "SFX's" on my mind, used in "Daylight" or his other projects), which fulfill mood of the track perfectly.
Surprisely, I can't give a special credit to a specific piece, but it's just because that after each hearout the leader track is varying. Once it's a title track, “Beyond Imagination”, and the other time it's astonishingly moody and beautiful “Astronaut's Dream”. with its moving tempo at the end and astronauts' samples in the background. Another day “A New Revelation” becomes a leader track making me fly away, a track which background resembles "Galactica" by Laserdance, having a great, dynamic ending. And when I finally think I've found my favourites, I play the album again and everything turns upsidedown. And that is its amazing pro. One can listen to it endlessly and every time one will find something different, interesting in it, that will force you to make another full hearout.
And it will bind you to its contents for long, because the play time is stretched to the very CD limit. Actually, the album has 11 tracks, and the remaining ones are bonus tracks, but also very interesting! We have a cool “space remix” of italo disco anthem “Keep on Music”, with vocals of Paweł Kucharski (polish band "Top One" ). There is also “Starfighter”, which appears on the album twice, but the latter version has different accompaniments (a'la vocal tracks by Michiel van der Kuy, known from releases of Made Up Records), and vocal part is performed by Monika Nowak of “Toxic House” polish band. And the biggest surprise (personally): “Legend of the Past” (italo disco live remix) - track, that could be considered as a contemporary italo disco, if it had some cool lyrics and vocal.
Summary: Space Project is another spacesynth band, which proves, that this music may still be composed and developed without copying old Laserdance/Koto ideas over and over again. This album is fresh, absorbing and I guarantee, that even if this genre isn't your favourite, it should become interesting for you. For all spacesynth maniacs this stuff is obligatory, and I find it peer to Protonic Storm, Gustaf Grefberg, Anders Lundqvist or Marco Rochowski.