Satellite (Poland) - 2003 A Street Between Sunrise And Sunset

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ARTIST: Satellite (Poland)
ALBUM: A Street Between Sunrise And Sunset
LABEL: Metal Mind
SERIAL: MMP CD 0199
YEAR: 2003

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Robert Amirian - vocals * Mirek Gil - guitars * Sarhan - guitars * Derek Lisowski - keyboards * Krysiek Palczewski - keyboards * Piotr Zaczek - bass * Przemic Zawadzki - bass * Wotjek Szadkowski - drums

TRACK LISTING: The Evening Wind * 02 On The Run * 03 Midnight Snow * 04 No Disgrace * 05 Not Afraid * 06 Now * 07 Fight * 08 A Street Between Sunrise And Sunset * 09 Children

Background

I was given the heads-up about this Polish project a little while ago. Since then, we've eagerly awaited its completion, as at the time of writing (May 2003), great new prog albums have been a little thin on the ground for this year, so far.

Some of you may recognise some of the names here as being people previously involved with Collage, so add that to an album with Mark Wilkinson artwork, this project already has a pedigree from the off. I gotta tell you, musically, it doesn't disappoint.

The Songs

Throwing us all in at the deep end, the album opens with 'The Evening Wind', a twelve minute piece, with the usual mix of complex keyboard work and interesting rhythmic patterns. The keyboard work is very reminiscent of Tony Banks chord structures with Martin Orford-esque soloing, so that alone provides Satellite with some solid musical bones. Nearing the end, there are one or two jazz textures creeping in, but thankfully not too many, which may appeal to those of you who enjoy The Flower Kings from time to time.

'On The Run' is superb, especially during its mid-section, where listeners are treated to absolutely beautifully played guitar, with a nod to the genius of Steve Hackett, while firmly leaning towards the sound of the neo-prog bands of the 80's, most notably IQ and Pendragon, throw some keyboard orchestration into the mix and it's as good as any new prog gets. As the song pulls in to finish (at nearly fifteen minutes) there are snatches of Peter Gabriel in the vocal melody, though unusually for prog, it has more in common with the Gabriel of the early 80's than the wearer-of-bizarre costumes of the decade before.

After two pieces of epic proportions, things are a little more accessible for 'Midnight Snow', which presents a slight musical shift from the previous tracks, being much poppier, a kind of 3rd Matinee meets 'Dreams Of Ordinary Men' by Aussie pop-AORsters Hunter (aka Dragon). The Spanish influence on the guitar playing is used to great effect. By the time the track has built up to a close, the electric guitar is back at the fore and although still with a pop-edge, it's slightly more prog.

Those of you who dug last year's offering from Xinema will definitely get a kick out of this. At under four minutes, 'Not Afraid', is the shortest song here, and unsurprisingly, it's the most lightweight musically speaking. I'm not knocking it, by any means, as it provides a welcome respite from the longer, more complex arrangements. There's something very pleasing about the understated guitar solo-ing here too, the tone reminds me a little of Eric Clapton's mid-80's style.

'Fight' has a very modern sound, with an intro which comes across like Massive Attack styled trip-hop, balancing against a pop-prog arrangement. It's quite big without being pompous, commercial but not saccharine. The track has two guitar solos, one acoustic Spanish and one with a more typical electric approach. The tipping of the hat to the old school is reminiscent of Tr3nity.

The album's title cut revisits the band's fondness for more complex neo-prog arrangements. Opening with vocals and piano, it leads into a keyboard and drum soundscape, again recalling work by Xinema and 'Calling All Stations' era Genesis. Melodic prog at it's best here, for sure. As the track pulls to a close, the tempo rises and the prog elements become more apparent, with great musicianship from all concerned.

In Summary

Although 'A Street Between Sunrise And Sunset' doesn't really offer prog rock fans any new twists on a well-covered genre, it's extremely well constructed and played. It's been a while since I heard a prog album this solid. Go on, drop the band a line, check them out at all costs, but don't forget to say who sent you.


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