PROGGNOSIS REVIEW: PRoPoRTIoNS - Reboot
Reviewed by DBSilver on 11 Aug 2018 https://www.proggnosis.com/Release/52962
Reboot is a fusion album. Throughout the album and often-times within individual songs I hear music that contains suggestions of Mike Oldfield, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Ian Anderderson (circa The Secret Languate of Birds), Gentle Giant and Taylor's Universe. To be sure, there is a lot of prog in this release but at most it is 40- 60 mix blend. To me - the most consistant kinship in this music is to the sound of of Return to Forever.
While PRoPoRTIoNS consists of 4 fine musicians, on this ablum they do not deliver the kind of pryo-techniques one recalls form Olympic Gold Medalists DiMeola-Clarke-White-Corea. You should read this as a description not a critique. The compositions are strong, the musicianship is first rate, the recording/mixing is excellent and Reboot is a 2018 must have certain to receive multiple revisits if you are a fan of the referenced bands.
The method of composition and recording is described as "any member of the band sends a rough demo to the others, and leave them free to add whatever they want. The basic structure has an originator, but the end result is a work between the four members". I think this makes Reboot a particularly notable achievement. PRoPoRTIoNS are certainly not the first band to have composed and recorded in this way and it has become an increasingly practical, cost effective and popular method of collaborating. But to date I have not heard a better example of this technique; where the final product sounds this cohesive.
There are, of course, songs I like more or less than others on Reboot, Cardiac Rescue, Mocked Sin, Binary Star Dance, Five Finger, no Discount, and Reboot are all showcase songs which together cover the breadth of music on Reboot. Check it out at the band's Bandcamp site.
This album is a solid member of my Best of Year but doesn't leap off the year in to a best of list over a spread of years (few debut releases do!) - but if this team continues to make music together they have the potential to delver a future release will rise to that level.
Jerry Lucky REVIEW: PRoPoRTIoNS - Reboot
Eleven years ago when I reviewed some music created in part by Andy Kubicki I said – “Inspiration is a funny thing. You just never know where it comes from or what it might lead to.” Andy was involved with a group of musicians who made new music heavily inspired by their passionate love of the band Gentle Giant. Here we are a decade later and Kubicki, along with Lennart Stahle, Tomas Stark, Denis Boucher, ...are still making new music. Their latest release under the band name Proportions is entitled Reboot and it’s a wonderful collection of fourteen instrumental compositions that cover all kinds of proggy musical ground. As expected there are still hints of their original inspiration Gentle Giant in places, but lots of others as well such as Mike Oldfield. Most of these tunes are in three to four minute range but even within that limited time they are able to pack in lots of musicality. Each song is quite different from the other, some sound more angular, some very sweetly melodic, some hint at Celtic and others at a kind of Medieval feel. Others are more or less straight forward soft, fusion styled proggy goodness. This variety comes from the fact that Proportions members are based around the world and each member submits musical ideas to the others using the internet and then each song is added-upon to complete the end result. It’s a method of creating music that seems to work really well here based on the finished results. We get lots of different types of songs, lots of instrumental performance and lots of different moods and tones. It never gets boring because you never know where the next song is coming from and in that regard this is the kind of disc that can spend a lot of time in the player. It’s really good stuff and I really enjoyed it so I recommend you check’em out.
Progressive Rock Central.com Review: PRoPoRTIoNS- After All These Years
The third album of the band Proportions, After All These Years, kicks off with one of the best pipe organ-like anthems of the year. It seems to be a celebration of the music of Gentle Giant, one of Proportions favorite bands, as referenced from their press release. The band agrees that After All These Years, is the band’s “Most achieved artistic work from all members and special contribution from guests”. The album was released June 15, 2021. There are plenty of reminders of Gentle Giant and my favorite prog band, Genesis all over this work. Not copied material, but music inspired by the ‘Giants’, of progressive rock.
Proportions is: Andy Kubicki, from the USA, on bass, keyboards and orchestration; Tomas Stark, from Sweden, on keyboards, vocals, acoustic and electric guitars; Lennart Ståhle, from Sweden, on keyboards, guitars, flute, and upright bass; Denis Boucher, from Canada, on drums and percussion; and Glenn Liljeblad, from the USA, on electric guitar.
After All These Years, is full of special guest talent, including: Toby Trott, from the USA, on vocals on the track, “The Confession”; John Eyre, from the UK, on vocals on the track, “Birth”; Signe Bornemark, from Sweden, on vocals on the track, “Fading Away”; Hjordis Bornemark, from Sweden on vocals on the track, “Fading Away”; Stefan Kubicki, from the USA, on electric guitar on the track, “QuBix”, “Cube” and “La Froi”; Pierre Bordeleau, from Canada, on narration on the track “The Confession”; Sandy Kubicki, from the USA, on backing vocals on the track “After All These Years”.
Every track on this album feels like a Gentle Giant reunion. For kicks, put on classics like Gentle Giant’s “Moog Fugue”, “The Boys in the Band”, “Talybont”, or “Power and the Glory”, then switch to Proportions’ After All These Years, and tell me you don’t hear the similarities. One of my best friends loves Gentle Giant, and he and I used to always have discussions over which band, Gentle Giant or Genesis is better. I liked Gentle Giant, but they could never compete with Genesis in my book. But I do appreciate them. I actually appreciate Proportions even more.
The opening song, “Hymn for the Giant” is a great celebration of their music and my favorite song. Remember this music is not a cover of Gentle Giant songs, however you can definitely feel and hear the influence. The keyboards are wonderful and a standout throughout the album.
But the guitar work and vocals, especially on “Birth”, with John Eyre on vocals sounds so like a great marriage of Genesis and Gentle Giant. This is a song I think my friend and I could finally agree upon. The flute work by Lennart Ståhle provides that classic feeling to the sound. But again, it is the keyboards that lift this track high on the track list. The harlequin and labyrinth in the story punches all the tabs of progressive nostalgia.
“Fading Away”, with the lovely vocals from Hjordis Bornemark, and those monster Steve Hackett – like guitar chords is definitely a favorite. This track reminds me so much of some of Steve’s heavier, early solo work. Easily one of the best songs on the album.
Most of the songs are enjoyable keyboard experiences that will have you listening attentively. Primarily instrumentals, “Quibic Cube”, “La Froi”, “Jesterdays”, “Eriksberg”, “Calophok”, and “Soulmate”, all have excellent electric guitar and drumming throughout. The flute and acoustic guitar additions bring back nostalgia for early Jethro Tull.
“The Confession”, is a deeply emotional song about the passing of a band member’s mother.
“Overhinged”, sounded like a track that Steve Hackett should have written 20 years ago. Excellent strings and guitar work. Amazing. That soloing guitar is Hackett – like all the way.
The closing and title track, and longest song, “After All These Years”, is the best track on the album. The piano and heartfelt lyrics, recounting the love one has for someone, “after all these years”. The flute, guitar and bass work are exceptional. The spacey keyboards and pipe organ – like sounds are sensational. The electric guitar work would make Steve Hackett proud. The drumming brings back memories of Santana. In fact, there is not much missing on this track, if you are a fan of progressive rock.
This album is one of the more complex progressive rock albums written this year. Just check out the multiple time signature changes. Very much in the nature of their heroes Gentle Giant, if you are a fan of their work you will love this modern incantation of their sound. Another great album to put on headphones for and sit back and enjoy!
Progressive Rock Central.com Review: PRoPoRTIoNS - Visions From a Distant Past
PRoPoRTIoNS is a progressive rock band, with jazz fusion influences. The band members come from different parts of the world and their music sounds, at times, like it is actually beyond the realms of this world.
I found the band’s second album, Vision from a Distant Past, available for listening on CDBaby.com. The album was released on September 1, 2019. Their debut album, Reboot, was released last year. Their music is a wonderful blend of Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons, and Larry Fast, with some definite jazz influences. The music is mostly instrumental, with keyboards and guitar playing the most prominent roles.
The band is made up of: Lennart Ståhle, (from Sweden), on guitars, flute and keyboards; Tomas Stark, (from Sweden), on keyboards, electric and acoustic guitar; Denis Boucher, (from Canada), on drums and percussion; and Andy Kubicki, (from the USA), on bass, keyboards and orchestration.
On Vision from a Distant Past, PRoPoRTIoNS uses special musical guests:
Jeremy Cubert, on Chapman Stick, on “Double Barrel”, and synthesizer on “Telemetry Drizzle”; John Eyre, on vocals for “Seagull’s Call”; Pierre Bordeleau, on vocals for “Open Door”; Stefan Kubicki, on electric guitar, on the tracks, “Floorcare” and “Colors of Light”; Richard Sheehy, on electric guitar, on “Temporal Induction”; and Dayron Luis San Juan Muguercia, on congas on “Floorcare” and “Pangaea”.
Every song on this album is absolutely innovative and entertaining to listen to from beginning to end.
“Temporal Induction” sounds like a Larry Fast computerized song until it changes completely into a Pink Floyd – like instrumental. It goes from completely outer space to inner space in minutes. Richard Sheehy, on electric guitar, takes over midway through the song to help give the track its David Gilmour – like edge. One of the best tracks on the album, and one of the best keyboard-oriented tracks I’ve heard this year. Absolutely mind-blowing and dynamic.
“Double Barrel” opens with fast moving computer-like keyboards. Jeremy Cubert, on Chapman Stick keeps a wonderful beat and rhythm. Some of the sounds reminds me of Steve Hackett’s carnival – like influences. The keyboards are wonderful throughout.
“Seagull’s Call” is my favorite song on the album. Kind of an ole English tale, by the seaside, with gull sounds and waves of the ocean. The acoustic guitar work and John Eyre’s vocals were perfect. The flute work is “Tullriffic”! The deep acoustic guitar is so warm and enchanting.
“Sticks in the Head” opens with soft flute and sorted percussion. Along with the deep piano, they create a deep, trancelike, Middle Eastern rhythm that begins to draws you in. Hypnotizing and at the same time wonderfully exotic and unique. A banquet for the ears.
“Floorcare”, slides in with orchestration, keyboards and synths, followed by Stefan Kubicki, on electric guitar. There is this Eastern Asian feeling to the opening, before the synthesizers take over and plunge you deep into an electronic realm of consciousness. The organ work towards the ending adds additional dimension to a very dynamic song. Kubicki’s guitar towards the end brings back many memories of Steve Hackett’s best. They add flute near the end with bells and chimes to top the cake.
“Colors of Light”, opens with some Hackett-like acoustic guitar and stunning piano. Percussion and drums add to the soundscape and power the song to another level. The guitar work is innovative and different than anything you may have heard this year. The “fireworks” display at the end is awesome!.
“Open Door”, is full of deep sounding keys and great guitar and percussion. Pierre Bordeleau on vocals describes a world full of opportunity and achievement, if we only realize that there is an open door. “The open door, makes us free forever”. The drums and guitar solos are dramatic and inspiring.
“Telemetry Drizzle”, opens with cool percussion and drums. The climbing and cascading guitar work is memorable. This is the most jazz-influenced keyboard show on the album.
“Grift”, is a keyboard and drum workout. Then some excellent electric guitar soloing is added to take the song up a notch. Searing cool synths join in to take me back to the feel of “Hot Buttered Popcorn”, if anyone, besides me, even remembers that fun song.
“Splendid Illusion”, is full of splendid piano and synth effects.
“Pangaea”, is another beautiful piano, synth, and guitar concerto. The congas and birdsong add so much magic. As do the thunder, rain and atmospherics.
“Temporal Finale” is an absolutely wild space adventure. Arjen Lucassen would love this…I think. Unfortunately, it ends too soon.
Despite being a mostly instrumental album, every song is engaging and full of entertaining rhythm and music. Many of the tracks are danceable. When was the last time you read that in a progressive rock review? This band is absolutely original and playing what I think might be at the next level of progressive rock. The synthesizer work throughout this album and all of the music takes progressive rock in a new, and I think interesting direction. Please give PRoPoRTIoNS’ Vision from a Distant Past, a try.