Pär Lindh toured with the Royal Swedish Chamber Orchestra for four years before deciding to focus on art rock, and his first album Gothic Impressions has been voted as one of the top ten progressive CDs of all time. And that was just the beginning. He went on to release 7 more CDs, and throughout the 1990s his Pär Lindh Project was invited to play concerts and headline festivals all over the world.
Now, ten years later almost to the day of the release of that first album at Progfest 1994, it is being re-released.
But Perfectionist Lindh won't simply dust off the old tapes, add a bonus track and push it into the market. His legendary high standards would never permit that. As good as it was, this top-ranking album is being extensively reworked.
Gothic Impressions has extensive influences from renaissance music, early baroque, Bach, post-romanticism, avant garde, impressionism and from the best of the symphonic rock bands of the early '70s. If that sounds like a bold claim, listen to it – and listen again. The Bach influence is abundantly clear and the baroque and renaissance sections are immediately recognizable. It's all wrapped in a cloak of '70s styled symphonic progressive rock driven by Moog and Hammond and augmented by such diverse instruments as lute, flute, bassoon, church organ, tin whistle and harp – in fact there's a total of 30 instruments on the album. Add choirs and a then-young Roine Stolt on guitars and you can imagine the diversity and the standard of musicianship on this CD.
When I first heard Gothic Impressions I remember thinking that it may be closer to the disciplines of pure classical music than any other art rock I'd heard. Ten years later, in re-listening to it for this article, that impression was firmly reinforced. This CD could be stacked in the classical section at Tower Records just as easily as on the rock shelves.
Initially, Gothic Impressions was voted album of the year by 'prog-gallups' in several countries. At the time the most organized of these was the Argentinian Progressive Rock movement, which nominated the album as one of the top 10 prog albums of all time – alongside records from such luminaries as Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd.
Top-10 prog Albums Of All Time
In a conversation with Pär Lindh, he explained: "The difference between the new version and the old one is staggering." Not convinced, I asked for 3 examples of how the new album would be distinguished from the old. He gave me 7!
Release date is 11/18/2004
- The new mix includes so many details – especially in the guitars and percussion – that were lost in the old mix.
- It has been remastered (24-bits) to produce a much more powerful, richer sound.
- Much improved vocals courtesy of American singer Divad, known for – among other things – a 1980s stint with Black Sabbath
- New drums were recorded where needed.
- New choral tracks from Ensemble Macogall on "The Iconoclast" and "The Cathedral" – or in Pär's words, "Lots of new beautiful choir arrangements".
- The old mix was done on a 15 track machine which made mixing extremely challenging. Now each of the 30 instruments gets its own channel, allowing for a wonderful control over production quality.
- And finally, there's a new 'deluxe' package with a 20-page color booklet.
Watch this space for the review
The Track Listing for the original version of Gothic Impressions was:
1. Dresden Lamentation ( 2.06 )
2. The Iconoclast ( 7.04 )
3. Green Meadow Lands ( 7.24 )
4. The Cathedral ( 19.33 )
5. Gunnlev´s Round ( 2.50 )
6. Night on Bare Mountain (including the Black Stone) (13.50 )
And the Artists:
Pär Lindh: Keyboards, Bass, Drums
Björn Johansson: Guitar, basson, tinwhistle
Roine Stolt: Guitar
Jocke Ramsell: Guitar
Jonas Engdegård: Guitar
Johan Högberg: Bass
Mattias Olsson: Drums
Anna Holmgren: Flute
Håkan Ljung: Lute
Lovisa Stenberg: Harp
Magdalena Hagberg: Vocals
Ralf Glasz: Vocals
Mathias Jonsson: Vocals
Camerata Vocalis: Choir