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Life Trip: Unknown Journey

Composer/songwriter Chip Symonds has been operating under his Life Trip pseudonym since 1993 (hence the subtitle 10th Year Anniversary—1993-2003). Symonds' music encompasses several different prog subgenres, from pastoral to symphonic to folk-prog; the more obvious influences include Kansas, Jethro Tull, ELP, Fairport Convention, and Happy The Man. As a one-man band, Symonds sings—imagine a cross between John Wetton, Ian Anderson, and, at times, James Taylor—and plays everything: flute, tenor sax, synthesizers, and acoustic & electric guitars (the programmed drumloops ain't half bad, either).

Unknown Journey collects seven short songs and two extended pieces. The four-part title suite opens with a gentle piano arpeggiation, percussion, and a serviceable 'Tron-like string sound; things continue on to an unwavering block-chord sequence, and a great sax solo. "Get Love, Give Love" is a shameless detour into contemporary pop~rock—the chorus is catchy, in the way one enjoys a guilty pleasure here & there (and we'll leave it at that). Armed with the best melody on the album, the somber air of "Fugue 756" returns us to 'Tron strings, harpsichord, and a 'warbly' vocal that sort of recalls Geoff Mann; Symonds serves up a very nice sax solo that sits perfectly atop the rocksteady cadence. This would make a great single, all it needs is the pro-studio treatment. Old hippies will love "Wind Of Journey"—is this an outtake from Tull's Benefit? Between the pitch of Symond's vox, and his ace flute solo, someone's liable to be duped! The same applies to "Neuro City," except its power chords and synth sounds remove us to Under Wraps-era JT.

The 2nd suite is the six-part Adobe Road; fortunately, the music is significantly better than its blandly-titled subsections. After a relatively mild kickoff, bombast rears its head in "From Many Parts," which shows off Symond's solid keyboard chops (I could do without some of the chirpy synth-FX). "Into The Mind" brings to mind a cross between Elefante-era Kansas and (get this) Gary Numan! If anything, Life Trip won't have to worry about being pigeon-holed. "The Whole" is a pleasant acoustic ballad that prefaces more bombast of the symphonic kind in "Finale". Very, very solid material, Mr. Symonds. Some multi-tracked vocals and live drumming would really enhance what you've got cooking, here—worth a serious listen.


Unknown Journey
1. Part II
2. Part II
3. Part III
4. Part IV

5. Spirit Of Love
6. Stampede Sam
7. Get Love, Give Love
8. Fugue 756
9. Wind Of Journey
10. Neuro City

Adobe Ride
11. Fanfare
12. From Many Parts
13. Whispering Shadows
14. Into The Mind
15. The Whole
16. Finale

17. Tranquillity

Total time: 57:51

Added: March 18th 2004
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: Life Trip Music Dot Com
Hits: 2400
Language: english

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