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Pymlico: Guiding Light

Guiding Light is the third instrumental release from Arild Brøter's Pymlico outfit, where the main protagonist wrote, arranged and produced every note, as well as playing drums and keyboards on the finished pieces. However this is no vanity project, Brøter fully utilising the skills of another thirteen musicians to bring his creations to life; something they and he do extremely well.

The first two Pymlico albums Inspirations and Directions have, at times, been described as "video game music", although not having heard them and not being a gamer, I'm not even sure what that really means. However ranging from expansive Prog workouts to Blade Runner like soundtrack pieces, Guiding Light veers from moody and mysterious to carefree and catchy. Comparisons aren't always easy to make, snatches of Marillion, hints of Vangelis, suggestions of Pink Floyd and whispers of IQ all swirl by and yet the electro-prog Pymlico produce sounds not exactly like any of those outfits. In fact oddly, when looking for a way to describe what is created here, Joe Satriani gone prog springs to mind, the basis of each of the seven tracks presented being strong rhythms, while a lone instrument – sometimes guitar, but often sax, or flute, trombone or piano – takes the space where you might expect to find a vocalist operating and fills it with hugely memorable melodies.

The range of moods created under this simple framework is impressive, "Wanderlust" electro-Oriental, "The East Side" finding saxophone taking us to a dystopian future of bleakness. "Bobcat" on the other hand bristles with metallic intent and a jazzy joust, organ and sax jostling with guitar and keys to rein supreme, while "Piz Gloria" is the sort of Prog Metal workout that Aeon Zen would happily surf the cosmos on. "A Day Out", which opens proceedings thunders on tribal beats, Vilde Badendyck Katralen adding voice, but not words, as a range of uplifting themes hit with percussive delight, while "Neptune" closes the album, thirteen minutes of music seemingly encapsulating what this entire album is about, drawing from elements used elsewhere to present a wholly individual piece. Leaving "Sounds Of The City", a track which has infuriated me by being unbelievably memorable, as a latter day Genesis keyboard intro gives way to a melody line which simply refuses to leave my head. It's insanely catchy and insanely good!

If you like keyboard driven prog with excellently constructed melodies and hooks, while happily eschewing the more expected vocal lines for a host of instrumental sections, then I've absolutely no hesitation recommending this album. I'd go as far as to predict that Pymlico could definitely become a Guiding Light of instrumental prog.

Track Listing
1. A Day Out
2. Sounds of the City
3. The East Side
4. Wanderlust
5. Bobcat
6. Piz Gloria
7. Neptune

Added: December 27th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Pymlico on facebook
Hits: 2715
Language: english

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