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Barton & Storm: First Contact A Space Opera (CD/DVD)

Here is something a little different from England. Barton & Storm, aka First Contact, is a musical duo consisting of Jon Storm and Stuart Barton. This is a self-titled conceptual piece about first contact. The story takes place around the moons of Saturn where the Titan Mining Corporation is hard at work extracting minerals and ore to be used by Earth. Thanks to narrative throughout, the story is very easy to follow which helps the listener to be further engaged. An alien ship is spotted by the mining ship Prospero and they quickly investigate. It is quite a cool little story and I found myself listening just to hear what happens. As far as the music is concerned the press release states, "It doesn't really fit into a particular niche, but we generally identify as space rock or psychedelic rock, with a dash of prog." That's as good a description as any. The playing is often quite subtle and very textural. This isn't something you would listen to if you want to be inundated with blistering guitar and keyboard solos. The songs have a nice flow with guitar and synths getting equal billing. Often the synths are quite spacey and the guitar counteracting with more of a psychedelic influence and is sometimes slightly muted giving the sound a subtle and ethereal quality. Vocals are supplied by Robert Mathews, Jenny Leslie and Brendan Quinn and for the most part work quite well although some may find them to be an acquired taste. Talking vocals throughout the piece help to propel the story along. Whether or not you like this style will be up to you. I personally think it helps to develop the overall concept. Occasionally I was reminded of Phideaux, especially with the more acoustic pieces.

The accompanying DVD is a movie set to the music of the CD. The visuals are suitably trippy and I thought they matched the movie rather well. It is not perfect, the visuals are sometimes jerky, but one must remember this was probably produced on a low budget.

If you are into sci-fi concept albums and dig psychedelic/space music this would be a good album to chill out to. Not too heavy and pretty engaging through all twelve tracks.

Track Listing:
1. Good Morning Saturn (1:53)
2. Mission to Enceladus (5:45)
3. First Contact (4:34)
4. The Chase (4:31)
5. Inside the Sphere (9:52)
6. Children's World (5:06)
7. Transfiguration (5:57)
8. The Changeling (7:02)
9. Alien/Hunter (7:16)
10. Titan (9:44)
11. Breathless World (2:51)
12. Return to Earth (4:07)

Added: July 3rd 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1236
Language: english

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