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ESP (Tony Lowe : Mark Brzezicki with Special Guests): Invisible Din

A new collaboration between respected producer and musician Tony Lowe and drummer Mark Brzezicki, ESP are desperate to let you hear their Invisible Din. To do so it would appear they built a time machine or at least hired one for the weekend little doubt that we're being whisked back to the 70s for inspiration and style. Bringing together aspects of Genesis, Pink Floyd and King Crimson may simply sound like a prog rock checklist being routinely ticked off, however when you factor in the expansive saxophone and flute contributions from ex-Van der Graaf Generator David Jackson, suddenly there's a depth and clarity to proceedings that quickly eclipses any thoughts of old ideas being rehashed. Having worked with the likes of Julian Lennon, Toyah, Roger Daltrey and amongst others, Simon Townsend, Lowe's prog credentials maybe become clearer through previous time spent with Robert Fripp and David Cross, his guitar, keyboards and vocals superb throughout. Brzezicki, a hugely respected session drummer who has played on many a song you would know, is probably most renowned as the man at the back in Big Country, however right from the album's opening tom rolls, it's clear that his equal billing is earned, pinpoint percussive poignancy key whether the music is intricate and involved or expansive and proud all things that occur with regularity on Invisible Din. However not satisfied with that level of expertise, the likes of David Cross (King Crimson), Phil Spalding (Mike Oldfield), Steve Gee (Landmarq, John Wetton) and John Young (Asia, Fish) all lend their considerable talents (and there's an equally impressive list of others), while the occasional vocal from Alison Fleming also add to the occasion.

All of which would count for nothing if Lowe hadn't crafted a set of songs (based round a concept of our protagonist, Emlyn, searching the astral world for a soulmate, having first experienced this place when healed of an illness as a child by a ghostly presence don't worry, the lyrics are much more involving and skilled than that may suggest) that slowly unravel into a joyous celebration of what first made prog so captivating, while cleverly avoiding what then toppled it into parody. That said, Invisible Din isn't a simple journey, patience required to unlock its inner beauty.

Vocally Lowe reminds of Phil Collins channeling Alan Parsons, that smooth, beguiling quality the initial 'in', as the music soars and swoops or grates and grinds, depending on its mood. Brzezicki also takes on vocal duties on a couple of tracks, an almost young Roger Waters whisper an unexpected reward as "Through The Dream" slowly winds its way round you in the most memorable of fashions and "Uninvited Guest" sits neatly between accessible and prog trickery. Elsewhere it's John Beagely (ex-Simon Collins) who brings an almost Yogi Lang softness to the jagged guitars of "Where Is My Home" and the slow building piano and water splashes of "Searching The Banks For A Memory".

However with beauty and a keen eye for detail expertly sweeping across the throbbing threat of "Waiting For The Rush", King Crimson bleakness of "Riding The Thermal" and the easy, but somehow still uneasy, "Almost Seen" (one of a few tracks that reminds in feel, if not so much in style, of the underrated Ian McDonald album, Drivers Eyes), it's difficult not to be swept away by the masterful touch and sounds on show. Keep in mind however that Invisible Din is a slow burn, an album that at first feels intriguing, before slowly revealing its true and quite breathtaking strengths. There's little doubt that prog is where it's 'at' once again, stunning albums seemingly dropping from nowhere on a monthly basis to amaze and impress. What Lowe and Brzezicki have created with ESP however, is right up there with, if not beyond many of the best of them.

Track Listing
1. Overture
2. Through The Dream
3. Uninvited Guest
4. Song From A Waking Dream
5. Where Is My Home
6. Searching The Banks For A Memory
7. Waiting For The Rush
8. Riding The Thermal
9. Quiet Days
10. Invisible Din
11. Almost Seen

Added: October 22nd 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Tony Lowe online
Hits: 3425
Language: english

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