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Guildmaster, The: The Knight And The Ghost

These past few years I have immensely enjoyed the music of The Samurai Of Prog, perhaps more so than any other band. Their music has certainly made an impact on me, surely the sign of a great band. They also have to be one of the most hard-working bands in the business, at least from a studio aspect, brimming with creativity and exceptional quality. You get the entire package with this band; great music, extensive liner notes and exceptional artwork by Ed Unitsky. As far as I know he has done every album thus far.

This brings us to The Guildmaster, a project led by bassist Marco Bernard and drummer Kimmo Pörsti, two thirds of The Samurai’s, minus American flautist/violinist Steve Unruh. There has always been a medieval/Renaissance side to TSOP and nowhere is it more pronounced than in The Knight And The Ghost. A lilting folk melody courses through the opening track “Puppet Dance”, written by keyboard maestro Tom Scherpenzeel. Rafael Pacha adds old world elements like recorders and baroque flutes, and as Bernard and Pörsti pick up the tempo, Pacha’s electric guitar gives it all a little more edge. The eloquent and slightly somber “Saaristo” continues in the prog-folk vein with its sweeping arrangement, delicate acoustic guitar and a fine synthesizer solo courtesy of Scherpenzeel. A spry acoustic guitar and ancient atmospheres gives a madrigal feeling to “The Hare” and in the title track the band’s use of acoustic and electric instruments is in near perfect harmony. Bernard lays down some nice bass lines, Pörsti is as dependent as ever and Pacha continues his excellent guitar work. This is the first song with vocals and features Camilla Rinaldi’s pure, angelic voice. On “Stranded by the Ghost” recorders, viola and psaltery provide a huge impact as folk gives way to more symphonic endeavors as the song comes to a close. Pacha demonstrates is instrumental prowess in “The Search” playing a wide range of instruments including whistles, guitar, keys, banjo and bodhran. More biting tones from his guitar as the tempo picks up and the song gets heavier. Other highlights include some fabulous recorder in “The Sun Rises Again” and “Noughts and Crosses”. In the latter, Pacha’s electric guitar is again excellent.

Simply put, folk/progressive rock does not get better than The Knight And The Ghost. Absolutely recommended!

The musicians:
Kimmo Pörsti (drums and percussion)
Marco Bernard (Shuker bass)
Rafael Pacha (electric, acoustic and classical guitars, keyboards, recorder flutes, Mellotron, Venezuelan cuatro, psaltery, bouzouki, mandolin, darbuka, viola da gamba alto, bodhran, low & high whistles, tenor banjo, zither, percussion, long neck Saz, fretless bass, kantele, peñaparda style drum)
Tom Scherpenzeel (keyboards, piano, synthesizer)
Peakfiddler (fiddle)
Alessandro Di Benedetti (piano, keyboards)
Martti Törnwall (violin)
Esa Lehtinen (flute)
Camilla Rinaldi (vocalsd)
Rubén Álvarez (electric guitar solo on track 8)
Manoel Macía (baroque guitar)

Track Listing:
1. Puppet Dance (1:45)
2. Saaristo (5:59)
3. The Hare (3:04)
4. The Knight and the Ghost (9:14)
5. Stranded by the Coast (Folia for the Castaway) (5:31)
6. Six and Fives (1:41)
7. The Search (7:35)
8. Camino de Luz (Path of Light) (5:33)
9. Noughts and Crosses (2:27)
10. The Fairy Pole (3:46)
11. Ghost Dance (Cosmic Wardance II) (6:18)
12. The Sun Rises Again (5:51)
13. Secret Garden (2:58)

Added: August 26th 2021
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 962
Language: english

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