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Project Creation: Floating World

Hugo Flores' new incarnation is Project Creation. The multi-instrumentalist joins up with nine different musicians and vocalists to create the concept album Floating World. The sound is very similar to Ken's Novel's debut. This is progressive rock with grooving bass lines, counter-melody keyboards, and sold and full guitar leads. The vocals, although telling a story, basically act as another instrument. The music is full and busy but escapes falling into the area of bombast. It isn't overblown like Magellan.

"The Floating World" opens up with powerful riffing and excellent song structure. Those are the best moments for Project Creation, when the bass, drums and guitar just decide to take off and everyone just fills in where needed, like on "Artificial Satellite". But then you have "Living Under a Blue Sky" and "Warming Up the Machines" that show the tried-and-true nature of the band. These are songs that take catchy choruses and end in power jams that sound good but too familiar and safe.

The story behind Floating World is that a dying planet, with an ancient civilization, develops a space shipped capable of carrying large portions of it's population to seed other planets. Oh yea, the space ship is shaped like a world (get it, floating world). The story goes on from there, and I do not mean to down play it, but overall, like IQ's Subterranea, no matter how good the story is, you buy the CD for the music.

Overall a solid effort, but for me it just doesn't quite get there. Like Cryptic Vision and Carptree, I feel like this is territory that has been passed over and over and that the band is just playing it a little too safe. But both Moment of Clarity and Man Made Machine were huge hits, so this one probably will be to. A CD I am glad I have, but not one that will get lots of playing time.

01. The Floating World
02. Living Under A Blue Sky
03. The Desert Planet
04. The Civilization
05. Mechanical Dragonflies
06. Arriving
07. Warming Up The Machines
08. Artificial Satellite
09. Intervening
10. Creating Atmosphere
11. First Species
12. The Shining Planet
13. Cheops
14. Returning Home

Added: March 25th 2006
Reviewer: Steve Ambrosius
Related Link: Hugo Flores Project Creation
Hits: 6724
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Project Creation: Floating World
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-03-25 00:53:34
My Score:

Hugo Flores's previous works with his band Sonic Pulsar have been well received on these pages, and we describe them as "somewhere between Ayreon and hard rock ... lightly metallic, very technical, well constructed and characterized by good melodies". Oh - and we added a "Well recommended". With Project Creation Flores takes a huge leap forward - this record is very melodic, well performed, reasonably complex and nicely structured - and above all, it's a damned nice listen.

Imagine a less-bombastic Ayreon album - or a more proggy version of Aina or Missa Mercuria. Like those, Project Creation is one man's vision, performed by a number of the genre's luminaries - it is a well coordinated collaboration of nine different high-caliber musicians and vocalists that sets it among the ranks of the better progressive rock operas. An interesting side-note - this is the first 'project' of its kind to emanate from Portugal, which is home to Flores and all of the guest artists.

The Floating World tells the unlikely sci-fi story of a dying planet whose inhabitants float off on some craft described as an artificial satellite (a 'floating world', you see) in search of a new world to occupy. Opening track "The Floating World" describes the planet-like space ship, track 2 "Living Under A Blue Sky" is the travelers' recollections of home, track 3 describes "The Desert Planet" they've discovered and plan to revitalize, and track 4 "The Civilization" describes the culture that has developed on their floating world craft thingy. Together, these form a 21-minute introduction to the record's theme, and the piece evolves from there - both musically, and in the storyline. Flores won't expect any offers from Hollywood for his scriptwriting, but as with all good concept pieces, the story adds an important dimension and cohesion to the whole album. Click here to view an interesting video 'teaser'. Hugo plans to have "The Floating World" as a single, and has spoken about making it into a 3D/CGI video.

Every song is different, although all share a slightly spacey feel, good melodies and a very full sound. The variety is enhanced by contributions from cello, flute sax, imaginative synthesizer sounds and three separate vocalists. Flores makes good use of the rich female vocal tones of Alda Reis, and the multi-part choruses - particularly the female choruses - are some of the more pleasing components of the record. The English-language lyrics are lightly accented, and male vocalist 'Linx' delivers a clean, well controlled performance - not the strongest you'll hear, but the songwriting has been crafted around his style. Good piano work yields some of the nicer moments, and the only instrument that is surprisingly under-utilized is the wonderful guitar lines that were so central to the success of Flores's previous albums. And unlike Sonic Pulsar, when wearing his Project Creation hat, Flores thankfully uses a real drummer.

It is impossible to describe this music without making comparisons to Ayreon. Project Creation is more contained, not as over-produced, and it doesn't share quite the same flair, but it shares the pleasing melodies, diverse songwriting and imaginative compositions. There's nothing new here, but it's a well constructed, very enjoyable body of work. This was Part 1, and Flores has plans to release parts 2 and 3. And if he continues the growth we've witnessed since the first Sonic Pulsar album, expect big things from the Iberian peninsula. And like our closing comment on the last Sonic Pulsar album - we'll close with a "Well recommended."

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