Passing Decades is the debut solo album from the keyboard player of the late 70's/early 80's progressive rock band Protos. This UK musician has put together some fine instrumental progressive rock here sprinkled with bits of classical as well as fusion, and with nine tracks, including two that go past the 12-minute mark, there's plenty to enjoy and sink your teeth into.
The opening title track is a joy to listen to, very symphonic in nature, led by Rory's wall of bombastic keyboard melodies. Coming across more like a classical orchestra than a one man symphonic band, both "Variations of Theme by Iain Carnegie" and "Night Time" just ooze class and mystery, with the latter featuring rich synth textures, gongs, and chimes for a great effect. The quirky "Hunting Extremely Large Animals" sees the keyboard ace revealing his prog rock influences, namely Genesis, Gentle Giant, and Yes, with sweeping keyboard orchestrations soaring over majestic lead melodies.
A little funk goes a long way on the Latin jazz tinged "London 125", while the herculean "Tempest" clocks in at near 14-minutes and features a wide variety of prog and fusion sounds that bring to mind Genesis, Return to Forever, and Yes. An old Protos song, "The Maiden", gets an updated treatment here, as Ridley-Duff adds in modern keyboard sounds to this classy prog rock number. Gone are the guitars and real drums, in their place are blazing synth melodies, programmed rhythms, and a lighter, more prog-fusion feel. "What Did I Drink?" is probably the weakest cut on the CD, more of a lazy number that has the least interesting keyboard sounds of all the songs here, but you honestly do get the feeling of someone who has had "one too many" by listening to it. The other epic, "Space", closes out the CD in fine fashion, this one a dripping with vintage prog & space rock flavor that recalls Genesis, Pink Floyd, Camel, and Yes. At times Rory's keyboard work takes on a haunting, classical edge here, and overall it's a very classy piece to end this very solid album.
Originally recorded between 1992-1993, let's give kudos to Rory Ridley-Duff for newly mastering this fine CD and making it available to the prog rock enthusiasts. Passing Decades is a fine testament to a very talented musician and composer-check it out.
1 Passing Decades (3:34)
2 Variations of Theme by Iain Carnegie (5:24)
3 Night Time (2:05)
4 Hunting Extremely Large Animals (2:48)
5 London 125 (3:16)
6 Tempest (13:45)
7 The Maiden (6:12)
8 What Did I Drink? (5:13)
9 Space (12:04)