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Various Artists: EMKOG Records Sampler

At first, when I got this promo, I thought it was a folk album, which is fine by me. Well, that's not it at all! Nonetheless, besides my personal compilation of acoustic tunes by the Stones, this sampling has been spinning quite a few times since I got it.

This is a great disc to spins in any given situation. I've listened to this promo at home, at work and even in my car. Being stuck in traffic has never been so enjoyable! Yes, it is that good! Emkog Records has been a stranger all this time, and these acts have been strangers to my old prog.ears. I felt like traveling back in time to the vintage era of prog music, the 70's. Now, this is what I call progressive music! These are intelligent, thrilling compositions and some of them are even long lasting pleasures. One can feel influences from Egg, ELP and a bit of Frank Zappa in some occasions. It feels as if the Canterbury scene had just resurrected or something and it is just great! I would be curious to find out if the individual recordings are all that good or if just the very best tracks were selected to make one of the best compilation I've heard in quite some times. I've been especially pleased by the work of: Deluge Grandeur, Birds and Buildings and Cerebus Effect. One of the very good points here is that most of the tracks are instrumentals. The only exception is the work from All Over Everywhere, and their vocalist is a pleasant lady, so it is not bad at all.

Again, this sampler is like candy to the ears and I would be more than happy to grab other releases from Emkog in a near future. Very well done Emkog and the great acts too!

Track listing:
1- Deluge Grandeur "The Solitude of Miranda"
2- Birds and Buildings "Birds Flying Into Buildings"
3 - All Over Everywhere "Art of the Earth
4 Birds and Buildings "Yucatan 65: The Agitation of the Mass
5 Cerebus Effect "Nine Against Ten"
6 Birds and Buildings "Miracle Pigeon"
7 Deluge Grandeur "Aggandizement
8 All Over Everywhere "Gratitude"
9 A Big Blob of Demos and Early Versions of Forthcoming Music

Added: October 31st 2010
Reviewer: Denis Brunelle
Related Link: Label Website
Hits: 1302
Language: english

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Various Artists: EMKOG Records Sampler
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-10-31 11:44:01
My Score:

American musician Dan Britton has his hands in many projects which are featured on the new Emkog Records CD Sampler, released in 2010. The bands featured are Deluge Grander, Birds and Buildings, Cerebus Effect and All Over Everywhere. Emkog Records is Britton's own label and this sampler is a great way to get a taste of what this musician has to offer.

The CD begins with "The Solitude of Miranda" by Baltimore band Deluge Grander, a complex mixture of symphonic prog and fusion. Acoustic guitar is one of the many highlights here as well as some fabulous keyboard work. The keyboard melodies are really nice and the interplay between acoustic and electric guitar complete the package.

Next up is "Birds Flying Into Buildings" by the eclectic proggers Birds and Buildings. Brett d' Anon, who is also a member of Deluge Grander, plays bass. This foursome are outstanding musicians playing complex rhythmic patterns with a heavy jazz influence. The frantic pace never slows down and the saxophone of Brian Falkowski is superb.

Two songs are included by All Over Everywhere, Britton's latest project combining folk and progressive elements. "Art of the Earth" is a whimsical tune with a pretty melody and soothing bass, while the ten minute long "Gratitude" is a mesmerizing piece with a pastoral arrangement that will have you wanting more.

The other featured band is Cerebus Effect, whose music is best described as progressive fusion. "Nine Against Ten" starts frantically with tight guitars and keyboards before Eastern tinged guitar work enters the fray. This song almost gives off an angry vibe, as if the musicians were going into battle. The chaotic pace does slow down allowing for some introspective playing and wicked bass guitar.

The last track is a twenty minute sampler of demos and music yet to be released which should get your attention because there is some strong material here.

For anyone interested in hearing the above bands, this sampler will be a good starting point before exploring these artists further. If you have already been enlightened by these artists, the last twenty minutes of the disc may just be what the doctor ordered.

Various Artists: EMKOG Records Sampler
Posted by Jordan Blum, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-10-24 08:20:00
My Score:

Keyboardist Dan Britton is quickly becoming a household name in the world of progressive music. His eclectic, fun and complex style breathes fresh air into everything he touches, and the Emkog Records Sampler (his record label) is an awesome collection from his various projects.

While Britton is arguably most known for Deluge Grander, three of his other projects (Cerebus Effect, Birds and Buildings, and All Over Everywhere) also appear, and all are almost equally represented. In true art rock indulgence, several of the songs extend past the ten minute mark, but rest assured that they maintain fascination throughout. In fact, there isn't a wasteful second amidst these 78 minutes.

The anthology opens with the incredible guitar work of "The Solitude of Miranda." The arpeggios interact with the piano and synths playfully, and there is a lot of tension. Britton uses a lot of interesting timbres to make the music diverse, seeming almost like a mixture of folk rock (Lehto & Wright, for example) and Beardfish. Each instrument shines with solos as the track reaches its crescendo. "Birds Flying Into Buildings" has a more jazz fusion style and tempo, capturing the essence of John McLaughlin and implementing various horns.

"Art of the Earth" slows things down to a more peaceful environment, allowing notes to wash over soundscapes and develop life. The female vocals are subdued and prophetic. "Yucatan 65," with its acoustic guitar pathway and flute trails, has the free spirit of passing over a mountaintop or ocean on a sunny day. It builds with harpsichord and fancy guitar picking, recalling the layering style of Mike Oldfield. "Nine Against Ten" brings back the heavy complexity, allowing demonic organ and fast drumming to lead us into an underworld. The track brilliantly transitions back into a folk rock blanket in the middle before resorting back to its true nature.

Perhaps the most unconventional track thus far is "Miracle Pidgeon." It mixes a bit of Ska with the standard prog sounds Britton favors, and it's quite invocative. Actually it's like Bar Mitzvah music performed by hyper personalities. The appropriately titled "Aggrandizement" features more ideas and frenzy than most entire albums. Sequenced perfectly afterward is "Gratitude," another calmer and more majestic track like "Art of the Earth" (both by All Over Everywhere). It allows for some relaxation after the craziness of its predecessors.

The sampler ends with a twenty minute "Big Blob of Demos and Early Versions of Forthcoming Music" (literally). While obviously not as focused as a standard epic piece, this track masterfully alternates styles and intensity, showcasing all the sides of Britton in one package.

The Emkog Records Sampler is an excellent way to discover the various bands of an underground genius. While each act is tangentially different, all combine here to showcase creative teams and a label eager to bring originality to the genre. Of course the influences of the 70s forefathers (and mothers) are there, but they music here is much more than just clones of [insert pioneering progressive rock band here].

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