TRANSATLANTIC - SMPT:e
What is it?
The Project has beeen initiated by Mike Portnoy, drummer of Dream Theater. He asked Neil Morse (Spock´s Beard), Pete Trewavas (marillion) and Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings) to join him on this adventure. The album was recorded 1999 in different locations, the members, coming from different continents, worked in their own respective studios as well as together at Milbrook Studios, Milbrook, NY. Overdubs of Pete´s stuff were done at the Racket Club.
Neil Morse, lead vocalist of Spock´s Beard, takes most of the vocal parts, supported by the other three, plus various other instruments. Pete Trewavas, bassist of Marillion fame takes all the complicated and sophisticated bass lines, Stoine plays "Mr. Multi instrumentalist" and finally Portnoy is responsible for the drum work.
How does it sound?
Short answer: COOL!!! ;-D))
Mid long answer: something between Spock´s Beard, Dream Theater and Yes´ Close to the Edge
Longer answer: the album consists of 5 tracks:
|All of the above||
|Full Moon rising|
|Camouflaged in Blue|
|Full Moon (reprise)|
|We all need some Light||
|My New World||
|In Held (Twas) in I||
The first one is in my opinion the "classic prog track" of the album. 30 minutes long, full of tempo- and melody-changes and pure progressive energy. My first thought was "Well, sounds like The Beard", and indeed, it is quite obvious that Neil Morse´s influence on this song was quite high.
"We all need some Light" is more kind of a folk song, but does not lack all the elements described above. A bit slower, but finally reminding a bit of ELP.
"Mystery Train" is a rocker, with some elements of the Beatles in it. Although a very nice idea, this track is IMO the weakest of the album.
"My new World" is the absolute highlight of the album. another long track, sung by Roine Stolt. It contains a long woven story with different mudical themes, Todd Rundgren solos and one of the best endings I´ve ever heard. That song alone is worth buying the entire album!!!
"In Held (Twas) in I" is a classic (or so the booklet tells), but I have to confess I haven´t heard it before... Roine and Mike wanted to do their version of this track, hich has been one of their favourites for long. It was worth the effort!
There are two versions of the CD. The first, "simple" one is the jewel case standard edition which only features the CD as described above. The secon, "limited" edition has a strong paper book (comparable to Pink Floyd´s PULSE) containing the regular CD and a second CD which has some alternative takes, alternative mixes and jams on it (which make it easy to imagine how the recording sessions went...) and an enhanced bit which contains a 6:10 minute videoclip from the recording sessions.
In Germany, Media-Markt stocks both versions at high numbers and at a reasonable price of EUR 16,-!