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Horizont




Horizont - Summer In Town - 1985 - Melodiya

A great debut album. The music is reminiscent of the analog synth music of Yes. It sometimes borders on the avant-garde, but is always enjoyable, and never boring. Great thick keyboards(Yes-like Church organ, Moog synths, and bass pedals), and occasional choir. Try and listen to their "The Portrait Of A Boy" album.

TRACKS

1. Snowballs (8:34)
2. Chaconne (10:37)
3. Summer In Town (18:46) - March / Minuet / Toccata
All compositions written by S. Kornilov and arranged by Horizont. Recorded in Moscow, 1985, by A.Vetr & G.Lazarev.

BAND

- Sergey Kornilov / keyboards
- Vladimir Lutoshkin / guitar, flute
- Alexey Eremenko / bass guitar
- Valentin Sinitsin / drums
- Andrey Krivilev / vocal, keyboards
- Igor Pokrovsky, Yuri Beliakov, Sergey Alekseev / vocal

REVIEW

This disc just made my day. That the seeds of Western dissent could travel into Russia, take root and produce such a faithful facsimile of our own revolutionary rumblings proves that progressive rock knows no boundaries. Horizont would have themselves billed as a “chamber instrumental ensemble,” and not as a point of pretension. The side-long “Summer In Town” is avant-garde classical music built around the core of a rock band, something that Frank Zappa fans will already be familiar with. Not that it isn’t harrowing stuff, but you see I’ve got this real tiny brain, and after so many notes it sort of gets filled up. (I know, that’s two sentences ending in a preposition, but after reading the reckless English translation of the reissue’s liner notes I’m a little disoriented.) If you thought that Frank’s fustian arrangements were a little slice of Heaven, more Heaven awaits you here and especially on Portrait of a Boy. What won me over to Summer In Town was the first side of music, however. When the liner notes trumped out the old heroes (Yes, Genesis, ELP), I kind of yawned and thought “yeah, everyone says that.” I’ve seen people use those bands to describe Supertramp, Kansas, Kayak and anyone else who’s ever rented a mellotron. But Horizont sounds exactly like Genesis (or more specifically, Steve Hackett) with bits of Yes and ELP tossed in for good effect. “Snowballs” and “Chaconne” are musical objects that might have been constructed entirely from bits of those band’s works. Vladimir Lutoshkin is a careful student of Steve Hackett’s style, and the first side of music comes as close to replicating the sound and spirit of Voyage of the Acolyte as anything I’ve ever heard. (Since I’ve never encountered a suitable followup to that masterwork from the Genesis guitarmeister himself, interested parties may want to skip straight to Horizont instead.) Sadly, Horizont has only released two discs to my knowledge, and as I said earlier the second eschews prog rock for dissonant, brain-draining music. But for twenty minutes anyway, Horizont raises the standard of the old gods, and prog’s salving benediction once more settles on the misty earth. © 2005 Connolly & Company. All rights reserved

ABOUT HORIZONT / ALBUM INFO.

Prologue. While there have been plenty of excellent Progressive Rock groups in the USSR, Horizont (Horizon) was, in my view, the best among them. The band was formed in the mid '1970s in the city of Gorky (now Nizhni Novgorod, i.e. Lower Newtown, named so after another, Great Newtown, in Russia) by a few schoolmates. Along with Arsenal Horizont was one of the most active 'live' bands, playing concerts usually with an invited string ensemble. The band gave hundreds performances on tour, including its native town and, apart from the titles included in both Horizont's LPs, there were lots of new compositions, including the whole "Fahrenheit 451 Ballet", recorded during shows, but it's hard to say where those unique recordings have ended up now. After the fall of the USSR Horizont, similar to many other USSR progressive artists, dissolved in the chaos of events together with their works. Now, thanks only to a truly progressive activity of the people at "Boheme Music" in search for the 'Soviet' musical legacy we now can enjoy (and will continue to do so as long as "Boheme" carries on this way) a wonderful possibility to familiarize ourselves with this creative output. As for the Horizont musicians, it is sad that nothing is known even about their further fate.
The album. Horizont was a group of experienced, mature, profound proggers long before the recording of their debut album. "Summer In Town" was composed and recorded at a time when the musicians were already going to stop being "a Classic Symphonic Art Rock super-group with highest compositional skill and musicianship" (a quote from the well known, one of the most 'progressively thinking' composers in the USSR/C.I.S., Yuri Saulsky) and started to search for new, (even!) more complex musical structures. Unlike many other Soviet progressive bands, including such quite famous an act as Autograph, Horizont was dubbed as a "Chamber Instrumental Ensemble", and not a rock-group, already on the cover of their debut LP. But it becomes clear why actually a rock band was named differently just after a couple listens to "Summer In Town". Both compositions from the album's "Side A" (LP talk) stand for clear-water Classic Symphonic Art Rock. Snowballs and Chacconne, striking their unique balance (a union!) between high complexity and a melodic beauty as if taken from the first half of the 1970s, are wholly comparable to the best works of the genre in the heyday times. However, thanks to their overall futuristic sound a better point of comparisons would probably draw from "unvocal" Yes in 1972-1974. A 'side-long' titletrack sounds distinctly unusual and unexpected in comparison with the first half of the album. That's what the band had been searching for by the mid "dark decade" of the '80s - newer musical forms. The "Summer in Town" is nothing less than another manifestation of RIO - alongside with Neo-Classical music one of the most complex and intriguing genres created in the 20th century. And unlike Snowballs and Chaconne, here there's no place for comparisons regarding the album's centerpiece.
Summary. Well, RIO. Such a 'fulminating', avant-garde, complex, probably really revolutionary mixture of Progressive Rock (often of all the three main progressive genres together - like in case of Happy Family, for example) with, mostly, Neo-Classical music. It's a kind of Neo-Classical music itself. I would call RIO eternally young music for its plasticity and, thus, 'ability' to create new fresh musical forms in itself with ease, whereas all the other progressive genres are much more 'conservative'. Actually, I would go as far as to name RIO another one 'independent' Progressive Rock genre together with the 'Holy Three' of Art Rock, Prog Metal and Jazz Fusion. If I should search for the fifth element* like the heroes of Luke Besson's movie of the same name* I would probably find it right away. Since all the Marillion etc poor imitators like Grey Lady Down, Galahad, etc play all in all somewhat related to (wretched) Progressive, I feel the need to form a Pseudo Prog section on ProgressoR quite often. Back to the Horizont debut album's third composition, I only want to add that it's a good example of RIO plasticity. From the first to the last note "Summer in Town" has that typical yet extremely unique RIO sound, the most 'electronic' and innovative I (perhaps you, too) ever heard within the genre. Dark, complex and highly magnificent, this piece creates a mind-blowing impression. And that was just a beginning... Are you ready for more incredible music from "another branch of the RIO-tree"? Then wait just a bit. © VM. January 2, 2001, www.progressor.net/review/horizont_overall.html

5 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

LINK

Anonymous said...

I don't know too many Russia Prog bands -- heck,I can't think of any Russia Prog bands to be honest -- but this sounds interesting indeed! Thank you kindly A.O.O.F.C.!

Anonymous said...

hello A.O.O.F.C!

Too bad they never had a better follow-up to this album. This is very unique & interesting! Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

-->D.Moosencurgbo

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi! D.Moosencurgbo. Yes, it's a good one, and probably their best one. Like so many bands, they are never around long enough to fulfill their full potential...Cheers!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi! anonymous. There are a few Russian prog.rock bands, but this one is well above the average album, and worth promoting. Thank you also for comment, and keep in touch.