Horizont, The Portrait of a Boy and Summer in Town Boheme Music 128, Mosfilmovskaya Str., Moscow, 117330 RUSSIA CYBERHOME: http://www.bohememusic.com Why haven't I heard of this group before?!?!? Horizont's CD bills them as a "chamber instrumental" group, but that doesn't really even begin to describe them. True, the Russian group is heavily instrumentally-oriented (there are a few unobtrusive vocals, mostly wordless, on both albums) and undoubtably influenced by classical music, but there's so much more. Oddly enough, these two discs are quite different in style yet are just about equally good. Summer in Town is my favorite, though, especially for its opening piece "Snowballs," which features an optimistic classical sounding intro which segues marvelously into a vaguely Genesis-like theme which is then amply developed, varied, and recapitulated. Although the point of focus most often is the keyboards, all instrumentalists make significant contributions and get some spotlight at one time or another. The real highlight, though is the maginificent composition which ebbs and flows perfectly throughout. The structure of the composition seems extremely classical, making the Enid about as good of a reference point as I can find. The second piece, "Chaconne" begins on mysterious, almost ambient note, complete with samples of rushing wind, before keyboards and guitar, and then the whole ensemble, take the piece from its ethereal atmosphere into a slightly more concrete but still heavenly section. Several more unexpected developments follow this, but I won't spoil them. The last piece on the album shows more of an angular King Crimson influence, with noticeably more dissonance and a rawer guitar sound in parts, but also even more extreme dynamic contrast. The 18-minute epic develops more slowly than the other pieces on the album, but is at the same time more varied and very rewarding to listen to. This last song on Summer in a way seems to look forward to The Portrait of the Boy. On the this album, the more menacing, Crimsoid side of the band comes out. Horizont are never as aggressive as KC were, but don't really try to be - their style of composition works just fine. The centrepiece on this disc is the 19-minute 3-movement suite which the album gets its name from, but there are 4 shorter pieces included. The 19-minute epic is just as good as one would expect, and really should be heard by every fan of symphonic progressive rock. The albums other pieces consist of a barely-accompanied keyboard solo, two surprisingly intense King Crimson-like pieces, and an emotional vocal exultation. Simply put, all you symphonic proggers should absolutely love this stuff. Seek these discs out immediately! ~Jon Dharma Murphree~
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