Fellow Progarchists, may I commend to you the newly-released Beneath The Waves, by Kompendium? I’ve had this on pre-order for a while. The CD/DVD arrived this weekend and it’s truly wonderful.
Kompendium is a side-project of Magenta’s Rob Reed. Beneath The Waves has been under development for three years – which comes as little surprise when you consider the ‘cast of thousands’ involved in making it. Amongst the players, we have: Steve Hackett, Francis Dunnery, John Mitchell, Nick Barrett and Jakko Jakszyk on guitar; Gavin Harrison and Nick Beggs providing the rhythm section; Mel Collins, Troy Donockley and Barry Kerr on sax, pipes and whistles; and Dave Stewart providing string arrangements for the London Session Orchestra.
Vocal contributions are no less impressive: the English Chamber Choir; Synergy Voices; Magenta’s Tina Booth; soprano Shan Cothi and tenor Rhys Meirion; Angharad Brinn and Steve Balsamo filling the lead vocal roles.
So what’s it like?
If you are familiar with Magenta, you will recognise Rob Reed’s handiwork, but Magenta’s classic prog sound has been blended very successfully with symphonic and celtic/folk elements. At times, it feels almost as if Mr Reed has been channelling Mike Oldfield – not a bad thing if, like me, you are an Oldfield fan. There are big, dramatic soundscapes here, worthy of a film score. The vocal and choral work is very fine indeed. There are many layers to explore, and I’m going to enjoy peeling them back over the coming weeks!
There are several tracks up on Youtube that will give you a good feel for the music, but a good place to start is the EPK video: