Barock Project 2024

Album Review: Barock Project – Time Voyager (2024)

Introduction to Barock Project

Barock Project is a progressive rock band that has been enchanting audiences with their unique blend of classical influences and modern rock elements since their formation in 2003. Originating from Italy, the band was founded by Luca Zabbini, a talented keyboardist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. Zabbini’s vision was to create a sound that combined the complexity and elegance of classical music with the energy and innovation of progressive rock.

Early Years and Formation

The band’s early works were heavily influenced by the giants of the progressive rock genre, such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Genesis, and Yes. Barock Project’s debut album, “Misteriose Voci”, was released in 2007 and immediately garnered attention for its sophisticated compositions and rich orchestral arrangements. This album set the tone for their future endeavors, showcasing Zabbini’s classical training and the band’s ability to weave intricate musical tapestries.

Rise to Prominence

Over the years, Barock Project continued to refine their sound, releasing several acclaimed albums. “Rebus” (2009) and “Coffee In Neukölln” (2012) further established their reputation in the progressive rock community. With each release, the band pushed the boundaries of their musical capabilities, incorporating more complex structures and diverse influences.

In 2015, Barock Project released “Skyline”, an album that marked a significant step forward in their artistic development. The album’s blend of progressive rock and symphonic elements received widespread praise, and it helped to solidify their standing as one of the leading acts in the modern prog rock scene.

Live Performances and Global Reach

Barock Project’s reputation for delivering powerful and engaging live performances has played a crucial role in their growing popularity. Their live album “Vivo” (2016), captured the energy and precision of their concerts, offering fans an immersive experience of their stage presence. The band’s tours have taken them across Europe and beyond, allowing them to connect with a global audience.

Recent Works and Evolution

The band’s subsequent albums, “Detachment” (2017) and “Seven Seas” (2019), continued to showcase their evolving sound and thematic depth. These releases were noted for their lyrical introspection and the band’s ability to create expansive, cinematic soundscapes.

Current Lineup

The current lineup of Barock Project includes:

  • Luca Zabbini: Keyboards, vocals, acoustic guitars, and primary composer
  • Alex Mari: Lead vocals and acoustic guitars
  • Eric Ombelli: Drums, percussion, and backing vocals
  • Marco Mazzuoccolo: Electric guitars
  • Francesco Caliendo: Bass guitar

“Time Voyager” and Beyond

In 2024, Barock Project released “Time Voyager”, an album that encapsulates their journey through time both musically and thematically. This ambitious concept album explores different temporal moments and dimensions, blending nostalgic elements with futuristic visions. It marks another milestone in their illustrious career, demonstrating their continued relevance and innovation in the progressive rock genre.

Barock Project’s dedication to their craft and their ability to seamlessly blend classical and modern influences make them a standout act in the progressive rock landscape. For new listeners, their discography offers a rich and rewarding journey through some of the most sophisticated and emotive music in contemporary progressive rock.

For more information and to explore their music, visit the official Barock Project website.

The Review

As someone deeply entrenched in the world of music production, with over 30 years of experience and a keen ear for progressive rock, I find “Time Voyager,” the latest release from Barock Project, to be a landmark achievement. This album, released on June 3, 2024, represents a profound exploration of time through a meticulously crafted sonic landscape.

Overview

“Time Voyager” is Barock Project’s seventh studio album and stands as a testament to their evolution as a band. The concept revolves around temporal journeys, with each track serving as a portal to different moments and dimensions. This ambitious theme is masterfully executed, blending nostalgia with futuristic elements to create a cohesive and immersive listening experience​​.

Track-by-Track Analysis

  1. Carry On (6:35) The album opens with “Carry On,” a track that immediately sets a powerful tone with its dynamic structure and Alex Mari’s compelling vocals. The song features intricate instrumentation, with a blend of electric guitars and keyboards that create a layered, immersive experience.

  2. Summer Set You Free (4:41) This track brings a lighter, more melodic feel to the album. The uplifting lyrics and breezy arrangements provide a refreshing contrast to the opener. The interplay between Luca Zabbini’s keyboards and Marco Mazzuoccolo’s guitar work stands out, creating a harmonious and feel-good atmosphere.

  3. An Ordinary Day’s Odyssey (6:04) “An Ordinary Day’s Odyssey” takes the listener on a complex journey through sophisticated musical arrangements. The track features shifting time signatures and elaborate instrumental passages, showcasing the band’s technical prowess and creativity. The narrative arc of the song mirrors the concept of an epic odyssey through time​.

  4. The Lost Ship Tavern (4:40) This atmospheric track is enriched by the violin performance of guest musician Alessandro Bonetti. The haunting melodies and evocative lyrics transport the listener to a bygone era, fitting seamlessly into the album’s theme of temporal exploration.

  5. Voyager (8:08) Serving as the centerpiece of the album, “Voyager” is an orchestral and cinematic masterpiece. It begins with a Vangelis-like synth introduction, evolving into a pulsating rhythm driven by keys and drums. The song’s narrative unfolds through heroic vocals and dynamic shifts, encapsulating the essence of the album’s concept.

  6. Morning Train (6:08) “Morning Train” features a more reflective and introspective tone. The gentle acoustic guitars and soothing vocals create a serene atmosphere, making it a standout track for its emotional depth and simplicity. The song reflects on the passage of time and the quiet moments of life.

  7. Propaganda (6:33) This track delves into more intense and politically charged themes. The aggressive instrumentation and powerful lyrics address themes of misinformation and societal control. The energetic performance and sharp, incisive lyrics make “Propaganda” a memorable and thought-provoking piece​.

  8. Shibuya 3 A.M. (4:30) Inspired by the vibrant nightlife of Tokyo’s Shibuya district, this track captures a dreamy, nocturnal atmosphere. The blend of synth, piano, and gentle percussion creates an evocative soundscape, reflecting themes of lost love and yearning. Luca Zabbini’s vocals add a personal touch to this introspective piece.

  9. Lonely Girl (5:09) “Lonely Girl” opens with a jaunty key and guitar intro, progressing into a more complex and emotionally charged composition. The song’s structure conveys a sense of frustration and longing, punctuated by Eric Ombelli’s rhythmic drumming and energetic rock passages filled with strings and organ work.

  10. Mediterranean (5:17) This track brings a sunny and optimistic mood, characterized by Francesco Caliendo’s subtle bass lines and bright piano passages. The song evolves into a dazzling display of organ and electric guitar, capturing the essence of the Mediterranean’s warmth and vibrancy.

  11. Kyanite Jewel (5:35) “Kyanite Jewel” features the delicate acoustic guitar work of Eric Ombelli, alongside his vocals. The song’s serene and peaceful quality is reminiscent of the blue metamorphic jewel it is named after, believed to have healing properties. This track promotes a sense of inner peace and tranquility​.

  12. Voyager’s Homecoming (7:36) The album concludes with “Voyager’s Homecoming,” a dramatic and powerful piece that brings the journey full circle. The track features a blend of heavy guitar, keys, and drums, leading to a triumphant and celebratory finale. The synthesizer sweeps and harmonic vocals convey the protagonist’s return, wrapping up the album’s narrative arc beautifully.

My Personal Highlights

Sorry, there are none, because they all are. Each in their own way. Maybe I have slight issues with The Lost Ship Tavern, but that’d be nitpicking. And just maaaaaybe I prefer Voyager’s Homecoming over all others a bit, but not massively. But in all honesty, there’s not a single filler or bummer in there.

Virtuoso Playing

The musicianship on “Time Voyager” is nothing short of virtuosic, as on every Barock Project album. Luca Zabbini’s masterful command of keyboards and synthesizers lays a complex and lush foundation throughout the album. His ability to blend classical influences with modern progressive rock elements is a testament to his skill and artistic vision. Marco Mazzuoccolo’s guitar work is equally impressive, ranging from delicate acoustic passages to powerful and technically highly challenging solos that drive the album’s emotional core. Eric Ombelli’s drumming is on an exceptional technical level, ultra-precise and dynamic, providing the rhythmic backbone that propels each track forward with energy and sophistication. Francesco Caliendo’s bass lines add depth and texture, perfectly complementing the intricate arrangements. Together, these musicians create a sound that is both technically proficient and deeply emotive, showcasing their collective talent and synergy as a band​.

Oh, and I know that the guys are able to showcase the same abilities in a live setting.

Production Quality

Produced by Luca Zabbini and co-produced by Eric Ombelli, the production quality of “Time Voyager” is exceptional. The album’s sound is lush and expansive, with every instrument meticulously placed in the mix. All band members deliver stellar performances, as mentioned earlier (but I can’t mention that often enough).

Final Thoughts

“Time Voyager” is more than just an album; it’s an experience. Barock Project has successfully navigated the complexities of progressive rock while staying true to their unique sound. The album’s thematic depth and musical sophistication make it a standout release (not just) in 2024 and a must-listen for any fan of the genre, and beyond.

For those interested in diving deeper into this musical journey, “Time Voyager” is available on Barock Project’s official website. This album is poised to be a defining moment in Barock Project’s career and a significant contribution to the progressive rock landscape.

FL Studio Desk

FL Studio & Native Instruments Unite – Save 85% On Two Exclusive Bundles

I’m excited to share some big news in the world of music production, and yes, it’s a partnership that’s worth every note. Before we dive in, let me be transparent: this article is written in collaboration with FL Studio and Native Instruments, and I’m thankful for continuously being considered as a trusted voice for recommendation by companies like that. I’m not getting paid nor do I have any advantages from this. It’s all about giving you the inside scoop on opportunities that can genuinely elevate your music production journey.

A Harmonious Collaboration

In the realm of digital audio workstations (DAW), FL Studio has been a beacon of innovation and user-friendliness for 25 years. Now, they’re joining forces with Native Instruments, renowned for their impactful music production tools. This collaboration is not just news; it’s a game-changer for producers, composers, and music enthusiasts alike.

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Introducing the Bundles

KOMPLETE Collection for FL Studio

Imagine having a toolkit at your disposal that breathes new life into your music. The KOMPLETE Collection for FL Studio is exactly that. It’s a curated set of 12 instruments and effects, including the legendary Massive X, designed to inject inspiration into your tracks. Whether it’s mixing, mastering, or creating unforgettable melodies, this bundle is your new best friend.

KOMPLETE Signature Series for FL Studio

For those who crave the ultimate set of tools, the KOMPLETE Signature Series is like hitting the jackpot. With 15 essential instruments and effects, this bundle is a powerhouse. It’s equipped to guide you through every stage of production, from the initial note to the final master. Including industry staples like Ozone 11 Standard and Guitar Rig 7 Pro, it’s the premium choice for anyone serious about their sound.

Why Act Now?

These exclusive bundles are available only until March 19, 2024. Think of them as your limited-time pass to a world of enhanced creativity and polished production. Missing out isn’t an option for the forward-thinking producer.

See the Magic in Action

Don’t just take my word for it. FL Studio Power User Larry Ohh has already embraced these tools, creating music that stands out. Witness his process and the power of these plugins through his engaging video showcase.

A Leap Forward for Your Studio

This partnership between FL Studio and Native Instruments is more than just a business move; it’s a commitment to empowering musicians and producers. With these bundles, your music has the potential to reach new heights of emotion, clarity, and impact.

As a partner in this initiative, I’m here to say: these tools are a worthy investment in your musical journey. They’re not just plugins; they’re gateways to the next level of your creative expression.

Here’s to making music that resonates, innovates, and inspires.

The Story of Hans

When I first met Hans in 1978, I didn’t immediately grasp the depth of the scars history had etched into his life. He was a man of few words, whose eyes, however, spoke volumes—if one was willing to read them. Today, as the echoes of past mistakes threaten to be drowned out by the currents of right-wing ideology in Germany and Europe, I feel compelled to share his story. It’s not just the tale of a broken man but a warning and a plea to our collective memory.

Hans was born in 1926 in Mülheim an der Ruhr, in the industrial heartland of Germany, into a world still reeling from the scars of the First World War. The political and economic instability of the Weimar Republic shaped his early years, a time of turmoil that eventually laid the groundwork for one of the darkest chapters in human history. At 17, as the world plunged once more into the abyss of war, Hans was conscripted into the Wehrmacht and sent to the Eastern Front. There, in the icy grip of the Russian winter, he experienced the brutality of war in its most raw form.

The injury Hans sustained from a grenade, which tore away a large part of his lung, was just the beginning of a long ordeal. Captured by Soviet forces, Hans was transported to a prisoner of war camp in Siberia, a place synonymous with desolation and harshness. Despite his severe injury and the brutal environment, Hans clung to life with a tenacity that was both remarkable and heartrending. The cold, the hunger, the back-breaking labor—all left marks that never fully healed.

The war eventually ended, but Hans’ battle did not. The journey back to Germany was a slow and torturous process, fraught with bureaucratic hurdles and the physical challenges of his still-healing wounds. Upon his return, the joy of reunion with his family was overshadowed by the realization that he, and the nation itself, would never be the same.

His own father didn’t recognize him, and his death certificate already hung framed in the living room—a symbolic image of what the war had made of him: a man the world had already given up on.

The road to physical recovery was long and fraught with complications. The loss of a huge part of his lung meant that Hans would forever be short of breath, a constant reminder of the war’s impact on his body. Yet, it was the invisible wounds that proved harder to heal.

Hans eventually found work at AEG Kanis in Essen, where he worked as an auditor. Yet, the shadows of the past never left him. Alcohol became his constant companion, an attempt to numb the inner demons that haunted him at night. When AEG Kanis closed and Hans went into early retirement, he lost an important anchor in his life. The years that followed were marked by a slow but steady decline that culminated in his death from cirrhosis of the liver. The memories of the horrors he had witnessed and endured haunted him, leading him to seek solace in alcohol, a refuge that would eventually claim his life.

I accompanied Hans in his final years and witnessed how an incredibly strong man was slowly destroyed by his memories and alcohol. I heard only a few of his war stories, but each one deeply moved me and haunts me to this day. They were windows into a soul too deeply wounded to ever fully heal.

The journey of Hans from the moment of his grievous injury on the Eastern Front to his eventual return home is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit amidst the darkest of times. After the grenade tore away one of his lungs, Hans found himself not just battling for his life on the frozen battlefields but also facing a long and arduous path to recovery that would test his limits in every conceivable way.

I aim not only to tell Hans’ story but also to shine a light on the shadows that, decades later, threaten to spread across Europe once again. The resurgence of right-wing ideology, the increasing polarization of our society, and the allure of simple answers to complex questions are alarming parallels to the conditions that once paved the way for the rise of National Socialism.

We must not allow history to repeat itself. We need to keep the memories of people like Hans alive, not just as a monument to the horrors of war but as a warning against the dangers that arise when hatred and intolerance are allowed to flourish unchecked. I wish we could stand together for a world where the dignity of every individual is respected and where the horrors of the past are not forgotten but used as lessons for the future.

Hans’ story is one among many, but it stands as a testament to the countless fates destroyed by war and hatred. By telling it, we not only remember the suffering that was but also commit ourselves to working for a better, more peaceful future.

Hans was my stepfather.

He entered our lives when I was 5 years old. He was a complex character, yet absolutely reliable and a role model to me in many ways. Today, I realize what an incredible and decent person he was. He was only 66 years old when he passed away. He lived much longer than any doctor had predicted for him, and aside from the alcohol, he truly made the most out of this life. And he inspired a boy whose biological father was mostly absent.

I miss him dearly.