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.

Danny Tenaglia Brooklyn Cover

An Homage to Danny Tenaglia

In the rich tapestry of electronic music, Danny Tenaglia stands as an artist whose works transcend genre boundaries and touch the heartstrings of listeners. His latest magnum opus, “GU45: Brooklyn,” is more than just a DJ mix album; it is the essence of a life dedicated to curating soundscapes that defy norms and embody the soul of a city. It’s a journey through House music, and it bangs like only Danny Tenaglia can make it bang.

Brooklyn: A Love Letter

“Brooklyn” is an homage to Williamsburg, Brooklyn – the cradle of Danny’s musical odyssey. Comprising 42 tracks, the album is a rich collection of stories narrated through the beats of artists like Guy J, Moderat, Ralph Falcon, and Monika Kruse. It serves as the perfect finale to the Global Underground series, which already features milestones in Tenaglia’s career like “Athens” and “London” which I as a young DJ grew up with.

In my opinion, “Brooklyn” is the best of Danny. Ever.

Tenaglia’s career is a sequence of moments that have shaped not just a genre but the entire club culture. From his beginnings at Paradise Garage to his influential stint at Cheers in Miami, he has always created soundscapes that cross boundaries.

His remix of “Surrender Yourself” in 1992 was more than just a hit; it was an expression of his musical ethos. “Mix This Pussy” (1994) and his residency at Twilo (1996) further solidified his status as a visionary.

When I met Danny about 15 years ago at the Winter Music Conference in Miami, I encountered a person whose warmth and attentiveness were as profound as his music. He is just the the nicest and sweetest guy, and an artist whose heartbeat syncs with the rhythm of the people on the dance floor.

Personal Battle

Lately, Danny’s life took a turn when he disclosed his battle with colon cancer. This revelation was not a note of defeat but a testament to his indomitable spirit. His message was clear – life, like music, is a journey through ups and downs, and one must approach it with the same passion one brings to the turntables.

As Danny continues his treatment, with the future’s uncertainty looming, his dedication to his craft remains unshaken. He stands as a beacon of strength, reminding us of the power of music to heal, unite, and inspire.

A Symphony of Resilience

Danny Tenaglia’s story is more than the sum of his albums or the clubs he has transformed. It is a narrative of resilience, a reminder of the enduring power of art in the face of life’s unpredictability. “Brooklyn” is more than just an album; it’s a chapter in the life of a man whose music will continue to echo through the annals of time.

As I listen to the driving and soul-stirring rhythms of “Brooklyn,” I’m not just hearing music; I’m experiencing the heartbeat of a true legend.

I wish Danny a full recovery and only the best, from the bottom of my heart.

Aaron Spears: A Rhythm That Never Ends

The music world has been left with a void that’s hard to fill with the sudden passing of Aaron Spears. Although I never had the chance to witness his artistry live, his music and influence have deeply resonated with me.

Aaron was not just a drummer; he was a musical savant whose talents transcended what one might expect from a “typical” musician. He had an uncanny ability to craft complex rhythms and melodies that were not just technically demanding but emotionally profound. His drumming was a language of its own, speaking to the hearts of those who listened.

Interestingly, while the artists he drummed for – names like Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Usher, and Chris Brown – never quite aligned with my musical taste, Aaron’s drumming itself was a different story. His skill and artistry were so compelling that they transcended genre and personal preference, serving as an inspiration to me and countless others.

Aaron was a pioneer, always pushing the boundaries of what music could be. He was a master at blending different musical styles, creating something entirely new and groundbreaking. His work in various genres, from pop to jazz to gospel, showcased his versatility and depth as an artist.

But Aaron was more than just an extraordinary musician. He was a man filled with warmth and humor, inspiring those around him. He had the rare gift of creating an atmosphere of community and cohesion in a room full of strangers. His humility and genuine love for his craft made him not just respected, but deeply loved by his peers and fans alike.

The news of his sudden death at the age of just 47 has shaken us all.

My heart is with his family, his friends, and everyone fortunate enough to have known him or been touched by his music. His legacy will continue to live on in the hearts of those he touched and in the music he leaves behind.

Aaron will be sorely missed, but his music and influence will eternally reverberate.