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miércoles, 25 de noviembre de 2015

From.uz - Seventh Story (2010)


Mientras vamos preparando nuestras maletas para irnos a Uzbekistán (chascarrillo para un comentario de "El Redentor", pero no, no nos pensamos ir y la vamos a bancar en el lugar que nos tocó estar, más allá de que en Uzbekistán se haga música maravillosa como ésta). Amigos cabezones, a disfrutar de una de las mejores cosas que nos dió la vida: la mejor música!

Artista: From.uz
Álbum: Seventh Story
Año: 2010
Género: Rock progresivo
Duración: 78:08
Nacionalidad: Uzbekistán


Lista de Temas:
1. Perfect Place
2. Parallels
3. Desert Circle
4. Bell Of The Earth
5. Taken
6. Influence Of Time
7. Perfect Love

Alineación:
- Vitaly Popeloff / guitars
- Albert Khalmurzaev / keyboards, acoustic guitar & vibraphone
- Igor Elizov / grand piano & keyboards
- Ali Izmailov / drums, percussion & tubular bells
- Sur'at Kasimov / bass




Como nos gusta dar los gustos a los cabezones cuando piden algo realmente bueno. Aquí está nuevamente From.uz y les comento que ésto no termina aquí...
Aquí, el tercer disco de la banda, con algunos cambios con respecto a su alineación, un viaje musical en siete capítulos. Esta vez, y a diferencia con sus primeros discos, aquí hay temas cantados.


Para varios, no es secreto que esta banda proveniente de Uzbequistán me cautivó desde su álbum debut, el "Audio Diplomacy" de 2007. Y es que su propuesta progresiva fusión se enarbolaba de grandeza y furia, característica instrumental que trasladaron al segundo esfuerzo, el álbum "Overlook".
Muchos esperábamos con ansias su tercer oferta, misma que llegó llamándose "Seventh Story" «Séptimo Episodio/Séptima Historia». ¡Que sorpresa más agradable!, y qué arriesgados los muchachos… Ali IZMAILOV (en sustitución de Vladimir BADIROV) con batería y campanas tubulares; los teclados, guitarra acústica y vibráfono de Albert KHALMURZAEV; el bajo de Sur'at KASIMOV (sustituyendo a Andrew MARA-NOVIK); el piano de cola como nueva adición de Igor ELIZOV y las guitarras de Vitaly POPELOFF, conservan mucho del fusión propuesto en sus discos antecesores, pero ahora abordan como si siempre lo hubiesen hecho una orientación sinfónica sin precedentes. Aires escandinavos y mistisismos PINK FLOYD se contemplan añadiendo además tiempos vocales, cantando donde no lo habían hecho y otorgando así matices diferentes mas conservando sus esencias primigenias. Los cantos aparecen poco pero cuando lo hacen uno sonríe, pues son cantos entonados y, aunque escasos, más que adecuados a los timbres instrumentales. Estas partes dan cierto aire PT a su propuesta, recordando mucho al PAIN OF SALVATION de "Be" y 'Vocari dei' con 'Perfect love'. Por supuesto, éstas son sólo algunas referencias para darte una idea de a qué suena FROMUZ con su álbum 3, pues como ellos mismos dicen en su sitio 3W, lo mejor será que tú mismo te formes una opinión (1). Convirtiéndose —luego de 3 escuchas— en uno de mis 100 álbumes favoritos,
Alfredo Tapia-Carreto

Se conjugan dos cosas: yo estoy con poco tiempo y es al pedo escribir sobre esta banda, así que copio algunos comentarios y ya. Ya saben de qué se trata.

Desde UZbekistan se nos presentan este quinteto llamado From.UZ formado en la ciudad de Tashkent en el 2004, con su segundo álbum titualdo Seventh Story". Practican un progresivo ecléctico que va desde el prog enrevesado de unos King Crimson de los ochenta, al jazz fusión de Djam karett, las atmósferas de Pink Floyd, algún guiño a Mike Oldfield, el Jazz Rock de Weather Report y Mahavishnu Orchestra y el metal-técnico-progresivo de Liquid Tension Experiment.
El album comienza con "Perfect Place" donde se desarrolla ese aspecto Crimsoniano ochentero, mezclado con algun fragmento de tonos semiacusticos a Pink Floyd... pero antes hay efectos de sonidos de murmullos de personas y ruidos cotidianos, que irán sucediéndose a lo largo de todos los temas.
Parallels es el mas largo con sus 20 minutos de duración, un tema que comienza misterioso, para adentrarse de nuevo en el mundo King Crimson, especialmente por los punteos repetitivos de fondo de la guitarra. En la instrumental "Desert Circle" se deja de un lado el sonido caótico y repetitivo de los dos primeros temas, para escuchar atmósferas que pueden recordad a Pink Floyd y en especial la guitarra a Mike Oldfield.
En "Bell Of The Earth" Ali Izmailov toca las campanas tubulares en un tema íntimo y romántico, preámbulo perfecto para dar paso a otro tema largo como es "Taken", donde se da vía suelta a la locura, el metal-técnico-progresivo a lo Liquid Tension Experiment se mezcla con el progresivo sinfonico mas tradicional. En "Influence Of Time" se entremezcla esta energia técnica con momentos de Jazz, para acabar con "Perfect Love" donde vuelve las reminiscencias Pink Floydianas.
Si os va el Hard prog-rock fusion este disco de FROM.UZ os encantara.
Atención a su trabajo "Overlook" editado en el 2008 que no tiene tampoco nada de desperdicio y con bastantes cambios en la formación.
Puntuación: 6,5/10
Juan Mellado

Vamos con algunos comentarios en inglés, por si hace falta.

A strongly recommended band if you trust me.
First of all, this is not an easy album. It's lengthy and requires some attention, too, but please don't be misleaded by the psychedelic opener. "Perfect Place" starts with screams and noises like a Ron Geesin's track then after a couple of minutes it becomes an acoustic ballad reminding to Porcupine Tree.
Well, this is not what you'll find in the rest of the album. A 20 minutes piece "Parallels" starts over the fading notes of the previous track with a compulsive drumming with an unusual signature backed by a dark keyboard sound, then guitar and bass add a touch of metal, maybe. A very eclectic and maybe experimental opening. I think to King Crimson for the mood. Anyway this is an epic with several different moments. It turns into symphonic, it has more rock moments and has also a lot of jazz inside. Not easy to be classified in a single genre. The section around minute 11 which is followed by vocals is dark and slow but powerful at the same time, then it returns to where it started. it's a great track good for a large range of tastes.
The following track is opened by a dull dialog with keyboards in the background. Very floydian in the sense of DSOTM or The Wall, but it's just how it starts. After a bit more than one minute, when the voices quit and the guitar starts an impressive solo on a minor organ chord, this is not Shine On You Crazy Diamond. The guitar is powerful and bluesy at the same time. "Desert Circle" is another long track of about 14 minutes in length and respect to the previous epic is not dark. It's symphonic instead. The slow regular tempo makes it slide pleasantly while the guitar is sustained by some electronics. At minute 6 it drastically changes to acoustic blues-rock, so that when bass and drums enter the scene turning into jazz is quite easy. Good jazz/fusion very well played. As I have written in my previous reviews of this band, fusion is the genre in which they are excellent. In less than 10 minutes we moved from Pink Floyd to Tommy Flanagan...and it's not finished here. There's room for a drum's solo with spacey noises which lead to a Spanish guitar. Then back to the main theme. Then a light metal part with a guitar reminding to Eddie Van Halen with dark interludes on an easy melody. The good is that the passages between sections are well arranged, but giving an identity to this track is not an easy job.
A short track now. "Bell of the Earth" is opened by bells which play a very melodic "untuned" tune with piano and keyboards. Vangelis would surely like this track.
Another long track: the over 18 minutes of "Taken" open in a restaurant, probably. A man and a woman speak and laugh over a piano melody. When they finally quit speaking what remains is a good piano solo. Two minutes of neo-prog interrupted by a deadly bell. What comes after is nothing but progressive rock. Uptime, heavy, fast, with unusual progression of chords but without losing harmony. As it happens in the best jazz let's say. This is probably the reason why this band is struggling in finding fans. They maybe put too much in their composition. This is not a band thing usually, and is not bad also here, but you have to be open-minded enough to appreciate them all. The symphonic section around minutes 7 to 9 is excellent, then the piano is left alone again to reprise what is now clearly the main theme. The bells are now "harmonics", no longer deadly. When the piano stopos, surprise! An heavy metal section that reminds me the Tuatha De Danann in their less celtic moments with the addition of a Wakemanish keyboard. and we are only at 2/3 of the total time... We can also hear a guitar playing in 32th for a while and alternate with keyboard. It rocks! Melodic singing at minute 14. You can spot a good bass work behind. A mention to the distorted voice. It's the first time that I hear a voice distortion outside of Senmuth's discography, but I really prefer the use of it made by FromUz. In the coda there's room for another uptime moment.
An average long track (11 minutes) starts with water sounds and morse signals, but what comes later is pure jazz. Great fusion here. The kind of things that caused FromUz to be put into the JR/F section on PA. My favourite track in this album.Fusion can't be described. Just listen and enjoy. Of source also this track has changes, but it never goes too far from fusion, even in the most symphonic moments in the central part of the song when the guitar cries long notes.
Spacey sounds for the closer. "Perfect love" takes a while to start, then the melody that's the main theme of the whole album is represented in a "looped" form, like it was played backwards on a tape. I don't hear satanic messages, even if some strange voices in the background could make some legends start. They seem to be the same voices of the restaurant...then a phone like often in Pink Floyd or in Marillion's Chelsea Monday. The album closes as it started, as there was a concept behind.I didn't catch it. I didn't take too much care to the lyrics, but this coming and going of spare parts gives me the impression of a concept album. A gong and it's done.
A complex but highly enjoyable album which contains too much elements, maybe and this makes it not easy to be followed, but let it grow inside you and you won't be unsatisfied.
Luca

The Seventh Story is the Uzbekian band From.uz' third full album release, with the previous albums Overlook (2008) and Audio Diplomacy (2007) having also been reviewed on DPRP.

Some rather big changes have occurred with From.uz, not only the name has slightly changed also the line up of the band has had some significant changes, with only two of the members playing on the last release Overlook still present, the rest of the crew is new. Therefore an introduction to the new From.Uz is needed. Vitaly Popeloff (guitars, vocals) and Albert Khalmurzaev (keyboards) are the two remaining band members, and they also seem to be the core of the band as they write and arrange most of the music. To complete the band we now have Surát Kasimov (bass), Ali Izmailov (percussion) and Igor Elizov (keyboards and grand piano).

Looking at the artwork presented with this disk it becomes apparent that more musicians have had a part in the making of Seventh Story, however I have found no additional credits for these musicians.

On their previous albums From.uz have withheld themselves from adding vocals to their songs, Seventh Story again sees a change as there are vocals present. Although Vitaly tries real hard to pronounce the words right and takes his best shot at English, he fails at this, sounding like Mariusz Duda from Riverside. It is clearly not his strong point.
Seventh Story again is a sort of conceptual work. A musical journey in seven chapters if you will, starting our stroll is a short story about the Perfect Place, and here we hear Vitaly Popeloff sings for the first time. The lyrics for this song are just English words put into a sort of poem, but it really doesn’t make much sense. All the lyrics can be read in the accompanying booklet. Perfect Place sounds as if you are listening to a Riverside album, Vitaly sings like Mariusz, no offense, and even makes the guitar work sound like a track Riverside could have done.
Luckily it does not take too long for the second track to start, Parallels. The band start off with a melody line played on guitar which by each renewal will be a tad bit longer. Mike Oldfield has more than once used a similar way to build up his songs. Parallels is the first of the three epic length songs. The song itself built up in a classic progressive rock way, stays instrumental until two thirds of the song. After about two minutes Albert and Igor lay down a layer of keys over which Vitaly plays his melody lines, the instrumental part has several signature changes, like Fromuz also uses on Overlook. After two thirds of the song Vitaly starts singing, here the lyrics are short so the singing is not too much, for the last chapter of the song I hear the track starting over. This is just a bit overdone to my liking. It would have been better to stop almost immediately after the vocals.
Desert Circle, the second epic length track, begins with a story told by a woman. Then the song continues with a superb guitar play by Vitaly, reminding me of work by Roine Stolt, like Roine Vitaly uses his own special way of playing, half way into the track the signature and music style change into jazz. Various other instruments can be heard like a xylophone. Further into this masterpiece of musical extravaganza Vitaly and crew treat us with some almost Flamenco guitar playing like Flaco Jiminez or Al Di Meola can play. The tour de force ends with a progressive symphonic rocking band. It now is time to have a real break.
And yes we are being served. Bell Of The Earth actually is a relaxing piece of music. Tranquillity steps in and we hear once again the xylophone, tubular bells, grand piano, woodwind etc. A well played song, absolutely beautiful in its simplicity.
The fifth track starts where the fourth ended, a beautiful melody on the grand piano, of course we are also treated to beautiful melodies and guitar playing as well as again chimes and tubular bells. Taken shows some similarities with epic Riverside. Taken tries to overtake us by surprise the music just keeps rocking and rocking.
With two keyboard players one might assume that keyboards would be the foremost important sound and instrument, yet the guitar is more present than the keyboards. All the music is guitar oriented.
Under the Influence Of Time, the sixth of seven steps, the journey is nearly done. This track especially is my personal favourite on this album, completely instrumental, and rich in variations as well as instrumentation. We are presented with an excellent progressive rock track with elements of jazz, blues, folk, in fact every stream seems to be present in this colourful song.
Which brings us to the final chapter the Perfect Love. We hear the car coming to a halt, an old fashioned dial phone, and the male lead declaring his eternal love to his beloved over the phone, followed by the same poem sung accompanied by a beautiful melody. A solid ending to a solid album.
Gert Hulshof

The size does not always matter.
This is the second album from this Uzbek supergroup. A band listed as Eclectic prog because there is no label that really fits the music Fromuz has come up with here.
Seventh Story is an album. An album that reminds me about some of my old "this is what I did last year" photo albums with all kinds of photos bungled together in a disorder with only "last year" as the only concept that binds the photo album together. Just like Seventh Story in fact.
What we find on Seventh Story is prog metal, electronica, folk rock, neo prog, fusion, symphonic prog, eclectic and rock. I cannot really find a concept here. Not to mention; any cohesion or even a tube of glue.
Although this album is extreme varied in music styles and is far too varied and long in my opinion, there are some great stuff here. I like Fromuz best when they goes on the fusion/jazz warpath. The neo prog stuff is a bit odd. The prog metal stuff is generic. The folk rock stuff is also great. The rest is generic too.
In short, and far shorter than this album, this album is excellent value for money when it comes to variations of music and it's lenght. They could had named this album for The Fromuz Omnibus for that matter. The overall quality is good though. Check out this album if you are into everything big and varied.
3/5 stars
toroddfuglesteg

Ambitious album without precise accomplishment
It's the second studio album by uzbekistani jazz rock fusion band Fromuz - Seventh Story. With Seventh Story begins a new period for the band and I would call it transition. In my opinion it's a negative transition. The album contains vocals (made by guitarist Vitaly Popeloff) and much more jazz moments, than Overlook. It contains a lot of ambitious, dynamic and intensive parts, but despite vocals, I think it's a step backward for the band, because of the presence of monotonous moments and themes as awell as unpleasing vocals (they looks like the vocals by other slav - Mariusz Duda from Riverside), I would rate this album less than Overlook. Moreover, the album is not as catchy and balanced as the debut! Seventh Story is a transition for the band not only in terms of sound, but in terms of line-up changes. There are a few line-up changes, which are crucial for the album. Probably the musicians haven't good teamwork together, yet! And yet nice attempt for the band, deserving attention! 3+ stars!
Atanas Dimov

A long and elaborate conceptual piece is what we're served by Uzbekistan's Fromuz on this 2010 effort. And disregarding the opening and ending pieces, which first and foremost are conceptual theatrical pieces that I personally think falls somewhat flat, it is a fine effort for those who enjoy mostly instrumental progressive rock of epic length and with many stylistic variations.
The first of the epics, Parallels, kicks of with a theme that should sound familiar to anyone who have come across Canadian band Rush and their instrumental tour de force YYZ, and while the track twists and turns in several other directions in it's 20 minute span this theme is the constant factor there, and is also repeated later on this disc. The following Desert Circle is initially a dreamier affair, soon entering jazz and fusion territories followed by a brief excursion into hair metal territories before ending as it started.
The next three efforts - the brief atmospheric piece Bell of the Earth and the following epics Taken and Influence Of Time - are truly masterful efforts. All of them different, and both epics going from one stylistic expression and mood to the next with splendid ease. Intriguing atmospheres and fascinating themes of a darker, almost prog metal tinged variety and lighter, jazz-tinged smooth passages are perfectly intertwined here alongside symphonic sequences and some select passages featuring quirkier, more challenging efforts as well.
Seventh Story comes across as the most accomplished production by this band so far, but the conceptual theatrical pieces used to tie it all together is a bit of a let-down in my opinion. Without them, the first and last track in particular, this disc would have been pretty close to being regarded as a masterpiece in my personal opinion.
Olav Martin Bjørnsen

It's finally time to sit down and write this review. Whee.
First thing, I have to note that I really love Overlook, their previous album, and find that to be one of the stronger all-instrumental albums this side of fusion. And while Seventh Story carries many great traits from that release, it also carries over (and amplifies on occasion) some of the trouble that Overlook had. Nevertheless, there is a lot of good music here, and some new twists to the Fromuz sound that really boost the quality of this release. There is quite a strain of Liquid Tension Experiment throughout this album, but for the most part Fromuz have developed their own sound.
The first and final tracks are quiet balladry of sorts, though much of both songs are ambiance and using spoken word to create a distorted, bizarre entrance into the music. And it works well the first time, though by the last song, after a full-and-then-some-length album, I find myself wishing they'd just get to the musical conclusion rather than build ambiance after an hour and a quarter. Nevertheless, the most interesting part of these two tracks are the addition of vocals. They appear in other tracks as well, and I find them very pleasant, refreshing even. The second track, Parallels, is long and meandering. There are many wonderful moments appearing in this piece, but it does not stand very well as a single song. At points the music is subtle, pushing forward calmly yet full of layers. When it is not full of layers, that is usually when the tempo is kicking in and the LTE-brand metal riffs are in full force.
Several minutes of heavily-accented English dialog and poetry lead us to Desert Circle. Desert Circle is at times the highlight of this new release and at others a perfect example of its issues. There are some really well-executed ideas in here. Some great performance. And some absolutely terrible transitions, which were a problem with Fromuz before and are clearly not fixed yet. Every song on this album (except Bell of the Earth) struggles with this somewhat, but Desert Circle is downright crippled by it several times. Despite this, however, this not a failed track at all. It doesn't make much of a unified song, but the brief section in the middle heavy on acoustic guitars and percussion almost makes up for all of that. And next, Bell of the Earth is a gentle orchestral reprise of the recurring theme off Overlook. There is a strong resemblance to Watermelon in Easter Hay or some other Zappa song, though I can't place which. Orchestral, beautiful, reminiscent of Zappa? That's a good combo in my book.
Taken, like Desert Circle, begins with dialog, though this time it's much more natural and interesting (though, I would have to say, this album would be far, far stronger if the snippets of conversation were in Uzbek or Russian rather than English). Unlike Desert Circle and Parallels, Taken is perhaps the only lengthy piece on the album that holds together as a unified piece. The guitar work is fantastic, and the mix on the creative heavy riffing in the center of the track is once more Fromuz gold. And over this high energy riffing and keyboard sounds, Fromuz put forth a fantastic array of trading solos, perhaps their best and most exciting solo moments to date. If you are finding yourself bored by this point, make sure to give Taken a full try, as it is the strongest track here (again, possibly excluding Bell of the Earth, which is a much more restrained piece). Influence of Time is quite similar to Parallels, though an interesting piece of prog metal. The early stages of the song feature a lot of funky horns and some very prominent and promising bass work. Though perhaps a little patchwork, it is nevertheless a solid final full song for Seventh Story.
All in all, a solid effort, but with a few downfalls. Get rid of the English, tie the songs together a bit better rather than having each of them be quite as meandering and nonunified, and perhaps include more vocals, and Fromuz could very well produce another five star album. This comes recommended, but I would propose you start with Overlook first.
Spence

Actually, I'm not sure why people hate this album. Because this band is some kind of miracle, pure Prog from barren Uzbekistan lands. However, this is not Jazz anymore, it's more like Symphonic Prog. Long album, very long with some parts that I call "static radio chatter" (studio talking, backstage fun) which is not interesting at all, even it gives this album unexpected twist.
For example this little (actually huge, 20 minutes toddler) Parallels is long, continuing, full of soloing and impression giving track has. This distinct Fromuz style (you will know it when melody suddenly is interrupted and this "change" comes).
This track is the main pinnacle, the best track if you wish. The rest is quite debatable, but certain atmospheric elements are there. Some jazzy jaming in Desert Circle
I wish I would be recommended to listen this album earlier, I was quite awed by a lot of flak this album got, but it turned out to be good shot for me.
If this record is something, it is uneven, unbalanced, full of ideas, some of them came through and some remained stuck on half-way there. But this album is interesting for me and most of material here is enjoyable.
4(+), from me. Opinion will vary here a lot I suppose.
Marty McFly

From.uz's 2010 release, Seventh Story, is a long and difficult but ultimately rewarding album. It is nearly all instrumental, with the electic guitar clearly being the lead instrument. There are very few vocals (the most notable of which take place in the tracks "Parallels" and "Taken"). It also features many non-musical segments that seem like overheard snippets of conversation, all centering around poetry written by the characters (including, at the beginning of Desert Circle and in Perfect Love, a guy who is very difficult for me to understand). The album is seven tracks but they all transition into each other, often using the aforementioned conversation snippets as a tool to do so.
As mentioned, this album is long, and three of the songs surpass the fifteen minute mark. Of these tracks, I find Parallels to be the strongest - partially because of the vocals (they are sung with real convincing emotion that really appeals to me). Taken has a completely different approach to its vocals, using computer-distorted voices in a way that reminds me of a band that I'm sure Fromuz (and you, the reader) have not likely heard of - Swimfail, a band that was the brainchild of a friend of mine.
The strength of this album, to me, is that it never really gets boring. Although it is guitar lead for the most part, it has a lot of varying guitar sounds - including a spanish-sounding bit near the end of Desert Circle with some enthusiastic "Hey Hey!"s interspersed for good measure. Overall, this album has enough variety and interesting moments to keep one happy over many listens, and not bore them before it ends.
Stephen

Disfruten...



3 comentarios:

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  2. Muchas gracias! Hermosa página esta

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  3. Muchas gracias, siempre con cosas nuevas y maravillosas.

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