With a stellar line-up comprised of Anders Buaas (The Witches of Finnmark), Tony Franklin, Richard Garcia, Christian M. Berg, and Marco Minnemann, what we have is an instrumental album that is well-conceived, expertly produced, and sometimes wistful.
This epic opus consists of two 20-minute pieces that highlight the atmospheres and moods of the city of Edinburgh, and they do so in a most captivating manner. From melancholic and dream-like soundscapes to galloping prog-rock workouts, the record is a varied one where the emphasis is on memorable melodies and weaving those together with great and evocative effect. I really dig the variety that is on display here with those heavy outbursts and guitar solos serving as superb contrast to the more tender and mellow sections.
There is light and darkness here in equal measure, which is only fitting given that the subject matter revolves around the story and impression of a city, and while the folk-inspired ideas that sneak into the musical frame are not so much pastoral-sounding as they are merry and uplifting, the sharp riffs that also appear throughout add a bit of grit and rawness to the proceedings. Another highlight of this immersive experience is the bass lines and how exquisitely crafted and melodic they are – truly remarkable! For some reason, I could easily see this release appeal to fans of certain works by Mike Oldfield and Rick Wakeman but make of that what you will. The truth is that prog rock, krautrock, Celtic influences, folk music, and symphonic rock are merely some of the ingredients that you will stumble on here, but these technically accomplished musicians pull it all off in style and nothing appears to be out of place.
The many flavours and shades of the music do conjure up a vivid vision of Edinburgh, and the different parts and segments that constitute this suite possess a good flow, which means that things evolve and move forward in an organic manner here. There is a lot to like about this contemplative record and its subtle shifts, and your patience will be rewarded so just make sure you give it the proper amount of time to sink in.
The Edinburgh Suite will be released by Apollon Records on September 9, 2022.