Abacus — Destiny
(Musea FGBG 4856.AR, 2010, CD)
by Alan K. Lipton, Published 2011-06-01
With a self-important air and a melodic core harking back to 70s progressive kitsch (think voice and piano themes in certain Styx, Foreigner or Toto songs), Abacus’ sixth studio album isn’t for everyone. But you have to respect a band that’s broken up and reformed at least three times since 1971. These six new songs, ranging from seven to 13 minutes each, are careful studio constructions in which keyboardist / singer Jürgen Wimpelberg pays loving homage to Keith Emerson’s piano runs and synth tones, and to Tony Banks’ majestic cadences. When Wimpelberg plays the sensitive singer-songwriter, a track like “One More Embrace” gives a star-with-backup vibe, while other songs feel like full-band efforts, such as the purposeful march of the album opener “When I Depart.” That and the title track both feature a tasty interplay of busy organ against quiet classical guitar by Mario Schramme and/or Werner Schimaniak — the booklet doesn’t specify. It’s also unclear where vocalist Stefan Mageney fits in, although the massed heroic choruses are clearly the work of multiple singers. The rest of the band includes bassist Reinhard Schulte, drummer Rainer Niklowitz, and cellist Manfred Dregener. The (possibly) sampled American gospel preacher isn’t credited, although he’s critical to the title song, elevating a tale of lost love into something more spiritual. The booklet artwork by Holger Schoemann includes video game hyperrealism and battle-babe fetishism, adding a strange spin to the Christian-lite lyrical themes. But in Abacus’ epic good-versus-evil fight, it’s probably all on the angels’ side.
Related artist(s): Abacus
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.