Magenta — Metamorphosis
(Laser's Edge LE1052, 2008, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2008-10-01
Magenta have all the right things going for them: talented musicians, good label support, a loyal fan base, and an intelligent approach to surviving as a prog band. They’ve carved out a niche for themselves with a modern symphonic sound that stays abreast of current trends without aping successful groups of the present or past. I was curious to see what road they would take following 2006’s Home / New York Suite releases. Would mastermind Rob Reed pursue the song-oriented narrative approach seen on Home, or would he return to the traditional prog rock of New York Suite? Or would he detour toward the kind of ultra-modern art-pop seen on his side project Chimpan-A? The answer is all of the above, though if anything Metamorphosis reminds me most of Home, even if two of the songs clock in at over 20 minutes. The lyrics, penned again by Reed’s brother Steve, reach for a more gritty realism than the band’s early fantastical opuses, and singer Christina Booth sounds better than ever (within her relatively narrow stylistic range.) Reed’s keyboards and guitars are the foundational glue that binds everything together with his synths and Chris Fry’s guitar work lighting an occasional fire under the material. I won’t say that Metamorphosis is a great album – there’s too little in the writing department that really sticks for me -- though I know there’s a healthy constituency for Magenta’s brand of prog and I have a feeling they’ll be pleased.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more