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Stolt Morse Portnoy Trewavas

4.5 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 21, 2000
$22.89 $9.86

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Media Type: CD
Title: SMPTE
Street Release Date: 03/21/2000

Transatlantic, justly positing itself as an art-rock supergroup for the 21st century, comprises the guitarist Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), the singer and multi-instrumentalist Neal Morse (Spock's Beard), the drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), and the bassist Pete Trewavas (Marillion). The band's debut album, SMPTe, is named for its musicians and plays on the acronym for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, whose ubiquitous synchronization code facilitated this project-studio recording. The album offers five lengthy pieces of derivative but highly accessible rock. The players wield their progressive-rock chops with dexterity and fervor, turning on a dime from the psychedelic-jam musings of Procol Harum and Gentle Giant to the precision and symphonic-pop colors of Yes and Asia. Given the band's deep pool of playing and singing talent, it's no surprise that the album's weakest link is its lyrics, but for all of SMPTe's purple, freshman-English writing, an infectious, almost Beatlesque idealism pervades the record, buoying parts of its breathtaking 31-minute centerpiece, "All of the Above," and sweetening "My New World" with a playful melody and artful Mellotron accents. While SMPTe is by no means destined for the annals of progressive-rock greatness, the album nevertheless rewards repeated listening and represents a triumph of music and beauty over affectedness and gloom. --Michael Mikesell

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. All Of The Above
  2. We All Need Some Light
  3. Mystery Train
  4. My New World
  5. In Held (Twas) In I

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 21, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: March 21, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • ASIN: B00004RDJ1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,985 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Transatlantic is a true supergroup, boasting no less than four of the finest musicians the world has to offer at present: Mike Portnoy, the monster drummer for the U.S.'s Dream Theater...Neal Morse, vocalist and keyboard player for the U.S.'s Spock's Beard...Pete Trewavas, the fluid and melodic (and highly underrated!) bass player for England's Marillion...and Roine Stolt, guitarist/vocalist for Sweden's The Flower Kings.
This massive CD (packed with nearly 78 minutes of sonic delights!) offers an uplifting selection of music that begins with the 30-minute epic "All of the Above" and ends with the Procol Harum chestnut "In Held (Twas) In I." The former is much more enjoyable than the latter, but sandwiched in between is some of the finest progressive rock played today. Or any day for that matter.
HOWEVER, there's one big caveat to this band. If you don't care much for Spock's Beard, then you probably won't like Transatlantic too much. Neal Morse's fingerprint is all over Transatlantic. Not only does it boast his unmistakable voice, but his songwriting/arranging talents are also superimposed over everything on this disc. The chord structures, time changes, even the lyrics are extremely similar to Spock's Beard.
I agree with other reviewers. Transatlantic singlehandedly revived my interest in progressive music. I was getting bored with it all, frankly. Especially Marillion. And I had never heard of The Flower Kings. When Transatlantic hit the stores, I soaked it up like a dry sponge tossed into a bathtub.
And I got into Dream Theater again.
And I discovered The Flower Kings.
And I re-discovered Marillion.
And I enjoyed Spock's Beard in a new way.
In short, with Transatlantic, I got interested in FIVE bands because of one CD.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Back in the 70s, I was mildly interested in progressive rock but did not really get into any prog bands beyond Procol Harum and King Crimson. A couple of years ago, my interest in the genre was rekindled when I chanced to hear a CD by Porcupine Tree. So I just bought some prog CDs without hearing them first just to get a feel for who and what are driving forces in the genre today.
Among my favorites, I have found Spock's Beard, Gordian Knot and the Flower Kings. Its really like going back to the days of my youth. Then this supergroup project came to my attention and so I approached it with trepidation. Back in the 60s and 70s, a lot of supergroup projects were spawned to much fanfare, but few of them made any lasting impression on the music world. This CD, however, contained a cover of a song by Procol Harum which is one of my favorite groups so I just had to check it out.
It took me a while to get into it, but I found something new to enjoy every time I listen to it. Absolutely tremendous is the Procolish 30 minute six-part epic that opens the CD, All Of The Above. I don't find anything lame about the lyrics. The spirit of the song is uplifting with the tone being set by the soaring instrumental intro before Morse, Stolt and friends get down to business.
I like the rest of the CD, too, but it is the group's ambitious take on Procol Harum's ponderous second-album opus, "In Held (Twas)In I" that invites comment. To match the scope and quality of that piece would be a daunting project for the average group, but Transatlantic handles the task with aplomb. They do not try to copy it note for note, nuance for nuance. Instead, they give it their own flavor which at times is as breathtaking as the original.
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By A Customer on April 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Wow! This band, in terms of talent, is an embarrassment of riches. The amount of creativity, musicianship and energy bursting out of this album is simply astounding!
I've been a fan of '70s progressive rock for a long time, and I place this album alongside the classics of that era. Being a casual fan of Dream Theater, an admirer of the Flower Kings, indifferent to Marillion, and never impressed with Spock's Beard, I didn't have incredibly high expectations for this album. If anything, I expected another decent Liquid Tension Experiment-type album because of Mike Portnoy's involvement. It turned out, obviously, to be completely different! Oh my gosh! This CD captures everything that made '70s prog great and deftly blends it with a liberal infusion of modern-day musical sensibilities--it moves the genre forward while staying true to its roots, unlike so many recent prog albums that seem to be purely retro. And none of this CD sounds forced or pretentious, as the Flower Kings sometimes tend to be (imho). Not a moment is wasted, and every bit flows beautifully and effortlessly into the next.
These four supremely talented musicians clearly brought out the best in each other during these recording sessions. Portnoy is revealed as being a truly multi-dimensional drummer capable of doing just about anything. Pete Trewavas is a solid, creative bassist, Roine Stoldt is simply a genius (but I already knew that) who plays like Steve Howe only better, and Neal Morse has some great chops that mostly avoid the Wakeman/Emerson imitation trap that so many prog keyboardists fall into. Fresh, innovative, melodic, great constructions, powerful grooves, beautiful atmospherics, dynamic use of light and shade, tricky meters, and Mellotrons!
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