Magenta - Another Time ... Another Place

Year of Release: 2004
Label: F2 Music
Catalog Number: 200411
Format: CD
Total Time: 109:19:00

I don't know what it is with me, but each time I have a super fantastic release to review, I seem to play it to death whilst not finding the appropriate words to describe it, and therefore time and time again I notice I still haven't written the review. Such is the case with Magenta, which I rate as one of the absolute best current prog bands in the world. Of course the focal point is the wonderful, frail Christina whose voice simply is that of an angel, yet we should not forget the rest of the line-up. Especially Rob Reed is the one to put clearly in the picture here, as virtually every single note of music you hear Magenta perform has been written by Rob. I got to know about Rob's talents in the early nineties when he issued his material under the nom de plûme of Cyan. Needless to say a lot of Genesis influences crept into his music, but boy were we in for a treat when we heard Magenta for the very first time.

The first time we see the names of Rob Reed and Christina pop up together is on Cyan's Echoes album in 1999 when Christina delivers backing vocals on "Solitary Angel," "Tomorrow's Here Today" and "Follow The Flow." Then on the album The Shadow Of Dreams by The Othello Syndrome, on which Rob Reed acts as guest keyboard player we see Cyan's Pictures From The Other Side album lying on the table next to Going For The One by Yes, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway by Genesis and Still Life by Vander Graaf Generator. So for sure people already rate the talents of Rob Reed as high as some of the biggest names in prog. By issuing their debut album as a double studio offering, Magenta also proved to be very skilled writers, arrangers as well as musicians. Imagine in the vinyl age a brand new band releasing a triple or quadruple box set with brand new material. This was unheard of and in a way rather rare in the CD age as well. To our amazement Revolutions contained fabulous music, as did its successor Seven. In between Magenta also issued some singles containing material that can't be found on the full albums. Again this is rather unconventional in prog but then again Magenta isn't your everyday cup of tea either.

The moment you hear that wonderful voice of Christina you have to think of Renaissance and Annie Haslam, although I tend to say that I like Christina's voice even better. The rest of the band knows damned well that they have a fantastic vocalist on board and therefore make sure that the arrangements leave enough open space for her voice to shine. Majestic church organ and Wakemanesque synths open the show as "Opus 3"' serves as background music when the band takes to the stage. Recorded throughout Europe between 2002 and 2004 using an Apple G4 iBook, Motu Hardware, Logic Pro and Lacie Drives, these live recordings come across ever so crisp and full of details and dynamics. In all, a nice balance between the band's recorded output has been found by performing three lengthy tracks from the band's debut album Revolutions, four tracks from Seven and three tracks from their Broken EP. All of the material stays very close to the originals yet played with much more gusto. As opposed to certain bands, lengthy tracks such as the 20:24 long "Children Of The Sun" or the 22:04 long "The White Witch" don't bore you one second. In the intro Christina tells the story of how she is referred to by roadie Chris as being "the white witch." Well Christina, if you're a witch, you can sit on my broomstick any day!

Magenta constantly puts energetic passages back to back with modest play, switches rhythms, scatters solos all over the place (each gets his moment of glory during "Children Of The Sun") yet firmly holds the reins in order to lead the band effort towards the ideal backing for Christina's sublime voice. The band also masters the art to write wonderful and catchy melodies, as can be heard during "Pride" for instance. You can hear the audience is impressed by the band's performance by the spontaneous applause during certain parts of the songs, but also due to the absolute silence in the very quiet passages. This audience surely is having a great time, as would you when you go and see a Meganta gig. "Call Me" is an old Cyan track that gets a second chance sung by Christina. What is nice about Magenta is that next to the pure progressive tracks, they also settle for shorter, radio-friendly material. So hopefully some radio stations will pick up Magenta and play their music to death. And if you get this album in your hands then play the final track first. If ever there was "heaven on earth," I'm sure "Anger" is all of that condensed in a mere five minutes. Mouthwatering splendid music!

Disc One: Opus 3 (2:39) / Gluttony (12:00) / Lust (13:08) / Broken (4:07) / Children Of The Sun (20:24) / Call Me (5:11)

Disc Two: The White Witch (22:04) / Genetesis (12:16) / Pride (12:16) / Anger (5:02)

Rob Reed - bass, keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, recorders, harpsichord, grand piano, backing vocals
Christina - lead vocals
Tim Robinson - drums
Chris Fry - lead guitars
Martin Rosser - guitar

Vienna Symphony Orchestra - strings

Revolutions (2001)
Seven (2004)
Broken (EP) (2004)
Another Time... Another Place (2004)
I'm Alive (EP) (2004)
Home (2006)
Night And Day (w/Annie Haslam) (2006)
New York Suite (2006)
The Singles (2007)
Metamorphosis (2008)
Live At The Point 2007 (2008)
Seven (ltd CD/DVD, remixed/remastered) (2009)
Live At Read World (2010)
The Gathering (2010)
Live: On OUr Way To Knows Where (2012)
Chameleon (2011)
The Lizard King E.P. (EP) (2013)
The Twenty Seven Club (2013)
Trojan E.P. (2017)
We Are Legend (2017)

The Gathering (DVD) (2005)
The Metamorphosis Collection (DVD) (2008)
Live At The Point 2007 (DVD) (2009)
Chaos From The Stage (DVD) (2016)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: January 29th 2006
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1114
Language: english


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