Horizont - Summer In Town

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Bohmeme Music
Catalog Number: CDBMR 008152
Format: CD
Total Time: 37:17:00

The former Soviet Union seems to have harboured a plethora of talented folks whose music reached few ears. Horizont are one such group, formed "in one of the schools of the Gorky city (now - Nizhny Novgorod)?" in the late 70s. They'd play classical (Bach and other baroque composers) and rock (e.g. Beatles, Deep Purple) but it is obvious from this recording that progressive rock was also a large influence.

Horizont are all over the map sound wise, where their prog is a mixture of Yes and Genesis like symphonics and King Crimson like angularity. Like Yes, there is a sense of classicism, an element that I feel was lost when Wakeman left Yes. And yet, there is also a feeling of adventure found in many Genesis classics. Horizont's music is virtually without vocals, and what little there is, is more like operatic utterances - Magma came to mind. The bright arrangement and tone of "Snowballs" also made me think of Camel, though not in some way I can pin down. "Chaconne" begins with layered keys, one set laying down a soothing, atmospheric bed, another repeating the same key phrase as if it were a loop, another (or what sounds like another) blurting in tuba-like tones. Before long - 3 minutes into the 10-minute track - percussion joins in. This has a very dreamy like feel, like floating among clouds, when suddenly you drop out of the sky (guitar takes over the lead with subdued percussion and bass). Although it is an anachronistic reference, it is here in this section where I thought of Spock's Beard. Wait! Don't leave just yet! I'm thinking of their more experimental first disk, The Light, not their more accessible, more poppy subsequent works. This then smoothes out into a Genesis/Yes-like guitar part. Strangely, the moment I think "Genesis," I think, "no, more like Yes," at which point I think, "no, Genesis?oh, call it Geniyes." A lyrical, lovely guitar solo that would make Steve proud. But unlike Genesis and Yes, this guitarist's name isn't Steve, but Vladimir, Vladimir Lutoshkin to be precise, and he plays flute, too. His comrades are Sergey Kornilov and Andrey Krivilev on keys, Alexey Eremenko on bass, Valentin Sinitsin on drums, as well as Igor Pokrovsky, Yuri Beliakov and Sergey Alekseev on additional vocals (accompanying Krivilev). The track ends in the manner that it begins.

Okay, I name checked Crimson in the above paragraph, didn't I? Haven't otherwise mentioned them though. Well, we add that Crimson colour in the title track-suite "Summer In Town," which begins with the overturish "March." It hasn't lost its Geniyes feel, but there are small elements in the first movement where I think we need to amend our gimmicky word to read: King Geniyes. Quirky keys come in after a short symphonic passage, the keys emitting rounded bits of sound like bubbles. The guitar picks up the theme, which is equally playful but less bubbly. The liner notes, in both English and Russian, make mention of RIO, though they clearly state that "Summer In Town" cannot be regarded in this manner, though the previous sentence name checks Henry Cow, Univers Zero, and Present. There are some very deep and dark keyboard sounds that further support our Crimso contention. Of course, the classical element hasn't disappeared, as there is a passage here that is very classically influenced (probably the "Minuet" section.

The last segment of the suite is called "Toccata" ? uh-huh, we could call this segment Emersonian?keys are bashed frenetically while cymbals crash - the shock-horror moment of the movie has arrived. But this only leads us to even more percussive keys, metallic sounding, distorted?like the decay is set on high. Things move fast here for a while, keys pulse like sirens and screech like banshees. Chaotic and energetic, a swirling morass of sounds, sharp edged and dangerous. We are tumbling and falling, bashing into things as we swiftly descend through the darkness?down and down we go into something that certainly must be sinister?if there's a bottom, because increasing it seems as if there isn't one?this is our life, doomed to eternal falling. Things calm down suddenly - maybe a shift in perspective to watch ourselves fall down the endless pit. If you survive, it's one "Summer In Town" you won't be sharing with the rest of class in the fall. Okay, okay, it's the Soviet Union (or was), a place some think of as a perpetually gloomy and dark place - I daresay Westerners (read: US) really did nothing to change that view, at least not until Glasnost and Gorbachev.

But, the album Summer In Town (1985), on the other hand is something you'll want to share. For once we can truly say influenced by Yes (Genesis) without it sounding like a patchwork quilt of Genesis' (Yes') greatest moments. This is tremendously great stuff from circa 1983-1984, released originally by Melodiya in 1985. As the liner notes say, though, "art-rock was never popular in the former Soviet Union, and though this group managed to issue two albums, only [a] few people knew it." Well, nearly 20 years later, we can change that.

Snowballs (8:34) / Chaconne (10:37) / Summer In Town (18:46) March - Minuet - Toccata

Sergey Kornilov - keyboards
Vladimir Lutoshkin - guitar, flute
Alexey Eremenko - bass
Valentin Sinitsin - drums
Andrey Krivilev - vocal, keyboards
Igor Pokrovsky, Yuri Beliakov, Sergey Alekseev - vocal

Summer In Town (1985/2000)
The Portrait Of A Boy (1989/2000)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin RU

Added: January 30th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 749
Language: english


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