Holdahl, Lyle - Prog 2

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Big Balloon Music
Catalog Number: 89880
Format: CD
Total Time: 40:58:00

So, the second release under review from Lyle Holdahl is called, appropriately enough, Prog 2. And prog it is, this time the mix a little more varied, as there are shades of Yes and Gentle Giant here to go along with Genesis. But there is also some nice synth work as well that made me think of artists such as Kevin Braheny, Jonn Serrie, and others. Though I don't think Holdahl is quite in the same league as these two, his music is no less interesting. If you've already read my review of Prog, then you know that I was less than impressed with the vocals. Holdahl does a better job here, and not just because a large part of the album is instrumental or that his vocals are sometimes buried in the mix. The big difference is that he doesn't seem to trying so hard to sound like Phil Collins. They still aren't terrific, but they do sound much better and less...well, less annoying. In fact, he seems to be referencing Gabriel rather than Collins, though he does sound more like Collins. "Labyrinth Suite" alternates between large, swooping synths and subtle keys -- it's the same keyboard, of course, as the only thing Holdahl is credited with, other than his voice, is the TS-10.

"Lionwitch/The Pyrowitness" sounds like a Genesis/Gentle Giant hybrid through a Spock's Beard filter. Which isn't to suggest that Holdahl is influenced by the latter, but that he and the Beard have borrowed from the same well. "A Procession Of Lemmings" is quite subtle, gentle keyboard washes, light percussion, and a very spacey arrangement. This is where one will think of Serrie, Braheny ... even Steve Roach in some respects. Oh, I guess we'd have to throw latter period Tangerine Dream into the mix as well. This is very atmospheric and moody. A single rhythmic drum - a tom, I think - gives the impression of slow marching...or may it's just marching in slow motion (and I can't get the Mind Gallery album title The Lemmings Were Pushed out of my head). This continues in "Preamble," as it doesn't seem much different from that which precedes it.

The longest piece is the 13-plus minute "Cloud Formula/High Coo/Ram Rama 1260" suite. The middle section contains playful koto-like tones, flute-like tones, and plucked guitar notes (synths, remember, but there were a few moments where I thought of Steve Rothery). These quick notes elongate and are joined by an alien- keyboard (mmm...X-Files theme played at quarter speed...). Again the feeling of things moving in slow motion, of floating, are present. This is one to get lost in, relaxing despite the undercurrent of tension. Maybe not as developed as some of Steve Roach's work, Holdahl certainly has got suspension-of-time thing down. With a little more development though, the over all track itself would feel as if it's moving -- it is too much like a loop (and probably is)...or maybe it's just to subtle for me to detect. As nice as it is, at 13-plus minutes, it is about 5 minutes over long.

"Red King/The Forest - Movement Four" sounds oh so much like Ezra Winston on Ancient Afternoons, I was tempted to bring out the latter disk and play it for comparison's sake. This is a "guitar" led piece, with keyboard washes laying down the bed of sound. Punchy "percussion" provides the punctuation, sounding like something lifted from Marillion's "Lady Nina" (there are a few beats of difference).

Of his two releases, this is the more interesting and textured of the two, and is the one most recommended. You can, of course, hear everything for yourself at his site, as there are MP3s of this and Prog on line, plus tracks from his other projects including Harlequin Mass's self-titled album from 1978 (for whom Holdahl was the keyboardist).

Labyrinth Suite (9:22) / Broadcast (0:53) / Sparkmaps (1:15) / Shardenroot (1:58) / Lionwitch/The Pyrowitness (3:48) / A Procession Of Lemmings (5:24) / Preamble (0:51) / Cloud Formula/High Coo/Ram Rama 1260 (13:03) / Red King/The Forest - Movement Four (4:22)

Lyle Holdahl - keyboards

Prog (2000)
Prog2 (2000)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: June 5th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: lyleholdahl.homestead.com/progresso.html
Hits: 823
Language: english


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