Satellite - A Street Between Sunrise And Sunset

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Metal Mind Productions
Catalog Number: TCL670992H
Format: CD
Total Time: 72:04:00

I reviewed this album for a different forum when it was first released. Subsequent listens have revealed subtle new details that escaped me on the first dozen or so listens, which only increased its appeal for me. So I felt it needed to be revisited. You see, the few people who know this album will almost certainly put it in their top 10 for 2003 list, and those who haven't come across it yet will wonder what all the fuss is about.

The fuss is about unfussy, masterfully executed, gentle music. The album exists on two planes. On the first few spins it is pleasing music, easy listening and accessible, if a bit monotonous, and it will easily fade into the background. But listen carefully ? on a whole different level there is a subtle complexity that will ensnare you. There are breaks and cunning shifts and lots of tempo changes and solos all wrapped in sophisticated rhythms and structures. This is music that will be appreciated by musicians. And non-musicians, listen up: The trick to appreciating this album is to listen behind the vocals. For just one or two spins, imagine it as a purely instrumental album and force your mind to block the vocals out completely.

Satellite is an 8 piece band, a side project put together by Wojtek Szadkowski of Poland's excellent neo progressive band, Collage, and A Street Between Sunrise And Sunset is their debut release. Satellite describes themselves as neo-prog, but I think it is more symphonic, closer to classic progressive rock. ?Retro-Prog" perhaps? One aspect it shares with neo-prog is wonderful keyboard / lead-guitar interaction.

Whatever the sub-genre, A Street Between Sunrise and Sunset is a softly understated work of excellence. It is a full sound, richly textured, and delivered with a maturity and elegance that belies the band's newness. These are accomplished musicians and it shows.

Streets is a theme album, rather than a concept piece, dealing with choices ? choosing one side of the street or the other, and how we can each perceive our world in completely different ways.

Vocalist Robert Amirian's performance sounds a little tentative in parts, but always soothing and mellow. His sighing voice is restrained and well matched to the relaxed tone of the music, but you can't help thinking that a stronger delivery would benefit the overall sound. The vocals do not lead the music, they are instead an integral part of the music, as they should be in prog.

A Street Between Sunrise And Sunset is melodic although it is not blessed with the kind of melodies that will stay hooked in the mind for hours. Wojtek's lyrics are in English, sung by Amirian with no noticeable accent. They are typical for prog music ? poetic, esoteric, sometimes clichéd. To me the title track's lyrics stand out as the best.

Guitarist Sarhan is probably not a contender for the next G3 tour but his solos are things of beauty, soaring and expressive, and you'll find yourself listening for them with wonderful anticipation.

No tracks stand apart from the others, but some deserve special mention.

The opening piece ?The Evening Wind? is a 12-minute epic. It starts with sampled sounds of a cityscape ? traffic, rainfall, sirens, voices and a weather report. Then the orchestral keyboards come in followed by the full instrumentation. The vocals sound a bit timid, although they fit the music, and several subtle changes in direction will keep your attention. An excellent track, rich in multi-layered keyboards and acoustic guitar and with strong melodies. It sets high expectations for the rest of the album..

?On The Run? is a 14-minute piece started by a soft acoustic guitar and whisper soft vocals, followed by delicate piano work. The keyboard sounds build up strongly and there is an elegant interplay between the keys and no fewer than three guitars. The lead is cycled between keys, vocals and guitars, and it ends with an interesting guitar solo. As with most songs the singing is muted and doesn't get in the way too much.

The 6th song ?Now? is also long, at 10 minutes. It starts with atmospheric orchestral keyboard sounds, then enter the guitar, then the vocals. There are several changes in direction and it has beautiful mellotron choral passages.

The title track is an 11-minute masterpiece that starts softly, a pattern on this album, and builds up to a memorable climax, again showcasing that subtle guitar and keyboard interplay.

The final track is ?Children? ? a soft piece, with gentle piano, delicately muted lead guitar, and almost lullaby-soft vocals. It's only 4 minutes long and does not share the complexity of the longer pieces, but it is delicate and sentimental and will be a secret favorite for many people.

Subtle. Listen carefully, then listen again. Very subtle. The only remaining question is how high it will end up in 2003's top 10 list.

As a side note ? their web site is excellent, as is the artwork on the album cover. The sleeve was designed by Mark Wilkinson, whose resume includes artwork for Marillion, Fish, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi, Asia, and many others.

The Evening Wind (12:45) / On The Run (14:51) / Midnight Snow (4:59) / No Disgrace (5:34) / Not Afraid (3:55) / Now (10:13) / Fight (4:29) / A Street Between Sunrise And Sunset (11:18) / Children (3:56)

Wojtek Szadkowski - drums, percussion, additional guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Robert Amirian ? vocals
Mirek Gil ? guitars
Sarhan ? guitars
Darek Lisowski - keyboards
Krzysiek Palczewski ? keyboards
Piotr Zaczek - bass guitar
Przemek Zawadzki - bass guitar

A Street Between Sunrise And Sunset (2003)
Evening Games (2004)
Into The Night (2007)
Nostalgia (2009)

Evening Dreams (DVD) (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin PL

Added: October 5th 2003
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website:
Hits: 555
Language: english


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