Ayreon - The Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Transmission Records
Catalog Number: TM 019
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:14:00


The story begins in the 22nd century. The final devastating war of 2084 that was foretold on The Final Experiment album, has indeed come to pass and has destroyed all life on Earth, making it completely uninhabitable. The only survivors of the war were the colonists on the planet Mars, who watched the destruction of their homeworld from afar. The few descendents of those colonists are now all that is left of the human race.

To combat the dreariness of life on Mars, the Mars colonists have constructed a fantastic machine called The Dream Sequencer. This machine creates a form of hypnosis which allows the colonists to return to their childhood and even to their former lives. Both albums tell the story of what one Mars colonist encounters while piloting The Dream Sequencer.

The CD The Dream Sequencer has a soft and atmospheric feel. This CD follows one Mars colonist back in time as he reincarnates through different personas all the way back to the first man on Earth using The Dream Sequencer machine. Each persona will be presented by a different singer in each song, however all of the songs are seen from the perspective of the same Mars colonist.

? Arjen Lucassen

The album's opener "The Dream Sequencer" makes me think of Disney's "Space Travel" journey what with all these different sounds and spacey atmospheres. The song evolves into pure Pink Floyd, getting very close to "Welcome To The Machine" and boy isn't Arjen's guitar solo a deadringer for Dave Gilmour! We also have to welcome some splendid Mini-Moog here, the first of a long batch of outstanding analogue solos! The doomy voice of Tiamat's Johan Edlund blends well with the young, high pitched voice of After Forever's Floor Jansen in "My House On Mars." The musical backing lifts this song to a very bombastic whole ending almost in pure classical style. In "2084" Lana Lane looks back at what happened when all life on earth was destroyed. Erik adds some nice rhythmic touches by means of his swirling Hammond. The flanger on the guitar works overtime extra emphasizing the floating atmosphere of this song.

I've already told you about the number of superb sounding synths. Well, in the intro for "One Small Step" you are treated to some outstanding synths before acoustic guitars smooth the way for the warm voice of ex-Kayak singer Edward Reekers, who by now has become one of the loyal singers that appear on Ayreon releases. Edward sings "one small step for man but a giant leap for mankind," but with this album I would dare to say "one small step for Ayreon but a giant leap for music!" What's strong on these new Ayreon albums is the fact that, once again, Arjen Lucassen uses the help of a huge selection of different singers yet, uses a small number of people for the musical nucleus and uses the same backing voices. Towards the end of "One Small Step," Arjen's slide guitar again highlights his all-time love for Pink Floyd! The repetitive bass line in the intro for "The Shooting Company Of Captain Frans B. Cocq" comes very close to the work of Alan Parsons, but as soon as the classical guitar sets in it has to be unmistakably the work of Ayreon. In Mouse Arjen has found the ideal John Lennon clone and, as Arjen has always been a keen fan of the Beatles, this song works perfectly well with the unique timbre of Mouse's voice.

When Arjen visited Oscar Holleman's studio, the latter was producing an upcoming young band called Krezip who have just delivered their debut album Nothing Less on the Dutch wing of Warner, apparently a must for fans of Guano Apes and/or Skunk Anansie. Arjen was so overwhelmed by Krezip's singer that he immediately asked the seventeen old Jacqueline Govaert to sing the soft centred "Temple Of The Cat." The medieval atmosphere of "Carried By The Wind" is sung by Arjen himself, whilst his guitar solo intertwines with nice synth and acoustic guitar. Ever since he heard Threshold and invited Damian Wilson over to sing on Into The Electric Castle, Arjen has been very fanatic about every move Damian makes. Over the years Damian's involvement in the world of musical has given him more "body" which can clearly be heard throughout "And The Druids Turn To Stone." Again this is a very ballad-like structure, emphasizing once again the acoustic simplicity. The production is very open giving all of the sparse instruments all the room to experiment and shine. Rob Snijders' soulful drumming blends very well with the Hammond sound.

From the moment the mellotron kicks off and the classical ensemble enters the musical arena you know "The First Man On Earth" will be very Beatles-like. In steps Neal Morse to enhance that Beatles feel and what's more, his ability to create sing-a-long tunes once again proves to be all over this piece. "The First Man On Earth" is indeed a song that is fit for daytime radio (although in edited format) and cello and horns are added in the same fashion as Sir George Martin would have added his knowledge to the Lennon/McCartney classics. It is certainly one of the highlights on this disc, and a song that will certainly please Arjen, being an avid Beatles-fan himself. Strangely enough, Erik Norlander is more into Electric Light Orchestra; but wasn't Jeff Lynne very much influenced by the Liverpool foursome? The album closes with a reprise of "The Dream Sequencer" adding more Pink Floyd touches to what has become one hell of an artistic merit. This album certainly has all of the ingredients many of you are looking for in a prog album, an album that you'll certainly end up buying along with the other Ayreon release Flight Of The Migrator. Siamese twins anyone?

The Dream Sequencer (5:08) / My House On Mars (7:49) / 2084 (7:42) / One Small Step (8:46) / The Shooting Company Of Captain Frans B Cocq (7:57) / Dragon On The Sea (7:09) / Temple Of The Cat (4:11) / Carried By The Wind (3:59) / And The Druids Turn To Stone (6:36) / The First Man On Earth (7:19) / The Dream Sequencer Reprise (3:36)

Arjen Lucassen - electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, analogue synthesizers, Hammond, Mellotron and additional keyboards; vocals (8)
Erik Norlander (Ritual Symphony, Rocket Scientists, Lana Lane) - analogue synthesizers, piano, vocoder, Hammond and additional keyboards (synth solos: 1, 4, 6)
Rob Snijders (Celestion Season) - drums
Clive Nolan (Arena, Pendragon) - synth solo (3)
Johan Edlund (Tiamat) - vocals (2)
Floor Jansen (After Forever) - vocals (2)
Lana Lane - vocals (3, 6), backing vocals (4, 5) and voice (1)
Edward Reekers (Kayak) - vocals (4)
Mouse (Tuesday Child) - vocals (5)
Jacqueline Govaert (Krezip) - vocals (7)
Damian Wilson (Threshold, Landmarq) - vocals
Neal Morse (Spock's Beard, Transatlantic) - vocals (10)
Mark McCrite (Rocket Scientists) - backing vocals (10)

Ayreon - The Final Experiment (1995)
Ayreon - Actual Fantasy (1996)
Ayreon - Into The Electric Castle (1998)
Ayreon - The Univeral Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer (2000)
Ayreon - The Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight Of The Migrator (2000)
Ayreon - Ayreonnauts Only (2000)
Ambeon - Fate Of A Dreamer (2001)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One - Space Metal (2002)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One - Live On Earth (2003)
Ayreon - The Human Equation (2004)
Ayreon - Actual Fantasy Revisited (2004)
Ayreon - The Final Experiment - Special Edition (2005)
Ayreon - 01011001 (2008)
Ayreon - Timeline (2008)
Arjen Lucassen's Guilt Machine - Arjen Lucassen's Guilt Machine (2009)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One - Victims Of The Modern Age (2010)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen - Lost In The New Real (2012)
Ayreon - The Theory Of Everything (2013)
Ayreon - The Theater Equation (CD/DVD) (2016)
Ayreon - The Source (CD/DVD) (2017)
Ayreon - Ayreon Universe - Best Of Ayreon Live (2018)

Ayreon - The Theater Equation (BR) (2016) Ayreon - Ayreon Universe - Best Of Ayreon Live (DVD/BR) (2018)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin NL

Added: May 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.ayreon.com
Hits: 2467
Language: english


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