Czigl?n, Istv?n - Seven Gates Of Alhambra

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Stereo KFT
Catalog Number: BGCD 044
Format: CD
Total Time: 62:54:00

I guess its thanks to Progfest in Los Angeles that the Hungarian band Solaris got back together. In fact, the Solaris gig in Los Angeles in '95 marked one of the highlights of the festival, resulting in a double live album Live In Los Angeles. However the band had found new energy out of this sudden interest in their music so they set out to compose new material. Unfortunately on 27th December 1998 founder member and guitarist István Cziglán died unexpectedly. So in a way Live In Los Angeles remains the final Solaris album with István, although in a way the band's Nostradamus album still has his soul all over it.

After the release of the solo album Musical Witchcraft from Solaris flute player Attila Kollár, it became clear that Cziglán had been working on a solo album as well, however he didn't live long enough to finish it. So the rest of Solaris thought it would be just right to work on his compositions and release it as a posthumous "thank you" to the man who founded Solaris more than twenty years ago.

Although Attila Kollár's solo album is practically identical to a Solaris album, this can't be said of Seven Gates Of Alhambra. As the title might suggest there are Moorish influences throughout the album, and it's not really a guitar oriented album yet a collection of music with lots of world music influences. Of course the occasional flute of Kollár adds to the Solaris flavour, but still the music is different. But one can't keep thinking whether at all this would have been the real finished product had István continued to live (he was only 39). In fact what we hear might just be the actual demo tapes, which would have sounded very different once the actual recording would have taken place. So it remains a very difficult thing to do if you no longer have the feedback of the actual composer. In other words, are we certain that Chopin, Bach, and Beethoven would agree when they hear their compositions today? Exactly.

As no lyrics were yet written, the few vocal passages contain humming as opposed to real singing, which in fact is a bit of a setback. Also the drumming sounds very tame and uninspired. However there are some outstanding moments such as the outro of the lengthy "Personal Gravity." The total view of the album tends to concentrate more on the keyboards than the guitar, often resulting in Vangelis-like, bombastic fragments. On the other hand, the album also contains some poppy sounding tracks such as "Bangkok" of which I'm dead certain this would never have sounded this way if István could have his final say. The same can be said of "Old Lady With Cat," which sounds like an outtake from the once famous Bilitis film. "April" sounds a little better thanks to the flute and vocals, yet the standard of Cziglán's guitar playing is not what we have been used to all these years. One of the highlights however is the magnificent title track "Seven Gates of Alhambra" which holds all of the Spanish flavours one could ever wish for.

This album would probably have sounded much better if Cziglán could still be alive today. As he's not, someone else has built another arrangement around his material in order get it finally released. Maybe it would have been better to bury the demos together with the man, as this album doesn't do him must justice. To me it sounds more like a desecration of tombs rather than an homage. Sorry.

Personal Gravity (17:11) / Tango Tango (4:42) / Bangkok (4:08) / Old Lady With Cat (7:35) / April (6:21) / Seven Gates Of Alhambra (10:11) / Swan Song (3:32) / For Beginners (3:15) / April - Radio Edit (3:33) / Personal Gravity - Radio Edit (3:46)

Istv?n Czigl?n - guitars
Csaba Bogd?n - guitar
R?bert Erd?sz - Akai S6000
Gabor Kisszab? - bass
Attila Koll?r - flute
Zsolt Vamos - guitar



Marsbeli Kronikak (1983/1995*)
1990 (1990/1996)
Live In Los Angeles (1996)
Nostradamus (1999) Archive 1 - Az Els? Id?k (2000)
Archive 2 - NOAB (2005)


Seven Gates Of Alhambra (1999)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin HU

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

Artist website:
Hits: 1977
Language: english


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