When a band names themselves after what they do you can generally and almost immediately get a feel for what they are all about and in this case it’s about the music and how they project it. PROJECTiON comes to us from the town of Varsseveld in The Netherlands where they share the sound landscapes with other great bands that we have read about and know of from there like Crescent Moon & Profuna Ocean. I truly love this country for its musical offerings, the scenery, the people and the culture, I’d move there in a heartbeat if a solid job was calling me. Sound is projected, ideas are projected and the images of this band are also projected forwards as they will clearly show in their debut record here, Realitivity. The album cover very reminiscent of some Alan Parsons Project influences of Eye in the Sky and Pyramid albums with its symbolism and simplicity which comes across quite striking when you really look at what they are. A modern day look at the circular spin on how our lives have become mere buttons we push to obtain information or to connect/disconnect from the cyber world but at least we still have music that we can push the one button to fill out minds with sound, the “play” button.
A twelve track album that once you hit play you just sit back and breathe it all in and let it fill your mind with its glorious big, BIG sound. The album opens up with “ON” a minute and a half prelude that snaps right off the hop with a synth smack of sound that has you feeling like you are stuck in the elevator in Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” before the duet of piano and acoustic guitar glide in to the forefront with its gentle birdsong of an opening dawn and the calm scent of morning coming through your window only to be interrupted by your alarm clock to signal the new day’s NOW factor. The alarm clock segues in to track two, “Running Through Time” to where the band wastes no time blasting the sound in to overdrive and has a driving sound of what your Monday has quite often been. The sound has that BIG 80’s driving Prog rock sound which is an absolute joy to hear because I lived it and know it. They have a very distinct tone to their music and would have certainly fit being on the bill with bands like Asia and IQ, Marillion etc. The drums are prominent and furious as they set the pace as the bass drives up from the ground to serve the low end as guitars and vocals are bright and speedy like a dragster. Pulsating and strong willed sounding it definitely is one to add to your highway playlist. A few start/stops quips in it to give it that Prog element and the synths in the background are flying all over as the band keeps the song going right till the end. They shift gears on the next track, “The Expectation Cell” and drag us in to a deep forest of sound that alternates from spoken word to singing adding that to the Prog recipe to spice it up and the tempo/timbre changes are great here as the band takes us on the ups and downs of their roller coaster ride here. The swinging tempo from fast to slow really makes this track unique and a stand out song. No one instrument has the lead here and they all work together cogs in cogs unison and a well oiled piece of machinery. Having no solos in it makes it a recognizable facet in many a Prog songs, more so in the newer Prog bands but some of the Old Guard did it too so an homage to the past and open hands to the new. Although the song is patterned it has you thinking pretty deep as you listen to it because of how they planned this one out. Gave me that first time listening to 80’s King Crimson albums all over which was a welcommed feeling for sure.
“Hypocrite” starts off with a somewhat lullaby tone with a guitar softly bouncing over top just before the spoken word introductions. Another up/down style song but in different phrasing creating new designs and concepts giving the tempo/timbre changes a run for their money. The dual vocalizing adds verbal inflections that allow you to feel like your in the conversation and listening all the while. A prominent vocal here commands the audience and the musical background is a wave of ebb and flow heaviness as the band brings up the raw power then pulls back to compliment the vocal with subtlety and strife combined. This Jekyll and Hyde style of singing creates a great conflict in the song giving it distinct features of fighting oneself and musically similar with the waves of heavy and light patterns. Many Prog elements are represented here and done in the band’s idealistic interpretations of them making this track another unique offering to the album. “Numb” comes in with a feeling of just that, a laid back numbing passage of musicality as the band sets the mood for the vocals to drop in unaware and very nonchalant. This title has been somewhat synonymous with slower songs or songs that drag the mud and end up going nowhere much else than further in to the mire. But Projection does the exact opposite here and starts off with the slow pull of the train through the mud feel which is not a bad thing and builds it up to a driving force that splits the seas and takes on an a steady pace of Prog transition from slow to GO accompanied by a great synth solo that soared over the guitars, bass and drums that were the chugging wheels of the train pushing through the mud and mire to reach its final destination. “Overload” reaches from the back of your head and brings it out to the forefront and slams down their musical mayhem without consideration for your comfort and gets right to it. Punchy and driven in keeping with the schematics of the album this one sears through like a hot knife to butter. A snapping verse riff that has the drums galloping through the winds as the guitars grind and strike down like lightning and the bass uproots the ground as the vocals labour heavy over top. The synths play out royally on this song with their bright infused tones as the regale their electronic refrain in the middle. The ending with its single spoken line dictates the feeling to the album’s need to release itself to the world and stake its claim in the genre and in your head.
“Escape” has a easily recognizable late 80’s feel to it that brings in the joy that music is not dead from that period but the band does make it their own and not cover over anyone else’s style or sounds here. The harmonies and multi-vocal tracks in here are great as they balance out well and give a well roundedness to the music that accompanies it. A toe tapping and head bobbing track that keeps the flow steady and the tempo changes in the mid section to off set the song ever so slightly just before a silky synth solo. The ending of the song brings back an earlier fragment of the alarm clock sounding a new day or a reminder that you’re still held within the confines of the first day. “Delirious” comes in with a sombre overtone and duets the piano and vocal in a grey cloud ominous rain feeling then the piano picks it up and the song kicks it up to a mid range flow that has a direct straight shot at the the tempo and the vocals bounce vibrantly along with the music. The synths thread the song together as they remain consistent throughout the track binding and grounding the rest of band here making it a crowning moment in the album’s flow. “Stranded” a gentle ballad that breezes through your speakers like dust settling on the ground after a skirmish between two warring factions and the through the haze the sounds of this song can be heard coming through softly to set its weary tones on your ears. Simple and eloquent this track is a staple in many Prog band’s canon where they present us with a ballad that doesn’t have the multi layers of musicianship but comes across very straight forward and simple with its execution of sound that they have done here to a blooming flower perfection. “Erase” has the slow start and build up pattern that we have seen earlier on in the album as it comes back to grace us with its passages and the whole band is cutting edges with their unique vocal styling where it’s more than one band member chiming in to create their exclusive sound. The guitar solo plays out like a wild stallion running through the fields followed by the eagle soaring synth solo that is short but a classic segue to the drawn back finale of the song as it fades out.
The band begins to wind down their journey through their debut album as the songs have a gentler feel to them and bring you back to your senses as we fall in to the next song, “Off: a New Beginning” is a feel good song and at the right place on the record. The Neo-Prog ballad/ rocker song that takes you to valleys and on the wings of a great bird feeling where you soar and float care-free as the music lifts you. This track has that moving experience feeling to it where you are free and feel the empowerment of the music that fills you. It has a reminiscence of the late 80’s Emerson, Lake & Powell sound to it and the band makes it very clear in their statement that they played for fun and toyed around with cover tunes but they took it to a new level and are off to a new beginning with their distinct and unique style and sound. They blend in many different styles from various genres and many of the different facets of Prog. They aren’t the heavyweights of the genre but of the lighter fare that has great upbeats and tones, tempo/timbre along with start/stops combined with some very original vocal passages making them very Neo-Prog for today’s sounds. The final track on the record is “On (Again)” holds the traditional and classical Prog spot at the end of the record as it is the longest track coming in at 7:50minutes. The journey home song feeling to it as the band plays to its own homecoming finding themselves now within the realms of the Prog genre and knowing that their first outing they have done well musically and will continue their journey down darker paths and brighter futures as create more music in days and years to come. Another softened and slow start but not for long as the band enjoys leading us down to where we don’t know where they are going to take the song next. At the halfway point we are taken to the next level where the vocal harmonies stand out as they chorus themselves in a tight formation where the guitars push them higher. The synths and piano riffs are crisp and ice forming as they soothe and chill the air. The drums trample the ground with the might of giants as the bass brings up the earth and tosses it to the wind. The song comes down to earth and slowly draws its last melodic notes through the piano and calms down in to a heartbeat finish then fade away.
PROJECTiON definitley has their feet wet and will continue to bring us more albums in the future as they continue to explore and discover themselves through sound and words. The Netherlands is fast becomming a melting pot for emerging Prog bands just like their not too far off neighbours, Norway and this band is just at the doors of the Halls of Prog standing in awe at the genres’ stature and where they are headed. Enjoy.