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Thread: Transatlantic - The Absolute Universe

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    I am having a similar experience. For a group of guys with such writing credentials and boast "nothing but epics", I find I can predict how most of the songs will play out. Between the Morse formula, Stolt formula, and combined TA formula, I am struggling to find anything to hold my attention. Even tracks like Overture (mark 32) has the makings of an excellent track that eventually falls into the same patterns.

    That said, I can see where someone can listen the abridged version and, for the first half, feel like it was a long lost track from Bridge Across Forever or Whirlwind. But I think the writing was stronger back then and, perhaps more importantly, the magic of the moment. Someone in the other thread said "lighting in a bottle". That time feels very 20 years ago to me and these immensely talented guys are caught up in their own whirlwind, creating lifeless clones of their best work. IMHMFO of course.
    That's pretty much sums up my feelings. I guess I'm burnt out on TA at this point. Although it is fun comparing both versions, I doubt either of them will have a lot of staying power for me.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunRunner2 View Post
    The comments so far are perplexing to me, since the very thing that drew in us fans of Transatlantic early on was, guess what, long bombastic tracks that displayed their chops in pure progressive form.
    Yes but that was 20 years ago and the Morse formula was already starting to get old back then.
    I guess it all comes down to how much more of the same each of us can take.

  3. #28
    随缘 SRS's Avatar
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    I've had this about 5 days now and had maybe 10 listens so far. Only to The Breath of Life version. I'm absolutely loving it. I think this is better than The Whirlwind. The themes are wonderful, I like the 'story' arc of it and the emotional build to the conclusion. I think this is a perfect Transatlantic album. Enjoying this so much that I think I will stick to TBoL for quite a while before checking out Forevermore. Like maybe even 6 months or longer. Then I can have a new album experience all over again. I don't think I want to jump back and forth and get caught up in what the differences are and which is better etc. etc. I can see what Neal was going for with this version, it is very concise and direct. The flow and transitions are flawless. 60 minutes really flies by. I'll get to Forevermore later and I may even like that one more (I already like the one track I heard that isn't on the shorter one -The World We Used to Know) but right now this one is going to be in heavy heavy rotation.

    And can we talk about that guitar riff in "Owl Howl" - damn that is some sinister evil sounding stuff

  4. #29
    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    I am having a similar experience. For a group of guys with such writing credentials and boast "nothing but epics", I find I can predict how most of the songs will play out. Between the Morse formula, Stolt formula, and combined TA formula, I am struggling to find anything to hold my attention. Even tracks like Overture (mark 32) has the makings of an excellent track that eventually falls into the same patterns.

    That said, I can see where someone can listen the abridged version and, for the first half, feel like it was a long lost track from Bridge Across Forever or Whirlwind. But I think the writing was stronger back then and, perhaps more importantly, the magic of the moment. Someone in the other thread said "lighting in a bottle". That time feels very 20 years ago to me and these immensely talented guys are caught up in their own whirlwind, creating lifeless clones of their best work. IMHMFO of course.
    I'm kind of here too in general. I got the shorter version because I knew the extended version would be too much. It's all okay, only one song is really Jesus-y, and Trewavas's vocals on "Solitude" are pleasant. However, I think the big problem for me is Neal's soulful "I'm coming closer to God" vocals are getting old for me. He just does that "Ohhh whoaa" rapture thing so much it's lost all meaning now. When I got to the last song, I literally sighed and thought "Okay, buck up, here we go" and my expectations were met.

    I might listen to it a couple more times; the instrumental bits aren't bad. But if I want the TA magic, I think I'll just revisit "SMPTe" or "Bridge Across Forever" and that itch will be immediately scratched.
    "Arf." -- Frank Zappa, "Beauty Knows No Pain" (live version)

  5. #30
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRS View Post

    And can we talk about that guitar riff in "Owl Howl" - damn that is some sinister evil sounding stuff
    No... it was not so evil
    "A waste of talent and electricity." John Peel on ELP

  6. #31
    So far, none of the comments in this thread have surprised me -- just like a Transatlantic album.

    On Friday I listened to the first disc of the extended edition, and overall I liked it. There was some predictable stuff, but also some stuff that I didn't expect.

    Transatlantic is a band that I don't listen to often, as I have to be in the mood for this kind of thing. They are deliberately retro, and since that's their mission statement, I really can't fault them if this new album holds true to that and sounds like Transatlantic. Even though I'm not a big Neal Morse fan these days, I doubt I'll ever tire of the "Roine Stolt formula". Roine's approach is much less formulaic, IMO, than Neal's.

  7. #32
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRS View Post
    I've had this about 5 days now and had maybe 10 listens so far. Only to The Breath of Life version. I'm absolutely loving it. I think this is better than The Whirlwind. The themes are wonderful, I like the 'story' arc of it and the emotional build to the conclusion. I think this is a perfect Transatlantic album. Enjoying this so much that I think I will stick to TBoL for quite a while before checking out Forevermore. Like maybe even 6 months or longer. Then I can have a new album experience all over again. I don't think I want to jump back and forth and get caught up in what the differences are and which is better etc. etc. I can see what Neal was going for with this version, it is very concise and direct. The flow and transitions are flawless. 60 minutes really flies by. I'll get to Forevermore later and I may even like that one more (I already like the one track I heard that isn't on the shorter one -The World We Used to Know) but right now this one is going to be in heavy heavy rotation.

    And can we talk about that guitar riff in "Owl Howl" - damn that is some sinister evil sounding stuff
    That's a good idea - waiting a significant period of time before moving on the the other version. And it makes sense to start with the shorter one, because it could be anticlimactic to wait months before listening to the SHORTER version where they take away material! (I know they also add some, but still overall there'd be less of what you presumably liked.) I think I'll do the same. Also, I think there are some bonus tracks to use to fill my ears with Transatlantic, right? I feel like I haven't heard much about bonus tracks. What's the classic prog track that they cover with this release? I obviously haven't been paying terribly close attention to the press releases or watched all of the promo videos, though I have watched some. I think Wislon elbowed this release out of my mind for a while there!

    PS: Glad you are enjoying it so much! BTW, I listened to ALL of TFK's Waiting for Miracles yesterday; it's a good album! I also listened to Manifesto of an Alchemist - another good one! I was already somewhat familiar with it, but it takes me a while to absorb both TFK and Transatlantic albums because I feel like overall there's a steady stream of this stuff. Which is fine!

  8. #33
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasKDye View Post
    I'm kind of here too in general. I got the shorter version because I knew the extended version would be too much. It's all okay, only one song is really Jesus-y, and Trewavas's vocals on "Solitude" are pleasant. However, I think the big problem for me is Neal's soulful "I'm coming closer to God" vocals are getting old for me. He just does that "Ohhh whoaa" rapture thing so much it's lost all meaning now. When I got to the last song, I literally sighed and thought "Okay, buck up, here we go" and my expectations were met.

    I might listen to it a couple more times; the instrumental bits aren't bad. But if I want the TA magic, I think I'll just revisit "SMPTe" or "Bridge Across Forever" and that itch will be immediately scratched.
    You've got it all wrong. With Transatlantic, it's "I'm coming closer to Shub-Niggurath, the black goat of the woods with a thousand young!" It's much more palatable that way. No reason to assume he means any particular god, so that's the way I roll with it. It has a very dark, sinister quality throughout, simmering under the pleasant-sounding veneer. In fact, they should release alternate versions of each package where the only difference is that the artwork is all evil-looking Black Metal art and logos.

  9. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    For a group of guys with such writing credentials and boast "nothing but epics", I find I can predict how most of the songs will play out.
    This is what I'm not sure I understand. What were you expecting?

    I haven't listened to disc 2 of the extended edition yet, so my opinions are still formulating. But discussion of this album reminds me of when Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool was first announced. One of the record label guys gave some kind of over-the-top hype that said it 'sounded like nothing else that was being done or had been done', or words to that effect. Then the album came out and it sounded like... Radiohead. And not many folks seemed to fault them for sounding like themselves yet again (it's a good album, IMO). Nothing particularly surprising on it, if you've listened to past Radiohead albums, but it seemed to be well received by most of the fans.

    Transatlantic isn't doing anything different, IMO. They're largely just doing their established thing -- which they are good at, I don't think anyone here is denying that -- but it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. I'm not knocking anyone for not liking Transatlantic either; most times I'd rather put on the new Tame Impala record than anything by TA, that's just where I'm at in life right now. But these discussions are interesting, and I like talking about this stuff. Just my observations, so take it with a grain of salt.

  10. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by LeFrog View Post
    I much prefer the alternative chorus melody in Reach For The Sky compared to its counterpart in Heart Like A Whirlwind.
    Me too. It sounds like something that could have been on Snow, almost. I really like that one.

    I may end up getting a digital version of the abridged album if it's different enough to my ears.

  11. #36
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    This is what I'm not sure I understand. What were you expecting?
    <<snip>
    I'm not knocking anyone for not liking Transatlantic either; most times I'd rather put on the new Tame Impala record than anything by TA, that's just where I'm at in life right now. But these discussions are interesting, and I like talking about this stuff. Just my observations, so take it with a grain of salt.
    It’s all good. To your point, I had an idea of what to expect from Tame Impala as well, but the new album exceeded my expectations. As did the last Muse album and the last Aka Moon album. That said, I am so familiar with Morse and Stolt that I don’t really “expect” anything, but just hope to be a pleasantly surprised.

    I do not dislike the new TA album. I have just heard it before. There are moments I really like. However I have “heard it before “ so much that I can predict it to the point where it feels like a chore to get through it.

    But I will listen to whatever they put out. While Islands didn’t stand out to me, I liked it okay. But I really enjoyed Waiting for Miracles. And when that happens, my hope is renewed. The last Morse album I spin regularly is the first NMB album. So, I’m waiting for the next one to hit. Hope this provides some insight.
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  12. #37
    随缘 SRS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    That's a good idea - waiting a significant period of time before moving on the the other version. And it makes sense to start with the shorter one, because it could be anticlimactic to wait months before listening to the SHORTER version where they take away material! (I know they also add some, but still overall there'd be less of what you presumably liked.) I think I'll do the same. Also, I think there are some bonus tracks to use to fill my ears with Transatlantic, right? I feel like I haven't heard much about bonus tracks. What's the classic prog track that they cover with this release? I obviously haven't been paying terribly close attention to the press releases or watched all of the promo videos, though I have watched some. I think Wislon elbowed this release out of my mind for a while there!

    PS: Glad you are enjoying it so much! BTW, I listened to ALL of TFK's Waiting for Miracles yesterday; it's a good album! I also listened to Manifesto of an Alchemist - another good one! I was already somewhat familiar with it, but it takes me a while to absorb both TFK and Transatlantic albums because I feel like overall there's a steady stream of this stuff. Which is fine!
    Cool - glad you liked them! Manifesto has some good material, in particular High Road and Rio Grande.

    For this Transatlantic there is NO bonus tracks as per usual - meaning no extra disc of cover songs.

    Mike also released his usual drum cam DVD for collectors. It seems to be mostly the Ultimate version which combines the two, so maybe a way to get the stereo version of that unless we can rip the audio from the bd. It is missing "Can you Feel It" however (so technically it is a 4th different version) apparently because he lost the footage for that one since it was done much later in the process

    also OUT TODAY is a 4th (!!) version of this mammoth new epic album with the release of my new Drum Cam on both DVD and Digital Download! this utilizes “The Ultimate Version” (only available elsewhere on the Transatlantic Blu-ray) into a new arrangement with all of my drum and vocal cam footage, and offers 3 different audio options: Full Band Mix, Isolated Drum & MP Vox Mix and a Stereo “Headphone Mix” which combines them both! 🚀

  13. #38
    It's so weird how this thread is mostly negative/lukewarm, while the other thread on the album (at least the recent posts) is almost all positive reviews......Does that happen a lot around here, where the haters all converge on one thread, while the "optimists" go to a different thread on a new album ?

  14. #39
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    ^^^ No. But I typically refrain from posting my honest opinion on any music here because anything but a glowing review is lumped into the “haters” column or you otherwise have to clarify or explain your point of view. It is why so many people have moved on from PE over the years.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  15. #40
    随缘 SRS's Avatar
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    Lot of people are still waiting for their copy of this and even those that have it are probably still absorbing it. It is mammoth. I did chime in with my own gushing thoughts on it above. I think it is fantastic - It is a 10/10 for me. I've been listening to it nearly non-stop. This is going to sound great Live - hopefully later in the year they can do a tour, that will give everyone time to know this album well enough.

  16. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by carlmarx38 View Post
    It's so weird how this thread is mostly negative/lukewarm, while the other thread on the album (at least the recent posts) is almost all positive reviews......Does that happen a lot around here, where the haters all converge on one thread, while the "optimists" go to a different thread on a new album ?
    I don't think I've seen any haters in this thread, to be honest. Some people might not like the new TA album, but that doesn't make them "haters" IMO.

  17. #42
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    I've only been through the extended version once so far, but it's pretty good. Transatlantic is not a band I get a lot of mileage out of these days, but I still like to get the albums as they come out and see what they're up to mainly because I've been a fan of their work in other bands over the years. The new album doesn't stray far from the established Transatlantic sound as one would expect. For some reason I think the songs on this one have more appeal for me than the last couple of TA albums.

    I haven't heard the abridged version yet so I don't have a feel for its reportedly concise feel, but the funny thing is I think each disc of the extended version can kind of stand on it's own. Listening time seems to be harder to find these days, so something around 45 minutes (and neatly divided into individual tracks) means I will likely get more mileage out of this album than the last couple.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  18. #43
    Which edition has more Stolt vocals? I prefer his singing to AOR Morse.

  19. #44
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Just finished listening to the extended version. I found the experience vastly different from Kaleidoscope, which I too found difficult to hold my focus and attention. For the most part, the themes on the new one are absolutely fresh, and the phrasing and tonalities universally unique. But yes, there are some old recycles, in which it's easy to stay a step or two ahead of where the variations are going. What was unexpected was Roine using Holdswrothesque whammy bar slurring at the end of Swing High, Swing Low. Also unexpected was the vocal equivalent of a string quartet, in the opening of The Sun Comes Up Today. Neal's usual 4 part vocal fare is Kansas-like exercises in absolute polyphony, which is indeed used later in the album. I stayed with it from start to finish. In the evening, kicked back in my living room, I didn't fall asleep once, or even feel myself drifting off. These days, that speaks volumes.

    I think I know why I found it so much more enjoyable than others: I've skipped the last few Neal albums altogether. My attitude the last few years has been if he's only going to recycle the same old ideas, I prefer not to be preached at. The recycled material on Absolute Universe is almost exclusively Neal's.
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  20. #45
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    I'm taking some of the advice in this thread and jumping into the Breath of Life version first.

    Honestly, the first four songs are so good I just kept going back and re-starting the disc! I really don't hear the "sameness" that some of y'all are hearing. There's a darker vibe I hear in some of Neal's keyboard tone choices and Roine's guitar work. Hell, even Portnoy backs off a bit and lays down a GREAT groove on "The Darkness in the Light".

    There's also a little guitar break at 5:27 of the Overture that really made my hair stand on end.

    "Take Now My Soul" was a mistake and shouldn't be on the disc, in my opinion. It broke the vibe I was feeling up to this point. Not a fan of Mike's singing on "Looking for the Light" either, kind of comes of as a little "try hard-y". He's not a terrible singer, but why bother when you have Neal and Roine in the band?

    Pete's vocals on "Solitude" are quite jarring at the onset, but the more the song went on the more I understood why he sang this. Lovely piano from Neal on that one as well. It's a very sweet song.
    Last edited by julioscissors; 02-08-2021 at 12:54 AM.

  21. #46
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    I didn't fall asleep once...
    They should use this quotation in the advertising!
    Last edited by JKL2000; 02-08-2021 at 08:25 PM.

  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by SRS View Post
    I've had this about 5 days now and had maybe 10 listens so far. Only to The Breath of Life version. I'm absolutely loving it. I think this is better than The Whirlwind. The themes are wonderful, I like the 'story' arc of it and the emotional build to the conclusion. I think this is a perfect Transatlantic album. Enjoying this so much that I think I will stick to TBoL for quite a while before checking out Forevermore. Like maybe even 6 months or longer. Then I can have a new album experience all over again. I don't think I want to jump back and forth and get caught up in what the differences are and which is better etc. etc. I can see what Neal was going for with this version, it is very concise and direct. The flow and transitions are flawless. 60 minutes really flies by. I'll get to Forevermore later and I may even like that one more (I already like the one track I heard that isn't on the shorter one -The World We Used to Know) but right now this one is going to be in heavy heavy rotation.
    This is a good strategy, I'm going to do the same. If I absorb the shorter version first then wait a few months before hearing the longer version, it will be similar to hearing the Roine Stolt mix of SMPTe which came out a few years after the original version.
    You say Mega Ultra Deluxe Special Limited Edition Extended Autographed 5-LP, 3-CD, 4-DVD, 2-BlueRay, 4-Cassette, five 8-Track, MP4 Download plus Demos, Outtakes, Booklet, T-Shirt and Guitar Pick Gold-Leafed Box Set Version like it's a bad thing...

  23. #48
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Dreamer View Post
    You say Mega Ultra Deluxe Special Limited Edition Extended Autographed 5-LP, 3-CD, 4-DVD, 2-BlueRay, 4-Cassette, five 8-Track, MP4 Download plus Demos, Outtakes, Booklet, T-Shirt and Guitar Pick Gold-Leafed Box Set Version like it's a bad thing...
    The funny thing is we have an abridged version and an extended version. This implies that somewhere in the middle is a regular version. Maybe that will be released on the 10-year anniversary or something.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  24. #49
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    Portnoy sure has a LOT of extra time in his hands - being the normally busy guy he is, he has caught up with Transatlantic, Flying Colors, Liquid tension Experiment and even on John Petrucci's Terminal Velocity album.
    May be his next one will be a new Winery Dogs album?

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    ^^^ No. But I typically refrain from posting my honest opinion on any music here because anything but a glowing review is lumped into the “haters” column or you otherwise have to clarify or explain your point of view. It is why so many people have moved on from PE over the years.
    Quite a disconsolate tone coming out of this post.

    - I think that it is important for you to post your honest opinion on anything you choose to comment on. So, some people don't agree; that's part of the process that makes for an interesting exchange. I value the views of the moderators on this great site, disagree or not.

    - My earlier (somewhat tongue in cheek) comments were directed at a personal dislike of mine in general; that is, the ongoing complaints and criticisms relative to the length of tracks on various releases, not just this one. I wasn't directing it at you specifically, just expressing my aversion to this whole "abridged" version movement in general.

    - I think the "haters" comment was directed at the various posts on this thread that were negative, relative to the new TA release. Perhaps not the best choice of words to use.

    - The glum last statement regarding "why so many people have moved on from PE over the years" is distressing to read. If it is true (which I find difficult to believe), then those individuals are going to have a very challenging task of finding a music based website where everyone, in totality, is in synch with one another and joins together for a chorus of kumbaya after every reaffirming post. Good luck with that effort.

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