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Thread: Transatlantic - The Absolute Universe

  1. #1

    Transatlantic - The Absolute Universe

    Well, it's release day! Anyone on here have any opinions on the record?

    I've been spinning it a couple days now (got my copy early!) and the Overture of the extended version is definitely my favorite of the two. There is so much to soak in here. As a prog fan, I immediately was drawn to the extended version and it's really a great piece of music.

    You really have got to appreciate Neal. The guy just oozes talent.

    On a side note - I did also preorder the "Ultimate Universe" deluxe boxset from Radiant but haven't even received a shipping notification yet and it's now release day! Did anyone preorder the album from Radiant and is having the same issue?

  2. #2
    Mod or rocker? Mocker. Frumious B's Avatar
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    I like the longer version better, but I’ll probably end up playing the shorter version more often. It’s a new Transatlantic album and if reading those words makes you happy then you will not be disappointed. If you don’t like them all ready, then this is not going to change your mind. I look forward to these efforts mainly because I still like those first five Spock’s Beard albums quite a bit and it’s a treat for Neal Morse to do a secular record with Transatlantic every few years.
    "It was a cruel song, but fair."-Roger Waters

  3. #3
    Neal Morse sent an update this morning that the vinyl and deluxe sets were delayed at Customs from the manufacturer but should be arriving shortly.

  4. #4
    Since it's unlikely my CD will arrive today, I'll give it a listen on Apple Music instead. Looking forward to it!

  5. #5
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    For whomever is interested: it's available as a hi-res download from HDTracks. Either $20.99 for the abridged version, or $32.99 for the extended version with all the bonus tracks. Use code FEBHD20 to get 20% off.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  6. #6
    Member PixelDelirium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    For whomever is interested: it's available as a hi-res download from HDTracks. Either $20.99 for the abridged version, or $32.99 for the extended version with all the bonus tracks. Use code FEBHD20 to get 20% off.
    Qobuz as well (both hires and CD quality):

    Extended: https://www.qobuz.com/us-en/album/th.../ahb3ovk88w6ma

    Abridged: https://www.qobuz.com/us-en/album/th.../cswz9u4z7xa7a

  7. #7
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pianomankd View Post
    Well, it's release day! Anyone on here have any opinions on the record?

    I've been spinning it a couple days now (got my copy early!) and the Overture of the extended version is definitely my favorite of the two. There is so much to soak in here. As a prog fan, I immediately was drawn to the extended version and it's really a great piece of music.

    You really have got to appreciate Neal. The guy just oozes talent.

    On a side note - I did also preorder the "Ultimate Universe" deluxe boxset from Radiant but haven't even received a shipping notification yet and it's now release day! Did anyone preorder the album from Radiant and is having the same issue?
    If you're still waiting for your deluxe box set to arrive, what's the copy that arrived early? Just an extended version to tide you over until the main course arrives? Is it like that theory that, on Thanksgiving Day, it's better to eat something earlier in the day rather than starve yourself until dinner. That way your stomach won't contract, and you'll be able to more fully gorge yourself at dinner? If so, well played!

    My preorder of the deluxe box set shipped from Laser's Edge, and looking at the progress in USPS tracking, I estimate it will arrive on Tuesday. I've watched the official music videos once each, and can hold out until the set arrives before listening to any more.

  8. #8
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    i'm not buying both! Neal Morse has enough of my money.
    will download the deluxe & the 3 songs only on the Abridged version.
    it will bring my version up to 102 minutes.
    should only cost me $21 on itunes

  9. #9
    Bought them both and will do what others are doing - put all the songs into one mega-album for listening.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  10. #10
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    I'm gonna open 7 browsers and play all of their albums simultaneously for the ultimate ultimate ultimate version. With Leather.

  11. #11
    I gave up on Transatlantic a while back. I liked the first two albums, but I was reaching a point where I was becoming jaundiced with that type of prog. I saw them live, and they didn't really do it for me.

    I was also a big Spocks Beard and Flower Kings fan, less so Dream Theatre and Marillion. But I eventually tired of those as well. I guess I just reached saturation point, but when you hear the same formulas in the music in each new album, it feels like much of the music is just recycled.

    I did buy Whirlwind, but I think I only played it once. Granted that's not giving it a fair shake, but I just never felt motivated to go back to it.

    I will say that I found much the same with new albums by other bands, hardly anything excited me.

    Of course, I am honest enough to admit that the problem may be mine. I can't say the music is bad...I just feel like I have heard it all before. These days I only dip into new music occasionally, though I find much of the time I get my fingers burnt, as they are often critically lauded and praised and yet rarely live up to the hype for me.

    Anyway...that long preamble was actually a prelude to me saying that I ordered the expanded CD and will have it tomorrow.

    In terms of what I listen to these days, oddly enough I find myself going back to older stuff, especially re released, expanded box sets and especially 5.1 mixes.

    In recent months I have picked up the TD In Search Of Hades box, Pilots of Purple Twilight, The Floyd immersion sets of The Wall and Wish You Were Here, and the recent Delicate Sound of Thunder Box. Plus this week I also got Chris Squires Fish Out Of Water Box set.

    So let's see what I make of the new Transatlantic...

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by BravadoNJ View Post
    i'm not buying both! Neal Morse has enough of my money.
    will download the deluxe & the 3 songs only on the Abridged version.
    it will bring my version up to 102 minutes.
    should only cost me $21 on itunes
    Thanks for the update.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    I'm gonna open 7 browsers and play all of their albums simultaneously for the ultimate ultimate ultimate version. With Leather.
    Nice.

    I listened to the first disc of the extended edition yesterday, and actually enjoyed it pretty well. I'm gonna give the second disc a listen later on today. It's not exactly full of surprises, but there were some cool unexpected bits that cropped up. Overall, IMO it sounds like the old Transatlantic is back, and I'm actually pretty happy about that.

  14. #14
    I listened to the first tracks of the extended edition on YouTube and have gotten enthusiastic about this. Like what I'm hearing, so far. The first two albums are some of my favorite "symphonic" prog, and this feels on first listen like a return to close to that level.

  15. #15
    Has not shown up yet although I got the shipping notice.

    Have to admit I'm not sure how to approach the three listening experiences. We may be out of Covid before I'm familiar with all three versions.

  16. #16
    Member rickawakeman's Avatar
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    Snagged both discs at Newbury Comics (11.88 and 16.99) on Friday and intend to digest both over the weekend.

  17. #17
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    It's still much too early to fully absorb so much music but here are a few first impressions.

    Before hearing the albums, I felt more drawn to the Extended version because it was curated by Stolt and I was eager to hear him challenge Morse's dominance over the TA sound. After a few listens, I now feel my preference goes to the Abridged version.

    I seems to me the Extended version pushes the limits of the band's worst excesses: too many recurring themes, too many crazy instrumental workouts, too much of everything...
    The Abridged version seems more to the point and digestible. It also seems the lead vocals are shared more in the Abridged version, which I always enjoy in bands with multiple vocalists. Plus I much prefer the alternative chorus melody in Reach For The Sky compared to its counterpart in Heart Like A Whirlwind.
    Not just a Genesis fanboy.

  18. #18
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    I listened Extended version and it was quite boring experience. I will try the more compact version. Maybe it will work for me better.
    "A waste of talent and electricity." John Peel on ELP

  19. #19
    Mod or rocker? Mocker. Frumious B's Avatar
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    The advantage of Forevermore is that the longer 90 minute album is neatly split into two halves where The Breath of Life is a continuous 65 minute trek. You can do half, take a break and then do the second half.
    "It was a cruel song, but fair."-Roger Waters

  20. #20
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeFrog View Post
    It's still much too early to fully absorb so much music but here are a few first impressions.

    I seems to me the Extended version pushes the limits of the band's worst excesses: too many recurring themes, too many crazy instrumental workouts, too much of everything...
    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.
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  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Kcrimso View Post
    I listened Extended version and it was quite boring experience. I will try the more compact version. Maybe it will work for me better.
    This ^

  22. #22
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    Man, you guys are starting to sound like a bunch of Prog snowflakes.

    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. For those who think that they lost it 20 years ago, revisit the tracks on SMPT:e and Bridge Across Forever. The opening track on their debut album (All Of The Above) was 31 minutes long with plenty of recurring themes and even a reprise. The same approach is observed on "Bridge", with the extended cuts "Duel" and "Stranger". These tracks were monster pieces that defined what the band was going to be all about. "Whirlwind" and "Kaleidoscope" continued the trend, but we started to see their fans complain about the length and repeating patterns, as the band naturally expanded their concepts.

    Now we get to the latest release, which I have yet to purchase but fully intend to. In my view, they can't extend a track long enough to bore me or turn me off their sound. That's why I was drawn to their work and the whole reason that I like Prog in the first place. Give me the over the top, extended cuts every time and I will be in listening heaven. To me, an "abridged" edition of anything Prog is a waste of time. Why not just do a "radio edit" of the two CD's on the Extended Version and you can listen to the whole thing on your lunch break. Geesh.

    When I am able to purchase the newest release I am going to get the longest version possible. Remember, the title is "The Absolute Universe". It's not supposed to just be long, it is supposed to be infinite. Give me the Infinite Version.

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    Amen, brother ^

  24. #24
    Well I gave the extended edition a play through when out walking just now. And though much of it was what I expected, such as the overture, the anthemic themes, the instrumental breaks and yes, the acapella bit...I enjoyed it.

    I hear a lot of hooks and themes that I think will sink in more on subsequent listens. And there are indeed some killer instrumental breaks.

    Some of the more unconventional tracks, like Owl Howl especially. Higher Than The Morning is very catchy and will probably grow on me. I also liked Looking For The Light. A few more, but these are just a few brief thoughts.

    I wonder whether not listening to much prog for a while has actually helped. I have not played anything by Transatlantic for at least 10 years. Maybe I needed that break...

  25. #25
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunRunner2 View Post
    Man, you guys are starting to sound like a bunch of Prog snowflakes.
    Sigh. Same old same old here on PE.

    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.
    Not for me.

    For those who think that they lost it 20 years ago, revisit the tracks on SMPT:e and Bridge Across Forever.
    It's because I have been following TFK and SB for 25 years and that I revisit those albums and the first two TA frequently that I have the opinion that I do about most newer projects that involve Morse or Stolt.

    That's why I was drawn to their work and the whole reason that I like Prog in the first place. Give me the over the top, extended cuts every time and I will be in listening heaven.
    And that's great. For you.
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