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Thread: FEATURED CD: Gorizont (Horizont) - Leto v Gorode (Summer in Town)

  1. #1
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    FEATURED CD: Gorizont (Horizont) - Leto v Gorode (Summer in Town)




    The 80s weren't all bad!


    Review from Progressor.net:
    All compositions written by S. Kornilov and arranged by Horizont. Recorded in Moscow, 1985, by A.Vetr & G.Lazarev.

    Line-up: Sergey Kornilov - keyboards; Vladimir Lutoshkin - guitars, flute; Alexey Eremenko - bass; Valentin Sinitsyn - drums; Andrey Krivilev - vocalize, keyboards; Igor Pokrovsky - vocalize; and: Yuri Beliakov, Sergey Alekseyev - voicess

    Prologue. While there have been plenty of excellent Progressive Rock groups in the USSR, Horizont (Horizon) was, in my view, the best among them. The band was formed in the mid '1970s in the city of Gorky (now Nizhni Novgorod, i.e. Lower Newtown, named so after another, Great Newtown, in Russia) by a few schoolmates. Along with Arsenal Horizont was one of the most active 'live' bands, playing concerts usually with an invited string ensemble. The band gave hundreds performances on tour, including its native town and, apart from the titles included in both Horizont's LPs, there were lots of new compositions, including the whole "Fahrenheit 451 Ballet", recorded during shows, but it's hard to say where those unique recordings have ended up now. After the fall of the USSR Horizont, similar to many other USSR progressive artists, dissolved in the chaos of events together with their works. Now, thanks only to a truly progressive activity of the people at "Boheme Music" in search for the 'Soviet' musical legacy we now can enjoy (and will continue to do so as long as "Boheme" carries on this way) a wonderful possibility to familiarize ourselves with this creative output. As for the Horizont musicians, it is sad that nothing is known even about their further fate.

    The album. Horizont was a group of experienced, mature, profound proggers long before the recording of their debut album. "Summer In Town" was composed and recorded at a time when the musicians were already going to stop being "a Classic Symphonic Art Rock super-group with highest compositional skill and musicianship" (a quote from the well known, one of the most 'progressively thinking' composers in the USSR/C.I.S., Yuri Saulsky) and started to search for new, (even!) more complex musical structures. Unlike many other Soviet progressive bands, including such quite famous an act as Autograph, Horizont was dubbed as a "Chamber Instrumental Ensemble", and not a rock-group, already on the cover of their debut LP. But it becomes clear why actually a rock band was named differently just after a couple listens to "Summer In Town". Both compositions from the album's "Side A" (LP talk) stand for clear-water Classic Symphonic Art Rock. Snowballs and Chacconne, striking their unique balance (a union!) between high complexity and a melodic beauty as if taken from the first half of the 1970s, are wholly comparable to the best works of the genre in the heyday times. However, thanks to their overall futuristic sound a better point of comparisons would probably draw from "unvocal" Yes in 1972-1974. A 'side-long' titletrack sounds distinctly unusual and unexpected in comparison with the first half of the album. That's what the band had been searching for by the mid "dark decade" of the '80s - newer musical forms. The "Summer in Town" is nothing less than another manifestation of RIO - alongside with Neo-Classical music one of the most complex and intriguing genres created in the 20th century. And unlike Snowballs and Chaconne, here there's no place for comparisons regarding the album's centerpiece.

    Summary. Well, RIO. Such a 'fulminating', avant-garde, complex, probably really revolutionary mixture of Progressive Rock (often of all the three main progressive genres together - like in case of Happy Family, for example) with, mostly, Neo-Classical music. It's a kind of Neo-Classical music itself. I would call RIO eternally young music for its plasticity and, thus, 'ability' to create new fresh musical forms in itself with ease, whereas all the other progressive genres are much more 'conservative'. Actually, I would go as far as to name RIO another one 'independent' Progressive Rock genre together with the 'Holy Three' of Art Rock, Prog Metal and Jazz Fusion. If I should search for the fifth element* like the heroes of Luke Besson's movie of the same name* I would probably find it right away. Since all the Marillion etc poor imitators like Grey Lady Down, Galahad, etc play all in all somewhat related to (wretched) Progressive, I feel the need to form a Pseudo Prog section on ProgressoR quite often. Back to the Horizont debut album's third composition, I only want to add that it's a good example of RIO plasticity. From the first to the last note "Summer in Town" has that typical yet extremely unique RIO sound, the most 'electronic' and innovative I (perhaps you, too) ever heard within the genre. Dark, complex and highly magnificent, this piece creates a mind-blowing impression. And that was just a beginning... Are you ready for more incredible music from "another branch of the RIO-tree"? Then wait just a bit.




    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  2. #2
    Yeah!

    If you want to hear where "symphonic" progressive rock actually headed during the post-70s period, listen to this one! Both of their releases are very good, but this is probably the most organic sounding - although definitely maintaining a certain edge of the avant-garde (on the lengthy title track in particular). In a sense they achieved what The Enid did in the west, 'though with a rather distinctly Eastern bloc approach.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  3. #3
    Casanova TCC's Avatar
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    This one plus "The Portrait of a Boy", their second and last I think, are 2 great records from the 80´s.
    "Portrait", by a minumum, is my favorite:

    "The Portrait of a Boy" (19:50) (Suite in 3 movements): " ...the side-long title-track of this album is one of the most complex and intricate "epic" instrumentals ever created in the Progressive Rock genre."
    http://www.progressor.net/review/horizont_overall.html

    Agree!!:



    Another gem IMO:


    Enjoy:



    Excellent call!!.

    Regards,
    Tomás.
    Pura Vida!.

    There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind. ∞
    Duke Ellington.

  4. #4
    Love both of them... "Summer In Town" is IMHO little bit than "Portrait of a Boy"...anyhow a great musical achievement by the "Soviet Union" band in the peak of the cold war era ...

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    Both Horizont albums are indeed brilliant works. Summer in Town is more accessible of the two, more readily melodic and more reminiscent of traditional symphonic progressive rock, though with very much a compositional vision of their own. “Chaconne” is one of the most joyous symphonic crescendos in the whole bloody genre. The Portrait of a Boy is more diverse, more complex and ultimately just as exhilarating. I like the jarring, set-phasers-for-bonkers synthetic sound of this, as it forms a rare and refreshing alternative to the 70s symphonic sound and its more common variants in the 80s and the 90s.

  6. #6
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Bought that one alongside Sepsis and Epos, and it was the winner.

    Realy great Album. It was sad that Boheme didn't go further with russian Prog, as was originaly planed.

  7. #7
    Count me as another fan, and like several here I prefer this one to Portrait of a Boy, but dig them both. These may be among my favorite 80s Prog releases, though there are some others I like quite a bit as well. I need to revisit both Horizont albums, haven't spun them in ages.

    Bill

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    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    love both their albums... sublime stuff
    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    The Portrait of a Boy is more diverse, more complex and ultimately just as exhilarating. I like the jarring, set-phasers-for-bonkers synthetic sound of this, as it forms a rare and refreshing alternative to the 70s symphonic sound and its more common variants in the 80s and the 90s.
    Very true. It's almost as if they set out to merge Zeuhl, Laibach and ELP's take on Ginastera's "Toccata" here, and one could even suspect them of having heard stuff like 80s Art Zoyd or Univers Zero. That piece called "Prelude Fis Moll" has got to be one of the most sombre things I ever heard by a progressive rock group. Outstanding!

    I really like some of the other things released by Bohéme from that period, such as Epos, Sepsis, Rainy Season and Pesniary. Didn't they issue the lovely first album by In Spe as well? That one has become very scarce now.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Very true. It's almost as if they set out to merge Zeuhl, Laibach and ELP's take on Ginastera's "Toccata" here, and one could even suspect them of having heard stuff like 80s Art Zoyd or Univers Zero. That piece called "Prelude Fis Moll" has got to be one of the most sombre things I ever heard by a progressive rock group. Outstanding!
    Yes, the album's sound does remind me of Art Zoyd's use of electronics in the 80s/early 90s (which I like very much). "Prelude" is indeed sombre, but also, probably because of that, an absolutely beautiful piece of music.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    I really like some of the other things released by Bohéme from that period, such as Epos, Sepsis, Rainy Season and Pesniary. Didn't they issue the lovely first album by In Spe as well? That one has become very scarce now.
    Boheme saved many interesting albums from total obscurity, but none of the others match the heights scaled by Horizont, IMO of course. In Spe was issued by Eesti Raadio, the Estonian radio's label. Kaseke and Synopsis were the two Estonian groups reissued by Boheme.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    In Spe was issued by Eesti Raadio, the Estonian radio's label. Kaseke and Synopsis were the two Estonian groups reissued by Boheme.
    And the VSP Project, if I'm not mistaken?
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

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    I got portrait of a boy on emusic.com. Now I have to checkout this other one. Thanks.

  13. #13
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    There is a third one listed on emusic.com

  14. #14
    How did I miss this thread from seven years ago? I think they are one of the best bands out of the Eastern Bloc, definitely the best from Russia. Their take on “symphonic” prog was totally radical, using some extremely sophisticated “modern classical” ideas. I like how this album in particular eases you into their style, beginning with a song that would not be out of place on an album by The Enid, before launching into a song where triumphant fanfares sit cheek-by-jowl alongside harsh dissonances. By the last track, they have devolved into throbbing Zeuhl bass, freak-out synth, discordant piano tone-clusters and drunken, wordless vocalizing.

    Portrait of a Boy goes even further off the deep end. I really don’t know of any other band who went so far with the programming of a DX7 to produce all-out, glitchy noise. And then to compose a kind of “symphony” out of those noises. Those looking for the missing bridge between Yes and Univers Zero need to hear this.

    Someone else mentioned Epos. I got Ilya when the CD came out, despite people warning me off them. In retrospect, I am glad I didn’t listen to them. This is definitely one of a kind; Orthodox liturgical singing mated to synthesizer, chamber strings, rock drums and more of that Zeuhl bass. Truly one of a kind.

    Enjoy this extremely cool discovery: Epos performing the title suite to their extremely rare second album, George Victorious:

    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  15. #15
    Missed the same thread myself. For me Gorizont are the most fascinating of east euro sympho-prog bands. Their inventive multi-keyboard approach full of classical references plus the complex avant twists and the superb incorporation of an obscure aura akin to the zeuhlian style (on their second album) works miracles to my ears. Mega recommended!
    Last edited by spacefreak; 1 Week Ago at 09:06 AM.
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