Arjen Lucassen - Lost In The New Real

Arjen Lucassen - Lost In The New Real

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(CD/LP, InsideOut Music, 2012)

I don’t how Arjen does this, but with every release he manages to impress me. Of course, and I am talking as a fan and not like a fancy music critic who thinks he is different because he publishes his opinion in a mag. And every time I am facing the same dilemma; should I rate this album with 10 out of 10? But what about his next release? Arjen is one of the few musicians out there to whom I have absolute confidence in every discographic step. I simply know that he will release an album only when he has something to new produce and not just for keeping his name on top of the news list. So, instead of making another AYREON album Arjen locked himself in the studio and recorded a record by handling everything! If you are familiar to his projects then you understand how impressive is that...

As always there is a concept story behind the album and this time Arjen presents Mr. L who was cryo-preserved and wakes up in the distant future when there is a cure for his disease but also there are major differences in the world. So, we go into an emotional trip with him as he meets this new environment. This story may sound superficial or too sci-fi but if you think about this for a while then you will understand Mr. L’s struggle but also the current downward spiral course our world and society have been into (just think through this...)

There is also music behind (or in front if you prefer) the story and this is where the fun part is. The songs have multiple layers and one can really enjoy the process of peeling this music onion to get to the center of it just and discover that he has to start over again. Yeah, this kaleidoscope of sounds covers the 60s-70-80s… and even touches our days with such a rich texture that you will need more auditions in order to taste everything. No, this is not a case of progressive Hard Rock where the complicated structures cause more headaches than a really bad hangover. You just need time to open all doors and focus on the keyboards, then on the guitars, then on the vocals, then... It is up to you how deep you want to get here but trust me, if you start digging there is no turning back.

The clever use of keyboards (again there is Hammond magic here) and electronic samples keep that sci-fi character intact but also maintains a connection channel with the 70s aesthetics through the psychedelic sound-scapes and the underlining THE BEATLES or JETRHO TULL (the flute has that effect you know) influences or references. “The New Real” opens the album as a showcase what the listener should expect. Arjen deals the vocals in the album while the actor Rutger Hauer delivers the narrations with his deep and characteristic timbre. The funny part of this album is that it feels like a 70s sci-fi movie soaked in the naivety we used to enjoy in the pre-CGI infested days. Take for example the mood-lifting melodies of “Pink Beatles In A Purple Zeppelin” and have more fun with the lyrics on “Where Pigs Fly” where the term alternate reality applies (“...and Jimmy played the flute”). The in-between narrations help the story and fortunately don’t mesh with the flow of the album keeping the interest in high levels since after all apart from the music are the lyrics that some times are nutrition food for thought. “Parental Procreation Permit” and “E-Police” are two fine examples of this and sadly do not belong to that distant future... Musically I’d say those two belong to the latest AYREON “01011001” days with partial post-apocalyptic sonic atmosphere and a heaviness that grants this review among the METAL KAOZ presentations.

This presentation has become already long enough to cause the first signs of boredom to the reader who simply wants to get the musical aspect of this album. The truth is that there is more than music here and once again Arjen has created a great album with shocking depth and quality. He has brilliantly touched many different music genres and created a thick blend that will stimulate more areas of your brain apart from the listening­ section. If you haven’t experienced an Arjen album this is a good occasion to do so but if you have then you know what I am talking about! It’s once again time for LIFT OFF!

P.S.: You might want to get the bonus material with the awesome cover songs (“Welcome To The Machine” will give you the chills) and the tracks that could not fit that well to the story line but definitely fit the Arjen music quality.

9/10



Links:

www.ArjenLucassen.Com


Tracklist:

CD1
01. The New Real
02. Pink Beatles In A Purple Zeppelin
03. Parental Procreation Permit
04. When I’m A Hundred Sixty-Four
05. E-Police
06. Don’t Switch Me Off
07. Dr Slumber’s Eternity Home
08. Yellowstone Memorial Day
09. Where Pigs Fly
10. Lost In The New Real

CD2
01. Our Imperfect Race
02. Welcome To The Machine (PINK FLOYD cover)
03. So Is There No God?
04. Veteran Of The Psychic Wars (BLUE ÖYSTER CULT cover)
05. The Social Recluse
06. Battle Of Evermore (LED ZEPPELIN cover)
07. The Space Hotel
08. Some Other Time (ALAN PARSONS PROJECT cover)
09. You Have Entered The Reality Zone
10. I'm The Slime (FRANK ZAPPA cover)


Lineup:

Arjen Lucassen / "Mr. L" - Vocals, Instruments, Music, Lyrics
Rutger Hauer / "Dr. Voight-Kampff" - Narration
Wilmer Waarbroek - Backing Vocals
Ed Warby - Drums
Rob Snijders - Drums
Ben Mathot - Violin
Maaike Peterse - Cello
Jeroen Goossens - Flute
Elvya Dulcimer - Hammered Dulcimer On "Battle Of Evermore"