Monday, December 21, 2015

Progresiv TM - 1976 - Dreptul De A Visa

Progresiv TM
Dreptul De A Visa

01. Omul e valul (6:06)
02. Nimeni nu e singur (3:45)
03. Ruşinea soarelui (3:26)
04. Clepsidra (4:32)
05. Odatǎ doar vei rǎsǎri (3:29)
06. Va cǎdea o stea (4:21)
07. Dreptul de a visa - Poetul devenirii noastre (10:54)

Harry Coradini - vocals
Ladislau Herdina - guitar, vocals
Ilie Stepan - bass
Gheorghe Torz - flute
Mihály Farkas - piano
Hely Moszbrucker - drums

One of the foremost Romanian bands of the Seventies, PROGRESIV TM were formed in Timiºoara in 1972 with the name of Classic XX. The following year, after changing their name, they debuted in their home town, performing to great acclaim.

Originally, PROGRESIV TM were a six-piece, whose bassist, Ilie Stepan, was also a founding member of PRO MUSICA. Their first album, "Dreptul de-a visa", was released in 1973. It features skilfully composed hard rock tunes with plenty of soaring melody and a strong emphasis on vocal harmonies, enhanced by flute interludes somewhat reminiscent of Italian band DELIRIUM.

Four years later, after some changes in their line-up, PROGRESIV TM released their second album, "Puterea muzicii", which showed their sound had developed into a more elaborate direction. The presence of the piano and, occasionally, of strings, combined with the band's trademark ear for melody, as well as definitely better production values, make this album one of the best examples of Eastern European prog. Unfortunately, the group disbanded soon afterwards.

 I can clearly remember watching a TV show on BBC admiring arts and crafts made by POW's during the Napoleonic wars, thinking of the hardships they must have encountered in their captivity. Whilst pondering on their misfortunes I also was in awe, considering what splendid pieces of art created. Bear in mind, being a prisoner means, by definition, to be deprived of things, both spiritual and material.
The same feelings emerge whenever I listen to prog from the Eastern European countries during the cold war. How hard mustn't it have been? To express oneself artistically in any oppressive state is hard no matter where you live. Living in Romania under Ceausescu was not all fun and games, if you get my drift. Thus listening to Progresiv TM I find myself just as much in awe as I did back in the Edinurgh dungeons.

But wait, there are two separate stories here. The first time I listened to Progresiv TM I dug "Omul valul" but thought that the rest was, well... Uninteresting really. That was a couple of years ago. My feelings towards the album now is very much the opposite.

I would like to start off by saying something about the music, what it sounds like. It mostly resembles a Tullified Sabbath with an Eastern European flavor. Think Sabbath with Ian Anderson, backed up by the romanian band Phoenix and you are not far off.

The songs are all, bar one, hard rock with a progressive edge. Heavy prog could be an apt description. When reading on the internet I find that some think parts of the album being poppy but I disagree. The second track "Nimeni nu e singur" is the softest track on the album but it is more in the vein of 1970's hard rock ballad-y sort of thing. Very nice too, I might add.

The whole album is infused with vibrant lust for music. The enthusiasm and liveliness expressed on here is both admirable and entracning. I can't help smiling as the album grooves along.

There are many things to point out, when it comes to the material. "Omul valul", for instance, starts off with a sort of jazzy intro before it steams it's way into a powerful riff and glorious energy. The song builds up and ends with great soloing and high-pitched energy. "Rusinea soarelui" is equally heavy and holds also a great jazzy section in the middle that makes this track into something really enticing. The most epic track on the album is the title track which last for over 10 minutes. It is one of those tracks that feel like a couple of minutes, not ten. Structured and cohesive it is a beautiful way of ending a really amazing album.

I can't stop listening to this album. The musicianship, energy, grooves, ideas, love of music and general atmosphere of the album is really on par with a lot of contemporary albums. Being that the lyrics are all in romanian, I can't understand a word they are singing. (Some remarks have been made that the lyrics are all a bit censored but what else could you expect? I dare say that Ceausescu would not have approved of anything remotely resembling criticism.) All in all, this is an album worthy of more attention and recognition. It is wonderful. Really it is.

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