- Album Reviews

Gekko Projekt – Electric Forest

Review By Crobar

Once one plugs into the Electric Forest, one realizes it is an illuminating brand of Progressive music that ROCKS while creating the atmospheric musings, which harken back to the majestic heights of Pink Floyd, Genesis and Camel. There is enough muscle on the album to get the aggressive edge needed for urgency, yet it employs the delicacy of Genesis & Camel type atmospheres to project layers of sound and create literally a world of imagination. Progressive Rock has been many things, but at its height, it relied on its composition. Gekko Projekt has very strong compositions, and a lyric content that will send you to different places in time.

Vance Gloster is the band’s keyboardist, but also plays guitar and lead vox. He not only can tame the arsenal of keyboards required for Progressive Rock, but also seamlessly tucks the technology under warps and glides through his performance like a magician working his magic! He is a very tasteful keyboardist who knows what it takes to give just the right amount of performance without taking away from the music! His sound engineering is stellar and his control of his keyboard tower is Emersonian. Vance not only mans the keyboard stack but he is one of the main contributors to the writing. Vance receives credits on 7 of the 10 songs either as co-author or penning the tune himself. He also lends his vox to the lead chores.

Peter Matuchniak is the other major compositional source to the Gekko Projekt offering four compositional tunes, two of these in collaboration with Vance Gloster. Peter is no stranger to the Progressive movement being featured in several Fanzines in his native UK while still in his teens. His pedigree and subsequent prodigy is no surprise to the creative landscapes and personal touches he is able to emote from his instrument. He is able to grab unique tonality from various colors he uses in association with his playing style. His adeptness at switching this sonic palette so adeptly makes Peter a polished gem of guitarists in the Prog world.  The listener reacts as well. He gets to the soul of who the listeners is by opening his own and serving it from his guitar!

Vance and Peter are instrumental in guiding the band to it’s own unique sound…something that is so crucial in the survival of any band. The ability to carve out a sound that gives breath and a sense of their own personality to their musicianship! Gekko is SPOT ON in both counts!

Rick Meadows is one half of the rhythm section along with Alan Smith and I reference them together because they are one within the music. Rick’s bass playing is absolutely solid, carving out the bottom and pushing the band forward not merely establishing root tones, but digging in deep and unwavering in is meter and conviction! His sound is big, bold and beautifully contoured. It is a pleasure to see his talents used to express his instrument, his role and his stage presence forcefully, yet with taste.

A perfect compliment to Rick is Alan Smith, who is no stranger to the Prog scene in Southern California. Alan has complete control of his kit. Stated as briefly as possible, Alan’s playing is musical! While most of us may think of drums as tightened skins being hit and making sound that can be heard and felt, Alan shapes his tasteful playing to make music as well. His style can be fiercely aggressive as in the sweep of a fill that would move the foundation of any house. Then in the blink of an eye, before the listener can react, he can delicately stroke his cymbals to create a cascade of shimmering tones! Not a shy man, Alan also lends himself to some comedy relief, adding another component not often seen in Progressive bands as well as his lead vox on Black Hole.

Rick and Alan also contribute to the compositional penmanship of the bands musical offerings by writing a song together.

Together the Gekko Projekt has combined their backgrounds to create a synergy that paints a very bright future for this band. Electric Forrest is a very strong first album, complete with excellent compositions, musicianship, and if you can catch them live…the music only transcends what is on the album with even more dynamic urgency as they feed off the energy of the audience!

Progressive Rock has been needed in order for the torch to exchange hands and be passed to the next generations of musician. The gentlemen of the Gekko Projekt, have not only taken the torch but they are running with it ~ faster than many newcomers. A perfect marriage of UK brilliance, the birthplace of Prog Rock, and it’s California musical counterparts which adds the right touch of sonic perfection.

A must listen…it will remain on your play lists for years to come.

Highly recommended!!! I Wish the star count went to 6![author_infos title=][like][tweets][googleplus size=]

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