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Bo Hansson - El-Ahrairah [Aka: Music Inspired By Watership Down] CD (album) cover


Bo Hansson


Symphonic Prog

3.66 | 44 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars For some odd reason, this later album by Swedish artist Bo Hanson is frequently considered a real drop in quality from his previous works, but I can't for the life of me understand why. `Music Inspired by Watership Down', based around the well-known Richard Adams novel, is still full of all the colour, shimmering keyboards and unpredictable quirks usually associated with Hanson's work, and there's still plenty of traces that made his earlier albums (including one of my personal favourites `Attic Thoughts') so memorable and delicious to the ear. Like with an earlier album `Lord of the Rings', Mr Hanson once again turned to a beloved novel for initial inspiration, and the results are perhaps one of the most tasteful and exquisite instrumental prog albums, and certainly one of the most gentle!

With an army of keyboard variety (Moog, Hammond organ, you name it), endless tempo changes, propulsive drumming, jazz/fusion electric guitar flavours and even some adorable strolling reggae moments in the finale, the almost 17 minute opener `Born in the Gentle South' is a lush and mellow epic. Hanson's fellow musicians here have frequent little duels between eachother, with Kebnekaise member Kenny Hakensson's grand electric guitar solo in the climax worthy of approval from Camel mainman Andy Latimar himself. Playful, dynamic and always endlessly melodic, the whole piece makes for a sublime example of impossibly charming instrumental prog at it's most romantic.

After the brief delirous synth/guitar/drum interlude `Allegro For A Rescue', the stark piano and tip-toeing flute of the darker `Legend and Light' is full with a playful creeping unease, with two booming fanfares to offer some blustery relief. For such an imposing title, `Trial and Adversity' is actually very mellow and dreamy, with the most gentle of David Gilmour- inspired guitar licks over wavering spacey synths and placid washes of synths and another little taste of soft reggae tones. `The Twice - Victory' opens as a delicate and affectionate acoustic guitar and piano duet before rising to life as a victorious organ fanfare, only some electric guitar menace and marching drums raising the tension in the second half. Some Steve Hackett-type `Voyage of the Acolyte' sounds are in evidence here, and the instrumental melodies throughout the piece might be some of the prettiest Hanson ever offered. The brief `The Kingdom Brightly Smiles' is a warm piano solo finale to then close on.

I wonder if the album had a different title and a more colourful cover (or even a borderline insane one like `Attic Thoughts'), followers of Bo Hanson who kind of dismiss this one would be a little more forgiving. Suitable for a lazy afternoon background listen or a great way to unwind for everyday stresses, `Music Inspired by `Watership Down" is a perfectly lovely and diginified instumental album that lovers of Bo Hanson's previous works and the romantic prog of artists such as Camel, Rousseau and Terpandre should adore.

Four stars for this timeless little beauty.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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