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Sky - Sky 4: Forthcoming CD (album) cover

SKY 4: FORTHCOMING

Sky

 

Eclectic Prog

2.56 | 29 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The music of SKY has been referred as "granny prog", and that amusing tag is indeed very accurate. Their classically influenced instrumental rock is technically perfect, clean, relatively free of big surprises - and quite sterile to the ears of acquainted prog listeners. It's probably the 2nd album (a double on a full-length CD) that has the most to offer for us. After that work keyboardist Francis Monkman (formerly of CURVED AIR) left Sky and was replaced by Steve Gray, who in my opinion was a very good choice. Funny how much he looks like greyed Tony Banks... But now onto the Forthcoming: this time Sky, featuring the classical guitar virtuoso John Williams, decided to make an all-covers album concentrating on the works of art music composers. To some this seems to be reason enough to malign the results, but I see no point to do so. Sky remains faithful to their own style, and this shortish album isn't so bad at all. Had they chosen only the best-known classical pieces that everyone would recognize, it would have been a totally different situation, closer to tasteless things like Hooked On Classics.

The danceable 'Masquerade' (Khatchaturian) sounds like it was written by - or for - this group. 'Ride of the Valkyries', the dramatic Wagner tune known also from the film Apocalypse Now, suffers from the popularity of the piece, and the electric guitar focussed sound is definitely not Sky at its best, nor is the drama captured very well. 'March to the Scaffold' (from Hector Berlioz' Fantastic Symphony) is percussionist Tristan Fry's choice, a favourite tune since his youth. The percussion comes to the fore in this strong arrangement. The next tune 'To Yelasto Pedi' is taken from the film "Z", familiar to many also as a sung version. This rhythmic track contains a small delicate moment for acoustic guitar and marimba.

'Waltz No. 2' (Ravel) is an excellent choice, especially as it isn't so worn-out. The nocturnal arrangement gives it a Satie-like spirit. I like the harpsichord and rich guitar texture on 'Fantasy' (Bach) but Baroque music suits much worse for crossover treatment. The version of a Spanish tune 'My Giselle', in which Kevin Peek's arrangement favours electric guitar, is poignantly compared to ALAN PARSONS PROJECT by Kenethlevine. 'Xango' of Brazilian origin leans on Fry's moody marimba but remains rather sleepy. 'Skylark', an evergreen composed by Hoagy Carmichael, has a nice classical guitar arrangement. ---------

My main reason to review Sky is receiving three recent Esoteric Recordings re-releases (# 2, 3, 4) that each feature a concert DVD as a bonus. From that point of view this one - with an 1982 TV performance entitled "Sky: Night Music" - is the least satisfying, both because of the shortness (approximately 46 minutes) and the cheaper visual looks. There's a fine acoustic arrangement of 'Fool on the Hill'. Tristan Fry's joke-like 'Tuba Smarties' seems to have been a concert perennial, unfortunately. In case I won't review other albums, let it be said that Sky 3's DVD featuring a lengthy concert from Westminster Abbey (1981) is very enjoyable, and Sky 2's slightly rockier DVD is recorded in 1980 with Francis Monkman still in the band.

Matti | 3/5 |

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