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Yesterdays - Holdfénykert CD (album) cover



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erik neuteboom
3 stars Yesterdays is a Hungarian band with mainly Romanian musicians, the current line-up features 10 band members including 3 women. Yesterdays is rooted in early 2000 and has already made a demo tape (entitled Come Dream With Me from 2002), a serie of CD's and even a DVD. During the first part of this CD their sound is pleasant and folky inspired featuring lots of acoustic guitar and flute along a wonderful female voice with echoes from Annie Haslam. I am delighted about an acoustic guitar duet (twanging and solo) and the omnipresent violin-Mellotron waves. The second part of Holdenfenykert delivers a way more symphonic rock sound featuring fluent Moog runs and again beautiful Mellotron work. But we can also enjou pure folk and I was very pleased with a duet from acoustic guitar and harpsichord, that distinctive vintage keyboard. My highlight is the long and alternating song entitled Seven: it starts with a fluent rhythm, Moog flights and Mellotron waves and mellow parts with warm female vocals, then a compelling piece with sensitive guitar and lush Mellotron. The final part begins with a flute solo and howling guitar runs and finally a sumptuous eruption with a swirling Hammond solo. To me this sounds as a wonderful blend of folk and symphonic rock, very tasteful, this band will please both the prog-folk - as the symphonic prog fans. Two years ago we talked about adding this band to Prog Archives, I am sure the band members (a salut to Zsolt from here) are very glad that in the end they are part of PA! My rating: 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#176918)
Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I must start this review with a confession, I know this band from the Holdfénykert album's first gig, it took place in Cluj Napoca (Romania) on the 22nd October in 2006. A friend of mine recommended this band, at that time I was so much into Sfinx's Zalmoxe album (RO), so I gave them a try and since than I am a Yesterdays fan. But I will try to keep a distance to write about Yesterdays' debut album.

Holdfénykert (Moonlit Garden) is a very intimate album, lyrically speaking and it is maybe because the Hungarian language is a very deep, delicate and philosophical, mystical language. The strong lyrical content is maybe accessible only for Hungarians but the music can also take you there!

This album is definitely about different states and dimensions of Love, from the beginning (the meeting) till the departure and a difficult end, maybe a say-goodbye.

Let's see the songs:

1. Sunlit Garden / Napfénykert is a shiny little tune, very progressive with sophisticated rythm changes and multiple flute voices (flute is definitely the main instrument in this little song), a nice acuostic guitar solo, a great intro, very light, we can call this the meeting... folky, but in a very progressive and symphonic way! Kozma Kis Emese, the flute player of this album is shining through!

2. Infinite / Végrelen is the second title of the album, shows the early side of Yesterdays (they played jazzy-bossa nova music in their early days)... A drum-and-bass like drum groove fills the song with pop energy and I must say that the lyrics are very funny and unusual here, hungarian word-jokes if you like. The music is very pop-jazzy, but the orchestration and the production is strong progressive rock. Delightfulo flute passages/solos, acoustic guitars, percussion (congas/bongos/shakers) and calm/clear vocals from Kinga Jánosi.

3. Don't Be Scared / Ne félj starts with reversed Fender Rhodes sounds and quotes a traditional hugarian folk song called "Felszállott a páva". The bass playing in this song is very accurate and soloistic. A flute solo follows and the vocal comes in, projecting some words about the last song of the album "Valahol a térben"... From the shinging beginning the band hits a darker tone and the song gets a Jethro Tull-like vibe and even some Genesis touch before the song reaches a very interestin guitar synth solo in the style of Pat Metheny, but here it's not jazzy, it's symphonical and very proggy.

4. On the Musea's edition there is a confusion about the order of the songs. The sleeve mentions It's so divine but it's Ákos Bogáti's solo guitar piece (If Ever). Since I had the chance to see Ákos performing this piece I can tell that it has nothing to do with Steve Howe's acoustic performances. He uses some special tapping techniques to play the arrangements and the solo melody in the same time. It's the delight of the Yesterdays gigs!

5. It's so divine is the first piece in English on this album, probably the first song of Yesterdays ever written. (The lyrics were written by Andrea Ercsey, the first lead singer of the band in 2002) It starts like a Pat Metheny tune (it reminds me of Phase dance) with vocals and nice proggy arrangements through this jazzy-bossa nova feel. A very nice moog glide in the middle of the song, very difficult harmony changes and many vocals. I would still consider this as a pop song in symphonic prog arrangements... interesting fusion.

6. Where are you / Hol vagy A long piece, filled with acoustic guitars, flute and clear female vocals from Timea Fülöp and Kinga Jánosi. Ákos also sings backing vocals. This is probably my favourite Yesterdays song yet, mainly because its intimate feel. On the first Yesterdays gig I've seen some people crying during this song. It's about an endless search. The music follows the mood of the lyrics with strong Pat Metheny and Anna Maria Jopek infuences (their duet album called Upojenie comes into my mind immediatly!) The end of the song quotes some Spock's Beard (The Light) and even some Marillion. On the concerts Ákos Bogáti plays piano while Zsolt plays the mellotron. The ending is "tragical" and it is the highest spiritual point of this album.

7. Just stay / Várj még is mosr Symphonic Prog, filled with acoustic guitars again and beautiful female vocals. It starts like a Spock's Beard song (like Say Goodbye to Yesterday) and reaches a flute solo. The percussion of Dávid Kósa here helps Domokos Csergő's drumming iona perfect harmony. At the end Zsolt Enyedi plays a very virtuoso moog solo in the spirit of Rick Wakeman and after his solo here's another quoting, this time they sing some Beatles here, 1 line from Strawberry Fields Forever.

8. Holdfénykert / Moonlit Garden is a very unusual title track, a harpsichord/acoustic guitar duet featuring some bird singing... Personally I don't understand the meaning of this song, it's a little bit boring, but lovers of foly prog may love this tune. It's the opposite of the first tune (Sunlit Garden), it's melancholic. I've heard a more interesting live version once.

9. Seven - it's the highlight of the album, the most powerful and symphonic prog tune of this album. More than 11 minutes long and it has everything a prog-fan would ask for. A powerful intro with moog virtuoso, tons of mellotrons, flute passages, multiple and poliphonical vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, rythm changes, experimenting (guitar solo sounds), hammond organ solo (not ELP, very Wakeman style instead). Progressive and positive ending, beautiful lyrics. A real delight on the Yesterdays gigs, this year they introduced a powerful bass solo of Zoltán Kolumbán... I'd really like to hear a studio version with this new lineup!)

10. Valahol a térben / Somewhere in Space is a slow Bolero of this album, a very good ending, but the electric drums at the end may sound strange to some progressive ears... this song shares roots with Marillion's This is the 21st Century. It starts with a slow building orchestration and electric guitar solo. Than the vocals are entering with ethereal harmonies and Kate Bush-like hypnotical touches (the Kate Bush we know from Aereal). Very nice piano parts and also some modern synth pads. The song ends with a slide guitar solo and strong and importan lyrical message: "soha többé már"... "somewhere the nevermore"... a very difficult and emotionally hard engind of the album's story. The lyrics of this song is based on parallels and opposite things, the poliphonycal vocal arrangements are building up like a Bolero till the confusion and lyrically speaking it's the perfect choice to round up the message. The sad ending in this case has some catarsis too, sorry it is accessible mainly for hungarians :)

After all these years this album is still one of my favourite Eastern European progressive albums, a very nice debut of a very young band. Of course I am looking fowrard to hear their follow-up this year, but since I bought this CD I could listen to it only carefully, because of the emotionally strong content, but this is the personal side of this reviewer (me).

This CD is mainly for symphonic progrock fans who like Camel, early Genesis and Yes, but you'll have to have some ears for pop and jazzy things too. A nice journey to all the curious and open-mindend progrock fans.

Report this review (#177090)
Posted Thursday, July 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars A young band with a great future

After several months of delay, due to the fact that the Symphonic Team expert from Romania left Prog Archives, and with the invaluable help of Zsolt Enyedi (Keyboardist of YESTERDAYS) who supported us with the language barrier, the band was finally added to the Symphonic and last Friday I received my autographed copy of "Holdfénykert Enhanced" (Which I treasure) in the office.

The first thing I did is to exchange a CD from the cartridge in the car and replace it for this album, being that in the more than hour journey to home, I had enough time to listen it.

The first surprise (Unexpected in a new band) is the fantastic production, the sound is pristine clear, to the point that you can listen clearly the fingers Bogáti-Bokor Ákos touching the nylon chords of the guitar, so with that technical quality, there are no excuses to avoid writing a fair review of this album based exclusively in the music.

The album is opened with the fantastic "Napfénykert ~ Sunlit Garden", an acoustic guitar intro, soon followed by accurate drums and the excellent flute of Kozma Kis Emese, who leads the band with unusual dexterity for such a young woman. The song flows gently through the 2:11 minutes that seem too short.

"Végtelen ~ Infinite" starts again with an acoustic guitar solo, but this time with the fantastic vocals of Jánosi Kinga or Fülöp Tímea (The album doesn't specify, but the important thing is that each time I heard double vocals, the two ladies have a fantastic voice) and the unique style of Szolt Enyedi in the keyboards, who manages to keep hidden in the background but manages to make explosive appearances when required. It's also impressive how YESTERDAYS manage to blend a Symphonic structure with Transylvanian/Hungarian Folk, some Jazz end even a bit of Bossa nova. The lyrics in Hungarian seem very similar to Portuguese what enhances the Brazilian elements.

"Ne félj ~ Don't Be Scared" has a long Synth intro which is joined by the acoustic guitar and drums, then comes the Latin percussion and of course the flute, wonderful synchronization, again the way they blend a mainly Classic Symphonic structure with all this different sounds and flavors is simply delightful.

"It's So Divine" Starts with Jánozi Kinga on the lead vocals and backed by Fulop Timea and Bogati- Bokor Atos adding the main backing vocals to create a wonderful work and interesting contrast, while Zsolt Enyedi gives us one of his most memorable Moog performances, the whole band is at the peak, they sound better than ever.

"Ha majd egyszer ~ If ever" Now it's the turn of the talented "Bogáti-Bokor Ákos" to present us a pure acoustic guitar track, despite the references to "Steve Howe", his style is very peculiar and original, very beautiful. (The album edition seem to mistake track N° 4 for track N° 5, because the lyrics are clear)

"Hol vagy? ~ Where Are You?" begins with a keyboard and guitar intro that leads to a vocal section of amazing sweetness which morphs gently into a more mysterious sound, again the two female vocalists give a strong performance.

"Várj még ~ Just Stay" is another keyboard oriented track but well supported by a solid vocal work, percussion and flute, up to this point I was ready to say that this was the weakest track but then a great Moog section that changes the mood and the musical approach of all the previous track. Simply amazing and unexpected, Powerful and dynamic.

"Holdfénykert ~ Moonlit Garden" is the only track we can see in the Bonus section as a video, starts with a keyboard section "a la" YES (Going for the One era) and then the guitar joins to create a semi unplugged memorable track.

Now it's the turn for the epic, the track "Seven" is "la piece de resistance", during 11:48 minutes the band hits us wit all they have, radical changes, lush keyboards, electric guitars and everything you can imagine is present, trying to describe it is futile, better get the album and enjoy it.

"Valahol a térben ~ Somewhere in Space" closes the album, more melofdic than the previous and much softer but the beauty replaces the frantic and breathtaking sections, great closer, if you get this version of the album, you can see this track in a video as bonus material.

What else can I say? Excellent production, great presentation, bonus material and better music, the album is complete, but won't give them 5 stars, because it would mean YESTERDAYS has reached their peak, and I'm sure they have much more to offer, they are skilled and very young, we will be seeing them for many years.

Four very solid stars.

Report this review (#179407)
Posted Monday, August 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Intriguing debut album by this band based in Cluj, Romania.

The first six tunes are for the most part mellow, slick compositions dominated by acoustic guitar licks, with some use of flute to add a folk feel to the songs, some addition of careful floating keyboard layer in the back of the soundscape to add symphonic elements - with a most times jazz tinged drum or percussion pattern as the foundation for the tunes.

Then in the 7th and 9th tune we're treated to songs much more symphonic-dominaated, with layered keyboards, some drawn out guitar chords at times, as well as flute and acoustic guitar licks combining to make 70's influenced symphonic songs.

A mostly mellow release that will reward the liberal-minded symphonic prog fans as well as the crowd more interested with folk tinged compositions.

Report this review (#183479)
Posted Wednesday, September 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very enjoyable and beautiful album from a bunch of very promising musicians. I discovered this band in the late 2006, and I saw them before listening to the CD I purchased at the venue. Now, I'm a proud and happy owner of an autographed copy of this album.:) The 10 tracks of Moonshinegarden contain very nice vintage keyboards, Moogs, Mellotrons, album is a warm and friendly experience, I would maybe say that this is a summertime album for many, but for me it is enjoyable during any season. All tracks are quite nice, Seven is also my favourite. This mini epic beyond the usual infliuences in latter day Symphonic Prog has a bit Gentle Giant flavour, too. At least, to my ears. For me a highlight of this band was the presence of three ladies (Kinga on vocals, Tímea on vocals, and Emese on flute). Unfortunately, none of them is a member of Yesterdays anymore, that's a sad thing because I like Kinga's voice a lot, and Emese's flute gives an extra flavour to the music. Actually only the very talented Zsolt Enyedi and the superb guitarist and band leader Ákos Bogáti-Bokor are still with band. This sounds not so kind, but Ákos is the main composer, and together with Zsolt they make the biggest impact on Yesterdays' sound. I am quite optimistic for the future of the band, I hope with their new line up they will conquer new musical heights. If you can't imagine your music without thunderous metal riffs and avantgarde quirkiness and experimentation, the Yesterdays probably won't please you very much. Especially not, if innovation and progressing are you favourite words when music is the subject of discussion. But if you like melodic, warm and positive sounding symphonic prog with some folky elements this is an excellent addition to your collection.
Report this review (#201207)
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Holdfénykert is a strong first album for this Romanian band, which plays a modern interpretation of classic Symphonic Prog. Inspired strongly by 70's Genesis, Camel, Gentle Giant, and Yes... this band still manage to forge a unique sound of their own.

Mellotron sounds lie in the background of nearly every song and add heaps of halcyon atmosphere. There is often a strong flute presence as well, which is usually synthetically harmonized by the excellent keyboardist (Enyedi Zsolt) on his Strawberry Fields-ish flute-mellotron. Occasionally a Mini-Moog lead will surface, but not nearly often enough... as good as this keyboardist is he should be featured more prominently.

The vocals are the strong suit of this band. The female vocalist provides very pure and enchanting leads, while (the band's mastermind and lead songwriter) Bogáti-Bokor Ákos provides excellent harmony and counterpoint.

There are a few very good songs, but also a couple of clunkers. 'Végtelen', 'Ne félj', and 'It's So Divine' are all excellent songs in the first half, but the second half of the album drags a little. The albums's epic centerpiece 'Seven' has some very good synthesizer moments, but is too long and drawn out.

There are three instrumentals: opener 'Napfénykert' is a magical piece of music, somewhat similar to Camel with it's beautiful flute melodies. 'Ha majd egyszer' is an acoustic guitar instrumental with a bit of a folk feel to it: it reminds me of Led Zeppelin's acoustic solo songs, like Bron-Yr-Aur, but isn't as good and basically feels like filler on this album. 'Holdfénykert' is a classically inspired acoustic guitar piece, which also seems like filler and only serves to lengthen this already too-long album.

'Valahol a térben' introduces an electronic beat which gives the song an almost Trip Hop feeling, which i like. I'd like to see the band expound on this style on future material as i really like the effect it generates here.

The band have a strong Pop sensibility and many tracks are very catchy and stay with you a long time... especially the amazing Végtelen. Sometimes they remind me of a Proggy version of the Aussie Indie-Pop band 'Frente'. There are sometimes Jazz progressions as well... this band likes to mix a little of everything into their sound; sometimes i even feel an Astrud Gilberto-esque samba undercurrent, which i love.

I hope this band stays together and releases more albums. This is a good debut, but you can tell there is plenty of room for growth. They are still probably an album or two away from their masterpiece.

3.5 stars

Report this review (#205537)
Posted Thursday, March 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Yesterdays are based in Cluj Napoca, Romania and were formed in 2000 by Hungarian singer/guitarist Bogati-Bokor Akos, founding member also of Tabula Smaragdina and part of the last You and I line-up.With the disbanding of the later in 2005, Akos focused on writing material for Yesterdays, where the sound would link the vintage Progressive Rock sound with the modern technologic stylings.Helped mainly by keyboardist Enyedi Zsolt, female singer Janosi Kinga and drummer Csergo Domokos along with session musicians, ''Holdfenykert'' was released in 2006 by Hungarian label Rockszerviz, to be reissued just two years later by Musea.

Mission accomplished for Mr. Akos, as ''Holdfenykert'' carries all the aspects of both old and new prog generations in an album that combines Symphonic Rock with Folk along with some Pop sensibilities.The band sounds insanely similar to Italians CONQUEROR or even SPOCK'S BEARD both on the soft and more stronger parts with an evident tendency towards melodic Prog, headed by ethereal female vocals and harmonic pieces.A very clear and professional production and a dreamy voice is mixed with dominant flute parts and a fair dose of Mellotron sounds to come up with an effort respecting the masters of the 70's but also stepping on the present years.Keyboards parts seem to be the most interesting part of the album, from the use of the mighty Mellotron to the brilliant synths solos on the longer compositions.Akos, being the main composer of the band, managed to blend equally more folky acoustic parts with strong and more symphonic cuts, but overall the sound has a very calm and positive aura.

The Hungarian version of Fabio Zuffanti?Not as prolific or talented as the Italian mastermind, but definitely Mr. Akos seems to be a very creative musician with plenty of interesting ideas.Yesterdays' ''Holdfenykert'' is a good proof.Mellow Symphonic/Folk Rock with decent quality.Recommended.

Report this review (#725892)
Posted Friday, April 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars YESTERDAYS is apparently made up of ethnic Hungarians who live in Romania. The female vocals are in both English and Hungarian. The music itself is what i'd describe as light and sweet. Probably because of the female vocals and airy flute that dominates the sound much of the time. There is mellotron but it's sampled, still it does help me enjoy this more than I would have otherwise.

I'm going to use the English song titles provided. "Sunlit Garden" is a short opening track with strummed guitar, flute and a beat leading the way. We get some mellotron as well. "Infinite" has picked guitar as reserved vocals join in. It picks up with a beat. Mellotron before 1 1/2 minutes followed by flute. Vocal melodies late. "Don't Be Scared" opens with intricate sounds and atmosphere. It starts to pick up after 2 minutes with flute. Reserved vocals a minute later. Mellotron before 5 minutes. "If Ever" is a short piece with acoustic guitar melodies throughout. "It's So Divine" has strummed guitar as vocals, a beat and flute join in. Mellotron after 1 1/2 minutes.

"Where Are You ?" is mellow with Hungarian vocals. Mellotron and flute also help out. "Just Stay" has fragile vocals, mellotron and a beat. Flute after 2 minutes and then synths lead from before 3 1/2 minutes to 5 minutes in. "Moonlit Garden" is a short instrumental. "Seven" is uptempo with synths leading then vocals after 2 minutes. Mellotron comes and goes. A calm before 6 minutes as male vocals come in. It picks up as female vocals return. "Somehwere In Space" opens with a beat as piano comes in. It builds until vocals arrive around 2 minutes as it settles back some.

Pleasant and well done for sure but this isn't the style of music I enjoy that much.

Report this review (#758677)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars My review (posted originally in November 10, 2015) concerns the remastered version of the 2006 debut album by YESTERDAYS, a band consisting of musicians from the Hungarian minority of Western Romania. [As a side note I'd like to mention that I've witnessed the amazing acoustic guitar playing of Ákos Bogáti-Bokor last spring in a gig featuring the Finnish band Paidarion and multi-national guests. That's one of my fondest gig memories.] A thank you to the drummer Kimmo Pörsti who kindly sent me this CD among a heap of others. He's an executive producer here. Ákos underlines that the remastering didn't involve any compression. The booklet features also very beautiful outdoor photography with piano keys, guitar and a flute. The musicians themselves are not photographed, but this visual approach suits nicely to the pastoral feel in the music. The short instrumental opener 'Napfénykert' stars flute, mellotron and acoustic guitar. Mellow and pretty, perhaps a bit too much so. 'Végtelen' introduces the charming, innocent female vocals. The playing is soft and dreamy, comparable to the classic KC ballad 'I Talk to the Wind'. On the third track there's a brief flute melody citing 'Close To The Edge' (this was amusing to hear for the first time: I instantly recognized it to be from a YES track, but which one was it...). The peaceful and accessible compositions on this acoustically oriented album are not hugely progressive -- and this fact is definitely not a fault, but understandably it can make the album sound a bit too spineless to some prog listeners.

Warmly recommended if you enjoy pastoral works of e.g. ANTHONY PHILLIPS, STEVE HACKETT, ERRATA CORRIGE, CELESTE etc. The Hungarian lyrics are completely beyond my reach but they do sound nice. A couple of songs are sung in English, and actually some of the charm is lost by that. I really like this peaceful music with lots of flute, but the compositions indeed could be more impressive. Hence four stars.

Report this review (#1947287)
Posted Tuesday, July 10, 2018 | Review Permalink

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