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LOOKING-GLASS LANTERN

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Looking-Glass Lantern picture
Looking-Glass Lantern biography
Looking-Glass Lantern is all about Graham Dunnington, an Englishman with a Classical background, who used to play for a Classical Rock band, propably this collaboration set the seeds of what was to come. He completed his PhD in Victorian Popular Music and the next step was to combine his studies with his love for Progressive Rock. In 2013 he recorded and released his debut ''A Tapestry of Tales'', a work close to the lines of GENESIS, THE ENID and early PENDRAGON, playing all instruments and singing. The next year ''The Hound of the Baskervilles'' was released, establishing Dunnington as one of the extremely talented composers of modern Symphonic Rock.

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Candlelight & EmpireCandlelight & Empire
Import
Imports 2017
Audio CD$23.99

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LOOKING-GLASS LANTERN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

LOOKING-GLASS LANTERN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.69 | 7 ratings
A Tapestry Of Tales
2013
4.07 | 20 ratings
The Hound of the Baskervilles
2014
4.27 | 12 ratings
Candlelight and Empire
2017

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LOOKING-GLASS LANTERN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Candlelight and Empire by LOOKING-GLASS LANTERN album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.27 | 12 ratings

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Candlelight and Empire
Looking-Glass Lantern Neo-Prog

Review by Progaholic2

4 stars I think, to fully appreciate the music of Graham Dunnington, (aka: Looking Glass Lantern), you need a penchant for concept prog, and a liking for a good story. Unlike the two previous LGL albums, this is not a re-telling of existing stories although, once again, Victorian England is the setting. Holmes and Watson are notable by their absence.

'Empire' refers to The British Empire but also to a fairly-wealthy Victorian home, the family who live within, and their servants. The storyteller is the maid, who asks for the listener's consent to describe her life and those of the other occupants of 'The Empire'. Thus, the first six tracks which comprise Part 1, introduce us to the maid, the cook, the governess, the master, and so on. Part 2 is a single 30 minute track entitled 'An Evening Soiree,' and how many self-respecting prog-heads could possibly resist a 30 minute epic. There is, if you read the notes, a further, rather unexpected element to the story. No spoilers though.

So, we begin with the maid who, like most below stairs, is a sad, unfulfilled creature. Going into service at a very young age, working her hands to the bone for long hours. She doesn't resent her role in the empire, the alternative of the workhouse being unthinkable, but she feels invisible ? nobody notices her or knows anything about her. The cook deals with the tradesmen at their back door entrance whilst preparing luncheon for the other world upstairs. She reflects on how different life would have been had she married. At the same time, the governess reminisces about the admirer who promised her the world then, without a word, left her. The Mistress of the house also has an inner turmoil ? she feels powerless and considers herself to be like a caged bird. All perform their duties with care and diligence, and keep their sadness to themselves.

In musical terms, these early tracks are varied, always strong, attractive melodies, never heavy. 'The maid' is accompanied by a tinkling piano as befits her solitary existence. All instruments burst in on the second track giving it a warm feel despite the melancholy lyric. 'The Cook' has an irresistible 'hook' and the track goes through many musical changes before returning to the original theme. The melody to a track like 'The Angel of the home' is strong enough to stand alone as an instrumental, a direction I'd like to see LGL go in the future. Generally, I feel that this album is musically stronger than 'The Hound' as the restriction of telling a long and complex mystery has been taken away.

An so to "An Evening Soiree"(30:03)

Like all good epics, An Evening Soiree has recurring themes, and enough varied ideas and pace- changes to justify a half hour track and to keep the listener interested. On the notes, Soiree is divided into 6 sections. I have to say that I don't like this practice as it implies that you are listening to a series of short tracks strung together. There are, however, no obvious breaks in the piece and you never lose sight of the fact that you are listening to a single work. The music follows the narrative; well behaved and welcoming at the outset, less fluffy and polite as the dinner guests reveal their differences. As I indicated, the music of LGL is never heavy and if prog metal is your thing, look elsewhere. Such styles would hardly compliment this tale.

Ok, so? the guests ? the vicar, the business partner and timid wife, arrive. The ever-present maid takes hats and coats, unnoticed and unappreciated as ever. This is Victorian England ? A portrait of the Queen, a roaring fire, the monarch of the glen, a stuffed bird in a glass case. Talk is polite and the vicar says grace? the queen is toasted. Then the business partner toasts the march of progress? and the awkwardness begins. He is the loudmouth of the group ? boastful and dominating of the conversation, he arrogantly speaks for everyone when he praises the glorious British Empire, our system of government, the march of progress and technology, and our humane treatment of the natives. There is much silent seething; the vicar preys silently in frustration at the man's superiority and overconfidence. The women talk of the weather and holidays, and the host's wife fumes inwardly about the minor role they must play in the whole charade. The maid flits in and out, invisible and ignored. And so it goes on, the vicar tries to raise his concerns about the poor but this is treated with polite condescension by the host and business partner.

In conclusion, this is a masterful and hugely entertaining piece of musical storytelling. It isn't a musical and isn't, (thank god,) a prog rock opera, (Lloyd-Webber vomit). It also, ISN'T neo-prog with all its doom and gloom, this is an uplifting and engrossing album that doesn't really fit the accepted prog genres. What stands out most is that the music revolves around the narrative, which some may find difficult on the ear? initially. All I say is, persevere ? it grows on you.

'And so the guests prepare to leave the empire'. Several years too late I fear.

 Candlelight and Empire by LOOKING-GLASS LANTERN album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.27 | 12 ratings

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Candlelight and Empire
Looking-Glass Lantern Neo-Prog

Review by Second Endeavour

5 stars Following up two prior, quite ambitious albums ('A Tapestry Of Tales' - 2013 & 'The Hound Of The Baskervilles' - 2014), LOOKING GLASS LANTERN return with a new offering 'Candlelight and Empire' which is another testament of classic progressive rock in a modern execution. To put my review into the right context, I wanna say that some closest musical cognates for LGL are such pillars of the genre as Genesis, Alan Parsons Project and Barclay James Harvest. There're many other reasons to be enthralled. This 'one person group' always offers their listeners lots of Sympho-tinged splendour, and the brand new CD is no exception. Four years back now, Graham Dunnington created the solo project to accomplish his own goals. Having the ability to play in a variety of different roles as the keyboardist, guitarist, drummer and bassist, Graham gives LGL a special depth - which majority of contemporary bands often lack. Sure, mister Dunnington is an incredibly gifted instrumentalist. He also possesses a heartfelt and recognizable voice, another trademark that helps to provide Looking Glass Lantern an extra stamp of quality. Well-written, composed, arranged, fully performed and produced by Graham Dunnington, CD 'Candlelight and Empire' is saturated with authentic progressive rock sound featuring the elegant compositions, melodical gusto, majestic soundscapes, divine keyboard textures, synth signatures, the polished guitar performance and dense rhythmic backbone. Certainly, the ethereal mode still prevails in material, yet this time around - together with a gorgeous suite 'An Evening Soirée' (30+ min. long) which stands out. There's a lot of detail and nuances to the songs that should reward repeat listens. Alongside the great music, you can hear the relevant lyrics with a special scenario. It's quite obvious, Graham Dunnington remains loyal to his source of historical inspiration, that seems really interesing. The new LGL record presents (once again) the storyline to contemplate a late XIX century's time to-the-point. Creating a slightly mysterious atmosphere of Victorian England is the important factor here. As far as the concept is concerned, descriptive lyrics are telling about one day in the life of typical middle-class family. There's a genuine feel of theatrics, a life-mirroring with emotional experiences. Involved songs are strived to maintain the general thread that should connect all pieces of this 'conceptual work'. The album grabs you from the initial theme 'The Maid', setting the scene. Overture-like chapter develops into a magnificent track 'The Girl Nobody Knows', which brings dazzling splashes of colour. The subtlety in build-up and plethora of hypnotising components are demonstrated on 'The Cook'. Afterwards, superlative 'The Governess and the Children' follows. (The utilized complementary instruments are Mellotron and accordion). It moves to the next song 'The Angel of the Home', drawing from the melodic and tying to the gentle piano. Supremely memorable piece with Hammond organ, 'The Husband' is much affected by classic Genesis style. Expanding the musical spectrum, the multi-layered epic 'An Evening Soirée' has embraced six parts ( 'A Shrine to Consumption', 'The March of Progress', 'A Civilised Nation', 'The Benefits of Empire', 'In Honour of St Cecilia', 'An Englishman's Home is his Empire', respectively). Being essential for the full story, 'The Maid' (reprise) sounds like a farewell to personages. Ultimately, when the last track finishes, you feel like you've listened to something wonderful, in the traditions of old-school progressive rock. In short, this release is delightful and if you have now a grave interest in Looking Glass Lantern, then you need to get it... RECOMMENDED!
 The Hound of the Baskervilles by LOOKING-GLASS LANTERN album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.07 | 20 ratings

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The Hound of the Baskervilles
Looking-Glass Lantern Neo-Prog

Review by PH

5 stars LOOKING-GLASS LANTERN is the alter ego of Graham Dunnington. This Englishman shares a passion for classic progressive rock, while also being avid lover of literary characters that came from the pen of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Both influences are reflected over the musical project LGL. The majestic debut CD 'A Tapestry of Tales' from 2013 was a very solid offering, but there were few hints that the follow-up can be even more refined and more diverse. Now we have 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', a collection of nine compositions for intriguing and dramatic venture. The main line that passes through the 60 minutes of its length is a hypnotic tension which finds a vent in the penult song (a title track, btw). Thereafter gentle instrumental 'Retrospection' helps you to come back home from the exciting travel... Once again Graham Dunnington has created a symphonic prog album to guide listeners across the interesting adaptation of mysterious crime and subsequent unraveling. Overall the sound is orchestral with rich arrangements. Musical entourage led by huge keyboards and soaring guitars prevail throughout. Tight drums establish tempos, bass lines produce a strong foundation. The nice vocals fit perfectly with mysterious atmosphere and peculiar landscape. Each track interprets the basic concept in a highly theatrical style. All the necessary components that should characterize this ambitious work like a musical gem are here. Hats off...
 A Tapestry Of Tales by LOOKING-GLASS LANTERN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.69 | 7 ratings

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A Tapestry Of Tales
Looking-Glass Lantern Neo-Prog

Review by PH

5 stars If a multi-talented musician has enough confidence in his songwriting, there should appear the self-performed, self-produced and even self-released masterwork. It's time for Graham Dunnington to confirm this theory. So LOOKING-GLASS LANTERN takes the heritage of Victorian England into the 21-st century by means of wonderful CD 'A Tapestry of Tales'. Arose from famous adventures of Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, this debut album is tour-de- force of symphonic progressive grandeur, filled with church organs and miraculous harpsichords, brass fanfares and tinkling bells, violin-like guitar passages and steady rhythm section. Classically oriented arrangements are on a top level. The vintage instruments (Korg, Roland, Yamaha) build up the atmosphere to recreate the feeling of that original era. The lead vocals complimented by neat harmonies add an essential part to sonic texture... Undoubtedly, Looking-Glass Lantern draws on the Genesis legacy ('Wind and Wuthering' period). A lot of Tony Banks-ish bliss strengthens such comparison. Being a real wizard with the keyboards, Graham Dunnington has mastery over the guitar. The soft-as-velvet tones display a resemblance to Steve Hackett. Fans of Phil Collins will find plenty of exquisite drumming. Melodic bass-lines evoke Mike Rutherford. Additionally to Genesis, there're enchanting moments to recall Alan Parsons Project and Barclay James Harvest; plus allusion to Keith Emerson (in dizzying heights of title track). Thankfully, everything sounds natural and organic. The musical content doesn't wear out its miraculous eloquence until the final note. Bravo!
 A Tapestry Of Tales by LOOKING-GLASS LANTERN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.69 | 7 ratings

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A Tapestry Of Tales
Looking-Glass Lantern Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars After playing with a Classical Rock band didn't work out, UK-based classical-trained multi- instrumentalist Graham Dunnington decided to launch his own project under the name of Looking-Glass Lantern.Inspired both by Classical Music and 70's Progressive Rock, he moved on to the writings and recordings of a debut album influenced by the stories of Sherlock Holmes.Basically a home production, Dunnington was armoured with guitars, various keyboards ( Korg X5, Roland U110 and Yamaha TX81Z) and samplers and the album came out digitally in 2013 under the title ''A tapestry of tales''.

This work is at least surprising, when you have talent you can really come-up with a pretty cool album.''A tapestry of tales'' is actually a Symphonic Rock effort with romantic touches and, according to Dunnington, flashes from the atmosphere of Victorian England.It sounds like 70's GENESIS with occasional vibes from THE ENID and RICK WAKEMAN and comes close to a more Classical-inspired side of the Dutch US project.Long tracks with lush and elaborate arrangements, filled with dreamy keyboard interludes and more bombastic passages, leaning on a balance between instrumental orchestrations and vocal sections.But there are enough great guitar moves and atmospheric segments for a more flexible effort, which swirls around melodic patterns, Classical reminders and Prog Rock diversity and intelligence.Nice use of synthesizers to produce a mixture of vintage and modern keyboard stylings with sections sound as based on organ and harsichord and other parts coming closer to the pompous lines of Neo Prog acts.The mood of the album is excellent with many sensitive pieces linked to the virtuosity of a Classical composer, only significant flaw is Dunnington's mediocre voice, which even appears to be highly distorted.

I was very impressed by the work of this man.While not a classic, ''A tapestry of tales'' is a more than rewarding modern Symphonic Rock effort with great melodies, 70's inspirations and beautiful arrangements.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Thanks to apps79 for the artist addition.

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