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Flower King Import

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Product details

1. The Flower King
2. Dissonata
3. The Magic Circus Of Zeb
4. Close Your Eyes
5. The Pilgrims Inn
6. The Sounds Of Violence
7. Humanizzimo: Twilight Flower/The Messenger/The Nail/Only Human/This Is The Night/The Flower Of Love
8. Scanning The Greenhouse

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Any of you old-timers remember Stefan Zauner? 10 Aug. 2001
By R. L. MILLER - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A German artist of the original generation of prog, Zauner didn't get that much exposure outside of Europe-definitely not here in the `States where I bought his "Prism and Views" as an import. He was a lot like the Roine Stolt in this album-pretty much a one-man prog band-but his sound was based mostly in the Yes sound. Stolt, however, has a lot broader influence than just one band. I expected this album to be a formative version of the Flower Kings, a band he was about to form using the personnel here with the addition of his brother Michael on bass. The opener "The Flower King" is proof that the sound was hardly in a crude state-the song is also featured on the Kings' "Live On Planet Earth" from last year, so it's obviously still in the repertoire, and rightly so. It's a joyful song of faith and belief that, along with a lot of other Flower Kings material from succeeding albums, has me asking one question. I find most Christian rock a bit short on creativity, but maybe that's because the whole point in a typical song is the message of the lyrics, as is the case with a hymn. Being that there are a lot of complex compositions centered upon Christianity in classical music, why can't there be Christian prog? As a member of various church choirs from time to time, you've got me paying attention, Roine. "Dissonata" is an almost-funky 5/4 number reminiscent of Eddie Jobson's Zinc project, each verse based on a single word that begins each line. Each is word one of some philosophical importance. "The Magic Circus Of Zeb" is an instrumental that takes a simple melody and turns it into a sequence of solos from various instruments-probably each of which was at least originally played by Stolt himself in the course of compostion. "Close Your Eyes" is a change of pace from the first-gen prog sound-it has a dreamy, slighty David Sylvian sound. "The Pilgrim's Inn" is a two-part instrumental which begins in the Stomu Yamash'ta cover-a-lot-of-bases mode, bringing a lot of other instrumental sounds to join Stolt's guitar-including an overdubbed second lead a la Allman Brothers. The second part parlays a baroque section in the Focus mode into a Yes-style mellotron-backed finale. "The Sounds Of Violence" is a shorter instrumental which is probably the most ELP-influenced song in the F-K library even after 7 years. At nearly 21 minutes, "Humanizzimo" is the album's centerpiece. Stolt sets a precedent in this song and the title track of having at least one track clock in double digit length. Although one interviewer's observation that Stolt sounds like a slightly hoarse David Bowie seems apt in this song, I'd say it's more like Ian Gillan. The track even mixes the Deep Purple sound with the anthemic Kansas songwriting structure. The album ends with a reprise of the title track in everything but its own title-"Scanning the Greenhouse". All in all, this album sets the stage for probably the richest sounding band of-"new prog?"-"post prog"-whatever. You'll notice one thing in this and later albums-use of the saxophone as integral to the Flower Kings sound rather than incidental. This album is not so much a preliminary to that sound as it is really the first bona fide Flower Kings album. After my first Kings purchase-"Planet Earth"-I logged onto their site and left a message wishing that this album was available in a US release. I got a reply from Stolt personally (he was `way ahead of me) notifying me of its impending release as well as the date to look for it. So now I know another thing about Stolt besides the fact that he's a great musician-he also cares a lot about his audience.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Shades Of Greatness To Come 28 April 2004
By Kurt Harding - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After having become a dedicated fan of the Flower Kings over the last several years, I went back to FK leader Roine Stolt's early days in order to hear him in his developmental stages as a musician and a songwriter. Some of his other solo works are currently unavailable, so I settled on The Flower King.
Let me tell you, if he had done nothing else after this CD, the Flower King would stand alone as a progressive rock masterpiece.
On first listening, I was sceptical. The title cut has virtuoso instrumentation but lame, commercial-sounding vocals that remind me somewhat of Journey. This sin is compounded by a reprise of the same vocal style on track 8, which is essentially the same song as the title cut. In reading the liner notes, I see that one Hasse Froberg is responsible for the vocals on both those cuts. Fortunately, those are the only two songs on which he is lead vocalist.
But then there is the rest of the album, which is pure enjoyment all the way through. Roine Stolt is a much better vocalist than Froberg and he proves it time and again. Throughout the listener is dazzled by the beauty of the music and the skill of its interpreters. Froberg's vocals aside, I enjoy the rest of the album, its quasi-religious message and some pretty spectacular instrumental work. I especially like The Sounds of Violence and the nearly 21 minute long Humanizzimo sequence that is reminiscent in scope and spirit, but not in sound, of Procol Harum's opus In Held Twas In I of 35 years ago.
Those who had the good fortune to hear this when it was first issued were unknowingly listening to shades of greatness to come as Stolt has gone on to issue many great CDs with his band The Flower Kings and also has been a participant in some memorable side projects like Transatlantic. I urge all fans of intelligent, progressive rock who has not yet heard The Flower King to add it to their collections while it is yet available.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Masterpiece of our Times 20 May 2004
By Russ Bellinger - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I recently purchased "The Artwork Collector's Series" version of this incredible CD. It is my second copy. I bought the first back in 2001 after discovering the Flower Kings work in 1999. I have to say that even to this day that this is one of my all-time favorites of any, by anyone. I have to disagree with the one reviewer about the title track. I think the vocals are excellent and totally fit. To the other reviewer who mentioned Stephen Zauner, yes he was (is) brilliant and I owned the Prizms and Views album. Played it to death. Loved it. Although I thought his sound and songwriting lent much more to early Genesis than to Yes. In fact I heard very little that reminded me of Yes. But anyway, Roine Stolt is the man of the 21st Century. Brilliant. Love pretty much anything he touches. And if you have never heard anythig by the Flower Kings, this is the best place to start.
Roine Stolt - Shades Of What Was To Come 23 April 2008
By Steven Sly - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Although many consider this to be the first official Flower Kings album it was actually released as a Roine Stolt solo project. The band on the album is what would become The Flower Kings and some of the songs have remained a part of The band's live set over the years. This really is a great album. Stolt's guitar playing is at the forefront and he continues to be an underrated master of the instrument. The general songwriting of the album is also very strong with shades of what was to come with The Flower Kings. The album opens with the title track which was used as an encore number by The Flower Kings for years. The middle of the album is a mix of instrumental and vocal tunes all very well done. The 7th track is the epic 20 minute "Humanizzimo" which contains everything fans of Stolt have come to love over the years. Overall I think that this album is a must own for fans of The Flower Kings and / or Stolt. It is one of the best things he has ever done in my opinion.
The Beginning 14 Jan. 2011
By Phillip J. Burno - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the one that I think started it all. Roine Stolt plays his best here prior to the formation of the band "The Flower Kings". Roine is a great player and writer and will always have a place in prog history. This CD is the benchmark! Enjoy the ride this CD puts you through.
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