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Retropolis


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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Aug. 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: INSIDE OUT
  • ASIN: B00003GA81
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,239 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Rhythm of Life
2. Retropolis
3. Rhythm of the Sea
4. There Is More to This World
5. Romancing the City
6. The Melting Pot
7. Silent Sorrow
8. The Judas Kiss
9. Retropolis By Night
10. Flora Majora
11. The Road Back Home

Product Description

1999 album, for fans of Transatlantic, Yes & Porcupine Tree.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Aug. 2001
Format: Audio CD
This sophomore effort by Sweden's Flower Kings is one of their best. Guitarist-composer-vocalist-leader Roine Stolt's writing really matured on this effort. The band gells nicely as Bodin(keys) and Salazar(drums) in particular sound wonderful. There is a richness and depth to this music that transcends the genre-at least in comparison to other contemporary outfits. Not since the 70's has prog sounded so good.Where there are some obvious similarities to Yes and Genesis (and even Zappa) they have a truly unique-and positive-sound. The best in contemporary prog. Highly recommended...Simon
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Gregory on 22 May 2010
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
As a great fan of 70's prog, I gave up buying Prog when the likes of Genesis and Yes moved on to more modern music. Over the last few years I have been trying to broaden my Prog collection to include other bands and I recently purchased this item.

Superb! What have I been missing for all these years! I have since bought other albums of theirs and have not yet been disappointed.

I would also recommend similar groups like IQ and Spock's Beard and Transatlantic - particularly anything with Neal Morse involved!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 9 Sept. 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is really an incredible set of songs put together by the masterminded Roine Stolt. The mood of the whole album, & the guitar work r really great. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best Flower Kings releas with Stardust we Are & the first Roine Stolt album "The Flower King". For any type of listener, this is , if not a must-have, a should-have.
"Rhytm oh the sea" and "Road back home" are Floyd type orientated masterpieces, the atmospheric mood at Its best. "There is more to this world " is powerful, sustended by great keyboards and great vocals. "Flora Majora" a great guitar accomplishment. "Melting Pot" & "Romancing the City" r electronic pieces by Tomas Brodin and the rest of the tracks r really great too...
Maybe the album lacks in strenght of structure, but this is minimal. The musicianship of it is great enough to cover the spaces left by the structure.
An overall of 4 stars for a great job. Be sure to buy "The Rainmaker", for a far more complex sound too. Nothing else, bye.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For me this album is possibly the second weakest as it is not quite changed enough compared to early albums in terms of experimentation and also I don't find the songs to particularly memorable THAT said A weaker flower kings album is still what most bands put out in a lucky streak if they are lucky. This album makes me giggle I can't remember which songs but in one of them there are loads of silly sounds and things. This album is just a great big laug hand has some brilliant guitar playing on it too. and nice funky drums and locked in bass guitar.
Judas kiss is pretty good
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 27 reviews
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
What more could you ask for? 28 Nov. 2001
By Just Bill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I stumbled on The Flower Kings via Transatlantic, the side project for FK guitarist Roine Stolt, Dream Theater drummer extraordinaire Mike Portnoy, Spock's Beard frontman Neal Morse and Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas.
I'm sure glad I did, too. This music is superb.
Progressive rock -- even well-played "neo-prog" -- is head and shoulders above other music these days. The level of musicianship is vastly superior to today's run-of-the-mill New Rock/Alt Rock/Metal bands. The music is deeper, more intricate and bears repeated listenings. (Try that with Rob Zombie, Bush or Incubus.)
On Retropolis, The Flower Kings show uncommon musical talent, with songs running the gamut from delicate and atmospheric ("Rhythm Of the Sea") to purely bombastic and fun (the title track, "Retropolis") to completely captivating ("The Judas Kiss" -- which I can listen to on Repeat all day long -- or "Flora Majora").
The vocal style reminds me of John Wetton circa King Crimson's Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black or Red era.
The keyboards are reminiscent of '70s era Yes, ELP or Genesis. Roine Stolt's guitar playing often sounds like Steve Howe of Yes (check out "There Is More To This World," if you doubt me) with just as much virtuosity. (The whole song has a Yes-like feel to it, circa Tormato or even one of their more recent releases -- The Ladder, perhaps. It even features raspy bass playing, a tenor vocalist who sounds like Jon Anderson, and an optimistic lyric -- all of which smacks of Yes.)
The Flower Kings' Retropolis is precisely the music I most enjoy listening to. It's upbeat, intricate, mostly instrumental, showy and fun. It's perfect for the office, where I do most of my listening. In fact (and I know I'll get tar-and-feathered for even thinking this), in many ways I prefer it to Yes, a band I adore. The musical landscape is more diverse and the musicianship is, if anything, even more flamboyant and creative.
If you're looking for music well-played, with hints of Yes, Genesis, ELP and Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings will fit the bill nicely. In fact, I couldn't ask for anything more from this album.
I highly recommend Retropolis.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Almost Epic... 27 Mar. 2002
By x_bruce - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Retropolis starts out simply with Rhythm Of Life and blazes into Retropolis, a stunning instrumental featuring progressive rock but mixing modern synthesis and elements of electronica along with tradmarked organ and mellotron washes. Roine Stolt's guitar playing is melodic and assured, he doesn't need to play fast to show you how good he is, he plays what is necessary letting the music speak rather than technique.
The next two songs Rhythm Of The Sea and There Is More To This World move more into pure progressive rock and set the tone of this excellent album. The changes in dynamic, both mood and volume are as good as any progressive act I've heard but with a modern twist and overall sound that is unique to The Flower Kings.
One man does not a band make and Tomas Bodin aptly shows this on keyboards. Michael Stolt's bass is more subdued than is typical for this genre of music but fits well in the overall sound. Jaime Salazar is an excellent drummer who can sit back in a mix and find moments to expoit with Bruford-like fills. The two wild cards here are Hasse Bruniusson's percussion work which adds character to the music and Hans Froberg's vocals which augment Roine Stolt's. Froberg has a pure tone and to some might seem the better singer but Stolt has the better delivery. He has an empathic style whereas Froberg is super articulate.
When listening to The Flower Kings I keep appreciating the ensemble work. Stolt's guitar work is wonderful and owing considerably to Steve Howe, Steve Hackett and Frank Zappa yet he pulls it together using these guitar slingers as influences while retaining his own style. More importantly he doesn't overshadow the band when soloing, instead his solos fill in musical spaces keeping the music cohesive.
I read a bunch of reviews here, I'm glad I did because the sound clips would never have convinced me to purchase Retropolis.
Having grown up on Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant and King Crimson and having moved on to mostly electronic and post rock/experimental music in part because of how unimpressive commercial rock became it was a pleasant surprise to find The Flower Kings. Had it not been for Transatlantic's two fine CDs I probably would never have known about them. Having found out I purchased four of their albums in a month.
Retropolis is focused with no filler and would make a good initial album for first time listeners.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An excellent, tight album 2 Aug. 2003
By Michael Rawdon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Flower Kings' second album is, if anything, a bit better than their first, Back in the World of Adventures. After the throwaway intro "Rhythm of Life" is the lengthy and soaring instrumental title track which keys album by painting a cinematic and portentious mood.
The next two tracks are the album's highlights - almost. "Rhythm of the Sea" is a relatively quiet track of gentle longing, and it's followed by the anthemic "There is More to This World". The latter has a rousing and punchy first half, but rather than tailing off it evolves into a quieter and more intricate repetition of the refrain, interlacing several voices, before building back to its crescendo. It took a few listens before I really got into it, but the second half really makes the song.
The next several tracks are something of a mixed bag. Though vocalist/guitarist Roine Stolt writes most of the Kings' material, keyboardist Tomas Bodin adds the occasional piece. But all three of his tracks here are of little note: The aforementioning "Rhythm of Life" is 30-seconds of a ping-pong game; "Romancing the City" is a 1-minute - if pleasant - piano piece; and "Retropolis by Night" is a dour collection of mostly-synthetic sounds and little melody (a kind of depressing counterpoint to Stolt's overture piece).
Stolt's middle pieces are also so-so. "The Melting Pot" is a good instrumental. "Silent Sorrow" borders on mainstream rock but ultimately isn't very interesting. "The Judas Kiss" feels grating.
But the album goes out with a bang. "Flora Majora" is the Kings' first truly classic track, a throbbing, soaring, thrilling instrumental which starts with Bodin's tendency to work with highly repetitive melodies, and then evolves by adding some of Stolt's best guitar work as Bodin provides the harmonic underpinnings in much the same way Pete Townshend's synthesizers did on some of The Who's best work. After this, you'd think the concluding "The Road Back Home" would be a bit of a letdown, but it's actually an understated track with echoes of some of Paul McCartney's Beatles work coming through it. A satisfying closer to the album.
It would be a while before the Kings surpassed this album (though they finally did in 2000 with Space Revolver), and it's a modern prog masterpiece nonetheless.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Very close to a 5, but not quite 2 Nov. 2000
By "mystery_train" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I would give this CD rating a rating of 5 stars if I could give Stardust We Are, Alive On Planet Earth, and Space Revolver 6 stars each. With that being said, you can expect this one to be of extremely high quality, but perhaps not quite as good as the other TFK CDs.
With this CD I can finally say I own a CD where you can hear a ping-pong match being played. That's how the CD starts off with the 32 second long "Rhythm Of Life". This leads into the title track, an 11 minute instrumental that is very good, but perhaps not as good as a couple other instrumentals on this CD. The beautifully haunting "Rhythm Of The Sea" follows. Next up is "There Is More To This World", a track I am familiar with from their live CD. While this is one of the best songs on the CD, it feels out of place here from the rest of the songs.
"The Judas Kiss" is the other song I'm familiar with, and I knew even before getting the CD that I would not like this as much as the live version on Alive On Planet Earth. The reason is the live version is twice as long, with a 8 minute or so jam session in the middle. But having said that, this is one of my favorite TFK songs, studio or live version.
The CD finishes with the instrumental "Flora Majora" and another of my favorite tracks on the CD, "The Road Back Home". I was listening to this one on my way to school yesterday, and the lyric "And after all it's good to be alive" just set the mood for the entire day. Having gotten to class early, I ended up just sitting outside for about a half hour on the Arizona State University campus with not a cloud in the sky and the temperature at about 60 degrees. Indeed, with music like this, it's great to be alive!
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A fun but possibly (un)helpful review 9 July 2002
By Jeff Hodges - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Usually the album that introduces you to a new group will always tend to be your favorite by that group. This is totally logical! If you buy another album or two on the basis of one, it would stand to reason that you probably really like the original one you listened to. No other album is that album, and they never seen to quite stand up. I was introduced to the Flower Kings through "Flower Power", but I really think that "Retropolis" would be the one I would suggest if you were to purchase the definitive album by the Flower Kings. On "Retropolis" we see the clearest and most consistent picture of the influences that drove and continue to drive Roine and the Flower Kings even into the 21st century.
Just for fun, let's use our imagination for a second. Imagine a band that had, as its creative core, Keith Emerson, Frank Zappa, John Wetton, and Steve Howe collaborating on a serious and respectful level. Of course, the big stretch here is Frank. I mean, I can't imagine that Frank Zappa would be able to stay in the same room as Keith Emerson at all in real life, much less actually collaborate with him in a serious fashion. Or, even more comical, Frank Zappa trading fours with Steve Howe. For the sake of argument let's assume he was doing a satirical project on progressive rock.
Then let's visualize a "Union"-style touring supergroup (to accommodate the differences in production quality between the mid-`70's and now, of course) made up of whatever musician whose style would best suit any given part of Retropolis. By the end of the album, the band is quite large and almost comical:
First of all, Frank and Steve would ask Steve Hackett to play some atmospheres and rhythm work, and Steve Howe would convince Frank that Chris Squire could totally hang. Frank agrees, but only if he gets rid of the Rickenbacker.
Keith would ask Tony Banks be his tech, and Tony ends up playing on stage with him before the tour is on its third date. Tony would, of course, suggest that Phil Collins play drums. Frank begrudgingly agrees, but only after arguing for awhile in favor of Chester Thompson.
Ironically, Jaime Muir simultaneously calls John Wetton in desperate need of a gig, and John suggests to Frank that Jaime play percussion. Frank asks him how his vibes chops are, and Jaime stares blankly. Frank rolls his eyes and says "whatever".
And last, but not least, there would be a big church organ in the darkness above the stage that Rick Wakeman would come out and play every now and then. Rick is so excited about the gig that he calls up David Bowie on that "big favor he never mentioned in 1969" and asks him to steal some of Jon's leads, to which David happily agrees.
So, by the time you are done, you have Hackett, Howe, and Zappa trading fours on guitar. Keith and Tony are hidden behind a wall of keyboard equipment, while Bowie and Anderson are on a podium in the back singing backups for Wetton. Wakeman plays his two minute organ part and returns to his six pack in back. Phil is searching for eye contact with Muir while Chris is trying to hold the whole thing together.
The lowdown: Can you see why I think this album is entertaining? Retropolis allows me to fulfill the "what if" of this seemingly ridiculous cooperation. By my understanding, Retropolis is based largely on material that Roine wrote in the `70's while still playing with Kaipa. If Retropolis were released between 1973 and 1976, it would most likely be a classic and influential, and that is its strength. It does not pretend to be anything besides what it is: a misty-eyed tribute to a musical climate that has long since changed
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