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Sceneries [Import]

Sylvan Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 18.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • ASIN: B006T6IU0G
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,182 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graceful Beauty 27 Jan 2012
Format:MP3 Download
We stand only 3 weeks into 2012 and I firmly believe this double cd from the Hamburg based 5-piece band is already a strong contender for album of the year. Sylvan are arguably one of the most refreshing and important neo-prog bands to have emerged in recent years, and Sceneries is without doubt a tour-de-force of musical vision and inspiration which to my mind is simply their best offering to date.

What is so good about Sceneries is that the band continue to wrestle with themes and ideas which lie at the very heart of life. Those already familiar with their superb 2006 release Posthumous Silence which deals with death and grief will recognise in Sceneries a continuation of the same desire to create music which is evocative, moving and above all, personal. The band describe Sceneries as "conceptually orientated", dealing with "the ups and downs in life and the striving for bliss". To this end, they have spent time creating an album which is designed to be a "storyline" which includes "five individual episodes" following a common theme: a musical journey consisting of 5 'chapters', each with sub-sections. Chapter 1 is entitled 'The Fountain of Glow' (14:50); Chapter 2 is entitled 'Share the World with Me' (15:05); Chapter 3 - 'The Words You Hide' (20:10); Chapter 4 - 'The Waters I Traveled' (20:00) and Chapter 5 - 'Farewell to Old Friends' (20:33). Taken together, the band say it represents "the search for those very things that make our life worth living".

The overall effect is stunning.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graceful Beauty 24 Jan 2012
Format:Audio CD
We stand only 3 weeks into 2012 and I firmly believe this double cd from the Hamburg based 5-piece band is already a strong contender for album of the year. Sylvan are arguably one of the most refreshing and important neo-prog bands to have emerged in recent years, and Sceneries is without doubt a tour-de-force of musical vision and inspiration which to my mind is simply their best offering to date.

What is so good about Sceneries is that the band continue to wrestle with themes and ideas which lie at the very heart of life. Those already familiar with their superb 2006 release Posthumous Silence which deals with death and grief will recognise in Sceneries a continuation of the same desire to create music which is evocative, moving and above all, personal. The band describe Sceneries as "conceptually orientated", dealing with "the ups and downs in life and the striving for bliss". To this end, they have spent time creating an album which is designed to be a "storyline" which includes "five individual episodes" following a common theme: a musical journey consisting of 5 'chapters', each with sub-sections. Chapter 1 is entitled 'The Fountain of Glow' (14:50); Chapter 2 is entitled 'Share the World with Me' (15:05); Chapter 3 - 'The Words You Hide' (20:10); Chapter 4 - 'The Waters I Traveled' (20:00) and Chapter 5 - 'Farewell to Old Friends' (20:33). Taken together, the band say it represents "the search for those very things that make our life worth living".

The overall effect is stunning.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'it is on you, comes from you...hand it over' 15 Mar 2012
Format:Audio CD
It seems like the members of Sylvan have decided to focus their operations and concentrate only on what they are best at. When an emotionally charged vocal performance of complex mood changes within a song establishes your unique place in rock music, you might as well walk all over that special ground. I applaud that decision. Sylvan had given us Former Life on Presets and the title song and Turn Of The Tide on Force Of Gravity but both these albums were excellent because and only because each one of them contained one of those Opus Magnum of theirs... Presets and Vapor Trails. Posthumous Silence was the most extensive one of them. Well, they are giving us five progressive songs of complex structure on their new double album. I don't find them to be related to each other in any story line way, perhaps besides the fact that lyrics of last three compositions appear to be based on dreams, or such presentation was Marco's intention. Appropriately this new release is called Sceneries.

In musical terms this release is a very good band effort and an improvement over the 2009's Force Of Gravity. Each one of the five songs presented here stands strong on its own. Which one of them will become your personal favorite depends on your taste and attraction.

The Fountain Of Glow begins the album and it should reward the fans of Sylvan for their patience. This composition was worth our two year long anticipation. Lyric-wise, within this song about the universal love we have received a meaningful call to action. 'It is on you, comes from you...hand it over'. I agree, if we want to change the world we should start with ourselves...
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is where they need to be 28 Mar 2012
By Mark Fussell - Published on Amazon.com
Ahhh, Sylvan returns to the epic song forms in which they have few peers. Sylvan has been enormously productive the last several years, but it is in the rock epic genre that they excell. This is their best work since Posthumous Silence. The songwriting is well integrated from each of 5 "sceneries", much like a good symphony. Each member of the band makes their mark in this CD; when they depend too much on Gluhmans voice, the songwriting suffers.

I saw/heard/talked with them them when Posthumous Silence was first released, at a tiny venue in Seattle. They played with passion for a small crowd. Thank you guys, very professional. The same passion is evident in this release, arguably their best. Each part of this release returns to well scripted themes full of power and emotion. The guitar playing, in particular is powerful and dramatic, yet never overplayed. Harnack always looks for ways to play bass melodically without self indulgence.

I would like to see them develop this genre further with video, for which thier music would be a natural fit.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'it is on you, comes from you...hand it over' 15 Mar 2012
By Deven Gadula - Published on Amazon.com
It seems like the members of Sylvan have decided to focus their operations and concentrate only on what they are best at. When an emotionally charged vocal performance of complex mood changes within a song establishes your unique place in rock music, you might as well walk all over that special ground. I applaud that decision. Sylvan had given us Former Life on Presets and the title song and Turn Of The Tide on Force Of Gravity but both these albums were excellent because and only because each one of them contained one of those Opus Magnum of theirs... Presets and Vapor Trails. Posthumous Silence was the most extensive one of them. Well, they are giving us five progressive songs of complex structure on their new double album. I don't find them to be related to each other in any story line way, perhaps besides the fact that lyrics of last three compositions appear to be based on dreams, or such presentation was Marco's intention. Appropriately this new release is called Sceneries.

In musical terms this release is a very good band effort and an improvement over the 2009's Force Of Gravity. Each one of the five songs presented here stands strong on its own. Which one of them will become your personal favorite depends on your taste and attraction.

The Fountain Of Glow begins the album and it should reward the fans of Sylvan for their patience. This composition was worth our two year long anticipation. Lyric-wise, within this song about the universal love we have received a meaningful call to action. 'It is on you, comes from you...hand it over'. I agree, if we want to change the world we should start with ourselves... Share The World With Me showcases the beauty and scales of Marco Gluhmann's vocal (I find his greatest moments on 13, 1, 7, 3, 4 and the opposite one on11) and as is mostly the case with Sylvan, keeps us captivated by the vocalist's capabilities and emotional expression rather then the depth of his lyrics or a special sense some meaningful vision might have left behind with us. Marco makes us feel intensely even if he doesn't illuminate us in any deeper way. It is a beautiful composition and unfortunately there was a recording noise left at the beginning of 2nd and in the middle of 3rd section. It sounds like a vinyl record left turning on a turntable and I don't think this was intentional. Could it be fixed? The Words You Hide is my least favorite song of this album and it contains a fragment (11) many of us will end up skip over, but other parts of it may appeal to the long term fans of Sylvan, as they might be the heaviest. . The Waters I Traveled contains, to me, the most beautiful fragment of this entire album (13). Farewell To Old Friends may very well become your favorite song of this album, at least at first. Its construction is brave (the most pop:ular) and it contains some excellent group climax during (18). For some reason the words get in my way of loving this song of many hooks and not limited substance, and I hope it is only my own bias. There isn't a bad song on this album.

Sebastian Harnack skillfully masters constant rhythm changes and his bass line drives the music forward with melodic strength at times coming to the forefront. Listening to The Force Of Gravity album I wished Sylvan would add cohesion into their style. Volker Sohl delivers just that on Sceneries, perfectly. Numerous transitions are orchestrated by him and either originating the compositions or filling the space adding texture perfectly. At many high tempo full of sound sections Volker's keyboard atmospherics are very reminiscent to Richard Barbieri's, making me wonder if Volker is as taken by the final couple of minutes of Porcupine Tree's - Fear Of A Blank Planet album as I am. Minute 1:43 of section 8, 2:10 minute of section 10, or 3:31 minute of 18 carry great examples of his texture upon so much texture building. They flow and grow in harmony and it feels to me that a lot of the design elements come from him. His fingers are all over this music of almost every single section, enhancing it in so many ways. Matthias Harder's drums remain such an integral force within these songs. He stays out of other's way but brings all the strength when called for (by Sebastian). And when he comes fully on, we have no questions why he has been here since the very beginning. Jan Petersen's guitar participation ranges from adequate to very impressive, especially during the beginning and final song. Jan has proved his place within this band and his playing does not lower anybody else's levels. However, Sylvan's music could become a perfect place for two guitar players talking to each other through their chords and strings. I still think that the best thing that could ever happen to Sylvan would be the return of Kay Sohl, who had started this band over twenty years ago and left it over five years ago unhappy with the approaching change of artistic direction. Perhaps now, that we have gone down the valley and half way back, would be a great moment to turn around and see what might be found? Popular songs did not last long but they are not completely gone, either. They have progressed into parts of rock compositions of a style called Sylvan. Personally, this is my favorite Sylvan, I prefer over the much harder and heavy band from a decade ago, dominated by Kay. Perhaps because this Sylvan of Vapor Trail, Presets, The Fountain Of Glow and The Waters I Traveled is so much more unique in its approach. However, I do question the vision, the hopes and the dreams, and perhaps if they could turn back their division, the big picture would somehow...grow on the spiritual level. The leaving behind the original force of this unit by the rest of it must be affecting all of them behind the scenes. The extended arms opened towards the one left aside could ignite some amazing energies within all of them (as well as us, their audience). The powers of forgiveness, compassion, humility, unity, and whatever else comes upon us with the light of that fountain of glow you have just put in front of us could shower us all with an amazing surprise. It is on you, comes from you, hand it over... Let's face it. The only way Sylvan will gain universal recognition in this incredibly challenging environment of the 21st century is by making a masterpiece of an album trumping all they have done so far, including the Sceneries. There could be much more meaning behind the words and the execution of your substance could be elevated even higher. Your architecture is great but the house could use more artwork on the walls. The library might be elevated to add inspiration and the atmosphere would still grow. The strings you had used so successfully on Posthumous Silence would sound great again on your next album. We are so very very close... Your music is great and we need just a tiny bit more from you to help you with our common goal. We want you to make it huge and yes you can...

I have to say honestly that at first I was a little overwhelmed by all these offerings placed in front of me. First of all, it is hard to get into the music of Sylvan without at least some emotional involvement from the side of the listener. Covering quite different grounds in the last few months I found myself having to break through the distance to meet Marco Gluhmann at least part way and be put under his emotional spell. I can see how some people can be unaffected or annoyed by the mood, if they don't allow themselves to really get there, and that can take a while. On the other hand, how long are we able or willing to stay so very exposed emotionally listening to this music? That varies from person to person, and from the moment in time, but in general I bet that the length of our experience has a lot to do with the depth of the substance, if we happen to be English speaking. I used to listen to rock music having no clue what the words really meant, aside from trying to translate them on my own. The beauty of expression of a piano or a guitar or a voice, meant all the same to me. At times now I wish I could still listen on such level, but I can't, unless I pick up some foreign language composition. Sometimes the words we hide mean more than what we show.

It is interesting that Sylvan's new album is coming to us almost back to back with the new album of Gazpacho of Norway, another excellent progressive rock band of a slightly lighter tone but with perhaps similar vocalist dominated repertoire. Jan Henrik Ohme's vocals approach us in much the same way of expression over meaning. One difference between these similar musical styles is the abstraction of Jan Henrik's palette. You focus on methods of delivery over substance while he takes the meaning out of the equation as he is 'singing you a rainbow, painting you a dream'. But...that's another review...

Just one more thing. I don't know how many of you had the opportunity to experience Sylvan in concert. I was fortunate to see them and RPWL perform together a couple of years ago. To see Sylvan and Marco Gluhmann on stage is an incredible experience. He reveals his passion to us completely and it becomes the most memorable rock show that will stay with all of us forever. It is in our hands now. Let's join together and invite them over. They are willing to come but they will not arrange that on their own. They are already going out their way, out of their every day lives to bring us the music we have received. Business wise it makes little sense for a band like Sylvan to do anything, unfortunately, in this 21st century climate. I don't think there is any concert promoter interested in it either. It is on us now to make it happen. If you like this music, please post your own review; just a few words. You could even say only that you live in Seattle and would like to see them. If we do make a lot of commotion here others will get interested. Please recommend Sylvan to your friends. Let's do all we can to make their US tour possible. I am very interested in helping to make it happen at least on the West Coast. We will arrange it in San Francisco. Perhaps one of you could help in LA, Seattle, Portland or in Vancouver? The timing is perfect. Let's make it happen...
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too much of a good thing? 13 April 2012
By I. Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Sylvan's latest album consists of 5 "chapters" (depending on the version of the album you have, they may or may not be broken down into shorter tracks); each of these chapters is about 15 to 20 minutes long. The music is fairly mellow, with a focus on atmosphere and emotion.

In the past I've found this band to be a bit hit and miss. Their early albums have a few standout tracks and a few clunkers; they finally got it all together on the brilliant Posthumous Silence and maintained a fairly high level of quality on Presets, but their album before this one, Force of Gravity, was quite a disappointment to me.

The musicianship is solid, led by Volker Sohl's keyboards. After listening to Force of Gravity, I didn't think Jan Petersen was the right guitarist for the band, but he proves me wrong this time out with some beautiful and expressive playing. Marco Gluhmann's vocals are expressive and haunting, without the screaming-style vocals that appeared on their previous outing, and the rhythm section is solid.

The highs on this album are very high, with some fantastic passages which grab the listener. However, there are also a lot of fairly bland sections on the album, and I wonder if some of the pieces weren't extended purely for the sake of making the album longer. I also think there isn't really enough variety for an album of this length - I find I can't listen to all 5 chapters back to back. I'll give the album 4 stars because of its strengths, but that's probably being generous.
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