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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Euler's Number

Escape to Eurybia

Review by Gary Hill

It would seem that progressive rock audiences would be the most obvious fan base for this album. It’s a concept disc with the only vocals appearing as spoken female narrations on the odd numbered track. The music itself seems to move between jazz, electronic and progressive rock stylings. Mike Oldfield would be a valid reference, but different sounds appear throughout.  Euler’s Number is essentially one person, Giuliano Vangelista who wrote all the music and provided all the music. The only other performer here is Giorgia Rambelli who provides the vocals.

An album like this can be tough to pull off. It might have become tedious and felt redundant, but that was avoided here. In fact, this thing is an amazing work of art that grooves as well and challenges the intellect with new ideas. It’s a fun adventure that’s likely to make a number of “best of” lists.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Museum

This opens the disc with sound effects. Then keyboards rise up to serve as the background for the spoken vocal section. It’s quite artistic and pretty. This number lays out the story about to be told. It’s in English, but listening to the sentence construction and choice of words makes it obvious English is not the native language of the writer. Still, while words might not flow in a typical English speaking pattern, the meanings are obvious.

Gettin' Ready to Leave

“Gettin' Ready to Leave” has a bouncing sort of rhythm. Keyboards drive it and in some ways it’s not that far removed from some of the music Rick Wakeman was doing in the 1980s. There’s definitely a real groove to this at times, though. There’s also a jazz-like section later. It’s actually quite a dynamic piece of music.

The Journey Begins

This piece continues the narration of the storyline with just keyboards as the backdrop.

The Long Space Journey, Part I

Starting with a definite progressive rock kind of sound, “The Long Space Journey, Part I” has some serious jazz trio sounds built into it and the piano really drives it. There is a synthesizer based section later that’s more prog rock in texture. It also has plenty of groove.

Deep-space Panorama

The alternating concept continues with the next spoken word piece.

Nebula

This is a slow moving, pretty and suitably spacey keyboard driven piece. It has some hints of Pink Floyd styled music, mixed with Vangelis. It moves out to more groove styled music with all the familiar influences, along with some classical music, on display.

Encounter with a Black Hole

 “Encounter with a Black Hole” continues the spoken word concept, but the music that serves as the backdrop is twisted, seemingly by the black hole.

Event Horizon

This feels like Booker T. and the M.G.s meets Emerson Lake and Palmer. It’s quite tasty. It has some killer noisy keyboard work.

A Narrow Escape

This serves as the next spoken bit.

The Long Space Journey, Part II

“A Narrow Escape” is followed by the dramatic and powerful introduction of “The Long Space Journey, Part II.” There’s an almost old time cinema element to parts of the piece, combined with classical music and progressive rock. That Booker T. vibe returns. Rick Wakeman is also a valid reference at times.

Arrival in Eurybia

The next spoken segment is the pretty “Arrival in Eurybia.”

Terraforming

More jazz sounds merged with old school prog are heard here. There’s even a bit of a Deep Purple sound at times.

The Great Dome

 “The Great Dome” is the next spoken section with the music closer to sound effects.

Landing on a New World

A dramatic and powerful musical soundscape opens “Landing on a New World.” It grows out from there in a definite progressive rock way. It’s another track with quite a bit of groove built into it. There is a piano solo built into it, too. The piece has some of the most powerful and effective pieces of the whole set and works through quite a few changes. It’s certainly one of the highlights.

Building a New Society

The music for “Building a New Society” feels mysterious and effectively spacey. It’s another spoken vocal cut.

Settlement

This one is started by the bass guitar and the cut has a lot of groove in it. Deep Purple is again a valid reference, but with a more pure progressive rock texture. Jazz also shows up in the arrangement. It really has some inspired jamming.

Traces of Intelligent Beings

Weird sound effects based music plays behind the spoken recitation of “Traces of Intelligent Beings.”

Underground Creatures

The opening section of this calls to mind some of the science fiction movie music of the 1980s. It works out to a more dramatic progressive rock meets jazz jam from there.

The Rosetta Stone

This seems a bit more musical than some of the other spoken sections.

Lullaby of the Hero

 “The Rosetta Stone” gives way to “Lullaby of the Hero.” It’s certainly not a lullaby, though, as the driving prog that makes up the music to it is among the strongest and most energized of the whole set. It turns toward more soundtrack like music before working out into some ELP-like sounds.

Fight for the Planet

This piece features waves of synthesizer as the background for the narration.

The Battle of Xerom

“The Battle of Xerom” comes in with an energized keyboard jam and builds out from there in a rather ELP-influenced arrangement. It’s got more Deep Purple in the mix, too, though. It has some of the tasty jamming of the whole disc. The closing section calls to mind Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein.”

The End of the War

This feels like a continuation of “Fight for the Planet.”

Raze to the Ground!

 The keyboards that open “Raze to the Ground!” really feel like Deep Purple, but with a more classical progression. There’s also a definite prog and jazz groove to be heard.

Final Reflections

The closing spoken segment is “Final Reflections” and it seems pretty similar to a lot of the others.

Bittersweet Epilogue
The final number comes in bombastic and powerful, but drops down to piano to continue in a classical way. The cut works through a number of changes in a killer prog meets jazz jam that’s got a great groove. It’s an excellent way to end things in style.
 
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