Lee Saunders - "A
Promise of Peace"
(Crystal Music International - 1995).
(Translated into English by Alfonso
For those who think that prog-rock is a difficult
world, they should from people such as Arjen Lucassen or Lee Saunders,
artists with a great patience and professional skill and who has
released their works on their own. Lee Saunders has faced major
record companies and business in general by founding his own record
company, Crystal Music International to work freely. CMI has started
with the release of this CD, but will continue with a lot of projects
such as conceptual CD's, videos, multimedia, and films. For further
information, I recommend you to read the interview with Lee Saunders,
which you can find in this magazine. (The
interview can be found in the 'Interviews'
section of this site).
"A Promise of Peace" is a conceptual
CD with a length of 77 minutes (a lot!!), and it relates directly
and powerfully, of how silly war can be. Although APOP talks about
WW2, the peace allegiance involves ALL, in which there are never
winners or losers, only unknown victims. Lee's compromise is so
high that a donation from each sale goes to a charity.
In this CD, Lee produced, composed and played
keyboards, programming and sampling, with a bunch of great musicians
united to record this great work. All together they do an amazing
work full of quality, with a production that could be compared
with the best. Once you put the CD on the CD player all kinds
of Floyd-like essences (or Waters-like) flows in a natural way,
never forced, with all kinds of melodies, layouts, sound effects
(gun shots, bombs), voices (Churchill and Hitler), saxophones,
female voices, and the amazing voice of Neil Sherwood. APOP seems
to be the skill as "The Wall", in fact, my opinion is
that it is better than the work of Pink Floyd.
I don't know what to tell you about the tracks
because we've got everything in them, from the calm moments full
of tension ("Not Just a Phoney War"), epic dramatism
("For A Thousand Years"), incredible compositions full
of beauty and dramatic melancholy ("Soldier on Tom",
or "Face the War Alone"), Gilmour-like moments ("Overlord"),
etc... As I said, there are similarities with "The Wall"
so I don't want to write a large review.
This CD is an authentic CD de luxe for your CD
player, a great recording, and very natural songs for a conceptual
CD that will never bore you. Lee has not "copied" any
album (unlike a lot of musicians do nowadays) but he has been
clever to avoid that. Also you can read the insert as you listen
to the music, and you feel like you are witnessing a documentary
about the war. I recommend you see Lee's web page (www.LeeSaunders.com),
and to take a look at the "Track by Track" section in
order to document yourselves about APOP, the WW2 and the historic
context (you can learn history hearing prog-rock!!!). I'd be glad
to give the highest number of starts to this work but I "stall"
- because of the Floyd connections. Anyway my subjectivity orders
me to play this CD two or three more times this evening. If I
were you, I'' be on Lee's track because he'll be great. (****1/4)
PS: - Jon Harris, bass player and CO-producer
of APOP died in June 1999. A bad year for prog rock music. Rest
Reviewed By Alfonso Algora.