Ocean 2 the answer
Bit rate: 320 kps
01. Between future and past
02. Ro Setau
03. Paralysed civilization
05. Awakening of consciousness
06. Reflections from the spheres beyond
07. Waves of intuition
08. The answer
First, though the album is called Ocean 2 it is not a sequel to Ocean from 1977. In an interview Frank Bornemann said he considered the subtitle "The Answer" to be the main title as the lyrics don't deal with the story of Atlantis or other related subjects. However, the lyrics that Frank wrote for Ocean 2 must be some of the most poetic, beautiful and profound he has ever written. But lyrics would be nothing without great music. Fortunately Bornemann and Co. deliver great music too!!!
Between Future and Past opens the album and one inmediately notices that this is something special. This song-introduction reminds us of Eloy's earlier works like Planets, Colours or the aforementioned Ocean.
Next track Ro Setau must be the most innovative and awesome song Eloy has written in many years. A typical Eloy atmosphere and feel dominates the whole song. The song starts off quite dark but when the whole band comes in Michael Gerlach's synths turn the light on. Synths and keyboards are really up front in the mix and are really present throughout the song. Frank's guitar is also very present, though no solos this time, but still the power of his playing is one of the most charactersitic Eloy features. Never mind, what about Klaus Peter Matziol? His bassplaying really shines in this song and the whole record. When the female chorus kicks in his bass really "dances" and drives the song, through an excellent crescendo, to its climax. Here Frank's guitar delivers all the power required. Just then an awesome keyboard solo by old band mate Hannes Folberth takes the leading role (one of the best keyboard solos in the history of Eloy, reminiscent of Illuminations track from Colours) On top of that Gerlach adds a couple of moogs to give the song the scope it deserves before the end. GREAT!!!!!
Next track Paralyzed Civilization is a standard Eloy epic. It clocks around ten minutes. Pumping bassplaying from Matziol drives the song. Guitar and synths provides the classic Eloy atmosphere. After 3:30 the dynamics give way to a more atmospheric section with guitars, keyboards and vocals. The whole band kicks in again with Frank's guitar solo taking the leading role this time and Schopf's drumming providing a solid base. There is a break before the band takes the same theme from the start of the song to new heights with an astonishing, though somewhat short keyboard solo by Gerlach.
Serenity is a strange track for Eloy standards. It features some percussion and an incredible bass-line. Fortunately Frank's guitar and Michael Gerlach's synths build up the classica Eloy atmosphere.
Awakening of Consciousness presents Eloy at their most dynamic. At first, I was a bit disappointed as this song didn't feature the trademark Eloy sound. Or so I thought. After giving it many spins I not only realized the changes in tempo are great (especially Klaus' bassplaying) but that the middle section is pure Eloy. Another great track.
Reflections from the Sphere Beyond (a line taken from Poseidon's Creation) seems to be the central piece, at least in lyrical terms. The song starts off very Eloy-ish, very atmospheric with a beautiful synth line. The song builds up slowly giving the necessary space for Frank's vocals. Though every section is broken by a heavy section with a female chorus. There is a nice guitar solo from Frank and a very well crafted atmospheric section (it reminds me of Sphinx from Planets) where Michael Gerlach's vocoder can be heard. The band kicks in again with another crescendo with synths taking a leading role. The song fades slowly into the sound of waves.
Waves of Intuition features some percussion reminiscent of Childhood Memories from The Tides Return Forever. An excellent bass-line and atmospheric keyboards are also featured. However, what makes this song special is the guitar melody. It's one of those magical moments that bring tears to your eyes.
Last track, The Answer seems to work more as a (thematical) statement than a song in itself. The same tempo is mantained throughout. There is some nice synth and guitar work. Halfway through there is a beautiful break that reminded me of Jeanne d'Arc from Destination before the band kicks in again maintaining the same tempo but this time The Praga Chorus takes the leading role over an epic almost marching drumming. You have to get this song in the correct context, otherwise it will seem a wasted effort. It would be better described as a crossing between prog rock and opera. So, do not expect a lot of changes in tempo, mood or sound.
As a conclusion, this is an incredible album that proves Eloy is one of the few prog rock bands from the 70's that still can deliver great music, inspiring and beautiful, true and infinite. However, it must be pointed out that this is not a classic analog prog rock at all. Frank decided to create a masterpiece by using only today's methods, so don't expect any hammond organ or mellotron.
If you, on the other hand, are looking for great music, far superior to all the rubbish being put out these days or the nihilistic pseudo progressive bands, Ocean 2 is one of the few great statements made in this decade by one of the few incredible living bands that truly can show you how great the power of music can be. Frank Bornemann should be recognized as one of the most inspiring and creative musicians from the 70's and one of the few musicians able to deliver such masterpieces.
When I first learned that Eloy were going to release Ocean 2, I was very excited. Being an Eloy fan for more than 20 years, and although I love all their albums, even the synthesizers drenched eighties, I always had a hope that they would return to their more epic/symphonic oriented roots.
When I first listened to Ocean 2, I was slighty disappointed, for a muscial sequel to Ocean it is not..and to be fair, musically not even Eloy themselves can top Ocean.
But after a second listen I was hooked, for Ocean 2 is also a masterpiece.
Although it has a modern feel, less commercial and mellower than Destination/RA period, Eloy return to their epic song writting.
There is still a lot of backing vocals, similar to Metromania period, and The Answer is a choral rock epic in the same vein as the last two, on Destination and The Tide Return Forever, but overall the music is more complex, very melodic and full of power.
Ocean 2 is a prime example of a creativitry that is still flowing from the very talented Frank Bornemann, and you have to give him all the credit for still writing and composing songs that are what progressive rock is all about.