M-Opus is the blast from the past amongst the progressive bands of this new year. Their record, 1975 Triptych is a wonder-working prog release that reconciles the past and the present of the genre, or even more so, is the one record that brings the past into the present.
As the title well implies, 1975 Triptych is an artwork made of sounds, divided into three sections folded together into one journey through time.
I should mention that Jonathan Casey, one of the masterminds behind this record is a former member of David Cross’ (ex-King Crimson) band, and a current orchestral composer. That alone should hint the listener regarding what he is about to listen.
As I see it, the album follows a concrete storyline. There are three songs, each with a specific role: the beginning, the plot and the ending of the story. 1975 Triptych debuts with Travelling Man, a complex compositional piece and a reminiscent mingle of Yes and Genesis. The only feature that sets the song apart from the ‘70s compositions is the clean guitar work that gives it a present day prog vibe.
The plot, Different Skies, surrenders our travelling man to a majestic range of emotions narrated to the listener through the different passages of the song. During its 33 minutes, Casey proves his orchestral skills allowing the listener to hear the notes of happiness, absence of hope, anger or reconciliation. The intricate structure, the blend between the life capturing sounds and technicality, the complex theme that couldn’t have been fully developed within the span of a shorter song, the sophisticated changes in dynamics and the various textures built around delicate emotions, make this piece worthy of all those 33 minutes. The soaring guitar and the numerous faded solos represent the binder of the story along with the breathtaking keyboards that ensure the almost unnoticeable transition from one idea to another. Apart from this, the oriental influences included towards the middle of the song and the symphonic vocals leads the listener into believing he is in the front row at a live concert.
The closure, Wasps, could have benefited from an idea used in the Plot since it extends maybe a bit too much. Nonetheless it fits wonderfully as an ending song.
M-Opus’ plan was to invest their long time experience into creating progressive records reminiscent of a different gold era of the genre and so far they did one hell of a job and I, personally, can’t wait to get my hands on their 1978 record.
Buy “1975 Triptych” from CDBaby.
01. Travelling Man
02. Different Skies
* Jonathan Casey – keyboards, vocals
* Colin Sullivan – guitars, vocals
* Aran O’Malley – drums