TIME HORIZON – Living Water (2011)


One of the musical surprises of the year comes from Northern California, by the hand of TIME HORIZON and their first album “Living Water”.
The genesis of the band started in the mid-90’s when keyboardist Ralph Otteson and guitar player David Dickerson were mixing their demos and meet in the studio drummer/vocalist Bruce Gaetke.
Time Horizon was born and they began composing and performing new fresh original songs. The debut album has been in gestation for some time, featuring 10 songs written between 2005 and 2010.

Time Horizon offers on “Living Water” a fantastic slice of AOR inspired Prog Rock, with tons of melodies, catchy rhythms and excellent musicianship.
The band themselves cite their influences as a mixture of Kansas, Boston, Styx, Spock’s Beard, Saga and Neal Morse, and to be fair they have it pretty much spot on, with the majority of the songs on ‘Living Water’ combining progressive themes with layers of vocal harmonies and hooks galore.
I hear a distinct cross-over appeal to the classic AOR market, such that they may fit better in the Crossover Prog sub-genre than in the traditional prog. The individual instrumental performances are top notch. Drummer Bruce Gaetke also doubles up on vocals, and while his percussive work is great, it is really his vocals, the guitar work of Dave Dickerson and keyboard playing of Ralph Otteson that shines brightest on this uplifting CD.

Opener ‘Life Fantastic’ has a slower Styx-like vibe with touches of Saga, and after some majestic keys the guitars take over to set the stage for Gaetke’s opening vocals. Excellent keys and guitar work follow, along with strong bass and solid drums. A very strong start.
My own personal highlight of the album is the ultra catchy “Age Of Wonders”, musically reminiscent of the most commercial Kansas, where the layers of vocals are so Boston inspired, making this a song that I can listen to over and over without ever tiring of. Tons of lovely keyboards here, as on much of this brilliant CD.
“Time Horizon” is an unexpected four minute journey into Michel Jarre / Alan Parsons territory, combining some beautifully layered keyboard textures with vocorder-enhanced voices and ethereal lyrics. The mechanized vocals add to the mystery and dramatic power of the lyrics being delivered, all surrounded by fantastic synths.
On “Forgiveness” the drums are slowly added with inspired bass lines and guitars to build the climax. The pipe organ like keys make it sound like it was performed in a church, making the sound even more majestic. Emotional vocals from Gretke and a soaring guitar solo crowns the tune.

The excellent Rush-esque drums open the catchy AOR “Feel The Change”, before those cool keys join in again to provide just the right touch. This is a classic Kansas / Boston influenced track where the interaction between Otteson’s massive keys and Dickerson’s and Gourley’s guitar work is just amazing. Gaetke’s drum never misses a beat. A favorite to me.
Adding variation arrives “Me Chili Caliente”, the only (and short) intrumental. It’s a piece full of acoustic guitar at the opening that will bring back memories of some of Steve Howe’s famous interludes on Yes’ albums of the 70s. But there is also a Steve Hackett sound to this piece as well. I could have listened to 10 to 15 minutes of this guitar work.
Another winner is the majestic “I Am Not Alone (‘Till the Dawn)”. It opens with fantastic, powerful vintage keyboards, before blazing guitars and heavy bass mix well with the drum beats to build rhythm and melody. I love the way that the main ballad-like piano/vocal section leads the way to an instrumental break that kicks the tempo and intensity up a notch. A perfect blending of the band’s prog and AOR sensibilities.
Title track “Living Water” is catchy poppy-prog number built around a tribal drum rhythm and some tight group-vocal melodies which play in counterpoint with one another. Very nice harmonies.
Closer “Paradise” reminds me Saga sonically, but the song structure has again Kansas similarities. A very melodic track with where all the members have their instrumental showcase.

Time Horizon’s debut album “Living Water” is a collection of wonderful accessible Prog-AOR songs perfectly crafted.
Mature songwriting, varied and interesting, with all the songs sonically arranged to sound different and enchanting. The recording / production are on the highest professional caliber, and the band’s musical chops are certainly superb, with Otterson’s majestic keyboards in particular, often rising up to steal the show. I love quality keyboards, and here are tons of them.
Time Horizon is also quite strong vocally, with Gaetke’s warm, friendly mid-range voice used to great effect, as well as some fantastic sweet harmonies that should appeal to fans of Kansas and Boston.
It resulted all together in an excellent sounding album without any weak composition, inspired and effective.
“Living Water” is another surprise of the year, don’t miss it.
Highly Recommended.

01 – Life Fantastic
02 – Living Water Prelude
03 – Age of Wonders
04 – Time Horizon
05 – Forgivness
06 – Feel the Change
07 – Me Chili Caliente
08 – I Am Not Alone (Til the Dawn)
09 – Living Water
10 – Paradise

Ralph Otteson (keyboards / background vocals)
Bruce Gaetke (drums / lead vocals)
David Dickerson (electric and acoustic guitars / keyboards)
Steve Gourley (bass guitar)


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5 Responses

  1. ZM-JazzRock says:

    Just downloaded it… no words to thank you! An excellent album from a great band. The vocals remimds me something like Carl Palmer. And the instrumental can be placed somewhere between Pallas and Marillion (from the 80's).
    In summary: great from the beggining till the end.
    Really appreciated this album.
    My kids are playing some Wii while I am listening to it, and just asked me: "What band is this dad? We liked".
    I think this is a very good recommendation: a group that make music that peleases two generations in the same way.

  2. ZM-JazzRock says:

    thanx for the new link!

  3. zerodayrock says:

    ZM-JazzRock :
    Thanks for the report. New option ready.

  4. ZM-JazzRock says:

    unfortunatelly, it seems that the T1M​.H0RIZ​__0dRck​.rar file isn't available anymeore @ FileFactory…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow this is really good. Thanks again for opening my ears to some new music that I need to hunt down. http://timehorizonmusic.com/

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