ESP – Invisible Din (2016)
“Invisible Din” is the debut album from ESP, the quite fascinating new project from Tony Lowe and Mark Brzezicki. If the latter, the Big Country drummer who has also worked with The Cult and Sting amongst others, is probably the most familiar, then its Lowe’s back catalogue that is particularly crucial and pertinent here too. He is a producer to the stars (Robert Fripp, Bram Stoker and just about anyone who wants to make a prog record), as well as working with the likes of Julian Lennon and Roger Daltrey.
The two decided to get together and record a Prog Rock album they were able to call on a stellar cast including David Cross (the ex King Crimson), the incredible on so many levels Van Der Graaf Generator saxophone and flute blower David Jackson, keyboardist John Young (Asia, Fish, Paul Rodgers) and many more – frankly the list of guests here might take up the whole review.
“Invisible Din” is a concept record but actually that doesn’t matter, because musically the album is quite brilliant, and surprisingly accessible.
The playing is simply wonderful, and the songs are epic journeys often encompassing two or three parts, and many with excellent instrumental passages – and the phenomenal solo of Jackson at the end of ‘Through The Dream’ is worth buying this record for alone.
The album is best listened to as a whole piece, but if you don’t have 70 minutes spare then dive into the atmospheric world of ‘Uninvited Guest’ immediately, its lush, classy soundscape is one which you won’t want to leave.
‘Where Is My Hom’ on the other hand is short and to the point, but the absolute highlight here is the record’s centrepiece, ‘Searching The Banks For A Memory’ which has echoes of Genesis and Yes, but still manages entirely out on its own and fresh.
The musicianship is top notch again in ‘Quiet Days’, where Camel would be another musical reference point as ESP – like Camel – pay lots of attention to the musical detail on each song they create.
‘Waiting For The Rush’ is perhaps the biggest left turn on offer, with its stark electro beats and pulsing rhythm beautifully balanced by Lowe’s guitar and gentle voice.
The title track itself is an instrumental affair with lilting pianos at the start before moving into more traditional Prog territory, and by the time the album ends with the uplifting ‘Almost Seen’ which builds to a mighty crescendo, you are left with the feeling that you are not quite sure what happened, but you are absolutely glad it did.
One of the most notable aspects of ESP’s debut “Invisible Din” is the ‘big sound’, layers of it, which make this album one that will stand up to repeated plays.
There’s little doubt that ‘real’ Prog Rock is lately enjoying some kind of resurrection, with stunning albums seemingly dropping from nowhere on a monthly basis to amaze and impress. What Lowe and Brzezicki have created with ESP is right up there with, if not beyond many of the best of them.
01 – Overture
02 – Through the Dream
03 – Uninvited Guest
04 – Song From a Waking Dream
05 – Where Is My Home
06 – Searching the Banks For a Memory
07 – Waiting For the Rush
08 – Riding the Thermal
09 – Quiet Days
10 – Invisible Din
11 – Almost Seen
Tony Lowe – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards,
Mark Brzezicki (Big Country, The Cult) – Drums, Vocals
David Cross (ex-King Crimson) – Violin
David Jackson (ex-Van der Graaf Generator) – Sax, flute
Phil Spalding (ex-Elton John, Mike Oldfield) – Bass
Steve Gee (Landmarq, John Wetton) – Bass
John Young (Asia, Fish, Paul Rodgers) – Keyboards
John Beagley (ex-Simon Collins / Tom Kraus) – Vocals
Alison Fleming – Vocals
Yumi Hara (David Allen & Chris Cutler) – Electric Harp
Pat Orchard – Guitar
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