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Kompendium - Beneath the waves | FESTIVALPHOTO

Kompendium - Beneath the waves



Kompendium is more an ensemble of musicians than a band as such. It brings together for this project an amazing lineup which includes an amazing array of talent including former and current members of bands including Genesis, It Bites, Porcupine tree, Nightwish, Pendragon, King Crimson, Camel, Magenta and many more, along with a choir, an orchestra and opera singers - see below for a fuller list of the people involved. The aim was to create a concept album on the scale of "War of the worlds" - while there have been many concept albums in recent years they've almost all been pretty much a normal album by a band but with a common story running through the songs. This project however is on a much bigger scale - it's not the work of one band, but like "War of the worlds" brings together singers and musicians from various different bands and adds an orchestra.

So it's a prog concept album on an epic scale - a bit like War of the Worlds. Where it differs is that unlike War of the worlds which narrates the story between the songs, "Beneath the waves" is more like a traditional concept album where there is no narration between the songs, so the lyrics of the songs are more imporant to the listeners ability to follow the story.

This really is a beautiful album - it's far better than I could have imagined from the "Prog" and "concept album" descriptions. It's taken a range of musical styles and seamlessly blended them together - Prog, rock, classical, opera and celtic music are all represented here to varying degrees, and the results are just fantastic - check out the videos at the bottom of this review to hear a couple of the songs. There's so much variety in the album with the different instruments being used in different songs, and the use of male or female vocals in different songs, so each song has a slightly different sound, but they all fit together perfectly.

Special praise also has to go to the packaging. The special edition version has a CD and DVD contained in a 7 inch gatefold sleeve with a 20 page booklet. This not only means the artwork from Geoff Taylor (War of the Worlds) is bigger and better, but there's just so much in here - the booklet gives short biographies of the musicians involved, gives the story behind the album and lyrics for all the songs. It's some of the nicest packaging I've seen for a CD recently - in fact if you exclude box sets then it is the best by far. At around £16 it's definitely worth buying this version (unless of course you prefer the vinyl version).

If you go for the special edition, the DVD included gives you three promo videos as well as a load of "making of" short films (I saw short, but at up to half an hour long they are longer than you get in many similar cases)

An amazing album that is highly recommended.

You can order "Beneath the waves" from


Steve Hackett (Genesis)-nylon guitar;
Steve Balsamo - lead vocals
Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) - drums;
Nick Beggs (Steve Hackett Band, Kajagoogoo)- stick;
Troy Donockley (Nightwish, Bad Shepherds) – Uilleann Pipes, whistles;
Nick Barrett (Pendragon) - guitar,
Neil Taylor (Tears for Fears, Robbie Williams)- guitar;
Jakko Jackzyk (20th Century Skitzoid Band) - guitar;
Francis Dunnery (ex It Bites) - guitar,
John Mitchell (It Bites) - guitar,
Mel Collins (King Crimson, Camel) - sax,
BJ Cole (Elton John, David Gilmour) - Pedal Steel Guitar,
Chris Fry (Magenta) - guitar
Christina Booth (Magenta) - backing vocals
Angharad Bryn – (introducing) vocals, in the role of Lily
Steve Reed (Magenta) – lyrics
The vocal ensemble - Synergy,
The English Chamber Choir conducted by Guy Protheroe
The London Session Orchestra conducted by Dave Stewart (Bruford)
Opera singers Rhys Meirion and Shan Cothi.

Skribent: Anthony May
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