PRR721 Terra Incognita: A Line In The Sand
Produced by Henning Pauly
Released on June 22, 2010
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Find it at GEMM
PRR721 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 2.0: HIGH INFIDELCITY. As every prog fan knows, science fiction & fantasy literature fuels our favored art form, from the album covers to the music contained within. Occasionally, an intrepid author has crossed over into the making of that music (e.g., Michael Moorcock), but generally what we have are spotty synopses of literary classics like 1984, Animal Farm, I Robot, Lord of the Rings, etc. or original stories with enough holes to power a small quasar (The Story of I, 2112). Authors Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta instead took a novel approach, creating a soundtrack for Anderson’s Terra Incognita novels by scripting the story into a series of songs and, with the help of Progrock Records’s Shawn Gordon, assembling an ad hoc band (Roswell Six) to score and play the music. It might sound like an expensive ego trip on the surface, but not so; if more science fiction authors wrote rock albums, the world as we know it would be an order of magnitude less sucky. Which isn’t to suggest that Terra Incognita 2 is the perfect prog album, because it isn’t. “Loyalty” singlehandedly sees to that. It is, however, a remarkably well-architected album, with a high-quality cast of vocal characters: Steve Walsh (Kansas), Sass Jordan (who sounds uncannily like Geddy Lee on “The Crown,” to the chagrin of Rush fans everywhere), Michael Sadler (Saga), Charlie Dominici (Dream Theater). And then there’s the multi-instrumental magician Henning Pauly, a one-man band who plays one mean guitar (replacing the original Terran master music builder, Erik Norlander). I’ve heard a lot of DIY prog albums (thank you, ProTools, for nothing), and most of them fall apart under inspection. Pauly stands tall in such company, despite being guilty of sometimes going to too-great lengths to compensate for his oneness, constructing towers of Kashmir complexity (“Barricade”) or using an architect’s artifice of contentious angles (“My Father’s Son”). Otherwise, the music is in line with that you’d expect from a middle eastern-minded neoprogressive metal band (oh, those, you say). The real star is the story, which tells the tale of two warring kingdoms, drawing both from Anderson’s work on the Dune prequels and the historical battle for Jerusalem. The themes are familiar--a young man goes in search of adventure, a queen and soldier share a forbidden love, a young prince struggles with power--but they’re rich motifs that make for an entertaining epic. It did take time for me to warm up to Terra Incognita 2 the Album; the opening moments are kind of, um, pretentious (then again, isn’t that the whole point of prog?). And, without the benefit of the book, the listener’s not getting the whole story, only one component of a multimedia work. Still, it’s an exciting idea, this soundtrack to a novel, and I hope more publishers pick up on the concept and package them together.

PRR721 back cover
PRR721 back cover
[high resolution scan]

TRACK LISTING

  1. BARRICADE    8:24
  2. WHIRLWIND    5:01
  3. THE CROWN    (Lyrics by Kevin J. Anderson/Rebecca Moesta/Janis Ian)    5:21
  4. LOYALTY    6:15
  5. MY FATHER'S SON    6:00
  6. WHEN GOD SMILED ON US    6:01
  7. NEED    (Lyrics by Kevin J. Anderson/Rebecca Moesta/Janis Ian)    6:06
  8. SPIRAL    6:45
  9. BATTLEGROUND    6:10
  10. VICTORY    9:06

    Lyrics by Kevin J. Anderson & Rebecca Moesta, Music by Henning Pauly unless noted

CREDITS

KEVIN J. ANDERSON -- story and lyrics, co-executive producer
REBECCA MOESTA -- story and lyrics
HENNING PAULY -- music, all instruments, backing vocals, engineer, mixing
Charlie Dominici -- lead vocals (5)
Alex Froese -- lead and backing vocals
Janis Ian -- additional lyrics
Sass Jordan -- lead vocals (3,7)
You'N'Joy Lindenholzhausen -- choir (10)
Arjen Lucassen -- backing vocals (4)
Juan Roos -- backing vocals (2)
Michael Sadler -- lead vocals
Nick Storr -- lead and backing vocals
Steve Walsh -- lead vocals
Shawn Gordon -- executive producer
Richard Livoni -- additional engineering
Derek Sharp -- additional engineering
Chad Singer -- additional engineering
Bob Eggleton -- paintings
Richard Ware -- paintings
Lee Gibbons -- cover image
T. Duren Jones -- booklet and package design

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REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US June 22, 2010 Progrock CD PRR721  

 

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