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Transatlantic - Biography
|last update : 19-02-2012 14:34|
|The natural creativity of a true artist is based upon two things. Firstly, there is the inspiration that comes from within, forged by inherited traits and shaped by one's growth and involvement within their chosen field. On the other hand, there is the spontaneous flow ideas created by different artists inspiring each other at any one time. The creation of "SMPTe", the debut album by the exciting new project Transatlantic, was a direct result of all of the above.|
"Before we went into the studio, we had lots of vague ideas, but most of the final versions of the songs came about during our numerous jam sessions" explains Roine Stolt, Transatlantic's guitarist and otherwise member of Scandinavian progressive rock outfit, The Flower Kings. Making up the rest of this multi-talented hybrid are drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), keyboard player Neal Morse (Spock's Beard) and bassist Pete Trevawas (Marillion). A truly illustrious collection of amazing talent that push the barriers are redefine the meaning of a progressive rock supergroup!
The vision behind Transatlantic initially came from Mike Portnoy, who first decided to call Neal Morse with his master plan. Morse explains: "Mike said, 'Hey, I have a cool idea for a project together with you and Jim Matheos from Fates Warning, are you interested?' I said yes straight away, of course, but Jim couldn't do it. Anyway, that's how it got off the ground." As Jim Matheos wasn't an option, the two searched for an alternative. Morse had been already corresponding with Stolt by e-mail since the two performed together with their respective bands in LA at the Progfest in '97 and he seemed an obvious choice. Bass playing duties went to Pete Trewavas after being asked by Portnoy who had been a big Marillion fan for years. By the time the four met up in New York to record, they had all brought with them a collection of ideas for the project. Neal Morse, in particular, took with him an arsenal of ideas, including bits and pieces of some songs and entire concepts for others, all of which were adapted, added to and refined throughout the recording. "Neal is incredibly creative," says Stolt. "There's no stopping him once he's started to play and has thought up new stuff. He also wrote most of the lyrics."
Recording took place at Millbrook Studios in upstate New York, where Portnoy had recorded with Liquid Tension Experiment. Overall production duties were shared by the band and engineering came courtesy of studio owner Paul Orofino. The first song the band recorded together was the six part, thirty minute plus epic "All Of The Above". Stolt says: "Altogether, we must have produced nearly 25 parts for that song." The studio session finally ended with a cover of "In Held (Twas) In I", an obscure Procul Harum track. The completed material was then sent on to LA and mixed by Rich Mouser, who amongst other things, had worked on several Spock's Beard albums.
Stolt describes the resulting album as "real strong progressive rock!" Morse takes the description one step further by saying: "It's lots of high energy prog and pop fusion, a combination of Marillion, The Flower Kings, Spock's Beard and Dream Theater. There's lots of Hammond organs and lots of hard, fast and progressive drum rhythms. The bass is a very important factor and sometimes sounds a bit like McCartney and then Squire, so lots of notes and rhythms.". Portnoy believes the album has more of an affinity with old school prog rock ΰ la Pink Floyd, The Beatles or Yes, than with metal, "The album has lots of fantastic vocals and instrumental flights of fancy. It's definitely the third milestone that I've accomplished this year besides the new Dream Theater CD and the birth of my son Max."
All four musicians agree that "SMPTe" (the name not only comes from the musicians initials, but it is also a communicative code used in studio recording) is a timeless piece of rock history and one that shows such diverse influences as Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Steely Dan and The Beatles. Or, as Portnoy, Morse, Trevawas and Stolt put it: "All good music!". Music, which is screaming for continuation not to mention live performance and it's looking good for fans on both counts. Stolt goes on to illustrate: "We've already been asked to play a few shows. That would be great, I'd love that and I'm sure the others would too and actually yes, we do have plans for a second album. It might sound a tiny bit different though, because we know each other a lot better now.". SMPTe will be released throughout Europe in March, don't miss it!
Source: Inside Out Music