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‘City Of Light’ is the third solo album from Sky Architect drummer Christiaan Bruin, but it is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to listen to him and whilst this certainly isn’t the type of music that will appeal to everyone, it is actually pretty good. Christiaan is a Dutch multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter that started his solo project ‘Chris’ in 2009. Apparently, each album so far has seen a different prog direction covered with this album supposedly sounding post-prog contemporary with a slight retro feel. What will perhaps throw most people with this release are not the lovely melodies or length of the six songs, which average between five and eleven minutes, but with the drumming style. Considering this guy is a drummer he liberally uses drum ‘n’ bass and pop rhythms throughout the album and little if any of the drumming is real. Now I am not a big fan of this type of sound, but he has utilised them in such a way that they actually do seem to fit the songs very well, and it is this approach that gives the album its contemporary edge. I would still have preferred a ‘real’ drum kit but that would have made it a more ‘standard’ neo-prog album. Christiaan plays all the instruments on the album and sings, but lead guitarist Bas Immerzeel pops up for a couple of decent solos.

Influences are many. Opening track ‘Colours Come To Life’ actually reminded me a little of ‘Dangerous’ era Michael Jackson but, overall, I can hear elements of classic Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Marillion, IQ, Trevor Rabin and of course ‘90125’ and ‘Big Generator’ era Yes with a bit of funk thrown in for good measure. It’s all very well put together and Christiaan has a decent voice for this type of music, which conveys good emotion. He has also made a grand job of the production, with stereo being used to very good effect, especially on closing track ‘Nowhere To Go’. Credit must also be given to the wonderful front cover artwork by Sebastien Hue. So this is another eye opener for me. If you can embrace the drumming technique, a decent prog album awaits you and I intend to have a listen to some of his earlier work, but I do understand that not everyone will appreciate this direction.
Progress Records
Review by Rick Tilley
24th Oct 2012
1) Colours Come to Life
2) Blessings and Goodbyes
3) Start Align
4) The Sky Falls Down
5) Upside Down
6) Nowhere to Go
"If you can embrace the drumming technique, a decent prog album awaits you..."