The Samurai of Prog – “Lost and Found” (Seacrest Oy, 2016)
Transnational progressive rock band The Samurai of Prog has a new double set titled “Lost and Found.” As the title indicates, the music on this recording includes rare pieces composed by early American progressive rock bands.
The music selection comes from various sources so each track has a very different personality. It feels more like a compilation than a cohesive progressive rock album.
Bassist Marco Bernard came up with the idea. He was curious about musical pieces by progressive rock bands that never made it to albums. He approached friends in several bands and received copies of demos and live recordings.
Disc 1 begins with “Preludin “, a fiddle-driven song by American band Pavlov’s Dog. It has classical music influences and features Pavlov’s Dog’s guitarist Steve Scorfina.
Track 2 is a short and delightful piano instrumental piece titled “Along the Way” performed by David Myers.
One of the best compositions in this 2-CD album is track 3, “Inception”, a 20-minute epic suite originally composed by American progressive rock band Lift. This piece begins with a dreamlike atmosphere and is followed by a Yes-inspired section that progresses into Selling England by the Pound-era Genesis influences. The most original and forward-looking sections in this track are the electric violin solos backed by electronics. Steve Unruh delivers outstanding work on vocals, violin and flute. Lift’s keyboardist and composer Chip Gramillion appears on keyboards, along with Glass Hammer guitarist Kamran Alan Shikoh.
The weakest point in this album is track 4, “She (who must be obeyed)”. I normally like Jon Davidson’s (Glass Hammer, Yes) vocals, but his high pitch vocals here and the sappy nature of this piece makes the song painful to hear.
Disc 1 ends with another great piece, this time from American band Cathedral, one of the finest of the 1970’s progressive bands from the USA. “Plight of the Swan” has Genesis and King Crimson influences, with majestic keyboard work and notable vocals by Unruh.
Disc 2 is a single mammoth piece, “The Demise”, clocking 57:18 minutes. This work was composed by an obscure band called Quill. It’s an ambitious fantasy piece broken into 36 parts, featuring Richard Maddocks as narrator and two vocalists, the fabulous Mark Trueack (Unitopia, United Progressive Fraternity) and Quill’s Keith Christian. Despite the ambitious nature, this piece features occasional memorable moments. Keith Christian’s voice has suffered the passage of time and it’s hard to follow the story.
The principal members of The Samurai of Prog are Finnish-Italian bassist Marco Bernard, Finnish drummer Kimmo Pörsti, who founded Mist Season; and American multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Steve Unruh of the prog jam band Resistor.
The lineup on “Lost and Found” includes Marco Bernard on bass; Steve Unruh on vocals, violin and flute; Kimmo Pörsti on drums and percussion; the late Stefan Renström on keyboards; David Myers on piano; Tom Doncourt on keyboards; Chip Gremillion on keyboards; Johan Öijen on electric and acoustic Guitars; Kamran Alan Shikoh on electric guitar; Jon Davison on vocals; Steve Scorfina on electric guitar; Keith Christian on vocals; Mark Trueack on vocals; Linus Kåse on saxophones; and Spanish piper Llorián García on electronic bagpipes.
The physical version comes with beautiful artwork by Ed Unitsky and thick booklet with photos, illustrations, credits and lyrics.
Buy Lost and Found