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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Single Celled Organism - Splinter In The Eye - 2017
albumcover

    
“... a concept album based on a modern-day dystopian story ...”

Single Celled Organism is the new progressive rock project of Jens Lueck. The attentive progVisions reader will recognize this name from my reviews of the albums of his musical partners Isgaard and Volker Kuinke. The later makes music under the moniker Syrinx Call. Jens Lueck has his own Art Of Music Studio and is a respected producer, composer and musician. My first acquaintance with Jens Lueck was at the time when he produced some albums of one of my favorite German bands, Sylvan. To stay with Sylvan, you can find the ex Sylvan guitarist Jan Petersen on most of the tracks of this first album of this remarkable project. And you will not be surprised that you also find the names of Isgaard and Volker Kuinke in the credits. The album is entitled “Splinter In The Eye” and it is a real concept album.

Jens Lueck - drums, keyboards, vocals, bass, programming; Jan Petersen - electric guitars, distorted electric guitars, solo guitar; Katja Flintsch - violin, violas (for orchestra overdubs); Volker Kuinke - bass recorder, soprano recorder, tenor recorder; Kai Ritter - voice (Dr. Abbott Barnaby); Ingo Salzmann - solo guitar, electric guitars, crunch guitar, clean guitar, tremolo guitar, distorted guitar; Dieter Koch - acoustic guitars, clean electric guitars, plung guitar; Ekiss Giloc - plectrum bass, bass; Isgaard - vocals; Annika Stolze - violoncellos (for orchestra overdubs); John Turner - voice (Gabriel)

After working as producer, engineer and composer for several film soundtracks and the already mentioned acts like Isgaard, Syrinx Call, Eloy and Sylvan, Jens Lueck returns with Single Celled Organism to his roots, which lie in progressive / art rock genre. “Splinter In The Eye“ is a concept album based on a modern-day dystopian story.

“A small research team led by the internationally reputed psychiatrist Dr. Abbott Barnaby is undertaking an experiment about the development of personality in the overcrowded flood of information in our world today”.

“In an artificial environment a girl is created but the leader of the team gives us no information about the origin of her heredity, e.g. of the sperm or egg cells. For the following 18 years she is to live in a hermetically sealed living area without any visible doors to the outside world nor to the existence of other human beings. afterwards the girl is to be informed (about the life she has led till now) and prepared for life in the real world outside. This living area is equipped everywhere with hidden cameras and microphones, and roughly 50 screens are installed on one wall of the main living room. In the baby and toddler phases robots, without any resemblance to human beings, look after the girl .... ”

Well as you can read above, this is an excellent story to serve as a basis for a progressive concept album. The album consists out of the following twelve tracks; “Prologue (The Mark Of Cain)”, “Growing Up”, “TV-Show”, “Flying Home”, “New Horizons”, “Flies In My Head”, “I Can’t Feel”, “The Call”, “The Virus”, “Splinter In The Eye”, “I See You” and “Epilogue”.

After a mysterious “Prologue” in which a narrative voice tells the concept of the experiment to an audience, the story unfolds in the strong second track “Growing Up”. A diverse piece of music with a beautiful orchestration and nice instrumental parts. Jens is singing the vocals himself. Saying this, I must tell you that he plays most instruments himself. He is also responsible for the drums, keyboards, bass and the programming. There are only contributions of Jan Petersen (all electric guitars), Katja Flintsch (violin) and Volker Kuinke (bass recorder) on this track. I am impressed by the excellent drumming and tasteful piano and keyboard parts. And the man is also blessed with a beautiful voice.

“TV-shows” is opening with a delicate acoustic guitar and vocal part before the song develops into a fine Art-Prog-Rock song with melodic and catchy vocal parts. After the short delicate song “Flying Home” which includes Volker Kuinke on soprano recorder, the heart of the album includes three songs featuring singer Isgaard. As we know from the Isgaard albums the duo Isgaard/Jens Lueck is a winning couple. The first of those three tracks is entitled “New Horizons” and is after the second track of the album “Growing Up” for me the second highlight of this wonderful album. The angelic voice of Isgaard who crawls into the skin of the girl and a fine electric solo of ex Sylvan guitarist Jan Petersen on top of the keyboard layers and real string orchestrations ... who needs more?

On several tracks of the album Jens uses the violins, violas and violoncellos of the special guests Katja Flintsch and Annika Stolze for tasteful orchestra overdubs. After the delicate sung (Isgaard) “Flies In My head”, the third song of this section “I Can’t Feel” is also a little gem. Well in fact it is the first track of part 2 of the album because officially the album is divided into two parts, a Prologue and an Epilogue. The combination of the vocals parts of Jens Lueck and Isgaard are working very well. The part of Jens has lovely melodies and his singing is excellent. Somehow this vocal part reminds me of the work of Thomas Thielen who is making albums under the moniker of t. The opening with the tenor recorder of Volker Kuinke is very beautiful.

This is followed by the mysterious and dark short track “The Call” which in fact is the introduction of the following song “The Virus”. This track is the first track that Jens wrote after his fourteen years old daughter Marie-Jeanne introduced him to the music of the Porcupine Tree album “Fear Of A Blank Planet”. This was for Jens the trigger to make a progressive rock album. This and the following track “Splinter In The Eye” are darker and heavier than the rest of the album. In the guitar department you can undoubtedly hear the influence and inspiration of that Porcupine Tree album, especially in the song “The Virus”. Title track “Splinter In The Eye” is another highlight. This is a real progressive rock song with dark guitar work and excellent drumming. This last part of the album is very strong. The vocal parts, the orchestration and the guitar solo of Jan Petersen in “I See You (The Regret”) gives me goosebumps. The album closes with the track“ Epilogue (Her Poem)” in which the voice of Isgaard returns. The orchestrations and the fine guitar playing of guitarists Ingo Salzmann and Jan Petersen elevate this song to one of the highlights of this album. A worthy ending of a remarkable album.

Jens Lueck succeeded in his intention to make a good album full of Art- & Progressive Rock music. I am impressed by the fact that Jens plays most of the instruments himself and that he is an excellent vocalist. Joined by skilled guitar players, the angelic voice of Isgaard and some guests players for the classical accents and orchestrations, Jens produced a wonderful album. The middle section with songs like “New Horizons” and “I Can’t Feel” and the last section with the songs “The Virus”, “Splinter In The Eye”, “I See You” and “Epilogue” are very strong. Two years ago, on his mobile phone, Jens received a message about a superb progressive rock album from his fourteen years old daughter. This brought him back to the inspirations of his youth and finally resulted in this progressive rock project under the alias Single Celled Organism. Hopefully this “Splinter In The Eye” album is the first of many. “Splinter In The Eye” of the Single Celled Organism project is highly recommended by progVisions.

Douwe Fledderus - November 2017
rating - Afraid Of Sunlight Records

 

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