Igor Garsnek, Loomade Farm (Boheme) Well, this is certainly a curious album. A project of the Estonian keyboardist Igor Garsnek, Loomade Farm presents George Orwell's Animal Farm as a rock oratorio. Although the individual tracks are short, the album's sound seems to be very epic, with layers and layers of keyboard textures and countermelodies, very powerful male lead and (non-synthesized!) choral vocals, and almost omnipresent driving rhythm. However, this album was recorded in the late 80's and I should warn some that it's painfully obvious. The keyboard sounds can hardly be described as anything but cheesy, and the classic 80's electronic snare drum sound drives the rhythm section. I find these elements bearable and even slightly charming, but some may not be able to take the music seriously because of its obviously dated sound. On to the plus side. Garsnek excels at writing soaring, symphonic themes and freely incorporates Romantic Classical harmonies into the rock framework (with more ease than anyone except Horizont, another USSR band, or perhaps the Enid), particularly in the choral sections. However, the music, despite its narrative context, is actually quite song-oriented and leaves few moments for instrumental sections. At the same time, though the songs are very individual entities, the whole album seems to flow together quite well. Occasionally the more rock-oriented sections falter (again, probably a thing of sounding unbearably dated in some instances), but are always bolstered by the keyboard work (regardless of timbre), and the strong vocals. The symphonic, classical-rock sections always come off without a hitch, which makes me think that Garsnek should try another oratorio in this style. Loomade Farm comes highly recommended to those interested in concept albums and Estonian prog, and who have a reasonably high tolerance for cheese (like myself). Others may want to be more wary, but I still think it's another winner from the wonderful Boheme label. ~Jon Dharma Murphree~, EER-MUSIC.com
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