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Peter The Great - Go Figure

Peter The Great - Go FigureMen (and women!) with beards have nothing to fear from this Peter The Great because he is neither a Tsar nor would he wish to tax facial hair growth sporting, as he does, an element of chin stubble.  A co-owner of Anvil Records with Sandy Ross, Peter van Breukelen was born in Holland and became involved in the music scene from his teenage years as a sound engineer and band manager before moving to New South Wales, Australia in the 1980ís.

Anvil Records caters for local progressive rock artists and the large collection of processor, vintage synthesisers and sound sources tempted Peter to record his own project under the Peter The Great moniker (easier to remember and pronounce than van Breukelen).

Go Figure is predominately, if not wholly, a synth based album and is entirely instrumental.  Conceptually, it is about nature, its beauty (and dangers), and the plight of the planet as a result of human tinkering (in attempts to control nature and overuse of natural resources).

Influenced by jazz-rock and symphonic rock and bands such as Genesis, YES, King Crimson, Focus and UK, it is natural that Peter uses such elements in his music.  Whilst the synthesiser aspect may bring comparisons to Vangelis or Wendy Carlos, Go Figure delves a lot deeper than the commercialism of the former or the classical of the latter.  The music often has that King Crimson Ďexperimentalí combined with jazziness flavour, exploring textures using percussive sounds letting the synths find the melody and direction.  The journey encompasses tranquillity and nightmares, from smooth gentleness to perceived chaos and anxiety (KC, Hackett, Keith Emerson), but is not without funkier moments (Wakeman, Thjis van Leer).

Apart from a couple of bars from In The Hall Of The Mountain King (Grieg, at the close of Garlic Man), the compositions are original in every sense and there is no doubting Peterís writing or playing ability.  All instruments on this album are played by Peter with the exception of the Roland MKS-80 Super Jupiter on Jupiterís Havana Cow, which is played by Peterís son Allan.  As is the nature of the synthesiser when it predominates, the sound can come across as cold and clinical but perhaps Peter will consider adding some warming bass on his next project if it doesnít detract from the feeling he is trying to create.  Regardless of this, the album is very listenable and should be of particular interest to fans of prog keyboard music generally and to the many of us who dabble with synthesisers or midi keyboards professionally or as a hobby.

Ordering information and sound samples are available from the Peter The Great website (link below)

Jem Jedrzejewski

Peter The Great

 

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