Exposé Online banner

Malcolm Smith — We Were Here
(TropeAUDIO TA 052, 2014, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-12-23

We Were Here Cover artComposer and guitarist with prog-rock band Metaphor, this is Smith’s debut solo endeavor, a largely instrumental sampling of ideas that push all the right progressive buttons, yet offers a respectable level of originality that won’t leave the listener comparing these six pieces to things that have been done before. First and foremost, this sounds like the work of a composer utilizing the full palette of rock instrumentation rather than that of a guitarist alone, and on that level this is truly successful. Working with Smith are his Metaphor bandmate and keyboardist Marc Spooner, Änglagård / Necromonkey / White Willow drummer Mattias Olsson, and bassist Loren Gustafson. The two cuts that feature vocals (That would be “Still...Life” and some wordless voice on the refrain of the second part of the nearly fourteen-minute nine-part epic “Sykiatry”) feature Metaphor’s John Mabry, and Deborah Roth respectively, although closer “Les Canards de Guerre” features a spoken French poem recitation by Smith and Spooner. Two additional guitarists, Craig Launer and Rich Longacre, guest on a couple of the album’s instrumental cuts. Compositional approaches run the gamut, from a warm, melodic and delicate Genesis-like approach to the the full-on orchestral type arrangements of early seventies Frank Zappa, even to a balanced and refined fusion approach that appears from time to time. Mabry’s vocal appearance is just at the right place to create a down-to-earth stop in the middle of all this heady instrumental music. For the most part the album is full of busy and complex arrangements with turns and twists that surprise the listener around every corner, that should please the instincts of progressive rock fans everywhere.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Malcolm Smith

Latest news

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more

2020-01-07
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Vanderhoof - A Blur in Time – Those who have heard of Kurdt Vanderhoof will know him as a member of the band Metal Church. I’m no fan of that band (or metal in general), but I had heard his other-band-cum-solo-project Vanderhoof...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues