Proud Peasant — Flight
(Basement Avatar Records BAR001, 2014, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-07-13
Proud Peasant is an Austin-based progressive rock band led by multi-instrumentalist Xander Rapstine (guitars, mandolin, ukulele, Melodica, glockenspiel, percussion). Their debut release is Flight, a set of three fairly long instrumentals with multiple movements: “The Prisoner” (12:28), “Awakenings” (19:34), and “The Precipice” (13:20). These three pieces are pastoral soundscapes of sublime dreams and wicked nightmares, something that we have not heard the likes of since the 70s with Mike Oldfield, Gryphon, and the Amazing Blondel. Flight is an ambitious undertaking for a debut album, but Xander is no stranger to music. He performed for eight years with his pop rock band The Evildoers, and then decided to explore a more rewarding style of music. In the fall of 2011 he formed Proud Peasant and began the long process of recording Flight. He made the conscious decision for this initial release to be all instrumental as he felt it necessary to first find his voice (so to speak) in this new genre. The other band members are David Hobizal (drums), Jay Allen (keyboards), and Kyle Robarge (bass). On Flight there are additional musicians playing tuba, clarinet, violin, trumpet, timpani, percussion, flute, French horn, cello, and trombone, as well as a choir singing wordlessly at various points. The music is majestic and cinematic with a definite Mike Oldfield Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn vibe. The addition of the brass imparts a Spanish accent that evokes Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western soundtracks. Flight is an extraordinary debut release and is definitely one of my top 10 releases for 2014! If Flight is a true indicator, Proud Peasant is destined for greatness. According to the CD tray, their next release will be Communion.
Related artist(s): Proud Peasant
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