Marek Arnold – Marek Arnold’s Artrock Project (CD)
At some stage in their career, almost all ambitious musicians and composers reach a point where they want to test their ‘individual handwriting’ as songwriters ‘without filters’, in other words without external influences. In doing so, they are rarely concerned with vanity, spotlight seeking or indeed egomania. In fact, these kinds of projects are usually all about exploring their own artistic DNA, their very personal style as creative artists.
For Marek Arnold, that moment arrived almost three years ago. “I was always at the helm of almost all my bands and have been asked time and again: ‘Why don’t you do a solo album?’, explains the multi-instrumentalist, who has been an integral part of the international prog rock scene as part of German art rock legend Stern-Combo Meissen and acts such as Toxic Smile, Cyril, Seven Steps To The Green Door and Damanek.
Having been asked to compose the theme tune ‘Stay’ for the renowned Reichenbach Artrock Festival in 2018 and having earned unanimously positive reactions, Arnold decided to take up the challenge, so in July 2023, his Artrock Project released an album at the interface of artrock, progmetal and Canterbury, including a spectacular 26-minute prog rock suite and two rearranged classics from Arnold’s previous career, recorded with the support of a host of renowned guest musicians.
The illustrious roster of contributors includes not only world-famous drummers such as Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson), Craig Blundell (Pendragon, Steve Hackett), John Macaluso (Symphony X, Yngwie Malmsteen), Niklas Kahl (Lord Of The Lost) and Sebastian Lanser (Panzerballett), but also, among others, outstanding US keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Sons Of Apollo, Planet X, Black Country Communion) and his colleague Adam Holzman (Miles Davis, Steven Wilson, Michel Petrucciani), as well as guitarists Kalle Wallner (RPWL), Gary Chandler (Jadis) and Luke Machin (The Tangent) and first-rate vocalists such as Peter Jones (Camel), Arno Menses (Sieges Even, Subsignal), Manuel Schmid (Stern Combo Meissen) and Larry B. (Toxic Smile). Arnold: “During the pre-production stage, in my mind a list materialized featuring musicians who would perfectly suit each individual number. Due to my long-standing association with the scene, I have lots of personal contacts with other artists. Every one of my favorite candidates –with only two exceptions – spontaneously agreed to participate.” Arnold himself plays the piano and keyboards as well as the saxophone and clarinet, in addition to composing and producing all the songs. The album was mixed and mastered by Flaming Row band mate Martin Schnella.
The highlight and epicenter of Arnold’s new album is the six-part concept suite 'Berlin 2049’, which sees him explore the genre’s full range in all its fascinating facets, while at the same time looking at the cutting-edge topic of artificial intelligence. “A lot of people find this subject rather worrying, and rightly so. On the other hand, AI also has a number of positive aspects, which is why we should bear in mind its opportunities as well as the risks it entails,” Arnold comments on the lyrics penned by American writer George Andrade. Appropriately, two video clips and the photos in the CD booklet were produced with the help of AI.
In addition to other highlights such as the soaring ‘Papillion’, the cinematic soundtrack flair of ‘A Time Of Mystery’ and the above-mentioned festival anthem 'Stay' (featuring vocalist Melanie Mau), there are two special surprises for all Toxic Smile fans: The new 16-minute version of ‘A Story Of Separation And Lost’ has Marek Arnold revisit the song ‘Arirang’ from Toxic Smile’s 2001debut, and he presents the live classic ‘Cold Run' on record for the first time, also recorded using today’s production technology.
Initial reactions to the album have been highly encouraging. “Lots of positive comments from fans, the extension of my studio and the pandemic-enforced break have resulted in my first solo recording,” enthuses Marek Arnold, adding: “I couldn’t be happier about the result.”
- A Story Of Separation And Loss
- No Place Like Arirang
- A Time Of Mystery
- Come Away With Me
- Cold Run
- Berlin 2049
- Rain Will Fall 1
- Leave Well Enough Alone
- Rain Will Fall 2
- Riding The Line
- Reason To Lie
Artist: Marek Arnold
Release Date: 2023