Review by CDS
This IS your ultimate instrumental crossover album – whether is be synth or instrumental prog you are into – believe me, this has the “Wow factor” for sure.
For God’s sake, don’t let the fact that is a ‘live’ album put you off in any way whatsoever, because it is musically sensational! This is the kind of music that takes you to places everywhere between beautiful islands in the sun to the deepest reaches of space!
Code Indigo are: David Wright (synths / keyboards), Robert Fox, (synths / keyboards), Dave Massey (rhythm programming), Andy Lobban (lead & rhythm guitars), Nigel Turner-Heffer (bass, rhythm & lead guitar / keyboards) and Louise Eggerton (vocal / keyboards).
Recorded over a two and a half year period between 2004 and 2006, this mammoth double album represents all that is best about a synth band live in concert – hang on a minute – did I say “synth band”? This is more than just a synth band – and the journey you are about to undertake will illustrate that with every passing minute.
It may sound awfully clichéd to say this, but within four minutes of the opening of the first disc, you’ve already conjured images of Pink Floyd, Camel, Tangerine Dream and John Dyson / Wavestar as previously familiar reference points. With Floyd, it’s that ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ intro styled flow of synths and guitars, for Tangerine Dream, it’s the ever-shifting undercurrents where nothing ever stays still and the sequencers provide a flowing backbone, while for Dyson / Wavestar & Camel it’s that rising stream of melodic keyboard/guitar splendour that really touches the soul. Put all this together and you have but the first part of one astounding album.
Further into the voyage, we find that things become a lot deeper, more layered and altogether more solid, in many ways, as you’d expect from a line-up that featured three synth players, two guitarists and someone to keep an eye on the more percussive sides of things. Not only that, but the intensity rises too, as the synths rise to the skies to be joined by touches of surging and streaming electric guitar, so much so that it then becomes more a mix of Mike Oldfield and Enigma as different worlds collide and explode into this sun-drenched marvel that is the music of Code Indigo, where guitars are scorching into the ether as sequencers rumble behind this huge expanse of space and string synths that literally fill every crevice of your head. Sounds good? It should do – because that’s just the first twelve minutes!!! – You have sixty-two more to go – and then another seventy-seven disc to come on top of that!!
Next it’s: ‘Autumn Fades’, and after the strength that’s just been witnessed, this is a perfectly placed exercise in blissful atmosphere, as the slow rhythms, solid and melodic piano, sweet synth undercurrents flow slowly onwards towards a biting, yet restrained electric guitar lead that provides a positively Pink Floyd-esque quality. This track sounds so much like the quieter part of one of the tracks from the ‘Animals’ album, and another, which, for the life of me, I can’t recall right now – but listen to this glorious piece of music yourself and maybe you’ll lock on to the one I’m thinking of?
In tried and trusted Code Indigo fashion, nothing stays in one place for too long, and the blissful becomes strong without sacrificing any of the romance, and when it blossoms out into this Wavestar-like lead synth melody backed by vast rivers of melodic and rhythmic beauty, the effect is somewhere between joyous and not-a-dry-eye-in-the-house melancholy.
‘Ten Degrees Per Second’ is an altogether chunkier ten minutes of music, with solid but bouncing rhythms, more soaring electric guitar leads and that solid string synth depth that runs underneath. Sequencers are used more sparingly this time and in the distance, the main rhythm feature being of a more percussive nature. As the track nears its finale, a reed-like synth melody appears out of nowhere and wanders in and out of the, now even stronger electric guitar furnace, then the sequencers rise to the top and the track lurches along like a train slowly winding through some truly gorgeous background scenery.
’24am’ is heavenly, melting into melodic and slowly chunky sounds, utilising electric piano, synths, more sustained and restrained soaring guitar, plus assorted electronic backdrops, while ‘Galileo’ takes your breath away in a shower of Mellotron-esque string synths before morphing into the near sixteen minutes of ‘Time Code’, where all the best elements of what has gone before come into play in one slowly building and strongly cohesive slice of seventies-inspired instrumental synth music, but here wrapped up in a more contemporary guise, in terms of production and arranging more than anything else, and I guarantee that you’ll be hooked by this classic piece of work.
By now, I think you get the drift – so to speak. The rest of the first disc and all of the second one feature music in a similar vein, being varied, consistent and thoroughly enjoyable. This is synth-guitars instrumental music of real substance, style and imagination, touching all the right spots as it progresses – Absolutely spellbinding stuff!
Rarely will you hear music of this quality unfold so exquisitely, and to an extent that every track carries you along with its mood in such a way that you become totally absorbed in its magical beauty, and with so much music around these days, it’s a very rare thing to find an album that you would want – desire – to play from start to finish each time you hear it, but in the case of this immaculate sounding and arranged body of work, this is true of each disc individually or, if you have the time, both together.
With all ideas perfectly executed, Code Indigo’s ‘In Concert’ is so much more that just a “synth music” album, in fact it’s potential audience is far greater than even the largest fan-base that this genre of music can offer, spreading into the realms of “symphonic prog” and beyond – Not only is it one stunning ‘live’ album, but one that’s a cut above most similar studio albums.
Another real crossover classic!