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progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Professor Tip Top - Life Is No Matter - 2017

“... the mellow and melodic side of the prog spectrum...”

Professor Tip Top is a band from Bergen, Norway that will release their new album “Life is no Matter” in September on the Norwegian label Apollon Records. So after “Are you Empirical?” (2011), “Auom” (2012) and “Exobiology” (2014) “Life is no Matter” (2017) is their forth full length album. The band makes music that could be interesting for a big audience. At the moment I see that there is a kind of prog/pop sub genre development. Even an artist like Steven Wilson is investigating this. Professor Tip Top has beside the already mentioned Pop influences also influences of Space Rock. But in overall the music is on the mellow and melodic side of the prog spectrum. I would recommend this album to the fans of bands like Fish On Friday and The Allan Parsons Project. All the music is composed by Sam Fossbakk and all the lyrics are from vocalist Svein Magnar Hansen.

Svein Magnar Hansen - vocals; Sam Fossbak - Rickenbacker 6- and 12- string guitars, Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster, Gibson acoustic guitar, EMS synths, ARP Axxe, Minimoog model D, Mellotron 4000 D; Stein Høgseth - bass; Charles Wise - drums

The album opens instrumental with delicious and spacey synths and delicate guitar work in a track called “Entrophy”, a very nice album opener. This is followed by “Pieta Europe”. A slow and beautiful ballad like song delicately sung by vocalist Svein Magnar Hansen. Halfway the track there is an instrumental intermezzo with nice electric guitar work by Sam Fossbakk who is also responsible for all the fine keyboards that you can find on this beautiful album. “Friend or Foe” is a track in the same vein or mood. You can find beautiful vocal melodies on this album. Several times I had to think of The Allan Parsons Project. I love the tasteful synths and keyboard orchestrations. The next tracks “Lullaby For Grown Ups” and “Phoenix” are also slow songs with beautiful vocals and nice guitar parts. The delicate vocal parts reminds me in a way of John Hackett and Nick Magnus. “I'm A Dreamer” opens with lovely uptempo keyboard part but after a short guitar part the slow vocals are returning. The more uptempo instrumental parts with the keyboards and the delicate guitar parts gives this piece the needed diversity. Just as I was thinking that sometimes I'm longing for a more progressive part with more complexity the band comes with some aggressive guitar and spacey synths in the last part of “Fog In The Morning”. The first vocal parts in “Die Bose” are sung in German. The acoustic guitar and beautiful keyboard strings ensure the needed diversity. The album closes with the title track “Life Is No Matter”. With almost eight minutes it is also the longest track of the album. It has an instrumental opening with synth, keyboard strings and an oriental sounding guitar part. It has a repetitive character and that counts also for the lyrics. It is more chanting of a single sentence. Yes your guess was right ... “Life is no Matter”. Here you can hear the Space Rock influences of the band.

“Life is no Matter” the forth album of the band Professor Tip Top is a fine album with nice keyboard parts and beautiful and melodic vocals. The music has some Pop and Space Rock influences. You won't find any progressive or complex stuff on this album. Personally I think that the album is more interesting for the lovers of bands like The Allan Parsons Project and Fish on Friday. I enjoyed listening to this album. But it will not be everyone's cup of tea. The overall atmosphere is mellow and smooth. It is nice to listen to this album after a hectic working day ... but on other occasions I prefer the more complicated and progressive rock bands. So ... check it out for yourself!

Douwe Fledderus - August 2017
rating - Apollon Records


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