In a way this album has been over 40 years in the making. Duncan Mackay was playing in a club he started in Johannesburg called the Branch Office, the first venue in South Africa where you could go and hear Prog Rock. Georg Voros (although underage at the time) would go and listen to Duncan. 40 years on Georg approached Duncan to play on and mix a solo album. The Bletchley Park Project grew from this prior collaboration.
Duncan Mackay is a British composer, singer, arranger, and keyboard player who has recorded three solo albums. On this, his second solo album, has moved slightly away from the Keith Emerson imitations that permeated his first album. Slightly, because the Emerson sound still appears. On the first track, Witches, a somewhat Spanish sounding symphonic proc piece, Mackay plays Emerson-like riffs on a honky-tonk tack piano, similar in sound to keith's in Benny The Bouncer. Acousic piano appears throughout the album, with Mackay providing obvious Emerson-influenced sounds…
This double disc more or less collects the entire recorded material of The Explorers. For the uninitiated, Explorers were a band project featuring Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay of Roxy Music which surfaced after the disbanding of Roxy Music in 1983. Think of it as a Bryan Ferry-less Roxy. The trademark sax assault and classy oboe playing of Andy Mackay and the economic but always tasteful guitar textures of Phil Manzanera are there, but the emphasis is on songs. The vocalist/third member is James Wraith, whose voice is a stylish cross between Ferry and Saga's Michael Sadler(somewhat). They did two albums, 'The Explorers' and 'Manzanera & Mackay'. Musically it continues in the post-Avalon Roxy direction, and if you liked 'Flesh + Blood', this is your ticket: soulful and well-crafted pop songs with atmosphere and professionalism.
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