Prog rock from Jordan? Count me in! Clouds Over Utopia is a solo project by the very gifted Mohhammed Bilal Al Lahham. It took him 6 YEARS to make this album because he was determined to compose, learn and perform the entire album by himself. It’s quite an undertaking considering the genres that “The Greenland Collectives” crosses.
Lahham is an accomplished pianist so quite a few of the tracks are either ambient or classically based. “8th of June” is lush and beautiful way to start off the album. While “When She Smiles” combines his piano playing with an ambient Fripp-like guitar soundscape. “Beautiful Disaster” is an off-kilter electronic track that sounds like something Ulver would do.
But not all the tracks are abstract like those. “Brown Eyes Melodies,” “In the Sunset of June,” and “In the Sunrise of June” are all acoustic guitar based songs. The latter also features a really great slide guitar part. If Lahham wanted to compose an album for the masses, tracks like these show that he could easily do it.
Other tracks are shorter than I’d like. “Always Present…,” “She Remains,” and “And Always Remembered” feel more like interludes which is probably by design. However, they are all compelling tracks and each end before I’d like them to! But I think the key is that none of the tracks overstay their welcome which makes for a great overall listen.
The final track on “The Greenland Collectives” is an instrumental cover of the Eric Clapton song “Wonderful Tonight.” I really don’t like the song so the cover does nothing for me. It feels very out of place. Overall, “The Greenland Collectives” showcases the ability and compositional skills of Mohhammed Bilal Al Lahham. Yes the album does go in POSSIBLY a few too many directions but this is also a good thing as it shows the potential of Lahham. Hopefully it won’t be another 6 years for a followup!
1. She Remains..
2. 8th Of June
3. Always Present..
4. When She Smiles
5. Brown Eyes Melodies
6. Beautiful Disaster
7. In The Sunrise Of June
8. Eye Of The Storm
9. 25th Of January
10. Mind Isn’t Over Matter Here
11. And Always Remembered.
12. In The Sunset Of June
13. Clouds Over Utopia
14. Moonlight Sonata ( Beethoven Cover In Blues Scale)
15. Wonderful Tonight
Alas, the album seems to be unavailable either on Bandcamp or anywhere at all. I’ve been on a sort of a project dedicated to adding some of the more obscure and underrepresented bands whose work you’ve reviewed over the years at least to Sputnikmusic database (their algorithm of adding a new band is the easiest), but I’m lost here. Of course, I could add this (one-man) band to various Internet databases and spread the word on various platforms, but what’s the use, if no one will be able to listen to the album anyway. Sad.
It’s gone huh? That’s a shame but it’s part of why I don’t get involved with small artists anymore. They disappear like this. I don’t even have the files anymore. (hard drive failure)
I tried googling and there’s barely one other mention of the project besides your review. Even if you did have the files, I think it wouldn’t have done any good. I mean, what could you possibly do, upload them on Piratebay?
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