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