CD: Jo Wang: Symposion

CD: Jo Wang: Symposion

Termo Records is proud to present (in limited stock only) Jo Wang’s legendary 1990 release “Symposion”. Jo Wang is best known to prog fans as the engineer/producer behind White Willow’s first two albums, “Ignis Fatuus” and “Ex Tenebris”. But Jo is also a formidable composer and performer in his own right, and after having played keyboards in several prog bands during the 80’s, he released his first solo album of electronic music on the Pan Pot label in 1990.

Jo’s diverse background served him well on this album. As a prog aficionado his taste for both early Genesis and Italian prog bands like Banco and PFM informed his use of keyboards, including amazing mellotron parts. As a producer and technician he was also able to get the best out his equipment, utilizing a palette of sounds not far removed from Steve Roach’s 90’s album, with that “big sky” sound. And finally, being a professional church organist, both his harmonic deftness and his way with the pipe organ is in evidence on the album.

For my own part, the thing that struck me the most on first listen (I first heard it in ’93) was the use of a real mellotron. I think “Symposion” might very well have been the first Norwegian release to feature the mellotron since the late 70’s/early 80’s. There’s a clear Tony Banks influence in Jo’s playing. One of the tracks is even called (translated from Norwegian) “One Lamb Was Left on Broadway”. Huge slabs of choir ‘trons clearly bring to mind mid-70’s Genesis.

There’s a melancholy and often cinematic tinge to most of the compositions (he would later go on to score a movie soundtrack for one of Norway’s most notorious movies, “Dis” (“Mist”)). Apart from the influence of Genesis and Steve Roach I also hear hints of Tangerine Dream, Larry Fast and Jan Hammer. But mostly this is a very unique record, mixing sacral, churchy ambiences with haunting e-music. Highly recommended! 

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