Ambient and soundtrack music lovers are in for a treat....
It is with great reluctance that I approach one-man orchestra albums. Usually they sound patchy, inconsistent and irregular, no matter how good is the artist. The majority of such albums suffer but not "Passing Decades" though. Rory Ridley-Duff is an academically trained musician from UK. Ridley-Duff has written music for solo projects and several rock/jazz bands such as Protos, Sly and Danzante. "Passing Decades" features a collection of new arrangements. The music is entirely instrumental [and] with a few exceptions, all the songs have a cinematic flavour, and there is the odd piece that makes the things so interesting. In "Passing Decades" case, one to mention is the second track called "Variations" which sounds like an extra from a Mike Oldfield album. The best is saved till the end, where "Space", a 12-minute stunner wraps up this interesting album. Ambient and soundtrack music lovers are in for a treat.
--Eddie Lascu, http://gnosis2000.net/reviews/ridleyduff.htm, 10th June 2007
Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Passing Decades ASAP!
With the digital age, many artists are reissuing music they recorded decades ago (no pun intended). I enjoy all the tracks on this CD, but I’m always drawn to Tempest and Space every time I’ve listened to it. It’s always nice to see treasures such as Passing Decades unearthed and released. I think we’ll hear more from Rory Ridley-Duff either as a solo or part of Protos. I do believe the best is yet to come! Until then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Passing Decades ASAP!
--Ron Fuchs, www.prognaut.com, 17th May 2007.
Variations is an absolute winner in my eyes...
Rory winkles everything possible out of his synthesizers, so the recording's sonic palette is rich in sounds that imitate various brass, chamber and string instruments. Passing Decades is subtitled "Jazz / Rock" and two of the tunes, Passing Decades and London-125, suitably fit the requirements, both standing out for their 'slap bass'. The title number combines natural symphonic and quasi-improvisational patterns and is generally more intriguing than London-125. Variations, Tempest and The Maiden, are each a fully-fledged art-rock creation, the former being the absolute winner in my eyes. As to allusions, Variations is beyond comparison; Tempest in places resembles Genesis, The Maiden ELP, and Hunting Extremely Large Animals, Rick Wakeman's late-'70s work. The influences, however, are usually transitory and originality is one of this recording's main virtues.
--Vitaly Menshikov, www.progressor.net/review/rrd_2006.html, 14th May 2007.
Ridley-Duff has managed...to put some soul into robot rock...
Rory Ridley-Duff knows how to use drum machines and synthesizers...Ridley-Duff’s programming techniques are very original, and he attempts to make the drum machines and synths sound like real instruments, not just machines. Ridley-Duff has managed to do what very few artists in this genre were able to do — put some soul into robot rock. All in all, it’s not a bad listen.
-- --David Schrimpf, http://jefitoblog.com/blog/?p=1164, April 11th 2007
A fine testament to a very talented musician and composer...
This UK musician has put together some fine instrumental progressive rock here sprinkled with bits of classical as well as fusion, and with nine tracks, including two that go past the 12-minute mark, there's plenty to enjoy and sink your teeth into. The opening title track is a joy to listen to, very symphonic in nature, led by Rory's wall of bombastic keyboard melodies. Coming across more like a classical orchestra than a one man symphonic band, both "Variations of Theme by Iain Carnegie" and "Night Time" just ooze class and mystery, with the latter featuring rich synth textures, gongs, and chimes for a great effect. The quirky "Hunting Extremely Large Animals" sees the keyboard ace revealing his prog rock influences, namely Genesis, Gentle Giant, and Yes, with sweeping keyboard orchestrations soaring over majestic lead melodies. A little funk goes a long way on the Latin jazz tinged "London 125", while the herculean "Tempest" clocks in at near 14-minutes and features a wide variety of prog and fusion sounds that bring to mind Genesis, Return to Forever, and Yes. An old Protos song, "The Maiden", gets an updated treatment here, as Ridley-Duff adds in modern keyboard sounds to this classy prog rock number. Gone are the guitars and real drums, in their place are blazing synth melodies, programmed rhythms, and a lighter, more prog-fusion feel. The other epic, "Space", closes out the CD in fine fashion, this one a dripping with vintage prog & space rock flavor that recalls Genesis, Pink Floyd, Camel, and Yes. At times Rory's keyboard work takes on a haunting, classical edge here, and overall it's a very classy piece to end this very solid album. Originally recorded between 1992-1993, let's give kudos to Rory Ridley-Duff for newly mastering this fine CD and making it available to the prog rock enthusiasts. Passing Decades is a fine testament to a very talented musician and composer-check it out.
--Peter Pardo, http://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=4926, 29th March 2007.
Continuously adds just the right amount of flavor to keep your interest...
"Passing Decades" is a great mix of distinguished instrumentation that features Rory Ridley-Duff's mastery of the keys. Rory creates many different and memorable keyboard/synthesizer sounds throughout the CD and pieces them together into impressive arrangements. The album's title piece is a symbol of Rory's craftsmanship. The rythmic bass bounces in time. The break before the sax is an unexpected treat. He continuously adds just the right amount of flavor to keep your interest peaked throughout this great song. Another song from Passing Decades, "What Did I Drink?" is a crisp arrangement of symphonic sounds with excellent forward motion. Its melodies are swaying and mischievous in 6/8 time. If you love symphonic rock pick up a copy of Passing Decades. You'll be glad you did!
--RadioIndy (www.radioindy.com), 6th March 2007.
Gliding atmospheres - a positive inspiriation...
"This music deftly moves from near ambient space excursions to rather jocular symphonic Prog twists and turns. The most complex and elaborate compositions, and also the most interesting, are found in the second part of the CD. The first half presents more up-tempo pieces, weaving through breezy strands of Prog Rock interspersed with funkier moments and lashings of Jazz. Sometimes it evokes memories of Tubular Bells (Mike Oldfield) but without the darker and more serious overtones - the music always nearer the state of happy-go-lucky jocularity. On this album, Rory has re-arranged three pieces from the Protos repertoire, but the better quality compositions, at least for this writer, are right at the end of the CD. 'Tempest', 'The Maiden' (by Protos) and the conclusive 'Space'. These pieces create angled, spacial, gliding atmospheres, a positive inspiration and pleasant conclusion to this good album."
Translation from the Italian by Charlie (Progressive Ears), 23rd January 2007.
Translation from the Italian by Charlie (Progressive Ears), 23rd January 2007.
--Alberto Nucci, December 2006, www.arlequins.it
Wow! I'm off to iTunes...
"Wow! That left me wanting to hear more. Guess I'm off to iTunes - nice one."
--David Haines, SoundClick, January 2007
Tempest is a great track...
"Tempest is a great track. Great composition, melodies and counter-melodies."
--Andy Schumcher, SoundClick, January 2007.
Phenomenal...and dare it say it, catchy...
"Wow...this is phenomenal music. Intelligent, well-executed, and dare I say it, catchy."
--Paul, Heaviest Humans, SoundClick, January 2007
"[Tempest] is excellent. Great musicianship. Quality all round."
--Frank Dicker, SoundClick, January 2007
WWWOOOWWWW!!!!! IT'S FANTASTIC
"WWWOOOOOWWWWW!!!!! IT'S FANTASTIC. Congratulations. I love your music."
--- Sergio Vilar, 13th November 2006, Web-master/Reviewer, Nucleus Rock Review Site.
What talent! (Space And Other Singles)
"...Superb!! What lovely flowing, but not predicitable music, some great passages of play. You could play these tracks over and over again and not get bored with them. What talent !!..."
--- Andy Smith, 2nd November 2006, fanmail.
High quality songwriting and supported by solid musical technique... (Space And Other Singles)
"The pieces move between the territory set by Mike Oldfield, Vangelis and electronic prog (from 1970 to 1980). They are the product of high quality songwriting and supported by solid musical technique. This collection really is a surprise to me as it opens the doors into a world where symphonically tinged prog rock lives in eternal splendour, it's beauty and magnificence never fading away... Enjoy this heady, well-packed expression of devoted prog rock by descendents of the masters of the genre, but also darting ahead towards new and stimulating territories. This is a collection designed to help you discover Protos' magic as well as Rory Ridley-Duff's clever solo outings."
--- Fabio Rancati, 9th December 2006, published at www.hardsounds.it, translated by Charlie at Progressive Ears
Beautiful and unexpected... (A Question of Expression)
"The opening piece, 'Renaissance' will appeal to all who enjoy the piano style of Keith Emerson. There are many resonances here and it makes for a beautiful and unexpected opening to the album. The suite for piano, marimba and vibraphone is in some ways a bridging piece between Ridley-Duff's two solo albums. Clearly influenced by the styles of Chick Corea and Gary Burton, the rabid syncopations provide a stark yet more upbeat contrast to the previous piece. Space (also included on Passing Decades) is a masterwork - possible Ridley-Duff's best solo effort. Effortlessly spacious, yet highly melodic and emotional."
----Lord Chumley, CD Baby, November 2006.
I find myself listening over and over again... (Passing Decades)
I often find myself listening to Passing Decades and all the other tracks over and over again, especially The Maiden. I simply LOVE The Maiden, because it's so happy and... happy. Hunting [Extremely Large Animals] is good too, I'm not sure why I like it though... Passing Decades itself is great to listen to, I never really get bored of it.....it's just as good as Tubular Bells if you want my opinion.
----Let's Roast Sock, published to CD Baby (October 2006)
"A Worthy Opening Statement for a New Solo Artists" (Passing Decades)
"...Normally an album starts well and then gets worse, but I found the reverse to be more true - it starts well, then gets better and better. The highlights - for me at least - come with tracks 6, 7 and 9. Tempest is a 14 minute prog rocker's dream: at times like Pink Floyd's Animals (1977), in other moments capturing instrumental/compositional brilliance not heard since tracks like 'Cinema Show' on Selling England by the Pound (Genesis, 1973)....A worthy opening statement for a new solo artist."
--- - www.cdbaby.com (November 2006)