Ayreon
Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer


4.0
excellent

Review

by e210013 USER (89 Reviews)
September 18th, 2017 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is the first part of the concept of The Universal Migrator. It represents the melodic part, its non-metal side.

“The Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer” is the fourth album of Ayreon, the musical project of the Dutch songwriter, producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen and was released in 2000. The line up on the album is Arjen Lucassen, Rob Snijders, Lana Lane, Johan Edlund, Floor Jansen, Edward Reekers, Mouse, Damian Wilson, Jacqueline Govaert, Neal Morse, Mark McCrite, Clive Nolan, Erik Norlander and Peter Siedlach.


It represents the first part of “The Universal Migrator” project, with the second part named “The Universal Migrator Part Two: Flight Of The Migrator”. “The Dream Sequencer” features a musical style quite disparate from its counterpart “Flight Of The Migrator”. It features a musical atmospheric feeling, with a soft and more melodic sound than that on “Flight Of The Migrator”, which is much more a metal album. However, both albums were released simultaneously.

The performances of all singers on the album are great. Initially, the album was planned to be sung only by women since Arjen wanted it to be as cozy, laid-back, and atmospheric as possible but he wanted a new singer for each song and he couldn’t find enough. So, we have Lana Lane the queen of the symphonic rock, Johan Edlund from Tiama, Damian Wilson from Threshold, Floor Jansen from After Forever, Arjen himself and a lot of many more artists, some of them less known talents from the progressive rock world such as Edward Reekers and we have even Neal Morse from Spock’s Beard. It’s really nice when we have some half unknown singers, because we can focus more on the music and avoid some other things. Arjen himself also does an enormous great work, of course, as a songwriter, a singer and as a player of almost all the instruments on the album. Lyrics are simplistic but always great and fit perfectly well all over the album. The cover artwork of the album is one of the best I’ve seen, which became a trademark of all Arjen’s albums.

“The Dream Sequencer” is a conceptual album, as are all Ayreon’s albums, and represents another part in the Ayreon’s story. So, if you want to understand perfectly well the lyrics, you better buy the other albums as well. The story of “The Dream Sequencer” continues the plot found in “The Final Experiment”, starting in the year 2084, when the final world war wiped out all life on Earth.

During the final years of fighting on Earth, a number of humans escaped to live on Mars. “The Dream Sequencer” tells the story of the last human being alive, living alone on the Martian colony. As he has born on Mars and never lived on Earth, he could only experience it through a machine known as the Dream Sequencer. The machine uses a form of hypnosis to travel back in time, and the colonist uses the machine to revisit his own youth living on Mars and eventually views of many other past lives. The lyrics are basically objective accounts of the different time periods that the last human happens to visit. There’s a certain moody quality to them, considering the impending extinction of the human race. Each track on “The Dream Sequencer” revisits one of these past lives.

Musically, “The Dream Sequencer” sounds different, but it sounds really as an Ayreon’s album. It sounds very soft and melodic, and the group that I can easily compared with it, is Pink Floyd. But it sounds much more modern of course. For those who are accustomed to the traditional sound of Ayreon, I can say that it sounds more or less like if Lucassen had taken all the folk and non metal parts of the previous Ayreon’s albums and attach them to the songs, with much more synthesizers added. Most of the songs are long and have a very epic feel, with the exception of “Temple Of The Cat” which was released as a single. So, this first album contains mostly atmospheric sound escapes and not much heaviness at all, in contrast with the second album. It mainly consists of an ambient of progressive varied rock music, dominated primarily by brilliant melodies. The compositions usually have an ambient of light electronic beat, which is a signature in all Ayreon’s music. This may come as a surprise for progressive music enthusiasts and many may shy away from the ambient aspects of the music, but I saw that it’s a very innovative take on the new progressive music universe, and can act with the advantage of the individual songs to the open minded listeners, that we should all be.


Conclusion: As I wrote before, “The Dream Sequencer” is simply the first part of “The Universal Migrator” project and represents the most soft and melodic side of the work. The album is a grower if you listen to it several times, especially if you are in the right mood, there’s much to enjoy on it. “The Dream Sequencer” is a very atmospheric album, with beautiful Pink Floyd’s guitar style and has a great production. If you are a fanatic of the space progressive rock with epic elements and film score connotations, this album and this project are made for you. In fact, I believe this album will satisfy all the followers of the good music, and also the cover artwork is one of the best I’ve seen. I haven’t got tired of it and I really recommend it to all fans of Ayreon and to everyone who likes of truly progressive atmospheric music.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
September 18th 2017


1841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pursuing my initial idea, here it's another album from another prog metal band, or I should say rather a project, since Ayreon is more a project than a band.

"The Dream Sequencer" is the first part of Arjen's project "The Universal Migrator", with the second part named "Flight Of The Migrator". In reality he wrote and realeased both parts simultaneasly. However, since musically they're very different, the first is more ambient and folk and the second is more a metal album, he decided release both individually, thinking in his both fans, those who like more of his melodic side and in those who like more of his metal side.

However anf for his big surprise, both fans liked of both albums. So, he decided release both albums together in one double compilation album with the name "The Universal Migrator, Pts 1-2", in 2004.

I hope you enjoy this part of the project. I think Arjen deserve more love and recognition due to his great contribution and love to prog.

In the next week, I'll published my review about the second part of the project.

Cheers. I count with your comments, as usual.

ksoflas
September 18th 2017


1207 Comments


Solid review as usual e210013, pos'd.
Their music is too generic and cheesy for my taste but the opener on Star One Space Metal is a killer tune.


e210013
September 18th 2017


1841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I can see your point of view. A man like you, I think you're a great fan of metal, in general, is normal to consider the music of Arjen, also in general, a bit too generic and cheesy for your taste. So, as you mentioned, of all his projects, Star One is surelly the one that can suit to you much well. Maybe the subject of my next review, “Flight Of The Migrator”, can be a easy listenint to you. Still, I think "The Human Equation", of Ayreon, can have some great moments to your ears, too.

Cheers, buddy. Thanks for the pos and support.

Jethro42
September 18th 2017


15273 Comments


@ksoflas I can hear you about the cheesiness. But it's a good kind of cheese. I don't think Ayreon are generic. I confess they tend to be repetitive with themselves musically, but there are always great melodies to be found.

@e21; Will listen to the album later. Cool Neal Morse appears on this one. And I didn't know Arjen was a multi-instrumentalist. According to the picture I've seen of him, he was always holding an electric guitar.

Great review, mate.

Divaman
September 18th 2017


1990 Comments


Sounds like an interesting artist, e. Nice job as usual.

Digging: Frankie Cosmos - Vessel

e210013
September 19th 2017


1841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ Jethro

"And I didn't know Arjen was a multi-instrumentalist. According to the picture I've seen of him, he was always holding an electric guitar."

Let's clarify the things.

It's true that Arjen is essentially a guitarist and usually he always appears as that. He began as a guitarist and in the live sets I think he only plays guitar. Maybe he has never been one of the best but he always was very good and competent in that role. Still, in studio he plays several instruments, such as bass and several keyboards like synthesizers, hammond organ and mellotron. He even plays other instruments like mandolin. For what I can remember, I never saw any bassist playing with him. I think he always do that role too, alone. But, in many times, he invites several keyboardists to paricipate in several solos much complicated on his albums, as you know. And even sometimes, we also invites some very well known guitarists to do some solos too.

May be you don't know but he has an excellent studio at his home where he records almost all the parts of his albums. Usually he even receive all the artists invited by him in his studio and records almost all the things on it, like the voices. The only parts that were never recorded in his studio are the drum work. In this case he goes to an exterior studio with the drummer, usually Ed Warby (he loves the guy), to record those parts. I think he even mix many parts of the recording sessions in his studio by himself.

So, as you can see the guy is almost a complete artist. He can manage almost all alone. Besides that, and perhaps because of that too, he is so respected in the prog world and he is abble to manage working with him such great and so many gifted prog artists, some of them are simply the best and most known in the world of prog, as you know. This is really an amazing thing. By the other hand the guy is incredible as a person. Some years ago, my youngest son contacted him praising his album "On This Perfect Day" of Guilt Machine. Arjen in two or three days answered him thanking and talking with him about what my son thinked about his work.

Ok, tell me something latter, your feelings about the album.

Cheers and thanks, bro.

e210013
September 19th 2017


1841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ Diva

"Sounds like an interesting artist"

You can bet on it, buddy. About the artist, if you want you can read all I wrote about him in my comment to Jethro.

About the music, the music of him can be characterized as melodic prog metal with many other influences, essentially the symphonic prog and the prog folk. The guy is really a truly prog artist. He had the courage to bring to us the operas rock again. He is involved in several projects of which Ayreon is the best and most emblematic. Ayreon's albums are prog rock operas with several singers in the several roles of the story. Usually almost all of them are very well know in the world of prog. He always has, colaborating with him, several prog very well known musicians and some artists from the classical or erudit music, as you whish.

If you're intersted to begin listening to something from him, probably this album is the best thing to start, since you aren't properly a great fan of prog metal. This is, perhaps, the most simple and melodic work. The best albums of Ayreon are, for me, "The Human Equation", his masterpiece, and "Into The Electric Castle". You can read my review about "Into The Electric Castle" already made by me, if you want.

Cheers.

Jethro42
September 19th 2017


15273 Comments


The songs here are for the most part Pink Floydish, spacey and atmospheric, but we still recognize Arjen's song writing style in his arrangements, event if there is no trace of metal. I will have to listen to it again before rating it, but it might be a 3.5, still lower than you hahah. Thanks for the informations about Arjen.

I didn't know Arjen was generous of his time with his fans. Your son got a nice experience with him, I see. I don't remember what On This Perfect Day sounds like. Will revisit eventually.

e210013
September 20th 2017


1841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I'm already used to it. Some things never change, ah, ah, ah.

So, 3.5 don't surprises me. But, I think you was too much hard with "Into The Electric Castle". For me the album is better than "The Dream Sequencer" and your rating 3.5 is too much lower, I think. I sugest that you take another couple of listenings to the album when you have some free time. For your patterns, I think 4.0 it would be your right rating to "Into The Electric Castle".

About "On This Perfect Day" is more metal and is certainly the most personal album of Arjen. The album is really great. But, in this case you has failed with your rating, in the opposite. You gave to it the same rating has I gave, a 4.0. Unbelievable, ah, ah, ah.

Jethro42
September 20th 2017


15273 Comments


Yeah, I will relisten to Electric Castle to see if it can change something. I think what prevented me to give an higher rating is the presence of only ''okay'' songs scattered among great songs. It was not enough consistent. ''Okay'' songs overshadowed the best ones, from what I remember.

e210013
September 20th 2017


1841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Don't forget that it represents the first majestic spacey metal rock opera ever. And don't forget the presence of the vocals of Fish.

TheIntruder
September 21st 2017


348 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It is nice to see this album was finally reviewed on Sputnik. And I am very glad because was you to do that. But it was not a big surprise. It seems you are one of the biggest fans of this project. But, it seems you are the only one who review albums from them. Great review as always. It is nice to see some interest in modern prog works too. Pos.

e210013
September 21st 2017


1841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah. Maybe I'm the only one reviewing the works of Arjen's projects but it seems that there are other people interested on them, like you. Which is really great. And yeah. I'm a great Arjen's fan too, due to all I wrote before, but essentially because he is a complete prog artist. He is almost a unique case. He is always involved in so many projects, even differents and discovering new talents, despite his health problems. In this moment, it only comes to my mind the name of other artist, despite the evident style differences, with such versatlity. I mean the Italian mastermind Fabio Zuffanti.He is another versatile musician involved in many musical projects and discovering new talents too.

Thanks and cheers, bro.

TheIntruder
September 21st 2017


348 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers to you too bro. I am very glad to for take notice of such different and varied kind of prog bands thanks to you and others like you. I think prog is becoming to be my favourite musical genre nowadays.

It is interesting to see you talking about that Italian prog artist. I saw his name mentioned several times on Sputnik, I think by Jethro. Certailly I need to check him one of these days.

e210013
September 21st 2017


1841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, you're right. It was Jethro who brought his name to this site. Definitely, he is a great fan of him, as I am. Still, I think he is much more competent to talk about Fabio's musical projects than I am. From what I know, he is or was involved in several musical projects: Aries, Finisterre, Hostsonaten, LaZona, La Maschera Di Cera, Quadrophonic, Rohmer, La Curva Di Lesmo and R.U.G.H.E., besides his solo works and his participation in many other projects. Jethro even brought to the Progday Tourney of Friday 13th an album of his solo career, "La Quarta Vittima", as you probably saw. So, as I'm not an expert on his works, I only can say to you that I think all his projects are good and has great albums. You can check more detailed informations about them, for instance on Progarchives.

Cheers.

TheIntruder
September 21st 2017


348 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Many thanks. I will check it in time.

Jethro42
September 21st 2017


15273 Comments


Yes I'm impressed of what Fabio Zuffanti did for music. I'm not familiar with everything he contributed for. I know very well his works with Finisterre, La Maschera Di Cera and Hostsonaten, which are all great progressive acts, especially the first two ones; modern prog inspired by the giant symphonic proggers of the 70's. Hostsonaten is more laid back, melodic prog folk. You're right, e21; Zuffanti also pursues a solo career, and according to Progarchives, La Quarta Vittima is the best of the bunch. It's his only solo album I've listened to, and I like it very much. But my very first choice for the tourney was Ingranaggi Della Valle - Warm Spaced Blue, but I didn't find any streaming for it. Now someone found me a link for it. I don't know if Friday13th will take that one instead. Album sounds pretty much like Anglagard with its waves of mellotron, but it's liter, and less weird, less crazy.
By the way, I'm really a big fan of rock progressivo Italiano. Here's a great list of a proghead;

http://www.sputnikmusic.com/list.php?memberid=732486&listid=143257

I have to leave now. See you later ;)

e210013
September 21st 2017


1841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I was right. You're more competent to talk about Fabio's projects that I am. In what concerns to me, thanks for all your explanations, bro, and for the list too. I'll check it very soon.

TheIntruder
September 21st 2017


348 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Many thanks Jethro.



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