Out To Sea – Fernando Perdomo
Well a few months or so back I bumped into a post of this new album on another Progressive Rock Facebook Group I had just recently joined at the time called Prog On. It was actually the artist Fernando Perdomo who posted his latest album Out To Sea to which was available to pre-order on Bandcamp. To be honest I had never heard of the guy, but was taken in by the album covers artwork to which had a kind of familiarity about it.
So I popped over to Bandcamp and was quite amazed that even though the album was not scheduled to be released for another month or so, he already had the album on there so you could listen to it. I very much liked what I was hearing, though I have to confess I was not overall impressed by the sound quality I was hearing streaming it on Bandcamp.
But you can never judge an albums sound quality by hearing it being streamed, and no doubt all streaming sites have their good and bad days on that score when listening to music on them. I also noticed that he was also releasing the album on CD too, and that damn great album cover was still in my head and puzzling me of what it reminded me of.
It was then as I started to read up on the album more that the name Paul Whitehead was mentioned. This was the very same artist who did the album covers for the Genesis albums Trespass, Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot back in the early 70’s. So I added the album to my wish list on Bandcamp so I would not forget it, so I could come back for further listens to it.
Over the next few months I did return for further listens and knew this was an album I liked a lot and it was always my intention to buy the CD because of the great artwork. I am pretty sure the album was officially released on Bandcamp back in February. But with my funds being tied up with quite a few albums I had already pre-ordered. I knew it was going to have to wait a bit.
To be honest even though the CD was reasonably priced on Bandcamp at 15 American dollars which works out to about £12.70 here in the UK. I knew by the time Bandcamp had added their tax and price of the postage and packing. I would of ended up paying near enough £20 for the thing, and that to me is way over the odds of the price of a CD I would want to pay for.
So I do tend to stay clear of ordering CD’s from Bandcamp. But oddly enough a couple of weeks ago I noticed the CD on Amazon UK and it was not even available to buy there and then, and it was being released on the 4th May. So I pre-ordered it and it arrived on the day of it’s release and cost me £12.47. Very reasonable indeed I will say. I do believe he is now even releasing the album on vinyl as well. I am sure Paul Whitehead’s artwork will look great on it.
So before I get stuck into the review of the album and just who Fernando Perdomo is?. Let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.
The Packaging & Artwork…
The CD comes in a very slim cardboard Digipak that looks pretty neat and is a nice presentation. Although the CD seats well enough in the side pocket, the fact that the cardboard the disc is seated in does not have a gloss coating, will not protect the disc from getting the odd scratch mark, and your most likely going to get your fingerprints on the surface of the disc by retrieving it from it’s pocket. So one needs to be a bit more careful with it.
These are not the best quality grade Digipaks and are cheaper, but never the less even though they may not protect the disc as well as a standard plastic jewel case. I sill prefer this type of Digipak over them, and like I said they do look neat.
The CD does not come with a booklet however the production notes are on the back of the sleeve. The inside of the sleeve shows you all the guitars he used in making the album and also contains a brief bit of background history of how he was inspired by so many influences as a child and how he has progressed today.
As I mentioned earlier the artwork was done by Paul Whitehead. Whitehead is a British painter and artist who was perhaps more known for his surrealistic work he did for Charisma Records back in the 70’s. His more noted album covers were done for the bands Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator.
To be honest I had no idea Paul Whitehead was still creating artwork for album covers and I quite like this one a lot. So glad to see he is still active and busy.
I also pulled out the 3 albums he did for Genesis from my box set too, and this cover is perhaps more like the Foxtrot album with its colour and the ripple of the sea.
But of course you will find better examples on Paul’s website by clicking on the following link here: http://www.paulwhitehead.com/Default.aspx
To be honest I have no idea how much professional artwork such as this costs, but I dare say it’s not entirely cheap. But it seems to be doing the trick and attracting the attention. I have even noticed that Cherry Red Records here in the UK have also noted it and are advertising it and selling it on their website too. I would even expect the vinyl release to do well too and that no doubt will display the beauty of Whitehead’s work the best.
So Who Is Fernando Perdomo?…
Well straight off like I said earlier, I have never heard of the guy. So I had to do a bit of research to find out a bit more, and the first thing I can tell you is that he’s an American singer-songwriter, musician, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. As a record producer judging by the amount of artists albums and tracks he’s produced since 2010. The list is as long as the arms of a good few football teams. Though I cannot say I have heard of any of the artists or the material he has produced. But then again it’s a very big world, and I do not live in that part of it.
The other thing I can tell you is that he’s played in a couple of bands who I have also never heard of, and he also does not play prog rock as a rule, but does have many influences from a wide variety of genres, and even his record collection does contain quite of bit of prog rock from the 70’s. He’s also an extremely busy guy who tends to knock out music and albums every month judging by some of his releases, and I have to confess that I do not have enough body parts to sell to keep up with an artist who churns out music at this high rate :)))))).
And on a final note of what I discovered in my research. Is that he looks like an extremely cool dude and he’s a very talented musician who certainly knows how to craft, carve out, and produce quality music and songs. Creativeness seems to flow in his genes as you can see by this short video he posted on his Youtube channel.
No doubt his production techniques are very good and you can see that just by this very cool bit of creativity that he is a guy full of ideas. So let’s now get on to the album review.
The Album In Review…
Out At Sea by Fernando Perdomo was released originally on Bandcamp on February 9th 2018. The official UK release of the CD was released much later on the 4th May 2018. The album itself contains 8 instrumental tracks and comes with an overall playing time of 43 minutes, 4 seconds. Musically the album is very much mainly done in the way of a tribute, and was inspired by the many great progressive rock bands that came out in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
All the instruments guitars, bass, keyboards and drums were played by Fernando Perdomo with the exception of track 6 “The Dream“. To which the drums were played by Eddie Zyne. I found this following video of an interview of Fernando talking about the album very interesting and informative, it gives you a very good insight into his influences and even his record collection.
So now let’s take a look at how well the album came out, as I take you through all 8 tracks individually in my review here.
The Album Tracks In Review…
Not all the tracks on the album Out At Sea are tributes, and there are some that were influenced by other things, and although most of the album does contain mainly new written material, it also includes a couple of reworked older tracks that Fernando felt would work on an album such as this.
Track 1. The Architect. (Tribute To Peter Banks)
The opening track on the album is very much a tribute to Peter Banks back in the early days of Yes before Steve Howe had replaced him as the bands guitarist. I have to say that Perdomo has captured Banks’s style of guitar playing really well even down to all the right guitar tones and effects he used.
Musically he’s structured the piece around some of the melody lines of “Astral Traveller” and perhaps incorporated some of the other guitar sounds from Yes’s first and second albums they did back in 1969 and 1970. Perdomo has done a really great job here by not copying the original melody but reshaping parts of it and doing his own thing around it, yet it still sounds quite like Peter Banks. It’s a really great track and certainly a strong contender for the top spot on the album.
Here he is doing a live studio version of it with a band that he only just recently posted on his Youtube channel a week ago.
Both he and the band have executed the song very well and I wonder if he’s planning to take the band he has assembled here out on the road to play some live shows featuring the material from the album.
Track 2. Out To Sea.
The music to this piece was inspired by the albums front cover artwork done by Paul Whitehead. To be honest Perdomo perhaps sees something different in this artwork than I do on that score. For example even though there is nothing in the painting quite as bizarre as what was on those early Genesis album covers, there is still something about it that reminds me a bit of Genesis.
But musically this album says nothing about the band Genesis. But I do not think that was his intention at all here, and after all this is the artwork for his album and not that of Genesis.
The music we do have has quite a bit of power, and this is more like a battle on the sea. It’s got some great theme work and some fine progression along its path, but it does not tend to go in many directions and sticks closely to the theme work and melody lines of the musical structure. It also features some blistering lead work on the guitar and is quite good track on the album.
Track 3. De Boerderij. (Tribute To Focus)
No doubt that Perdomo has listened closely to the Dutch band Focus and I like this one quite a lot. That much that it’s my personal favourite track on the album and merits the top spot award. Once again Perdomo has sculptured his own melody lines and managed to make it all sound quite like the band.
There is plenty of diversity here and some fine transitional changes, along with beautiful melody lines played on the lead guitar. This one really is an excellent piece of work that has a lot thrown into the pot over its short distance.
Track 4. Roses Spread All Over the World.
The pace comes down here a bit and this is perhaps the ballad track of the album. “Roses Spread All Over the World” is quite a beauty of a piece that features some quite Steve Howe like guitar sounds, such as the choral sitar and even the flute like melody in the background on the intro reminds me of the English folk songwriter Alan Hull and is quite familiar with the flute on his 2nd solo album Squire.
No doubt this another contender for the top spot on the album and it’s title was inspired from a girl he knew, who went around selling roses.
Track 5. The Future According to Roye (Tribute to Roye Albrighton and Nektar).
The 2nd longest track on the album is a really superb piece that goes into plenty of places with its progression and diversity. It’s got some well tasty beautiful melody lines amongst all the power and energy we get here too.
To be honest I have never heard of the artists he’s paying tribute to here, but this to me is perhaps the most prog rock track on the album, and it was very difficult for me not to give it the top spot award. For many I dare say this could be their favourite on the album. No doubt this is a very high contender for the top spot on the album and it really is a superb piece of work and really great track.
Track 6. The Dream.
One of the two shortest tracks on the album and this lovely piece is built up using a strong theme played on the guitar that in some way even reminded me of the Dutch band Focus and the sort of material they did on their 1975 album Mother Focus.
It’s another really beautiful track and well crafted composition. “The Dream” is an older track that also featured on an earlier album of Perdomo’s and features Eddie Zyne on drums.
Track 7. Sonja. (Tribute to Sonja Kristina and Curved Air).
The shortest piece on the album is a tribute to the band Curved Air. This piece is quite up-tempo and has a bit of pace about it, and besides the rather tasty guitar playing the harpsichord is also put to good use, and that instrument was always one of Francis Monkman’s choice of keyboards too, who incidentally was the bands guitarist and keyboard player.
To be honest I do not know a lot about Curved Air and I really need to check them out, because I loved Monkman’s compositions the most when he was in the band Sky much later on in the 70’s. Perdomo also done a collaboration with the female singer of the band Sonja Kristina but his inspiration for this piece came from the bands 2nd album which was actually entitled Second Album they done back in 1971.
Track 8. Dreaming in Stereo Suite.
The final track on the album happens to be the longest and weighs in at just over 16 minutes. Once again Perdomo uses strong themes and melodies to craft out the piece and there is plenty of diversity and progression along it’s lengthy journey. It goes through quite a few nice transitional changes, moods and different styles too.
This is another one of Perdomo‘s older tracks that was originally from his band project Dreaming In Stereo back in 2010. The original music for that album did also contain words and vocals, and he felt has it was more prog rock it would suit this album. So he made up the suite we have here out of the instrumental sections of some of the tracks from that album and pieced it all together for this album.
It’s another really excellent piece of work and great track that’s very much another strong contender for the top spot on the album, and puts an end to a very well crafted album.
Overall Out At Sea by Fernando Perdomo is an album that does not disappoint in any way and it’s quite a solid album from start to finish. Everything about the material that’s on it works very well, not only with the right placement of the tracks but also with the way he has combined some of his older material with the newer material he has written for it.
The way he’s crafted all the tracks out so well with strong themes and melodies makes it very hard to choose a favourite track to be honest, because they all are so very well done. My personal highlights from the album are “The Architect“. “De Boerderij“. “Roses Spread All Over the World“. “The Future According to Roye“. and “Dreaming in Stereo Suite“.
To conclude my review of Out At Sea by Fernando Perdomo. I very much think it’s an album that says everything about it that’s written on the tin. The tribute work to the fine artists very much reflects those artists down to a tee, and he’s gone about it with his own melody lines and a few reshaped ones along the way and captivated these great artists with use of his guitar and effects.
It’s a very well crafted album and even as an instrumental album it works really well and provides hours of enjoyment in that it begs you to return to it and give it more spins. I very much think he’s on to a winner with what he’s produced here, especially for those who are into prog rock.
But there is perhaps a bit more here too, in that the album contains elements of beauty with the lead guitar lines and fine melodies, and this is an album that will appeal to more than just your prog rocker on that score. I certainly think it’s an album that’s worth checking out and I highly recommend doing so. It might be just what you’ve been looking for and your cup of tea so to speak. It certainly floats my boat too.
Out At Sea can be purchased from most outlets in the form of a Digital Download or CD & Vinyl. You can hear the album for yourself here on the following link on Bandcamp : https://fernandoperdomo.bandcamp.com/album/out-to-sea
Wandering Where Lights Go, Leave Out The Body Load.…
The CD track listing is as follows:
01. The Architect. 4:10.
02. Out At Sea. 4:15.
03. De Boerderij. 3:10.
04. Roses Spread All Over the World. 3:44.
05. The Future According to Roye. 6:23.
06. The Dream. 2:45.
07. Sonja. 2:34.
08. Dreaming in Stereo Suite. 16:03.