Cantus Firmus

by Advent

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Sven B. Schreiber
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Sven B. Schreiber In my opinion, this is one of the best prog albums ever made - including the 70's era, when the term "prog" wasn't invented yet, and fans were beginning to spread the word about "art rock". I've bought a physical copy of this album more than 10 years ago, when it was new. Now I've purchased the "digital album" in addition to that, in order to support this first-class band, and to show my appreciation of this unique masterpiece. Most of the songs are written by keyboardist Henry Ptak, usually with lyrics by Arthur Hoffman, besides some excellent works by Mark Ptak and - last not least - the fantastic Alan Benjamin, who has a highly interesting fan profile here on Bandcamp, worth to be checked out: bandcamp.com/adventdude Favorite track: Parenting Parents.
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1.
Ah, hello—I know it’s been so long, And now, my soul contrives in song To express my joy and my surprise At finding you’re still there. Without a reproach, without a sulken stare, Downcast, I approach and try not to despair. But now, a smile, a hand in friendship— “Sit down awhile, fret not at things outside of your care.” Well, I know—I’m bent, but undeterred. Take heart, though it seems I’m unconcerned. An alarm goes off, and I wake up with a start To find myself caught off-guard. They hedge, and they plot, to accomplish God-knows-what For a Fool’s Camelot, with ever stranger gods—but Let’s raise a glass in celebration! That now has passed, and I’ve regained all I forgot. Some take strange for its own sake. I’ll take what’s tried and true, At once, both old and ever new, A flame, a light regained, and I remain Immortal, in debt to you.
2.
Parenting parents, Through quickening days of diminishing light, Into the end game, Still hoping to mate with two pawns and a knight. Can it be, is it true— You are me, I am you? Once and for all, as dominoes fall. How does it happen? We think when we grow up our childhood ends. Then we learn better, But it may be too late to make our amends. Can it be, is it true— What are we going to do For them now with what they allow? Once it was summer, And everything seemed to get by on its own. Then comes a season We weather together, but finish alone. Can it be, is it true— You are me … Look to the glass to see what shall pass.
3.
Utter once her name. She came to us on sunshine’s breath. Her smile was the dawn, Her hair, a roadmap to the face, On which my love was drawn. Utter once her name. She melted mountains into rivers Neither wide nor lasting deep. Into fertile floods sank the fossils Of secrets we would keep. Utter once her name. Steady as a sundial, Her dreams remained the same. A storm contained in each dark eye Made life for us a game. And now, when life needs something more, I utter, once, her name.
4.
5.
I am a sailor, stout and bold. Many years I sailed the salt sea wide, Long time I’ve plough’d the ocean. I’ve fought for king and country too. To my duties true, in battle tried, I’ve won honour and promotion. Fare thee well, my brother sailors, now I bid you adieu, Nevermore, I’ll hear the bos’un’s call, Nevermore, I say you! I’ll not be sailing anew! And I’ll set new course, and navigate ’Cross seas made of earth and stone, And I’ll be a ramblin’ sailor. And if ever you should want to know Who it is you’ve pleasure to address, Name’s Johnson, at your service! And I’m bidden by His Majesty, In his name devotion to confess Toward ladies, blithe and nervous. Never fear, my dear, of what I might require you to do, Have a beer, and share my humble fare. Never fear, I say you, let’s have a brandy or two! And I’ll fit your soles for wandering With fine heels worthy of the grade, And you’ll be repaid (for a game well-played!), Living with a ramblin’ sailor. I am a sailor, stout and bold. Many years I sailed the salt sea wide, Long time I plough’d the ocean. And I fought for king and country too. To my duties true and battle-tried, Through powder and commotion. Fare thee well, my brother sailors, now I bid you adieu. I’ll stow my gear, and put to shore. Fare thee well, and adieu! And at peace I’ll be with the vagabond, Restless within my soul, Nevermore to be a ramblin’ sailor.
6.
A time will come when you may understand Who your father was and what he thought of you, And what you meant to him—and if you do, Remember to extend your healing hand. For in that hand that once we cast in plaster Rests all the ways that you can send through time A message to your father in his prime, That only death of memory can master. So write a book, or play a song to him. Raise a child to dance among the stars, And this will make a pledge that nothing mars And cast a light that only love can dim.
7.
8.
Growing out of the glass pane, blossoming Into your face like a flower. Itself, it catches all, Catches all the detritus of an age. Dredging up memories of front seat, And back, and all the places we have gone. The places we have gone And all the hours we spent in your car. (development) A tassel from your first education hangs, Hangs limply over the desiccated flowers. The desiccated flowers. And even dead flowers mean something. And yes, even dead flowers.
9.
I can remember when I touched her hand, It was warm and as white and as soft as the sand. And the waves in her hair could submerge a man’s heart With an action that renders the genders apart. But I loved her best under unclouded skies Where the moonlight collected and spilled from her eyes. She could not be happy; she lived with a doubt, A terrible yearning that had to come out. And she laughed at good fortune and pitied the rest, But each of us thought that the other knew best. So she bided her time, though it just made things worse, And what started as drama turned into a curse. Alison waits for me down by the sea. She never knew what she wanted to be. Sail away, there and back, Up from the deep where the green turns to black. My Alison’s calling to me. (I hear her calling, she is calling.) Alison’s calling to me. (development) She had her own reasons for leaving me then, I prayed to the ocean to free her again From the clutch of lost souls in their watery graves, ’Cause nothing kills time like the beat of the waves. And once time is destroyed, there’s no meaning to grief. When a love has no future, it lives on belief.

about

Advent's long-awaited second release finds the band once again pushing the limit of its members' collective talent. Boasting eight new dynamic and inventive original compositions—including what is arguably the group's crowning achievement to date, "Ramblin' Sailor"—the album features wonderfully elaborate arrangements, beautiful guitar work (including a substantial amount of classical and acoustic guitars), and tight vocal interplay. Also includes two previously unreleased 24-track recordings of songs from the band's debut CD as bonus tracks.

credits

released February 27, 2006

Alan Benjamin: guitars, basses, Stick, mandolin, recorder
Henry Ptak: keyboards, lead vocals, backing vocals, percussion
Mark Ptak: keyboards, backing vocals, percussion
Drew Siciliano: drums

Shunji Saegusa: bass on "Ramblin' Sailor"
Ken Serio: drums on "Alison Waits (A Ghost Story)"

Cover art and band logo by Michael Phipps

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Advent Bridgewater, New Jersey

Perhaps a modern equivalent to the symphonic side of classic English progressive-rock groups like Gentle Giant, (early) Genesis, and Procol Harum, but with a little Tubes-style funk and the occasional jazz-rock flourish as well, Advent seeks to blend true classical-quality composition with the excitement and dynamics of rock music. ... more

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