Rory Ridley-Duff | Passing Decades

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Rock: Progressive Rock Rock: Instrumental Rock Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Passing Decades

by Rory Ridley-Duff

English symphonic rock with a splash of jazz influence from the founder of Protos ("One Day a New Horizon")
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Passing Decades (3:34)
3:36 $0.99
2. Variations of Theme by Iain Carnegie (5:24)
5:26 $0.99
3. Night Time (2:05)
2:07 $0.99
4. Hunting Extremely Large Animals (2:48)
2:50 $0.99
5. London 125 (3:16)
3:18 $0.99
6. Tempest (13:45)
13:47 $1.99
7. The Maiden (6:12)
6:14 $0.99
8. What Did I Drink? (5:13)
5:15 $0.99
9. Space (12:04)
12:04 $1.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Passing Decades is the debut progressive jazz/rock album by Rory Ridley-Duff, the composer/keyboard player of the rock group Protos.

The album includes tracks that propelled Rory to the top of the 'Hottest Bands' chart at SoundClick: Tempest (#1 Rock Chart), The Maiden (#1 Rock Chart), Space (#1 World Chart), Passing Decades (#1 Instrumental Rock Chart).

In all, Passing Decades has nine tracks of symphonic instrumental rock. 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.

Variations (track two) has resonances of Tubular Bells. Night Time (track three) evokes the silent streets of London, instrumental music harking back to The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Hunting (track four) is a modern version of an old Protos number.

The highlights come towards the end 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 an instrumental/compositional style not heard since tracks like 'Cinema Show' on Selling England by the Pound (Genesis, 1973). The highlight of the album, however, is the closing track called Space. This 12-minute composition slowly unfolds to produce a truly memorable ending.

Rory's early compositions can be found on One Day a New Horizon (Airship, 1982) by Protos. Passing Decades was recorded much later - hence the album title. It reveals the work of a mature musician, with a wide range of experience in arrangement and completely at ease with music composition. A worthy opening statement from an interesting new artist.



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Lord Chumley

A fabulous curio for all fans of Protos
Rory Ridley-Duff is well known as a leading composer and player of symphonic rock music. As a member of Protos, in collaboration with Steve Anscombe, he was the architect of one of Prog Rock's most sumptuous, yet pastoral collections which remains hugely popular and in demand to this day.
Following the demise of the band in 1984, Rory continued to compose prolifically, becoming open to a number of different musical influences, most notably modern jazz and twentieth century orchestral composition. This album, in many ways a fabulous curio for all fans of Protos, provides a facinating insight into its leading composer in a period of transition. There are new readings of some Protos favourites, notably 'The Maiden' and 'Hunting Extremely Large Animals', the latter unashamedly demonstrating Ridley-Duff's jazz influences.Particularly welcome is the inclusion of the colossal 'Tempest' - a three movement leviathon that had become a staple of the Protos set in their latter days. In many ways, this is one of their most mature compositions, ranking in my mind alongside 'The Fugitive'. The other outstanding track 'Space' in many ways combines and draws together many of Rory's influential strands into one salient whole (not black hole - sorry!). Soaring and expansive, 'Space' will delight all fans of emotional music, whether it be by Pink Floyd or Samuel Barber - there are resonances of both here.
There is much rumour of a proposed new Protos album in the pipeline with Ridley-Duff, Anscombe, Carnegie and Rippon working together again - at least virtually. This may or may not come to pass. For those unwilling or unable to wait, this solo, fascinating collection from the man many regard as 'Mr Protos' should more than satisfy.

Peter Pardo, Sea of Tranquility

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.

Vitaly Menshikov

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.

New Horizons Music Ltd

Polished, quality composition and arrangement, but still just the beginning....
Once again, we feel we should correct the information of Lord Chumley. Rory Ridley-Duff is not well known as a musician. It is true that his reputation as a keyboard player is growing, particularly in Japan where One Day a New Horizon has made its mark through bootleg copies and press reviews. Outside Japan, however, he has yet to establish his reputation.

As publishers, we feel that Passing Decades will change this. It is regarded by us as the strongest of the albums recently released. The quality of the compositions, arrangements and recordings are far higher on Passing Decades than One Day a New Horizon. For that reason, we expect this album to further build his reputation as a composer/performer.

It is a start, a very promising one, but still only one album. If Rory can sustain this quality of writing, he may yet be worthy of comparison to Mike Oldfield. It is rare that a solo performer shows such mastery of the symphonic rock form, and it may reach a mass market. Time will tell.

Ron Fuchs -

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 and I believe the best is yet to come! Until then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Passing Decades ASAP! (Ron awarded Passing Decades 4.5 / 5 in e-mail correspondence dated 18th May 2007)

SoundClick - The #1 Artist Music Community

Phenomenal music. Intelligent, well-executed, and dare I say it, catchy.
"Wow! That left me wanting to hear more. Guess I'm off to iTunes - nice one." (David Haines). "Tempest is a great track. Great composition, melodies and counter-melodies." (Andy Schumcher). "Phenomenal music. Intelligent, well-executed, and dare I say it, catchy." (Paul, Heaviest Humans). "Outstanding music. Tempest is excellent. Great musicianship. Quality all round." (Frank Dicker).

Alberto Nucci

Angled, spacial, gliding atmospheres - a positive inspiration...
"..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.

Let's all roast socks!

Passing Decades ROCKS!
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 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. Space sounds very impressive but it's too long for my liking, as is Tempest. It's just as good as Tubular Bells if you want my opinion.