Whether it’s steak and kidney or chicken and mushroom, shepherd’s or cottage, there’s something magic about a pie. A fact duly recognised by Norwegian songwriter/producer Kim Stenberg, who in 2001 formed progsters Magic Pie to commemorate the savoury confection. For added piquancy he laced the music with a diverse array of mind-altering influences (Flower Kings, Kansas, Deep Purple, Dream Theater and more) to serve up his shortcrust psychedelic experience.
Having said that, the Pie’s music often covers too many bases, the band wearing their inspirations on their sleeve with too much honesty. As these three vinyl reissues amply demonstrate, their multidimensional songs might often be be mouth-watering but the recipe isn’t really their own. For evidence look no further than Change, the opening track on 2005 debut album Motions Of Desire (7⁄10): in a mere 20 minutes it twists and turns breathlessly through practically every facet of prog history. To add quirk to the strangeness and charm, sprawling centrepiece Illusion And Reality is divided into Parts 1, 3 and 4, with Part 2 missing. (Let’s hope nothing important happened, like a murder or something.)
Circus Of Life (8⁄10) was released in 2007 and is the better of the trio, with classic rock and progressive rock colliding in a tale of torment under the Big Top – and with no safety net. The appeal of 2011’s The Suffering Joy [7⁄10] is summed by its title, the album offering agony and ecstasy in equal measure. An at times overwhelming symphonic hard rock experience that leaves the listener (to quote one of the song titles) feeling Slightly Mad by the finish