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TRACK LIST: 1. DayBreak 3:11 2. Roll Call 4:14 3. New Skin 3:53 4. The Witch Capers 8:25 5. Forest Sage 3:27 6. Summer Country 3:13 7. Storm Riders 4:57 8. Summer Zephyr 2:39 9. Clarion 5:33 10. Sentinel 3:13 11. Night Vision Quest 5:01 12. The Great Wheel 9:00 13. Eyes That Glow in the Dark 2:34 14. Rise'n Shine 3:10 15. Skip in Time 3:02 16. When the Eagle Comes 6:55 17. Festival Road 3:34 SOLO PILOT: Brian Imig vocals; keyboards; bass; flute With: David Duhig guitars; vocals; synthesizer Maestro Phil drums; backing vocals Glyn Havard voice; bass Cale Piepenburg flute Zoe Prell horn &: Several additional singers
Prolusion. US composer and instrumentalist Brian IMIG is a veteran performer with 30 years or so experience in the trade and apparently a mainstay in selected parts of the summer festival circuit. He has also worked with a number of relatively well known artists over the years, Jade Warrior and Judy Dyble perhaps the most well known of those in progressive rock circles. "Sonic Sorcery" is his debut solo album, and was self released in 2011.
Analysis. When looking at the CD cover's images of simplistic artwork of the sun and the moon and reading up on Brian Imig and what appear to be regular performances at events such as the Michigan Peace Festival, you kind of expect to hear a certain type of music, new age oriented, possibly folk, music looking back in time musically as well as lyrically to a time when mankind was more innocent than today. And that is an expectation that is partially fulfilled. There is a certain innocence as well as positive vibe about this music, and it would have fitted right in at Woodstock too, I think. But despite this somewhat naive atmosphere that is such a central trait of this production, it is an enjoyable encounter with a world and a universe light in spirit, hope and perhaps even wisdom. Apart from the mood associations the sheer musical power of this disc is an intriguing one. Imig is an able and well versed musician and vocalist, and knows how to utilize the best sides of his repertoire to excellence. When exploring ambient, new age oriented atmospheres he takes care to include elements such as subtly disturbing nuances, employs the dulcimer, an instrument used extensively and to very good effect throughout, or adds a somewhat unexpected sound to the proceedings that creates and maintains a nerve. When going all out acoustic in singer/songwriter mode his careful playing and skilled use of his voice makes even a straightforward song of this character enticing to listen to, and intently at that. Even when utilizing overused new age effects like pre-recorded sounds of nature they are used in an effective manner that elevates the passage or sequence where it is placed rather than becoming a cliched alternative movement effect. There are limits to how fascinating material merely consisting of the aforementioned elements can be however, which is probably why this is an album that has been in development for a good few years. Additional musicians adds variation and coloration through instruments and vocals, and Imig himself appears to have spent a lot of time with vintage keyboards and synthesizers to further enhance and develop his material. The end result is, as mentioned, a fascinating one. A mix of ambient excursions, basic acoustic guitar-based songs and compositions of a more refined character that sport multiple alterations and changes in structure and arrangements alike. Storm Riders is a highlight, with the sounds of wild weather accompanied by dulcimer, acoustic and electric guitar, also incorporating flute details and some rather unexpected machine-like sounds that are a gentle but stark contrast to this otherwise fairly organic sounding excursion. Sentinel, with its mournful, almost sickly sounding synth textures, gentle percussion and what possibly is a piano, is another strong effort, this one giving me strong associations to an old computer game of the same name where a feeling of loneliness and utter desolation was among the distinct atmospheric features of the game. Even the gentle Summer Country, basically an acoustic guitar motif supplemented by insect and nature sounds, is constructed in a manner that makes it a joyful and giving experience rather than a dull cliche. And while not a shining diamond of pure brilliance, this is a production that should have a wide appeal, also among a certain set of progressive rock fans.
Conclusion. Brian Imig has made himself an intriguing debut with "Sonic Sorcery", a disc that smoothly moves between new age-oriented ambient moods, simple acoustic creations and a fairly accessible variety of progressive folk rock, rather frequently gleefully blending elements from all of those styles together in a positive, joyful brew. A CD worth seeking out by those who find such a description enticing, and especially by those who tend to enjoy music with a hopeful, optimistic spirit from beginning to end.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 7, 2012
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