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(69:30, Progrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Crushed 4:22 2. Shadow Song 5:58 3. All for One 7:12 4. Boomer 6:11 5. Dream in Threes 6:47 6. Pyrrhic Victory 2:24 7. Fading Time 7:11 8. Morphogenic 6:24 9. Save Me 6:31 10. Then 6:05 11. Pulse 3:22 12. Antikythera Mechanism 7:03 LINEUP: Chris Fournier bass, guitars; keyboards; percussion Tobe London drums; keyboards With: Steve Unruh violin Laurie Larson vocals Tessa Anderson vocals
Prolusion. The US act CENTRIC JONES is one of the projects that come courtesy of composer and multi-instrumentalist Chris Fournier, who is arguably best known as the creative force behind Fonya. Centric Jones first appeared in 2002, then involving vocalist Dale Degan. Since then keyboardist and drummer Tobe London have taken the cooperative slot in the band, and two more albums have appeared. "The Antikythera Method" is the most recent of these, and was released by Progrock Records in 2012.
Analysis. Progressive rock isn't always about complex, challenging music. Naturally, the heart and soul of the genre will for many reside within the most adventurous spheres, the challenging parts of the stylistic universe also the ones that generally sport the artists with highest creative and technical talents. The majority of progressive rock recordings do reside elsewhere however, music with a character I commonly refer to as sophisticated. Perhaps not that original or innovative, yet providing the listener with refined compositions that feature material of a more complex nature than within most aspects of commercially oriented rock. And Centric Jones is on of the acts you'll encounter in that space. And as one might expect by a production Fournier is involved in, space is something of a keyword for other reasons too. Longing Mellotron washes, fluctuating synths and keyboards and longing guitar solos are all instrumental details with a natural place in his compositions, more often than not liberally flavored with either futuristic sounds of some kinds or placed in arrangements that bring forth thoughts of distant space and mankind's distant future history. Space rock in short, albeit in this case with at least half a foot inside the electronic variety of this music too. Gentler, cinematic passages with ambient qualities and mostly devoid of any rock feeling performance and instrument wise are frequent visitors to the compositions at hand, sequences closer to the likes of Tangerine Dream than to any space rock band one might care to mention. As far as similarities go, the tracks featuring the vocal talents of Laurie Larson often reminded me of the music explored by the reformed version of Beggar's Opera in later years, although the similarity in lead vocal style and timbre might have more to say for that comparison than instruments and arrangements as such. Elsewhere I found the most energetic features to be of a similar nature to Ozric Tentacles, and good old Hawkwind gets a slight nod or two on occasion as well. But more than anything else Centric Jones explores their chosen stylistic waters in their own manner, where the main approach appears to be freely wandering compositions that always will include at least one theme in relatively stark contrast to the majority of the creation, with a slick, smooth movement to and from the various parts.
Conclusion. Space rock of the smooth, melodic variety is the name of the game on Centric Jones "The Antikythera Method", a production with occasional nods in the direction of Ozric Tentacles and later day Beggar's Opera as the most distinct traits, sporting quite a few inserts with more of a progressive electronic character to boot. If that description sounds tantalizing, there's a good chance that this is a band and a CD that will be of interest to you.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: May 6, 2012
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