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TRACK LIST: 1. The Captain Is Falling My Friend 1:44 2. Serenity Interrupted 2:40 3. No One Sent to Tend the Engines 4:10 4. The Lost Moon of Neptune 3:40 5. Twilight's Edge 3:55 6. Passage through the Eye of a Camel 4:04 7. Hidden Faces in Quiet Spaces 4:29 8. They Smile When They Speak to Me 3:51 9. Release 8:13 SOLO PILOT: Dave Harrington – all instruments
Prolusion. Dave HARRINGTON is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from Chicago (USA), about whom very little information is available. “The Last Days of Lucidity” is his fourth release, following “Rule 29” (2004), “Procession” (2006) and “The Process” (2007). Like the others, the album was entirely composed and performed by Harrington himself.
Analysis. Judging by his almost complete lack of exposure on the Internet or elsewhere (quite unthinkable for a musician in this day and age), Dave Harrington must be one of those rare people who make music for the pleasure of it, rather than in order to reach as vast an audience as possible. In spite of having already released four albums since 2003, he is practically unknown, so that it is not easy to find reviews of his output. This is rather unfortunate, because Harrington is a very accomplished musician, and his skills as a keyboardist would be deserving of more attention on the part of progressive rock fans. Like its predecessors, “The Last Days of Lucidity” is a completely instrumental album, which comes in a very basic packaging with barely any information other than the track listing. The definition of ‘chamber rock’ that I have come across on one of the very few websites mentioning Harrington’s work seems to fit the album quite aptly, even though not in the sense generally associated with the likes of Univers Zero”. It is an album where the keyboards are approached from a clearly prog angle, but without the sweeping grandiosity typical of the big names of the genre. This is not intended as criticism, on the contrary: “The Last Days of Lucidity” contains many features that may definitely appeal to keyboard lovers. Even if “The Last Days of Lucidity” does not really offer anything that can be really called innovative, I found Harrington’s approach to be singularly refreshing, as well as remarkably restrained. Prog keyboardists are famous (or perhaps I should say infamous) for their frequent forays into self-indulgence, which can be a delight to some, and a turn-off for others. This is something that Harrington thankfully manages to avoid: most of the tracks included on the disc are between 3 and 4 minutes in length, and the only longer item, closer Release, is sedate and somewhat mournful rather than pyrotechnic (though admittedly a tad overlong). As a whole, the music on offer has plenty of melody, sometimes (as in the case of the Emerson-inspired Twilight’s Edge) sounding like classical music played with electric instruments. On many of the tracks, Harrington goes for a hypnotic feel through the use of repetitive structures, rather than opt for the wild shifts in tempo that are often synonymous with prog. The distinctively-titled Passage through the Eye of a Camel will delight Hammond organ lovers, at times coming across like Mussorgsky on speed. On the other hand, Hidden Faces in Quiet Spaces reveals a clear Genesis inspiration – the track, also on account of its title, brought to my mind comparisons with the instrumentals contained on “Wind and Wuthering” (in my view, their last really good effort). Dave Harrington plays all the instruments featured on the album, which nonetheless sounds remarkably natural and cohesive – eschewing the dreaded contrived feel that plagues many ‘solo pilot’-led albums. All in all, “The Last Days of Lucidity” is a worthwhile listen for committed prog fans, coming from an artist that seems to prize artistic integrity over the lure of the spotlight.
Conclusion. Though “The Last of Days of Lucidity” is probably fated to fly under the radar of most progressive rock listeners, it is nevertheless an album that has a lot of potential appeal, especially for fans of keyboard-based, instrumental compositions. Kudos to Harrington for keeping the album to a more than manageable running time, as well as avoiding the artificial feel that is the downfall of so many solo projects.
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