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(75 min, MALS)
TRACK LIST: 1. Prolog 3:42 2. Moanalua Gardens 5:50 3. Keahiakahoe 3:49 4. Sunset on the Ridge 3:41 5. Omega Moonlight 1:50 6. We Will Never Leave This Place 6:24 7. I'm Ready Now 4:34 8. The Phone Call 5:14 9. Haiku 7:51 10. Come Along for the Ride 4:55 11. Total Eclipse 4:21 12. Crossing the Rainbow Bridge 3:29 13. Wantok Payback 4:31 14. The Guitar on the Hill 5:28 15. The Mr. Hagen Show 3:38 16. Juxtaposition 1:19 17. Makakilo Sky 6:00 SOLO PILOT: Dan Cowan - instruments; vocals
Prolusion. Dyonisos is a one-man virtual ensemble featuring American musician Dan Cowan, who wrote and performed all the tracks for the project's eponymous debut CD (the only exception being Sunset On The Ridge, which Dan created in cooperation with Linda Miller). Vitaly told me he'd heard Dan has some more outings to his credit. Even if so, they were brought out under a different moniker, as I haven't found any other Dyonisos releases in the Internet.
Analysis. This is an integral, fully-fledged concept album, inasmuch as all the music and lyrics are subsumed to the same subject telling a fantastical story of space travels. Although five of the seventeen tracks present are free of vocals, the general musical storyline typical of the entire material is fully kept here as well. The sound is centered round electric guitars and modern synthesizers, and the other instruments (bass, drums, acoustic guitar and Dan's voice) complement the picture along with a wide variety of various effects. Quite frankly, I am unable to recognize whether the drums are programmed or are an acoustic drum kit. In any event, while their parts are rarely diverse and eventful, they very well fit the specificity of this music. The mood is mainly relaxingly reflective, suitable to the style, which is a kind of arty neo space rock (mostly symphonic or guitar-laden, but not without digressions to electronic music) abundant in prolonged guitar and synthesizer passages, now evoking associations with Pink Floyd and Camel, now with Eloy and The Alan Parsons Project, now with Ozric Tentacles and Tangerine Dream (which is mainly due to a wider use of electronics), though the Pink Floyd influence is unquestionably a dominant for Dyonisos. The lyrics are either sung or narrated; the vocals are agreeable, and while they're rather often processed via special modules (voice pedals:-), they don't remind me of anyone else's, unlike the album's instrumental canvases.
Conclusion. "Dyonisos" doesn't shine with any particular innovation, but it is not devoid of originality. Here I have to note that unlike Vitaly, I don't find the presence of influences in music to be a drawback (ideas are in the air!), especially if their amount does not exceed that of original ideas, such as is in this particular case. There is probably a crowd of Prog lovers who might find this CD to be attractive, but nonetheless, fans of Pink Floyd-style music should be the first on the list of those to whom it can be recommended.
VZ: June 15, 2006
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