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Tracklist: 1. The Will To Power 8:42 2. Degrees of Freedom 5:47 3. A Tense Bow - A Moving Target 3:34 4. The Impudent Piece of Crockery 4:45 5. A Fugue State 6:50 6. Apartment Living 2:09 7. Seven Falls - Eight Rises 14:54 Tracks 1 - 3 by G. Foli; tracks 4 - 7: by D. Kulju. Line-up: Gino Foti - bass guitar; synthesizers Dave Kulju - electric & acoustic guitars; synthesizers Joe Mussmanno - drums & percussion All tracks arranged, recorded, mixed, & produced by Electrum at "Electrum Mobile", Billerica, MA.
Prologue. "Standard Deviation" is the second album by Electrum. Their debut album, "Frames of Mind", was released in 1998. The band members are sure that music and mathematics are in many ways similar among themselves, and I absolutely agree with them. Most of all, though I love the musical 'courses' that, at the first listen, remind me of abstract algebra and non-Euclidean geometry. (With regard to Music, which is infinite, it's pointless to carry out such ordinary measures that advance just a seemingly vital slogan "Music without Borders!" as it was in the USSR. Only the complex measures can have to do with Music.)
The Album. In the CD press kit, each of the Electrum members lists about a dozen of bands and performers that he is inspired with. While the music that is featured on "Standard Deviation" shows that the only true passion of these guys is Rush. The traces of Rush's influences are present on each of the seven tracks of this album, all of which are instrumental. (I think, the album's opening track can't be regarded as a song because of a short episode with the whispered vocals that is present in the beginning of it.) Fortunately, these traces aren't that evident. Also, there are enough of the band's own ideas on the album to make its sound quite an original. Another passion of Electrum has a very positive character. They love the odd meters and use them almost everywhere on "Standard Deviation". There are five compositions on the album that are especially diverse, complex, and intriguing. These are The Will To Power, Degrees of Freedom, A Tense Bow - A Moving Target, Apartment Living, and Seven Falls - Eight Rises (tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, & 7). Stylistically, four of them (1, 2, 6, & 7) represent a blend of a hard-edged Classic Art-Rock and Prog-Metal (which, structurally, is close to Rush's model). While A Tense Bow - A Moving Target is the piece of a pure Classic Art-Rock. There also are a few of the solos that sound like improvisations, though, in fact, all of them were thoroughly composed. Here is kind of a structural picture that, on the whole, is typical for the first four of the aforementioned compositions. A wide variety of different musical dimensions, consisting mostly of contrasting interplay between the tonal and atonal, fast and slow, etc solos and riffs of electric guitar and solos of bass guitars and keyboards, kaleidoscopically change each other through the awry lines and other strange measures of time. In other words, the structures of these compositions are very unstable - like those of neutrino, yet, positively. Furthermore, three of the said tracks (2, 3, & 6) feature the arrangements that develop constantly. As for the last and the longest track on the album, the arrangements that are featured on about a half of its length can be described same as all four of the other remarkable compositions on the album. The other part of Seven Falls - Eight Rises contains the more quiet and predictable arrangements, most of which are lushly orchestrated by the passages of synthesizer ('synthetic' string ensemble, to be precise). Both of the remaining tracks, The Impudent Piece of Crockery and A Fugue State (4 & 5), are the pieces of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock. The melodic constituent of the arrangements that are featured on both of them is more evident here than on any of the other compositions of the album. Which, though, by no means diminishes the value of these two pieces, as well as all the progressive beauty of them.
Summary. It's clear that the music that is presented on the second Electrum album "Standard Deviation" is as far from Neo as Neo itself is far from Rap (damn, why did I put this foolish word here?). Also, it's not your typical Classic Art-Rock album. It's kind of an extravaganza of complex time signatures that dance round the axis of each composition and crush it with the persevering regularity. "Standard Deviation" comes highly recommended to all those who're tired of a shady stability that, alas, is present on most of the contemporary works of Art-Rock genre.
VM. May 16, 2002
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