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(55 min, It's Twilight Time)
TRACK LIST: 1. There is a Hope 3:58 2. Ataranxiety 7:30 3. Angles 7:24 4. The Path of Resistance 5:58 5. Inside Irises 7:00 6. After All 5:33 7. The May Rules 10:54 8. Trade Winds 7:17 LINEUP: John Orsi - drums John MacNeil - keyboards Don Sullivan - electric guitar Mehool Patel - Warr guitar Mike Marando - bass
Prolusion. INCANDESCENT SKY is the project (one of the projects in fact) led by American composer and drummer John Orsi. "Paths & Angles" (released last December) is their third full-length CD, following "Glorious Stereo" (2003) and "Radiate" (2001).
Analysis. "Paths & Angles" is a very appropriate title for an album, on which, roughly speaking, profundity adjoins simplicity. While not quite instantly accessible, half of the eight instrumental compositions present are nonetheless easily comprehensible, though most of all this remark is topical regarding the three pieces of ambient music, namely There Is a Hope, The May Rules and The Path of Resistance. Each is a slow moving, yet constantly morphing interaction between electric guitar, Warr guitar, bass and synthesizer, creating quite an imaginative atmosphere. Unfortunately, there are no tempo changes on the first two, the drumming being annoyingly monotonous, plus having a synthetic rubber-like feel to it for some reason. The congas on The Path of Resistance are more effective, and generally this dark and brooding piece can in many ways be viewed as a model of the Electric Ambient style. It needs to be said that on the other compositions the drumming is always lively and resourceful. The rhythmic After All isn't too complex either and is somewhat reminiscent of The Alan Parsons Project. However, the electric piano and guitar improvisations that cross the length and breadth of the basic themes throughout the piece are astonishing, raising it quite far above a traditional Space Fusion instrumental. Although located at the very end of the album, Trade Winds opens a series of the tracks that I find to be the highlights of the material. This a remarkable composition, made up almost exclusively of charmingly angular construKctions. Sure, the misprint is made advisedly, and those well familiar with King Crimson and their "alternative" ProjeKct will easily complement the picture. Ataranxiety is a very fruitful synthesis of ambient and genuinely progressive textures with the partial attraction of elements of Doom Metal and those related to the so-called Industrial. The musicians jump easily from one direction to another, and their ability to subtly slacken and accelerate their tempo is best of all evinced here too. Ataranxiety would've been even more impressive had it not been overloaded with 'radio voices' and similar verbalisms. Along with the aforementioned Trade Winds, Angles and Inside Irises are the most innovative and entertaining works here, at least from a classic progressive viewpoint. The former is a complex architecture made up of numerous different sections and is also a container for many styles, among which Symphonic Prog, Space Rock and Techno Metal are the most obvious. Inside Irises is a true suite as well, despite the fact that it's woven almost exclusively of symphonic fabrics, those related to Classical music included.
Conclusion. Successfully avoiding orthodox methods in most cases, Incandescent Sky have created an album which is a satisfying listen on many levels. Nevertheless, I can't say I am enthusiastic about the material in its entirety, and a couple of tracks didn't inspire me at all. I believe their best effort is yet to come.
VM: May 20, 2006
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