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Tracklist: Stranger of My Find The Promise Underground(in 2 parts) Clear Love Shadows of Style Goodbye the Lie Strange Poetic In justice Heaven Cosmic Cobwebs And Lollipops Alone Stranger of My Find Reprise All music & lyrics by John Miner. Line-up: John Miner - guitars, backing vocals; Devon Lebsak - drums; Kelton Manning - bass; Karyn Anderson - keyboards, vocals (tracks 4,6-7,9-11); Karen Rene'e - vocals (tracks 1-3,5,8,12-13) Guest musicians: (On track 3 only) Ken Wenzel (sax) Erica Syroid (violin)
Prologue. Here we have another album by Art Rock Circus (the review on both versions of ARC's debut album can be read here, though the first one wasn't entitled as the Art Rock Circus album, but as John Miner's). Also there is a mention in the booklet of the previous album that (at least) the "Heaven's Cafe Live" featured the members of both bands led by John - Art Rock Circus and Mantra Sunrise. Incidentally, bearing in mind that (again at least) most of the songs of all the three aforementioned projects were written by Miner himself, the names of all these projects make no any special sense.
The Album. As you understand, it's practically impossible to squeeze practically any-scale arrangements (let alone the large-scale ones) into the songs each of those, on average, sounds just about 3,2 minutes, especially since all of them contain solid vocal parts. Excluding track 3 with a more or less tight sound in general, all the other 12 songs on the album are almost totally filled out with nice female voices, singing about light and dark feelings, etc whose universal meaning is clear almost everywhere. Really, what but Love to everything existing in the world could safe someone's soul? As I myself, all in all, have the same ideology, I agree with John's lyrical conclusion completely. Well, actually I'd have to keep the same feeling (of Love to everything - without any exceptions) in my soul always. So sadly, though, that being as spiritually (every event that happens in the world of physicality is a 'child' of our thoughts, in other words - of our inner spiritual world) wretched as anyone of Earthly humanity, I can't name myself so wise to balance anything related to both my spiritual and physical worlds, i.e. to balance my Earthly existence in everything, as well as anyone of the same Earthly humanity, of course.
Summary. Well, while John's lyrical concept isn't too profound (maybe, it was specially invented for the so called average audience, the majority of who are just sleeping people* - for sorry see PS), the music on "A Passage to Clear" has nothing to do with Progressive at all. In this respect it cannot be compared even to Mantra Sunrise, let alone the excellent live version of "Heaven's Cafe". Despite the fact that actually the music (and singing) on "A Passage to Clear" is very nice and the few acoustic guitar passages could even remind of some pre- or semi-Progressive things, I really regret to rate the album so low (though, in respect of Prog-lovers, - vice versa (so high) - mostly for the lyrical concept). But since this site is devoted only to Progressive Rock and Progressive Music (in general) I just cannot act differently, although I have a profound respect to the people at "Tributary" in general and to John in particular.
P.S. Please dear reader, forgive me for such a maxim, and thank you from the bottom of my heart if your thoughts are at least similar to my own.
VM. May 28, 2001
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