[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
TRACK LIST: 1. I Dream Prophecy 3:44 2. Into the Madness 3:34 3. Epiphany 4:23 4. Release 3:50 5. Obsessive 1:47 6. Restless 1:56 7. Lifecycles 2:19 8. The Void 3:07 9. Prelude & Invention 2:06 10. Freedom 4:27 All tracks: written, produced, and engineered by Konfirst. SOLO PILOT: Matt Konfirst - electric guitar & bass; keyboards; programming
Prolusion. "An Effigy of Solitude" is the debut album by the young American musician and composer Matt KONFIRST. It is 31+ minutes in length, which one may consider a drawback, I, for one, do not. I regard any recording lasting more than 30 minutes as a full-length album. Otherwise, how should I think about King Crimson's 31-minute "Vroom", which I find much better than its follow-up, "Thrak"? After all, not a single album by Gentle Giant was ever called an EP either.
Synopsis. What would you expect from an album by another newcomer-individualist, especially since no instruments are mentioned in the CD booklet where there is only stated that Mr. Konfirst alone performed all the tracks here? Me too. I was almost certain that there is nothing else but a traditional synthetically electronic stuff on "An Effigy of Solitude", and I never before was so much mistaken in my presuppositions as in this case. In reality, it turned out to be that Matt is a full-fledged multi-instrumentalist and, thus, is a true Solo Pilot - to Prog and related dimensions, of course! Sure, by saying all this, I imply his compositional talent as well. To say that the album has a rich sound is to say almost nothing. At least at the moment, I can't recall the other solo flyers' efforts that would sound as rich and variegated as the hero of this review. Matt has spared no color to paint "An Effigy of Solitude" and show all the dramatics and, simultaneously, the complexity of the state of loneliness, which is always emotionally mental, and not physical, in its nature. Not counting one guitar solo on I Dream Prophecy (1), which is done clearly in the vein of Ritchie Blackmore's 'proprietary', immediately recognizable style, the music is fresh-sounding throughout. Besides, most of the pieces, most of which, in their turn, are located in the second half of the CD, are marked with signs of outstanding originality and those of innovation alike, as these things are usually inseparable from each other. Only four compositions are made up of familiar (in a general sense) musical textures. These are the said opening track, and also Release, Lifecycles, and Freedom (4, 7, & 10), each representing Progressive Cathedral Metal, where, though, most of the guitar solos are classically influenced, and those of synthesizer sound like being fragile. Generally, various - tempo, tone, etc - contrasts are among the main virtues of this recording. On the other tracks, melodiousness is completely out, and eclecticism, often bordering an eccentricity, is in. Each of them is both much deeper and darker than the previously described ones, which, though, are good in their own ways. Into the Madness and The Void (2 & 8) are the entities of a highly intricate Doom Metal with RIO, at least quasi RIO tendencies. The same words are in many ways topical with regard to Epiphany (3), despite the fact that the composition has Blues Rock in its basis. The RIO-related musical forms are much more evident on most of the remaining pieces, all of which were performed without the rhythm section. While shorter than any of the other tracks here, Obsessive, Restless, and Lifecycles (5, 6, & 7) are free of any possible frameworks and consist of ever-changing interplay between passages of piano and synthesizer and a few different solos of electric guitar, most of which were certainly overdubbed. They represent a confluence of both of the Classical and Avant-garde kinds of Academic music, which is too obvious to be described differently. Instrumentally, Prelude & Invention (9) is of the same story and features similar musical events, which, however, is only seemingly. In fact, this is Classical Academic music in purest form. Do you see how many different musical directions are presented on this short album? Yes, Matt is a gifted, inventive and, what especially pleases me, an amazingly open-minded composer, easily covering most, if not all, of the basic progressive genres. His mastery as a musician, at least as a guitar and keyboard player, is beyond any doubt.
Conclusion. I had a great desire to rate "An Effigy of Solitude" as a masterpiece, but since I hardly tolerate drum machines, regardless of how excellently they are programmed, I am forced to detract a half of a star. Hey Matt! All you need to become the >Fifth Element hero is to concentrate on the most extraordinary aspects of your compositional thinking and form a real band or, at least, invite a drummer in the project.
VM: June 3, 2004
[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]