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TRACK LIST: 1. Moon Handed 5:00 2. Sleeping With Fractals 18:02 3. Holographic Rain 7:08 4. The Key 15:50 5. My Machine 11:41 6. Underlying Symptoms 5:22 SOLO PILOT: John Graham – vocals; all instruments
Prolusion. The UK project ONTOFIELD is the moniker used by composer and musician John Graham for his musical endavours. Work commenced on the first album using this moniker in 2012, and in the summer of 2013 the end result was released as Ontofield's debut album "Sleeping With Fractals".
Analysis. As far as one-man bands go, John Graham's Ontofield is among those that succeed fairly well as coming across as a full band project. The drum programming in particular has been made with some care, and while the sound is still fairly sharp there's enough variation at hand that doesn't make this otherwise somewhat detrimental feature a highly noticeable one. The overall mix and balancing have been worked at with some care as well, and the end result is a fairly pleasant one as far as those details go. Much the same can be said about the music I guess. Fine, accessible progressive rock, not of the most challenging nature, but one that should find favor amongst a fairly broad audience. With some minor variation in style throughout. Opening track Moon Handed explores a harder edged sound with some psychedelic elements added to the mix, with multiple themes and at times some nice and quirky constructions to enjoy. Title track Sleeping With Fractals is a creation that resides somewhere in between classic 70's symphonic art rock and later day neo progressive rock in style, but all in all a composition I'd guess should interest fans of the latter more than the former. Holographic Rain is a gentler affair with light toned careful guitar details supplementing an otherwise organ and piano driven theme, with more of a US overall sound to my ears. The Key alternates between harder edged guitar driven passages with organ and keyboards support and calmer, keyboards and organ driven sequences with gentle guitar support and a nod or two in the direction of Genesis, if I'm not much mistaken, the latter more careful theme dominating in the latter part of the song. My Machine is fairly similar to the earlier ballad oriented Holographic Rain, but with a few guitar driven intermissions thrown in for good measure, while concluding composition Underlying Symptoms strikes me as a cross between Rush and Pendragon as far as associations go, with a cinematic interlude closer to the likes of Tangerine Dream. As one might surmise, this is an album that invites to the associations game, and while we're not dealing with an artist speculating in purebred replication, in this case there's a certain predictable nature to just about all the compositions. With a few elements that are in the passable to good domain rather than the good to great the end result isn't one that will make me regard this one as a great production, but it is a nice and pleasant one, filled with accessible melodies and enjoyable moods, nonetheless.
Conclusion. Melodic, accessible progressive rock that first and foremost appears to have been inspired by 70's symphonic art rock and late 80's neo progressive is what John Graham's Ontofield project explores on the debut album "Sleeping With Fractals". A production that should appeal towards a broad audience, with fans of bands like Pendragon and Spock's Beard a likely key audience.
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