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Paradox One - 2007 - "Inventing Stars"

(35:17, ‘7 Recordings’)


TRACK LIST:                                 

1.  Dimensions 3:08
2.  Invisible 5:00
3.  Invisible Too 2:25
4.  An Orison of Somni 5:18
5.  Olympus Mons 1:55
6.  Regeneration 4:28
7.  Lindisfarne 6:10
8.  The Time Has Come 3:08
9.  The Bridge Over the Rhein 3:45


Phil Jackson – vocals; guitars; keyboards, synthy-bass; programming
WithFlight 09:
Igor Savich – el. guitar (1, 6)
Constantine Savich - bass (1, 6)
Vlad Nemtinov – drums, percussion (1, 6)
Elspeth McCormack - flute (2, 7)
Bryan Weir - church organ (9)

Prolusion. PARADOX ONE is a solo project from the UK, formed by Phil Jackson in 2000. In all, Phil has released five albums under that moniker, and "Inventing Stars" is his latest, released in 2007. Related reviews: here and here.

Analysis. "Inventing Stars" comes across as very much a hit-and-miss affair, in my opinion, and in this case with more miss than hit. Project leader Phil Jackson has a good ear for creating textures with keyboards and synthesizers, and is at his best when exploring compositions dominated by these instruments. My main issues with this release are twofold: Pieces that come across as incoherent (due to much fragmentation) and melody lines and compositional ideas that, although pleasant, don't rise above the ordinary. As with all matters of music, this is a personal opinion though, and others may find at least the first aspect here to be a strength rather than a weakness. After all, lack of cohesion can also be described as non-conformative structural arrangements; a much more pleasant and inviting description of the same issue. The opening track Dimensions mixes slightly disharmonic guitar textures with keyboard and synths in a somewhat staccato dominated setting. Invisible comes next, a slow and more folk-inspired tune, adding vocals, acoustic guitar and flute to the carefully crafted keyboard patterns. Invisible Too continues with a mellow and almost ambient instrumental affair dominated by explorations by synthesizers and piano. Album highlights, An Orison of Somni and Olympus Mons, are up next, the former with a repetitive keyboard foundation given life by adding and removing textures and sounds; the latter a short but atmospheric piece evolving from a rhythm and synth exploration into a more mellow psychedelic affair with guitar overlays. Regeneration follows: a psychedelic space rock tune that, true to its name, regenerates a theme and thus explores it in slightly different musical settings. The second composition that adds folk influences is Lindisfarne, a slow, mellow piece with careful synth textures mixed with guitars, bass and flute. The Time Has Come is a more fragmented piece, with bouncy keyboards-dominated segments mixed with mellow and almost ambient parts, and some vocals thrown in for good measure. The Bridge Over the Rhein ends the CD on a different note entirely, opening in a sacral mood dominated by a church organ and then evolving into a more jazz-inspired piano and synthesizer workout. With keyboards as dominating instruments on most tracks, naming Tangerine Dream as a probable influence for this artist is a given. The fact that several tunes come across as fragmented and slightly experimental in the compositional structure enhances this opinion; although it has to be said that Paradox One still has a fair deal of development to do before reaching the quality level of the German veterans. Mixing in elements of folk as well as jazz in a few pieces makes for good variety, and as long as the individual taste of the listener isn't bothered by the general shortcomings of this release this should give the album a relatively broad appeal.

Conclusion. "Inventing Stars" is a release that will probably have strongest appeal to fans of synth-dominated electronic space rock, and in particular the ones who like music to be a bit on the rough side in the mix as well as non-conformative in the compositional structures.

OMB: May 26, 2008

Related Links:

Paradox One


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