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John Fitz Rogers & Michael Nicolella (USA) - 2002 - "Transit"
(44 min, "Gale")


******
Tracklist:

Part 1:
1. Introduction 4:50
2. I 5:10
3. II 5:26
4. III-A 1:28
5. III-B 5:07
6. IV 3:14
Part 2:
7. V 3:31
8. VI 6:40
9. VII-A 2:47
10. VII-B 4:30
11. Conclusion 1:00

All music by J. F. Rogers,
except 5 & 10 by J. F. Rogers & M. Nicolella.
Arranged by M. Nicolella. 

Line-up:

Mike Nicolella - electric guitar
John Fitz Rogers - keyboards; programming

Produced by M. Nicolella & J. F. Rogers.
Recorded by J. F. Rogers. 
Mixed & mastered by Jeff Francis
at the University of South CA, School of Music.

Prologue. "Transit" is the second album by this unusual duo. According to the CD booklet, "Written for electric guitar and computer-driven virtual ensemble, "Transit" is an epic work that combines the architecture of Classical Music with the drive of Rock."

The Album. This is really an epic and monolithic work. Not looking at the display of the CD player, it is most often impossible to fix a moment of the beginning of a new 'movement' of Transit. Overall, the music that is featured on this album can be defined as a blend of Classical Academic Music, Symphonic Art-Rock, and Prog-Metal with the elements of Jazz-Fusion and Avant-garde Academic Music. However, not all the 'movements' of Transit conform to this definition as a whole. Furthermore, the contents of the first two tracks of the album are of another story completely. There are only a few of guitar's fluid solos on Introduction, whereas a 'synthetic', amorphous and fluid, solo of some of one Eastern flute is number one here. While listening to it, I had the impression that there is Bedouin, who plays a flute and meditate somewhere in the sands of Arabian Desert. It turned out to be that each of the following tracks is by all means richer than the previous one. However, I comprehended that all of these I, II, etc, 'movements' are just the phases (or degrees, if you will) of development of a 'Transit' music not immediately. (By the way, the development of music that is presented on this album looks like being mathematically logical. However, today's computer technologies permit to obtain even such results that are seemingly impossible.) Varied interplay between the symphonic passages of synthesizer and harsh solos and riffs of guitar are featured on the first phase of Transit (track 2). Phase II contains the rather eclectic arrangements consisting of diverse and, often, contrasting interplay between passages of various keyboards (including an electric piano) and solos of electric guitar and vibraphone. Structurally, the contents of both of the first phases of Transit - Part 2, V & VI, are similar to those of phase II. Both of them were also performed without the rhythm-section and consist of interplay between passages of various keyboards (including organ) and solos of electric guitar. In other words, the development of musical 'events' on Transit - Part 2 is slightly different than that on Part 1. All three of the following phases, - III-A, III-B, & IV, as well as the last three tracks on the album, - VII-A, VII-B, & Conclusion, completely conform to the general definition of the stylistics of this album. Though the elements of Jazz-Fusion are especially evident on III-B & VII-B. All the instruments of "Virtual Ensemble", that accompanies the parts of electric guitar on these six compositions, sound very realistic. Of course, first of all, this is concerned to the parts of drums (including cymbals) and bass guitar, all of which are simply amazing. As well as on all of the tracks of the album, the arrangements that are featured on the said six pieces develop for the most part constantly, which is typical for Academic Music. Structurally, however, all of these arrangements are in the vein of Progressive Rock. They're filled with the cascades of tasteful and virtuosi solos and riffs of electric guitar (there are overdubs of guitar's solos on Transit), solos of bass guitar and a few of the various keyboards, diverse interplay between them, kaleidoscopic changes of tempo and mood, etc. All of this rushes through the complex time signatures that are accentuated by the rhythm-section. And this is typical for Progressive Rock.

Summary. It is difficult to imagine Academic music, made up of structures that are typical for both of the Classic Symphonic Art-Rock and Prog-Metal genres and performed by a very experienced and virtuosi quintet (or sextet) with an outstanding guitarist being 'at the head' of it. This music is really kind of transit. As most of you have already guessed, it doesn't fit any of the first four genres of Prog (Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, Prog-Metal, RIO), but also Academic Music itself. No need, however, to look for "Transit" in Progressive's Fifth Element, as it is there already. Check it out directly from "Gale Recordings" (see a link below).

VM. May 21, 2002


Related Links:

M. Nicolella's web-site: http://www.nicolella.com/

"Gale Recordings" web-site: http://www.galerecordings.com/


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