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(41:37 / Standtall-2)
TRACK LIST: 1. Rolling 2:22 2. From the Gardens 4:46 3. Land of Your Own 4:19 4. Fast Piano Slow Pink 3:22 5. Northern Tango 3:32 6. Repeatrium 4:04 7. A Nice Trip Down the Road 3:54 8. Toute Petite 3:51 9. Sad in Rodger's Way 2:57 10. Water 3:58 11. Masters of Deception 2:46 12. Circus of the North 4:29 13. What's Left of Us 3:11 LINEUP: Marc Gendron - all instruments
Prolusion. STANDTALL-2 is a Canadian one-man project with Marc Gendron playing all instruments. Under the moniker of Standtall, Marc released a collection of tunes on the original MP3.com website. Due to other bands using that name he had to change to Standtall-2 for this, his sophomore release, which was out in early 2007 after a 7-year long recording process.
Analysis. The music offered on "Standtall 2" is a highly mixed affair. The first three tracks here are tunes heavily inspired by 70's symphonic prog rock, while the following one, Fast Piano Slow Pink, blends classical-influenced piano with a cool jazzy solemn theme and synth-pop breaks. Northern Tango is indeed tango, Repeatrium explores the world of techno, and A Nice Trip Down the Road takes the musical journey into the Tangerine Dream territories. Toute Petite investigates a minimalist synth and piano based landscape. Sad in Rodger's Way combines electronica and symphonic prog; Waters lead the way into the realm of E-music with some psychedelic and spacey tendencies. Masters of Deception is a more modern dark ambient inspired composition, and Circus of the North brings together dark ambient sounds and a highly melodic symphonic melody. What's Left of Us ends the recording with a piano and synth based tune. Overall, "Standtall 2" is a highly eclectic musical journey, and succeeds better at showcasing Marc Gendron's various musical influences than as an album as such, because the high degree of variation in musical styles do result in a release that most of all is a collection of tunes. Gendron comes across as an intelligent composer; he has a lot of ideas he wants to investigate and is wise enough to conclude his various explorations in time, ending each song before the themes and ideas deployed become tedious and boring. Some tunes are, though, below average. Toute Petite is a very emotional piece, but lacking musicality. In a family context, I'm sure this is moving and touching, but outside of that arena listeners will lack the emotional and personal knowledge that would make this track interesting. Circus of the North and What's Left of Us are also as tunes a tad on the weak side, too repetitive and somewhat lacking in nerve and tension. Most of the other compositions are average, nice and pleasant music. A few tracks come across as above average: the Eloy-inspired From the Gardens fascinates as well as Repeatrium and Masters of Deception with their dark and slightly sinister atmospheres.
Conclusion. If you find it interesting to listen to music made by a talented person in his spare time, and also have an interest in electronic music with progressive leanings, this is an album worth checking out. Fans of similar projects like Soniq Theater and The Gemini Project will probably be a target audience here.
OMB=Olav M Bjornson: January 24, 2008
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