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Tim Burness - 2008 - "Vision On"

(48:43, ‘Expanding Consciousness’)


TRACK LIST:                                 

1.  Can You Hack It 5:10
2.  This Is Life 5:51
3.  Space & Time 4:46
4.  Undercurrents 0:54
5.  All Through Your Life 5:42
6.  Here Comes the Great Collapse 7:15
7.  Broaden Your Horizons 5:17
8.  Undercurrents-II 4:25
9.  Everyone Hears Voices 4:48
10. Triumph of the Soul 4:35


Tim Burness – guitar, bass, e-bow, keyboards; programming; vocals
Fudge Smith (of Pendragon) – drums
Keith Hastings – bass 
Monty Oxy Moron – keyboards (3, 4, 5, 7, 9)
Tim Herman – saxophone (5)
Julian Franks – tabla (2)
Pok – mandola (2, 9)

Prolusion. Tim BURNESS is an English multi-instrumentalist and composer who started out as a musician in 1978. 1983 saw the release of his first solo production, and "Vision On" is his fifth solo album to date. It's a creation two years in the making and was issued towards the tail end of 2007 on Burness' own label, Expanding Consciousness Records.

Analysis. Burness states in his biography that Steve Hillage and Steve Hackett are his major influences, and that artists like Deep Purple, Mike Oldfield and Pink Floyd are others that have made a lasting impression on him. People familiar with the works of all these artists will probably find elements of them all in this production, but of the ones I'm most familiar with I'd say that Pink Floyd and Steve Hackett are the ones most easily detected on this release. In fact, the opening track comes across as more or less a tribute to the latter and influences from him and his former band Genesis are elements occurring on a fairly regular basis on this release. Burness doesn't incorporate the styles of all his influences on this release, though; the most dominant traits on this album are leanings towards symphonic rock. Layers of keyboards and synths are a constant feature throughout; more atmospheric than symphonic in expression, but not overly simplistic. On a few tunes we're treated to segments with more distinct space-tinged explorations, broadening the scope of this creation quite a bit. Atmospheric guitar soloing is another regular feature in these compositions, and the same instrument applies acoustic licks, mellow undistorted passages and riff patterns too, with the last of these always placed back in the mix though, incorporating the dark sonic vibes of the riffs without allowing them to have a dominating role in the sonic tapestry. Bass and drums supply rhythms and drive and a small plethora of other instruments add subtle effects and variations to the songs on the album. The compositions as such aren't overly complex. Symphonic rock and the more mellow variety of space rock are influences easily found, but the style explored on this release is probably closer to what has been coined neo progressive for the last two decades or so, and among the less adventurous explorations in this genre at that. The songs are mostly well written and performed though, with just a few mediocre compositions on the release. As performance goes, the main negative element is the vocal delivery of Tim Burness. He's got a peculiar and rather unique style and although it works out rather well on most occasions, his voice became somewhat of a liability in the calmer compositions on this release, at least in my opinion.

Conclusion. If neo progressive rock of the more simplistic variety is to your liking, Tim Burness' latest creation might be one you'd like to check out, in particular if you enjoy listening to artists inspired by the less complicated side of early Genesis and classic Pink Floyd. It's a nice release with a fair number of good tracks, but probably not an album of interest to those of you with a need to explore challenging and adventurous music.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: December 25, 2008
The Rating Room

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