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(48:02, 'The Nova Project')
TRACK LIST: 1. Black Soul 4:13 2. Lullaby 3:34 3. I Am a Little World 2:58 4. Fantasia 6:04 5. If Faithful Souls 4:36 6. Cadenza 3:36 7. La Creation 2:14 8. Le Feu 5:16 9. Les Vents 3:54 10. Les Fontaines et Rivieres 4:19 11. La Terre 4:45 12. Rounded Earth 4:08 LINEUP: Anthony Glise – vocals; guitars Jason Riley – guitars James Kew – cello Nick Baker – percussion
Prolusion. As described in their own words on their homepage, THE NOVA PROJECT is a “Classical Prog” ensemble, founded by Anthony Glise and Jason Riley, with one simple goal: to combine different musical and historical styles into traditional classical music presented in a progressive rock format. Each recording (and many concerts) include internationally-recognized guest artists with various musical backgrounds including classical, rock, jazz and ethnic influences.
Analysis. Anthony Glise is arguably the most big-name member of this outfit. As a composer and musician he is renowned, not to the extent of being a household name, but with a large enough amount of honors to his name to be impressive. He has received awards and held concerts at prestigious venues on both sides of the Atlantic, and is among the relatively few musicians alive today that has a special day honoring his works. In this case a local celebration in the city of St. Joseph, Missouri, USA. While The Nova Project isn't a solo venture as such, the outfit is to some extent a vehicle for Glise's creative impulses. On the two studio efforts by this ensemble he participates both as a composer and a musician, and the same goes for its third release, “Live at the Cafe Acoustic”. This CD consists of live takes of tracks from each of the previous studio efforts, and has been issued as an official bootleg of sorts, although not commercially available. It is not an acoustic album, though; Cafe Acoustic is the name of the venue where these tracks were recorded. The term classical prog is a pretty accurate description of the music explored by this outfit. The compositions have tinges of both classical guitar and chamber music, in particular in the instrumental expressions, while the structural aspects have more in common with sophisticated rock. In addition, a distinct folk music atmosphere is present in many numbers, and I presume it's fair to say that those with an interest in folk rock should find the production of this band generally interesting. The guitars are the dominant instruments here; dual guitar layers are an ever present feature, most commonly one acoustic and one electric guitar but there are also a few instances of dual acoustic or dual electric guitars in the forefront of the sound. The acoustic guitar tends to pursue wandering, melodic patterns of a gentler variety, while the electric guitar takes on several different stylistic aspects. Free-flowing undistorted layers, energetic soloing or psychedelic-tinged licks with a distinct ‘70s feel to them are some of the more common examples. Generally speaking the guitars either contrast or supplement each other, in both cases in a subtle manner. Glise has a good voice for the vocal parts of the songs here, a clear one which suits this musical landscape perfectly. With subtle additions to the sonic tapestry by the cello and steady, good quality percussion as the final element of these excursions, the end result is compelling pieces and performances. The musicians are all excellent, the songs are good and it's easy to hear that this band is a seasoned live unit, which results in a generally strong release.
Conclusion. The Nova Project, with its blend of musical influences and stylistic expressions from the worlds of classical music, folk and progressive rock, comes across as an excellent live band with generally strong and compelling songs on this effort. The overall type of music explored seems to be best described as progressive folk rock, and those with an interest in this particular genre are probably the band’s main audience. The sophisticated efforts of this outfit will have a more widespread appeal though, and anyone who finds the description classical prog tantalizing might want to spend some time in discovering what The Nova Project is all about.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: January 12, 2010
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