Io Pages (Netherlands), August 1998, p. 32

The writer of  “Rocking the Classics,” the book about symphonic rock that was discussed extensively in the October [1997] issue, is also an active musician.  Ed Macan is in the first place a percussionist, and on this CD he plays mainly vibraphone, in a trio setting with bass and drums.  On the CD his two accompanying groups are heard, although one only in two numbers.  The liner notes speak of music that doesn’t grasp backwards towards, for example, the seventies.  Usually this is a false cry, but this statement is indeed in line with the music on this CD.  I myself am not able to name any comparable material.  Furthermore, the group is called a “power trio,” although I would propose a different term.  The CD opens with “Esau’s Burden,” in which the second accompanying group, consisting of drummer Joe Nagy and bassist Andy Durham, is heard.  The vibraphone is the only lead instrument.  As a result, the music lacks a certain tension.  This remains a little bit of an issue throughout, although there is some virtuoso playing here, particularly by Ed Macan himself.  However, something more varied among different soloists grows desirable after awhile.  “Fire Over Thule,” played by the first accompanying group, consisting of bassist Donald Sweeney and drummer Mike Morris, begins quietly, after which a fast vibraphone episode follows.  After this short outburst the music again grows quieter.  “Sungazer”—divided in three sections—is the longest track, and herein Ed Macan plays, besides vibraphone, also marimba, piano, glockenspiel, and tubular bells.  The piano here is mainly an extension of the accompaniment, while the solo work is divided among the vibraphone and marimba.  The first section, “Refractions,” is fairly fast, while the second section, “The Cathedral of Trees,” is quiet throughout and stately.  The third section, “Into the Light,” is again somewhat faster.  The next two numbers are covers, respectively of Curved Air and ELP.  Here Ed Macan plays only the marimba.  With “Cheetah” I honestly prefer the original, which sounds a lot fuller.  As for “Infinite Space,” I am not acquainted with the original.

“Fanfare (for the House of Panorama)” opens powerfully and even resembles the jazz-rock side of the spectrum a little bit.  “Trisagion” tows itself laboriously forward, and then it is again time for a cover, of the classic “Mars,” the Bringer of War” from The Planets by the early twentieth century English composer Gustav Holst.  Although the public over time has come to interpret this piece as Holst’s rendering of the First World War, this is not the case.  Holst had never heard a machine gun and the sketches for this number originated during the War in 1914.  Although in the original a complete, expansive symphonic orchestra is used, this performance can truly sustain the test of criticism.  Ed Macan here plays, besides vibraphone, also marimba and piano.

Renate Methofer