PROG-RESISTE (Belgium) no. 19 (1st Trimester, 2000), p. 49
Behold, once again, Ed Macan and his science hermetique. After the publication of his excellent book devoted to progressive rock and the counter-culture (Rocking the Classics) and a debut CD (1997) chronicled in our own issue no. 14, there now follows a new album which continues the experiments commenced two years ago. The make-up of the group is unusual and gives a first indication as to the music proposed: a trio, bass/drums/vibraphone-marimba-keyboards. As is evident in his work, Ed Macan denies himself any complacency in regard to modern progressive music and strives to define a new approach, based especially on the intensive utilization of vibraphone and other mallet instruments (which he judges are under-utilized in progressive music). Regarding this new oeuvre, one notes the entrance, in force, of the Steinway piano and the utilization of several other keyboards, which make it possible for him to color his music with a greater variety of sonorities. How to define this music, which strives in the direction of the avant-garde? Despite the presence of the bass and the drums, this is not rock, but rather a neo-classical approach to progressive music. Contrary to the first opus, where the omnipresence of the vibraphone tended to fill the sonic spectrum too often, here, and especially in the title piece of more than 41 minutes’ duration, the interaction of the polyphonic instruments with the piano and especially with the Hammond organ permits an easier approach to the musical purpose, which in the course of listening permits one to take account of the intense complexity which hides itself beneath this apparent despoiling. A rich music, thus, full of variety and of polyrhythmic work, curious and original, which doesn’t leave one indifferent, even if the approach is, at the first listen, not very easy. We note the presence of two covers, the first being a piece by Rush, “Jacob’s Ladder,” where the guitar of Alex Lifeson is replaced by the inevitable vibraphone and marimba and the second a transcription for Steinway piano of Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s “Tarkus.” Recorded live without any edits, this interpretation allows us to discover (if we still had need of it) the qualities of Ed Macan the musician, as well as his capacity to integrate the heritage of the past.