PROGRESSION (U.S.A.) no. 55 (Fall/Winter 2008), p. 83
Hermetic Science: These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins 2008 (CD, 50:28), Musea FGBG 4767
Style: Progressive/experimental rock
Sounds: **** Composition: **** Musicianship: **** Performance: **** Total rating: 16
This California trio is the brainchild of Ed Macan, a talented composer, keyboardist, and mallet percussionist, and perhaps the most learned prog scholar of our times. But despite his academic background, Macan’s latest outing—Hermetic Science’s fifth—is not some dust-dry exercise in music theory. On the contrary, Macan is pioneering a dynamic new direction I progressive music—melding pop, chamber rock and experimental jazz.
Past recordings have included a lush vibes-led reworking of Rush’s “Jacob’s Ladder” and an astonishing 19-minute solo-piano reinvention of Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s “Tarkus.” But Macan’s sparkling original works are more interesting than his covers, as evidenced by this latest effort. Working with guitarist Jason Hoopes and drummer Angelique Curry, Macan pays homage to prog’s forefathers, but moves the music forward in ways that are fresh, challenging and original.
Highlights include “De Profundis,” a rock-classical-jazz piano odyssey that explores terrains barely hinted at by the likes of Keith Emerson, and “Triptych,” an epic showcasing Macan’s amazing vibes skills. Highly recommended. Nick Tate