ARLEQUINS (Review posted December 2008)

Hermetic Science • These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins • Musea • 2008 • USA

Ed Macan returns with his project “Hermetic Science”:  returns with a new album titled These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins, a phrase drawn from “The Waste Land,” the poem of T. S. Eliot.  In order to comprehend in what context the latest work of the Californian group takes place, we take a step back, to 2006.  At the beginning of that year, Ed Macan decided to resurrect the project “Hermetic Science,” inactive since 2001:  under the title Crash Course:  A Hermetic Science Primer,[he released an] anthology that covers almost fully the band’s output up to that point, then recruited bassist Jason Hoopes and drummer Angelique Curry and repaired to a studio to record the new album, recently released.

At first beat, one could say that the new album does not distance itself very much from the preceding production.  Professor Macan continues to travel with his music on a double railway:  on one side is unfolded to us progressive rock, according to his vision and style, faithful to the classical and experimental canon of symphonic progressive, dominated by the use of keyboards; the other side seems to propose a possible line of evolution, anchored in a phase of experimentation that is dominated by the light, almost intangible sound of the mallet percussion, that is, vibraphone, marimba, and the like.  And it is this two-fold key that makes it possible to frame and hear the principle compositions of this album:  the opening piece, “De Profundis,” is the paradigm of the more solemn symphonism, while it is the disc’s longest piece, “Triptych,” that best exemplifies the experimental component that Macan expresses across a vast gamut of sonorities produced by mallet percussion.  Among the other shorter pieces, “The Second Coming,” the final track, stands out:  an excellent track, vaguely Emersonesque, perhaps the most noteworthy episode of this recording.  I also want to underscore the original work of the two new arrivals, Hoopes and Curry, who contribute by making the convoluted compositions of the leader more fluent.  I mention finally that the artwork is by the great Paul Whitehead.                                      Antonio Mossa

Original Review (in Italian):