Io Pages (Netherlands) no. 83, p. 31

Hermetic Science • These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins • Musea FGBG 4767/Bertus

The last album of Hermetic Science, En Route, came out in 2001.  That is the year when American keyboardist/mallet percussionist Ed Macan decided to hang his analog synthesizers in the willows.  The keys on this disc are thus digital.  There is more changed.  Macan formerly piloted the band alone, but it has now grown to a trio.  Bassist/guitarist Jason Hoopes, who on En Route contributed only on guitar, and Angelique Curry (drums and percussion) play on These Fragments as group members.  The title of the album is a phrase from T. S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land.  Although as mentioned above Macan has gone digital, the sound has not become smaller as a result.  It is well that the misery of the electric piano from En Route has disappeared, and even the digital pipe organ hardly is used, only during the conclusion of “Voyages.”  As insiders should well know, Macan is the author of Rocking the Classics:  English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture and Endless Enigma:  A Musical Biography of Emerson, Lake and Palmer.  The last-named band is perhaps an example for Macan’s shift to a trio formation.  And not only for that, for also in the music you recognize the legendary trio, as in “Voyages,” “Aion,” and “The Second Coming,” wherein above all the Hammond organ strengthens the Emerson connection.  Also the short piano solo “Melancholia” resembles an homage by Macan to the keyboard virtuosos.  “De Profundis” is a splendid classically-oriented composition, carried by piano throughout, of ten minutes, and “Triptych,” the magnum opus of this CD with a duration of 15:30.  Herein Ed Macan himself focuses completely upon his mallet percussion, the vibraphone and marimba, assisted by Curry on drums and percussion.  For the tone-color thus now becomes centered on the synthesizers.  These Fragments is a fascinating album with much to offer.  The comeback of Hermetic Science as a trio is a success and certainly merits a sequel.                                        Leo Hoekstra