PAPERLATE (Italy) no. 40 (March 1998), p. 50

Ed Macan’s Hermetic Science

Magnetic Oblivion 1_MERM1-97

Author of the valuable volume Rocking the Classics, this particular musician debuted a few months ago with an album recorded by his band, Hermetic Science, consisting of a strong backing group of bassists and drummers. A true virtuoso of instruments such as marimba and vibraphone (the presence of keyboards on this album is limited to some brief interventions on piano), Ed Macan has already collected favorable comments on the part of some specialist reviews, and even on the part of renowned musicians. Bill Bruford has described the album as "intricate and interesting," while the Anthem Monthly magazine recommends it to "anybody having an ear predisposed to strange fusion with a nocturnal feel, like a trip through the cosmos with Frank Zappa as your guide . . ." and Bill Martin, author of a book on Yes, describes it as "truly original, an unexpected mix of jazz and progressive rock." One therefore approaches this album with a certain curiosity; the first part is comprised of pieces by the aforementioned Macan, with the intent of overlaying jagged rhythms derived from both certain prog and certain fusion with the fragile but elegant sound of marimba and vibraphone, without a doubt the instruments principally destined to support the entire sonic architecture. The experiment is certainly interesting (one wants to also say progressive!), even if the first impact leaves one rather disconcerted. The second part of the album is comprised on the other hand of some covers, performed with the same instrumentation (marimba, vibraphone, bass guitar, drums): the band perform a piece by Curved Air ("Cheetah"), a very singular "Infinite Space" from the old repertoire of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and finish with the famous "Mars," drawn from the very celebrated Planets by Gustav Holst, rendered less "traumatic" by the leveling of the sonority and arrangement; the melody, and tempo, and rhythm sound sufficiently faithful to that of the original version, but try to imagine it in a version where strings and trombones are not sounding, but only gong, cymbals, marimba, vibes, and piano! In conclusion, an album that seeks to depart from ordinary approaches, propounding something truly innovative.

Ezio Candrini