PERCUSSIVE NOTES (June 1998), p. 70

Ed Macan’s Hermetic Science

Magnetic Oblivion Records

It is unclear in what sense Macan’s music relates to "Hermetic Science." The word "hermetic" can be associated with the Gnostic writings of the early Christian era, with general occultism or abstruseness, or can simply mean being impervious to outside influence (hermetically sealed). When I listen to this CD I just hear interesting, creative, and well-crafted music in a variety of eclectic styles. Much of the material is obviously influenced by the so-called "progressive rock" style, but these influences are combined with elements that aren’t so familiar in contemporary progressive rock–spatial jazz, minimalism, Arabic and North Indian music, essences of Renaissance church music.

The other element that makes this music unique is the dominance of percussion. Except for electric bass and piano (which we all know is really a percussion instrument) the whole recording is done with percussion. While a wide variety of percussion instruments are used, the textures are often transparent, with the vibes being accompanied only by bass and drumset. This is particularly evident in Macan’s arrangement of Holst’s "Mars, the Bringer of War" from The Planets. It is amazing how effectively this orchestral piece translates to this very basic instrumentation, and how similar it sounds to much progressive rock music.

Tom Morgan