PROGRESSION no. 33 (U.S.A.), Fall/Winter 1999-2000, pp. 162-63
comes at the listener on cat’s paws—don’t expect the lion’s roar of the “typical” progressive rock band (if
there is such an animal). The
music is largely based around Ed Macan’s vibes and marimba, which impose a
softer dynamic level than we’re used to hearing in this genre. This also is what provides much of its
There are four pieces here.
“Jacob’s Ladder” is an effective re-working of the Rush classic, while
“Intrigue in the House of Panorama” plays with spy movie music, including
quotes from the James Bond signture theme, and much derring-do atmosphere. The title piece is an altogether
satisfying six-movement, 41-minute suite, wherein Macan moves through his entire
arsenal of instruments, with help from his core unit of Andy Durham on bass,
and Matt McClimon on drums.
Hammond organ, acoustic piano, Micromoog, ARP string ensemble, recorder,
and mallet instruments are used to create a long-form, unified piece that is
redolent of 1970s prog in all its glory.
The fourth, bonus track, is a 1992 live performance of Emerson,
Lake and Palmer’s Tarkus, in its
entirety—for solo grand piano.
Macan’s 19-minute transcription—far from being disappointingly
monochromatic compared to the original—lets us revel in the piece’s unique
harmonies on a single, orchestral instrument. He interprets the piece faithfully, yet those familiar with the original will note
how he fishes in its waters with his own bait and tackle. Highly enjoyable.
is one of the most unique progressive releases of this year. Listeners who like to take chances on
different approaches and new sounds are strongly encouraged to check this
remarkable disc out.