RAGAZZI (Germany), November 1999, p. 27


Hermetic Science is the band of Ed Macan, who composed and/or arranged all the material on the band’s second disc, as he did on the first, and who moreover has written a book about progressive rock (which unfortunately I still have not read).  Ed Macan is an impassioned vibraphonist, who mainly conceives his music with this instrument in mind.  He plays in addition to the vibraphone also marimba, recorder, piano, Hammond, and ARP string ensemble.  His rhythm section of bass guitar and drums supply a richly-detailed background for his instrumental excursions.  Hermetic Science lay little value on emotional foregrounding.  Their music, already almost comparable with more serious musical contexts, consists of intricately worked out ideas, prominently-featured instrumental work, and austere, complex staging.  The first track, “Jacob’s Ladder,” is a cover of the Canadian band Rush, which appears here in a wholly new apparition.  “Intrigue in the House of Panorama” is, according to Macan’s own statement, his musical version of 60s spy film tracks.  The central piece of the disc is the six-movement, 41-minute “Prophesies.”  Macan sets off the crystalline vibraphone figures upon a foundational bass/drums scaffolding.  The complex, ponderous structures are eventually elucidated by recorder and especially keyboards just as much as by vibraphone and marimba.  In spite of the prevailing rock character, a significant jazz sympathy is evident.  Hermetic Science suggests a meeting place between Frank Zappa and Chick Corea.  As a bonus track Macan has included an 18-minute arrangement of Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s “Tarkus” on piano, which has too many peaks and vallys and becomes somewhat noisy for my taste, but is still a good version of this virile classic.  Hermetic Science are an interesting progressive rock band with an unshakeable vision, somewhat reserved, but with musical passion.


Volkmar Mantei