BACKGROUND (Netherlands) no. 70 (May 2000), p. 28
Edward Macan is a very creative and multi-talented man. He wrote the captivating book “Rocking the Classics.” I’ve read it over and over and still enjoy his different points of view on progressive rock! This CD is of Macan’s musical project, another attempt to scout new musical challenges. With the help of bass players Nate Perry and Andy Durham and drummer Matt McClimon he presents unique music. In most of the tracks the focal point is Macan’s playing on vibraphone and marimba, accompanied by a strong and tight rhythm section. The CD starts with the Rush cover “Jacob’s Ladder.” The way Macan changes this rather bombastic piece into a mellow song with vibraphone and marimba leads (along with a short part with Micromoog and ARP string ensemble) tells everything about his musical ideas: this man makes music the way he wants it! The title track is a piece of almost 42 minutes, divided in six parts: “Barbarians at the Gate” contains fuzzed bass guitar and “Leviathan and Behemoth” and “State of Grace” Hammond organ, ARP strings, and Steinway grand piano. A very special effect is the flute-like soprano recorder, used in several tracks. In my opinion this kind of music (a bit in the vein of jazz) would be a sensation on the world popular, annual Northsea Jazz Festival in my hometown The Hague! The final track is the ELP cover “Tarkus,” performed live on the Steinway grand piano. It sounds amazing and impressive but if you’re not into classical piano I wonder if it will appeal to you. Nice discussion: is the rather unusual music more progressive than most prog rock bands today? “Yes,” I tend to say, but I doubt how many progheads will be seduced by Hermetic Science.
By the way, Ed Macan is preparing a book about Emerson, Lake and Palmer (Title: “The Band and Their Music”). I’m looking forward to it! ***