EXPOSE (U.S.A.) no. 24 (April 2002), p. 55

This is the third outing from musician/author Ed Macan and his band.  Once again it is an ambitious outing with a lengthy (45-minute) suite.  The instrumental music is based upon the writings of late 19th-century author J.K. Huysmans, whose semi-autobiographical novels chronicle the death and rebirth of the human spirit.  The music is appropriately heavy with the trio sounding somewhat like Tarkus-era ELP or perhaps an updated version of Egg during their Polite Force days.  En Route should appeal strongly to fans of keyboard-oriented classic progressive rock.  Macan writes or co-writes almost all of the material, and he also plays a wide variety of mostly vintage keyboards as well as some tuned percussion, wind instruments, and the harp-like lyre.  He has a new rhythm section, and bassist Jason Hoopes figures predominantly in the album’s most unique track, “Raga Hermeticum.”  Not surprisingly the piece has Indian instrumentation with Hoopes’ sitar stating the melody along with Macan’s lyre and then recorder.  It develops beautifully and then ultimately returns to restate the opening theme, making it a perfectly symmetrical nine-minute excursion.  The only cover is a doomy sounding version of Holst’s “Mars, the Bringer of War” that opens the album.  My only complaint about this otherwise excellent disc is that the vibes and marimba are downplayed due to a greater concentration on keyboards.  The result is that the final product has a more conventional progressive sound that fails to fully capitalize on the unique qualities of Macan’s sterling work on mallet instruments.                        David Ashcraft