HIGHLAND MAGAZINE (France) no. 39 (December 2008), p. 21
Edward Macan presents here the fourth album of Hermetic Science, and rather than hold you in suspense, suffice it to say this disc lacks neither brilliance nor invention. [The band is] instrumentally based upon the formula of a tight trio in the tradition of an Emerson, Lake and Palmer; Ed is the author of a monumental and definitive essay upon the trio, of more than 800 pages, titled The Endless Enigma, appearing in 2006 and already not very easy to procure.
These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins is distinguished however by its musical conception, the music here certainly being less centered upon performance or the cult of virtuosity, although I don’t mean to say by this that I think it is a matter of reducing the superior essence of the ELP style to one of its components and manifestations. With Hermetic Science, we proceed by progression, the music moves from the most intimate toward the most complex, from the extremely stripped down (the simple initial piano chords which open “De Profundis”) toward a blossoming of keyboards [that grow] progressively more dense, and a music ever more complex and passionate in the final account. In “Voyages,” one finds more affinities with ELP in the utilization of Hammond organ and a sound that’s a little more supported, organic, the bass of Jason Hoopes and the drums of Angelique Curry working entirely in gradations [of light and shade]. But the master craftsman is clearly Edward Macan, the harmonic riches of his layered keyboards appearing all clearly intermingled. He knows how to create the right atmospheres and ambiences that are necessarily somber, because of the sonorities of the powerfully evocative Hammond organ, combined with other diverse keyboards. One senses that he has listened to and assimilated several masters of twentieth century classical music, Prokofiev, Bartók, and Shostakovich above all, and going beyond that he is in a position to create a strongly characteristic music, infinitely suggestive, based upon an instrumentation that is ultimately relatively reduced.
The percussion plays an equally great role here, or the percussive instruments, such as the marimba of “Triptych” (15:32, in order to give you an idea of the dimension and of the development of the piece), then returning to more classically oriented piano with “Melancholia I,” which despite its limited dimensions, is still strongly seductive. “Aion” then plunges us in a more consistent register, with the utilization of vibraphone, combined with the bass and diverse keyboards and synthesizers. The infinite variation of the percussion renders the construction and the sonority of the piece passionate, suggesting delicately shaded atmospheres, charged with mystery and imprinted by profundity and magic. [Featuring] unusual sonorities, constructions, and progressions, the music of Hermetic Science is conceived, thought out, and elaborated by a skilled and supremely gifted architect.
The compositions, none of which resemble each other (I allow you to discover for yourself the superb finale, “The Second Coming” which concludes the album in blazing apotheosis) are all marked by the seal of originality and set off with a production approach that is at once contemporary and timeless.
In that, we here are necessarily dealing with a major work that I urgently invite you to acquire. For it is of a historical nature. Purely sensational (*****). Didier Gonzalez