IO PAGES ( Netherlands ) no. 68 (Sept. 2006), p. 28

 

Ed Macan aims to use Hermetic Science as a vehicle for experimenting with a power trio wherein the lead instrument is a vibraphone.   As an experiment that is a praiseworthy approximation, but whether it subsequently leads to a good result . . . This introductory collection to the work of the band, founded in 1995, follows a more or less chronological order, wherein we in consequence hear a great deal of vibraphone at the beginning.   Even if one likes this, after a track or three it becomes fairly boring.   The manner in which the instrument is played reminds me of an approximation of Zappa's older work.   As one moves chronologically through the band's music there is a shift in musical direction to a sort of chamber music, whereby the vibraphone doesn't always get the leading part (but still retains an important role) and more room is given to the piano and synths.   The music retains, however, its fragmentary nature, even during its attempts to build to a grand climax.   Here the band treads clumsily on with their bleating keyboards in such a manner that it is irritation, rather than tension, that is built up.   In the chamber endeavor the band can therefore be compared only with the unfamiliar (not without cause) Cuneiform bands.   Accordingly—I am yet afraid how this review might end up summarizing this music crackling from my speakers.   Not nicely.   The end result is a double album which the band members were perhaps well pleased with, but whose sole interest is for the completist in avant and experimentalism.                         Roberto Lambooy