PROGRESSION (U.S.A.) no. 40 (Spring 2002), 124
Total rating: 11 1/2
Ed Macan expands
his all-instrumental palette on En Route, augmenting his
inventive vibraphone textures with an array of keyboards and help from other
musicians on guitar, bass, and drums. Things kick off regally with a
faithful rendition of "Mars, the Bringer of War" from Holst's The Planets.
Then, we sink our teeth into Macan's clasically-inspired tour de force, the
45-minute, seven-part "En Route: A Suite."
As always with Macan's
work, it is captivating to hear vibes as lead
instrument in the prog-rock context ("Against the Grain, part two"). But
here, a full symphonic treatment lends oomph to the arrangements, hinting
occasionally at Emerson, Lake and Palmer/The Nice influences ("Against the
Grain, part four"). Sitar, recorder, and electronic harpsichord blend for
the delightful nine-minute "Raga Hermeticum," while the closing title track
is an unabashedly upbeat classical prog-rocker a la Trace or Ekseption.
Kudos to some very
interesting songwriting and deft playing on this album,
though the sound tends to be a bit on the "thin" side. John Collinge