Recplay [Release date 10.11.17]
The second solo album from Miami-based keyboard maestro and co-founder of Sound Of Contact (Kernzer/Simon Collins) is creating something of a stir in prog circles. Perhaps, of little surprise given the heavyweight guest appearances of Steve Hackett, Durga McBroom (Floyd), Nick D’Virgilio (Big Big Train) and Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), alongside Sound Of Contact bandmate Matt Dorsey (bass), guitarists Fernando Perdomo and Randy McStine, and drummer Derek Cintron.
The shadow of Floyd permeates proceedings – not just from McBroom’s distinctive backing vocals, but from Nick Mason’s sampled drums on the excellent title track, and in notable elements of Kerzner’s vocal phasing (which also share strong Jeff Lynne tones).
But Static is a far more densely woven piece of prog fabric – one that takes repeated unravelling to reveal riches which combine elements of Kerzner’s favourite rock and classic prog albums blended into a contemporary melodrama.
It’s interesting. Modern day ‘prog’ has come a long way from the rudimentary origins of the genre. In the formative days of Crimson, Yes, and to a lesser degree Genesis, it was what a handful of musicians could throw at a limited number of tape recorder tracks. The infinite possibilities of digital recording and the opportunities (?) that brings, in an obtuse way, almost stymies the creativity that the limitations of the analogue age invoked.
And, for me. that’s the rub with Static. While it may be packed with more time changes than you can shake a stick at, glorious melodies and hooks, not to mention some marvellous playing, like so much contemporary ‘prog’ it’s not that innovative, but basks in the glory of the forerunners of the genre who had no such reference points.
But that shouldn’t diminish from the lure of this ambitious, 78 minute concept album which in many ways charts a parallel course to Steve Hackett’s most recent releases, and, for me, perhaps surpasses them, albeit by not much more than a photo finish.
A hugely accomplished piece of work, both Static and Kerzner’s previous 2014 release New World (which is very much, a ‘companion piece’), can be explored on bandcamp.com. Check them out. If contemporary prog features on your radar, you won’t be disappointed. ****
Review by Pete Whalley
Throughout September 2018 Get Ready to ROCK! Radio celebrated the station’s 10th anniversary and a two-hour special reflected a decade of broadcasting. “10 years in the making” features archive interviews with Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Todd Rundgren, Graham Bonnet, David Coverdale, John Wetton and Bob Catley.
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Power Plays w/c 11 November 2018
STEPHEN PEARCY U Only Live Twice Frontiers)
NORTHWARD Timebomb (Nuclear Blast)
MASON HILL Hold On (indie)
RAINLIGHT Field Of Souls (indie)
EDEN’S CURSE Forever (AFM Records)
Featured Albums w/c 11 November (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TEN Illuminati (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 NORDIC UNION Second Coming (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 LARKIN POE Venom & Faith (Proper Music)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
18:00-19:00 STEVE TILSTON Such And Such (2003)
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