e motive: s/t debut Label: Moonchild Records/e motive. 62 Kirk Street, West Orange, NJ 07052. © e motive, 1998. Email: email@example.com. Web-site: www.netcom.com/~amattera/emotive.html Some bands just appear full-grown like Aphrodite emerging from the sea, delivering records of maturity and depth. The debut by e motive is such a record. The talent on display here is very impressive, and I look forward to seeing this New Jersey ensemble as they become something special on the east coast, and eventually the larger world-wide, prog scene. First the comparisons: Yes, fronted by Echolyn's lead singer -- or more to the point Peter Banks' post-Yes group Flash -- is one major component of the sound. The other clear influence is the Mahavishnu Orchestra, though it only becomes apparent when the improvised pieces are listened to closely. Excellent keyboard and guitar leads that echo the 70s giants without aping them build complex melodic textures over which Jay Tausig's voice soars. In all honesty this kind of tenor voice, and the way it's used, doesn't do much for me. I'm more of a Wetton admirer myself. Still, Tausig does a fine job, delivering a strong performance in what will be his only appearance on record with the band (he has left for other endeavours and the band will continue as an instrumental quartet). He also adds to the sound by playing some excellent flute. The drums and bass are effective throughout the album, though frequently understated compared to the lead instruments. That may just be the way the album was mixed, since the rhythm section has no shortage of chops. Though the composed songs are excellent, I believe that is in the instrumentals and the improvs that the band shines. These also appear to reflect where the band is headed. The organ work suggests ELP and the classic Canterbury bands, while the synths suggest Yes and Gentle Giant. Add in some very fusion-esque guitar work (that reminded me of the first Shadowfax album) and you have a potent brew on the stove, played by a group of musicians who all have the good sense to know when not to play, giving each plenty of room in the arrangements. Very diverse, and highly inventive stuff! They even have some tasty Mellotron strings on one track that elevate a decent prog-ballad into something ethereal and suitably sad, reminiscent of early Echolyn. Who might like it? Fans of Yes who frequently yearned for something heavier, more fusion oriented, and a bit more humourous/quirky should grab this ASAP. Ditto fans of The Mahvishnu Orchestra who thought it would have been way cool if they'd had an ace vocalist. Who might dislike it? I'd be hard pressed to think of any prog fan who wouldn't find something of interest and value in this weird and wonderful album. Maybe prog fans who don't care for vocals might have something to gripe about, but that would be splitting hairs in my book, 'cos this one's a winner. The best tracks: it's hard to chose when the feasting table is covered with an abundance of riches, but "Schizorythmia”, “For Me", "The Ones Two Grieve” , "A Gathering Of Days" and "In The Wink Of An Eye" did it for me. The track that best represents e motive's style: "For Me". Star rating: 4 out of 5. An instant modern prog smash hit with promise of a bright future. Personnel: Jay Tausig – Vocals, acoustic guitar, flute, digeridoo, pomposity. Frank McGlynn – Keyboards, backing vocals and "more problems than that". Erik Feder – Drums, percussion, backing vocals, haggler. Pags – Fretted, frettless, six-string basses and occasionally proper intonation. Antonio Mattera – Guitar, bass tech., smiles. Produced by e motive. Recorded and mixed at Francis Anthony Music, New Jersey. Mastered by Joe Gastwirt at Ocean View Digital, California. The Tunes: 1. Waking In Dreams [6:08] 2. Schizorythmia [7:15] 3. Love And Death [5:51] 4. Improv: Laughing Jones Strokes His Cougar [0:55] 5. For Me [6:25] 6. Improv: Big Daddy In The Big House [4:36] 7. The Ones Two Grieve [6:56] 8. A Gathering Of Days [4:40] 9. Improv: When Grandfather Gets Flatulent, We Kick The Dog [2:44] 10. In The Wink Of An Eye [6:58] 11. Reality Is Mine [6:41] 12. Improv: We Came For The Jam, We Stayed For The Explanation (Gregory's Lament) [3:14] 13. First Movement Symphony #25 In G Minor (W.A. Mozart) [5:33] Steven Davies-Morris (SDM) -- A 21st Century Schizoid Man firstname.lastname@example.org http://systemstheory.net
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