Oracular: self-titled (CD, 41:33) Oracular Music AVL96137 PO Box 207 Norwich, CT 06360, USA (860) 887-9408 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Cyberhome: http://www.moonsite.com/oracular Take a Yamaha Recording Artist, John M. DiBiagio, flutist, who digs Jethro Tull as well as minimalist New Age and then add in the eclectic/exotic Chapman Stick of King Crimson fame, by David A. Denis, and let these two musicians jam. Make the songs 3 to 5 minutes long, no vocals, some drums, some Chapman Stick-triggered synths. Do mellow, slow tunes and upbeat, driving rhythmic ones and keep the lilting flute passages ever-present. Hey, this is all very soundtrackish, backdrop tunes, book store and designer coffee shop ambience. Totally unintrusive, daydream, got-the-stares-going stuff. I found it hard to keep focus as it all seemed to run together. Vignettes, sound sketches and new agey chamber music pulled me into a quirky void. I envisioned hip-cool, cartoon/commercials packaged in an art deco worldview? Elusive, is the word for this stuff. Here's what others say of Oracular: mental imagery, relax and groove, story-telling, modern Medieval, visual, non-distracting, aggressive New Age, minimalist jazz, progressive organic experimental folk-pop, moody Tangerine Dream. I say they do a good job at their select mellow genre. But . . . if you're looking for the high energy of Tony Levin of King Crimson or the breathy abandon and raspy riffs of iconoclastic Ian Anderson of Tull look elsewhere in the progressive rock vein. It ain't here. Kick your shoes off and don't try to listen, let Oracular just do ya. - John W. Patterson ******************* Oracular: Volition and Deceptions (CD, 41:03) Oracular Music AVL97222 PO Box 207 Norwich, CT 06360, USA (860) 887-9408 Email email@example.com Cyberhome: http://www.moonsite.com/oracular Please see the review of Oracular's first, self-titled release. If you like what this dynamic duo sound like, by all means, obtain this second release. I detect more polish and more experimentation here. John M. DiBiagio has added in his sax playing for a more mainstream jazzier feel. More percussion is evident creating more upbeat tracks with some edge. One track, "Amphibian" is very progrock with FIVE guitarists laying down bizzaro-rock riffs. Steve Vai meets Randy California? They even get Hawkwindy space-groovy on "Saturn Sunset". The Chapman Stick and flute reign supreme throughout. "204 Scotland Road" is THE Jethro Tull-est of all Oracular's compositions but don't expect any memorable Martin Barre guitar. On this CD, Oracular "stretches some" and loses that background music feel a tad. Still, I get this feeling that their crowning acheivement would be to hook up with a female vocalist like Annette Peacock or Enya. In my humble opinion, this would catapult their work into immediate recognition and "accessibility" with a wider commercial appeal. Oracular occupies an honest dimension of skill but I sense a "thinness" in the gestalt of their sound. New Age can be very sterile territory, lacking warmth if one is not careful. -John W. Patterson
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