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Dean Watson - Fantasizer ! CD (album) cover


Dean Watson


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.96 | 54 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Tantalisingly close to 5 stars, this music may be the perfect crossroads for many proggers. You love Jazz-Rock/Fusion but it is sometimes "too jazzy" for you? You love symphonic but it is sometimes "too bombastic"? You love eclectic but it is sometimes "too inconsistent"? You love metal but it is often "too trivial"? And you love instrumental music, with display of virtuosism but without falling into meaningless speed show-offs?

Well, Dean Watson may have a juicy proposal for you. This highly skilled and talented musician and multi-instrumentalist has produced a brilliant one-man effort like few I had heard in recent years.

While the music is clearly Jazz-Rock/Fusion, he covers a very wide spectrum of the genre, from classic JR/F ala CHICK COREA to heavy fusion ala TONY MACALPINE or DEREK SHERINIAN, while occasionally nodding at Symphonic classics such as ELP or UK or Eclectic kings KING CRIMSON.

Watson is so full of ideas but he does not hang on them for too long, no overdone noodling here at all, he changes and breaks continuously before one can get too much of anything, the album is incredibly dynamic switching from slow passages of piano or atmospheric keys to frantic ones with very fast soloing on synth or guitar, continuously. And yet the miracle is that none of those changes feels patchy. Many bands try to combine many ideas but the result seems unconnected, artificially patched. None of this here, the transitions are constant but they feel alright, everything fits.

It also helps that he uses a very wide pallette of keyboard and guitar tones, with lots of e- piano but also strings, percussive Hammond, classic solo synths with lots of great pitch bending, vibraphone and marimba and many more. The guitars are mostly hard-edged in the style of GREG HOWE or MACALPINE but never sounding "heavy metal", they sound great. Odd and complex rhythms abound as well as counterpoints and syncopated notes.

It is clear that Watson's strongest skills are in keyboards and guitars but the bass is also good, and he has done one of the best drum programming works I have ever listened to.

There's not much point in doing a track-by-track review since the whole album follows a consistent philosophy, but if you want to get a feel for the music in just one track listen to the brilliant 11 min+ "Caged Creator".

It's too early to say if this album will stand the test of time for me, and as good as the programmed drums are (I repeat, one of the best I have ever heard), they still lack the dynamics and feel that a great drummer could provide, and drums are a really important instrument to me, so for these reasons I'l stay with 4 stars.

Gerinski | 4/5 |


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