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Marc Carlton - Reflex Arc CD (album) cover

REFLEX ARC

Marc Carlton

 

Crossover Prog

3.97 | 10 ratings

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simbelmyne
4 stars In Reflex Arc Carlton continues the shift away from earlier minimalism that began with Still. In sound Reflex Arc is immediately more accessible than its predecessors - more fleshed out, more richly textured - but it would be a mistake to infer from this that the themes are proportionally simpler or more superficial.

In fact, Reflex Arc is Carlton's Ulysses, it has a stream-of-consciousness feel which allows it to meander and reflect on itself whilst remaining deeply touching and poetic, brimming with all the different faces of human response. Carlton's choice not to name the tracks is not a lazy one, it is a clever move from a musician who believes in music as it removes the possibility of audience bias, instead forcing the listener to pay attention to the musical language itself to interpret each track.

The album quickly moves from deeply peaceful opening tracks through landscapes of exhilarating wonder to the more turbulent, flighty middle section and this is where the album's increased accessibility breaks down somewhat. The music becomes demanding, alternately building and breaking down, reprising earlier phrases in completely different tones. Parallel to the stream-of-consciousness idea I think you can also make a good argument for interpreting the album as an aural coming-of-age, from early naivete through disappointment, doubt, and the discovery of reality to the eventual reaffirming of vitality in the determined, joyous mission-statement that is Fifteen.

I would heartily recommend this album particularly as an introduction to Carlton's music. It is an excellent way to challenge and hone one's listening skills in preparation for some of his more obscure work!

simbelmyne | 4/5 |

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