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Chroma Key - Dead Air for Radios CD (album) cover


Chroma Key


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.99 | 195 ratings

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A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Dead Air for Radios' is the debut studio album by Kevin Moore released in December of 1998, under the moniker Chroma Key - a record on which Moore displays his creative interests and sonic desires in a way that is entirely sincere, sheltering, calming, and appealing, delivering an eclectic short collection of electronica-inspired songs, even better, an eclectic collection of very personal musical shards.

Moore is well-known as the original keyboard player for Dream Theater, from the times when the band was under the name of Majesty; also, as a collaborator and a band member (for a short period of time) of Fates Warning, as well as the leader of the experimental progressive metal project Office of Strategic Influence (or O.S.I.), where he shared songwriting duties with his fellow friend Jim Matheos, Fates Warning's very own guitar maestro. Also involved in some soundtracks, Kevin Moore is a very interesting creative entity, and I can surely proclaim that he was on top of his game on the Chroma Key albums.

'Dead Air for Radios' can be very generally described as a mellow rock album, but that would be insufficient to effectively depict with words all that is going on. In fact, 'Dead Air for Radios' is an album rooted in electronica, one of the primary interests of the enigmatic keyboardist, as well as atmospheric rock. The most vivid trace of this record is the fact that it is absolutely nostalgic, slow-paced, and embracing, giving a strong indication that Kevin Moore is a masterful creator of moods and settings, sonic settings that let the listener tune in for a soundscape-like ride through the weird but curious stories that this man has to tell.

'Colorblind' is the opening song on the album, one of the most recognizable and memorable songs from Moore, I think. It definitely has a touch of pop to the overall style of it, something that is not so typical for the mastermind behind Chroma Key. 'Even the Waves' is one of the atmospheric, experimental tracks. 'Undertow' is another very strong number; It is generally hard to assign some sort of label to any of the tracks, as they are very different from anything else that is circulating in the broad landscape of prog; Moreover, the Chroma Key project sounds nothing like Dream Theater or O.S.I., or Fates Warning, it is a very unique creature!

Other highlights are definitely the haunting 'Camera 4', an intelligent instrumental patchwork of otherworldly keyboard sounds and voice recordings, probably from a movie or a radio show, 'On the Page' with its lovely piano riff, very reminiscent of 'Space-Dye Vest' that Moore wrote while in Dream Theater, and 'Mouse (Now Watch What Happens)', another haunting composition.

'Dead Air for Radios' is not an everyday listen, or a necessarily uplifting one; it is also not your typical prog album, if it is a prog album at all! What I think it is, is a very ominous and personal collection of songs that require the listener to lay down and embrace himself in the genial mind of Kevin Moore, and just to listen and contemplate.

A Crimson Mellotron | 4/5 |


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