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Easter Island - Now and Then CD (album) cover

NOW AND THEN

Easter Island

 

Heavy Prog

3.00 | 35 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars The only reason I was interested in this band at all is because visiting Easter Island is on my list of things I want to do before I get so old I can't make the trip. The wife and I have evenly seriously discussed ? next summer might be the time we finally make the plunge!

Anyway this band and album have nothing to do with the island except for the moai drawings on the cover. This is a digital remix of the original 300 copy limited edition (probably vanity) recording from 1979. Band founder Mark Miceli digitally remixed that record and released it under the obscure Make Make label with BMI distribution in 1991. the original album is re-presented in it's entirety along with an introductory and almost completely synthesized tune ("Wanderer's Lament") that appears to feature only Miceli; and the closing title track which was recorded at the same time (presumably 1991), again by Miceli.

This does qualify as progressive, symphonic rock music given the mildly classical leanings of most of the arrangements as well as liberal use of moog and Mellotron. That said, there's nothing particularly original here, and nearly every track call to mind several prog gods of the early and mid-seventies, who undoubtedly influenced Miceli and friends.

For example, "Genius of the Dance" borrows unabashedly from Yes circa 1974-75, and "Solar Sailor" could have been included on Kansas' 'Vinyl Confessions' album without anyone batting an eyelash. "Winds of Time" sounds like a warm-up track for 'Tales From Topographic Oceans', and the four-part "Alchemist's Suite" takes the form of too many ELP compositions to count, but with a touch of Klaatu just to make things really weird. Finally, "Face to Face" reminds me an awful lot of the later Salem Hill (who themselves owe a debt to Yes, ELP and Kansas) and the two 1991 add-on Miceli tracks, which frankly are the best- sounding on the album, both come off as Alan Parsons-like studio wizardry.

And the point must be made that these guys are not in the same talent league of any of those bands I just mentioned, as evidenced by the comparatively simple and derivative keyboard passages as well as the sub-par vocals, particularly the falsetto singing on 'Ressurection', the last stanza of the Alchemist's Suite and something that sounds like Jon Anderson on a bad-throat day.

Mark Miceli seems to have made a career of art and music if his website is any indication, and more power to him I say. This is a decent album, but not spectacular and not a lost classic by any stretch. Miceli seems more than anything to have been a victim of unfortunate timing; the original version of this album released in 1979 when the backlash against the dinosaurs of prog was so strong he wouldn't have stood a chance even if with a major-label distribution deal. And the reissue in 1991 was a few years too early to catch the resurgent wave of nostalgic prog interest. So in the end the CD version of this album faded into the same obscurity of its LP ancestor. Mildly recommended as a curiosity to serious symphonic prog fans with deep pockets, but otherwise not much more than a high two stars out of five on the prog rating scale.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |

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