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David Minasian - Random Acts Of Beauty CD (album) cover

RANDOM ACTS OF BEAUTY

David Minasian

 

Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 119 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars Predictable acts of beauty

David Minasian has made a minor name for himself in progressive circles by producing several excellent DVD releases for the mighty Camel (and Andy Latimer repays the favour here, but more on that later). However, Minasian's ambitions do not stop at producing videos, he also writes his own music as evidenced by this much praised solo album of his. Actually, Random Acts Of Beauty is not Minasian's solo debut album as he did one already in 1984 - one that went largely unnoticed, as far as I know.

What we have here is pretty much Symphonic-Prog-by-the-books. While trying to describe this music in words I end up with something that could almost be a definition of the old-school Symphonic Prog from the late 60's/early 70's. Minasian himself has mentioned The Moody Blues, Barclay James Harvest, Camel and early King Crimson as reference points when describing his own music and that is indeed very accurate. But while all the typical ingredients of that genre are here, the end result is somewhat lacking in soul and passion, in my opinion. This album is frankly quite predictable and even a bit dull occasionally!

While there is nothing wrong as such with following the old masters of your favourite genre, there is always the risk of sounding very unoriginal and anonymous and this is clearly the case here. There are some Rick Wakeman-like keyboard parts and some Steve Hackett- like guitar solos, but it all becomes a bit too predictable to this reviewer. This is retro-Prog in the sense that it could just as well have been written in the early 70's, but the production is modern. It is indeed "beautiful" and quite pleasant on the ears, but hardly exciting and not particularly memorable. There is very little to complain about as such, but there is also very little that grips me.

The mixing and production is good apart from the drums that sound a bit weird at times, but the result actually sounds a bit too good in the sense that it becomes "glossy" and somewhat artificial, just like the awful and cheesy cover picture!

The principle musicians involved are David Minasian himself and his son Justin. While Justin plays most of the guitars, David plays an impressive number of instruments including a plethora of vintage keyboards (with the lovely old harpsichord in particular given pride of place), cello, violin, oboe, flute, recorder, clarinet, french horn, cornet, dulcimer, sitar, bass and drums as well as doing the lead vocals! His voice reminds of that of Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues.

Andy Latimer of Camel appears on guitar and vocals on the first track. His guitar solo is very nice indeed (and it is truly great to hear him play again after his miraculous recovery from a horrible illness). Latimer's unexpected lead vocal part towards the end of the song does however sound very much out of place and indeed a bit "random". You might be forgiven for thinking that Minasian's motivation for including Latimer on this album was to make it sell better than it otherwise would have, but the two of them have actually been good friends for a very long time and it was Latimer who kindly offered his services to the proceedings. But there is no denying that Latimer's presence is a major factor in drawing attention to this work.

While nothing here is bad as such, I simply fail to see what has made some people so enthusiastic about this album.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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