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OF ALL THE MYSTERIES

Singularity

Crossover Prog


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erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Singularity is a new a new USA progrock four piece band, their instrumentation ranges from keyboards and electric guitars to flute, cello and acoustic guitar. This third CD delivers the short songs Mongrel (mid-tempo with fiery guitar and sparkling piano), XOT (compelling atmosphere with string interplay between guitar and keyboards), Patchquilt (intro with warm piano and vocals, then moving with howling guitar and fluent drums) and Kaleidoscope (first dreamy with piano and vocals, then a slow rhythm with sensitive guitar) and two long compositions I will tell you more about. First Smile (almost 15 minutes): it starts with pleasant acoustic guitar work, then the moods shift from dreamy with flute and violin-Mellotron to bombastic with porpulsive guitar riffs and fat synthesizer flights, the final part contains wonderful violin-Mellotron waves, twanging acoustic guitar and slow synthesizer runs, topped by a great build-up guitar solo that carry us away to Progheaven! Finally the long and alternating track Islands (at about 20 minutes): we can enjoy majestic Grand piano, howling electric guitar, lush Hammond, soaring strings with flute and during the dynamic final part it's progrock party with propulsive guitar riffs and drums and a long, quite fiery guitar solo. It sounds as a perfect closing section to a very pleasant and melodic CD, very elaborate and quite original sounding. My rating: 3,5 starts.

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#152315)
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars Pffff! "Of All The Mysteries". If ever there was any doubt, it has been shattered for evermore! Extra, extra, read all about it: "Santa Claus is a prog-rocker! Mrs Claus is very lonely!" How can such a bold statement be true? Well, a week before Christmas, Montreal's favorite and only Prog Store receives numerous copies of the splendid new Phideaux album, the third chapter of the brilliant Satellite and the eagerly awaited Singularity. There it is, irrepressible proof that the Old Nick is an outright proghead and that the real names of his reindeers are Hillage, Hackett, Holdsworth and Howe! Think about it, Clive Nolan already looks the part of Santa, and both Blackmore and both Andersons (Ian & Jon) have published Xmas albums that have a proggy slant, so it may just be a conspiracy. All this cheery intro to elevate the sheer exaltation at the opportunity to finally get a new chapter from this singular (excuse the pun) US band that surprised all pundits worldwide (including a few PA illuminati) with the phenomenal "Between Sunlight and Shadow". While the Timothy Pure similarities continue to lie specifically with John Green's parallel key and vocal work (Matthew Still is the Pure key-singer), it must be said that the overt Rush touches have somewhat disappeared probably due to guitar-bassist Matt Zafiratos replacement by Scott Cleland (on the 6 strings) and Jonathan Patch (on the 4 strings), as well as a way more "recherché" groove that permeates the "Of All the Mysteries" tracks. Before venturing on a track-by-track analysis, let it be stated for the record (another damn pun!) that this is an EXCEPTIONAL recording that deserves ionospheric praise from any fan lucky enough to feast their ears on it and acts therefore as an ideal companion to their preceding 2002 masterpiece. That it took 5 years to perfect becomes self evident right from the start, the long hiatus having given the band members a new found determination to really develop the heavenly harmonies that are liberally sprinkled throughout. "Mongrel" kicks off the festivities with a short instrumental that showcases their new sound and the patience that went into its maturation. The 15 minute epic "Smile" has all those very precious and very specific elements that make progressive rock such a discovery/voyage/trip/journey for those of us who keenly enjoy musical adventure. Soft intro, beautiful voices, a trill of the flute and then, suddenly out of the blue, a nosedive into heavier rhythms, thumping bass, swirly synthesizers, polyrhythmic percussives & thoughtful lyrics propelled by slightly distorted vocals. A slight shift and here come the acoustic guitars, the somber cello and the moog flights. This is a masterful cut, with massive melodies, a very relaxed delivery and superb playing by all; the lavish bass led outro is particularly invigorating with a lovely wah-wah guitar excursion. This is Progheaven ! "XOT" is up next, a seven minute all-instrumental exercise with heavy fanfare synths, more stunning bass ramblings, ripping six-string forays, your typical "let us show you our chops" without getting too technical. The brief "Patchquilt" confirms that 1-John Green is one of the finest prog voices (the guy can actually sing!) and 2- Scott Cleland has a dexterous command of the electric guitar (bluesy, proggy, jazzy). "Kaleidoscope" is another short breezy piano dominated piece that evolves into an immense guitar-led chorus that has a strong IQ "Dark Matter" feel. The jewel of the crown is the 20 minute "Islands" that lead off with stunning counterpoint vocal harmonies meshing with a string section that will leave you speechless. When the gentle piano motif takes over, you know that we have entered killer prog territory. When the subtle acoustic guitar adds to the heightening emotion, you know that this is Singularity's finest moment. Perhaps even one of the all time great epic tracks, it just grooves effortlessly along, with bold, ambitious, confident and stimulating musical statements both individually and collectively (a prog version of Stealy Dan, and that is very high praise indeed). Every tonal detail and each hushed whisper has its meaning and space, as if divine intervention placed it in sequence. Without a shred of doubt, recent US Prog's finest achievement, a simply timeless monument that will please all the "Beautiful Mind" audiophiles, singularly. Thank you Santa, prog on! 5 enigmas

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#156390)
Posted Sunday, December 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Colorado's Singularity releases its third different line-up on its third release. Matt Zifiratos left while Jonathan Patch and Scott Cleland joined original members John Green and Jamie McGregor. The results are positive, giving the band more depth and enhancing the sonic palette to include flute and cello, along with additional vocalist. Production-wise, "Of All the Mysteries" is not much different than "Between Sunlight and Shadow." Cleland was involved in the recording of BS&S and the production, to my ears, remains consistent, kind of a closed in sound, which, for me is the low point of the disc. The high points, quite a few, really make listening to this CD an enjoyable experience.

First off, the two instrumentals, "Mongrel" and "XOT," are excellent showcases for the bands muscular chops and melodic imagination. Each musician gets space to shine. McGregor and Patch lock in tightly and provide superb foundation for Cleland and Green to solo and breakout some inventive ear-candy.

The top vocal track, for me, is "Smile." Everything that makes this line-up of Singularity the best yet, is contained in this one tune. John Green uses a variety of keyboard sounds (piano, Hammond, moog, synth.) to great effect, layering tones and creating moving backdrops. Jonathan Patch sings lead, and his delivery is theatrical and strong and the rest of the band lends harmony voices. Patch also delivers the theme with flute, before Scott Cleland's powerful guitar chording changes the momentum and breaks open into wicked John Green solo. This tune contains a multitude of shifting time signatures, with Jamie McGregor's drum kit leading the way, from blistering rock to gentle balladry.

"Patchquilt" is a gentle piano led ballad with two beautiful guitar solos. The vocals are out-front and definitely show how much the band has progressed in this area. "Kaleidoscope" is a segue track, leading the way to the epic "Islands," which re-introduces themes from earlier tracks. Over 20 minutes of layered vocals, acoustic and electric moods, rhythmic fluctuations and exploratory solos, Singularity has stepped up to the challenge and delivered.

3.75 STARS.

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Send comments to Dan Bobrowski (BETA) | Report this review (#160081)
Posted Monday, January 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I'm still going to say i prefer "Between Sunlight And Shadow" to this their latest record but...that could change because this one is just getting better and better with every listen(10 and counting). I'm actually very surprised how much i like this compared to the first few listens."Between Sunlight And Shadow" really had the same sort of sound throughout,a sound i really like,while this one has more variety on it and is different, and as tszirmay mentions the RUSH elements are pretty much gone on this one. Fantastic lyrics as well,just like on their previous album.

Things get started with an upbeat instrumental called "Mongrel". This tune reminds me of a cross between FROGG CAFE and ECHOLYN,especially the former. Lots of piano and angular guitar. This is just a pleasure. "Smile" opens with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals. Flute before 2 minutes before a powerful outbreak of drums and guitar 3 minutes in and even more so a minute after that. Nice. The vocals remind me of Roine Stolt 5 minutes in as he gets theatrical. Piano and mellow vocals before we get strummed guitar and violin. A minute later we get some cool vocal arrangements. He then sings "I remember his smile" then all hell breaks loose ! A very pleasant and relaxed ending,as he sings "Who's smiling now ?" over and over. I can't help but think the lyrics here refer to a son who's father has left, and he says he remembers his smile, which is followed with the words "Who's smiling now". I love the guitar 13 minutes in.Amazing tune. "XOT" is the second and final instrumental. The synths are very prominant early with drums,but the bass is also chunky and the guitar has lots of bottom end. We get a RUSH moment after 3 minutes with the bass and guitar interplay. This is a very good song.

"Patchquilt " lyrically looks at how we all develope into the person we are from our past experiences,our childhood etc. This is a reserved song for the most part with vocals and piano dominating the sound. "Kaleidoscope" is mostly reserved vocals and piano for the first 2 1/2 minutes. Guitar then grinds away tastefully as a fuller sound arrives. The vocals soar as it ends with another RUSH moment. "Islands" is the 20 minute closer. Cool vocal arrangements to open as violin plays on. Solo piano 2 minutes in as solemn vocals and acoustic guitar come in. A more upbeat sound arrives after 4 minutes with synths,drums and soaring guitar. It's almost euphoric when the vocals and organ join forces 7 minutes in. Light drums,piano and synths take us in a new direction 10 minutes in. Flute and vocals eventually join in. An outburst of heaviness 13 minutes in is surprising as it settles back down quickly. Vocals and piano then lead the way before synths and drums take over. Guitar comes in playing over top of the drums and piano. Nice. The guitar/drum section 16 minutes in is great as synths join in as this just goes on and on.

I have to take my hat off to these guys,they did it again and in a different way. SINGULARITY are a talented group of musicians to say the least.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#163853)
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars My vote for 2008.

With it's last album, Singularity mutated from an 80's tribute band to a space-rock combo. WIth this album, they've put aside some more Moog/ Vcs3 keyboard and mutated again into something...better. Wow, the caterpillar became a butterfly, but a butterfly to a bird? Why not? stagnant is not a word that resides in Singularity's dictionnary.

They dropped some space atmosphere (but kept some too), but concentrated on a softer side of their music. They removed Rush as one of their main influences completely, and replaced it with a softer Discipline touch with Gentle Giant feel, Octopus era. I have to admit that some guitar solos are reminding me of the great Gilmour/ Rothery style, but they are very sparse in that case. It tooked me 2 listenings only to be convinced this was a highly recommendable album, full of great melodies and feeling.

Listening to it would be the best, because Singularity is not falling into a category easily.

They applicate themselves a lot and I frankly cannot say anything else that: buy this album, you need it.

I love you guys! Keep up the awesome work!

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#192584)
Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
Roland113
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
4 stars In My Not So Humble Opinion:

"Of All the Mysteries" by Singularity is able to stand proudly among the best independent releases of this decade. I'll follow that up with the caveat, it's also the only independent release that I've researched to date, but I'm sure it would stand up well alongside its contemporaries.

How about this? "Of All the Mysteries" by Singularity is able to stand proudly among the best symphonic releases of the decade. There, that sounds a bit loftier. The four piece group from Colorado has put together a near masterpiece on their third album showcasing their musical ability and even more so, their songwriting ability.

"Mongrels" starts the CD off with a funky instrumental bit, that purposely sounds a bit on the disjointed side. The funky dissonance gradually drops to only the rhythm section for a moment before the 'Islands' theme rears it's beautiful visage for the first time. The guitar and keys for the last half are subdued and produce a strange combination of melancholy and joy; kind of a 'this is all that I am, but you know what, I'm happy with it' feeling.

"Smile" is the first song to feature vocals and unfortunately, this is one of the band's weaknesses. The vocal harmonies have the potential to be beautiful, and as they are presented here, they are adequate. By this, I mean that the tone of the singer's voices sounds weak. The notes are right, but there isn't quite the power behind the lead vocals that there should be. The phrase "I remember his smile" is an unfortunate example of what I'm trying to say. In the song, the music stops and (I believe) John Green sings a few notes that are just a little to high for him, he just can't hit the notes with power. While this does add a certain sense of fragility to the piece, I think it could have been done better. Nonetheless, this is a great song, as I mentioned before, technically, the harmonies are beautiful.

My second and final critique of the album involves the choice of John Green's keyboard patches and the loud / quiet transitions. "Smile" ends with a beautiful fade out. The phrase "Who's smiling now" provides a wistful outtro. While still reveling from the bliss of "Smile" "XOT" begins with a jarringly grating keyboard sound, breaking the previous spell and tearing down so much of what was being built.

"Patchquilt is a relatively non-descript ballad. "Kaleidoscope" is a beautiful piece that showcases some of the bands best soundscapes. Guitarist Scott Cleland plays a tasteful solo and the entire song builds up to the last line, "It Makes me Smile" in homage to track 2, or maybe just tying the whole CD together.

Regardless, Kaleidoscope sets the stage for the centerpiece of the album, the twenty minute piece "Islands". "Islands" is an almost whimsical epic about a tree that's been given the ability to think and feel emotion, but not to express itself. In fitting with the theme of the album, a melancholic sort of joy pervades the piece. Throughout the piece the keys in particular provide a wonderful backdrop for the piece. At about the sixteen minute mark on this song is where the goose bumps kick in. Drummer Jamie McGregor hooks up with Cleland and starts a magnificent run that is absolutely stunning. McGregor does some amazing stuff here. Once those two take off, Green comes back in with the 'Islands' theme playing in a different time signature from the other two. The result is a chaotic mixture of gentle chords, running guitar and drum hits that can truly keep the goosebumps going for the duration of the song. This is a five star song and worth the price of admission.

In summary, this is a fantastic album, well worth the price of admission until the last few minutes which are the most sublime on the CD. The vocals and jarring keyboards are the only thing that prevents this from being a five star masterpiece.

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Send comments to Roland113 (BETA) | Report this review (#225870)
Posted Friday, July 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3,5 stars !!! I pray my excuses for the P A collaborators which gives for this third studio album from SINGULARITY the highest note between all of his discography. I disagree (at least) in part. I consider "Of All The Mysteries" a very good album but not superior in relation their first album (I give 4 stars in (#289940) | Posted by maryes | Sunday, July 11, 2010 |. However, the three initial tracks from this one, are really great compositions in special track 2 "Smile" a very beautiful song which in certain moments seems to lose "composition sense" , such it is the difference between their several sections:and the track is remarkable exactly for this ( a very melancholic initial theme , mix of calm acoustic passages with a very heavy moments ) an apparent incongruity but, masterfully "cemented". The track 3 "XOT" is a great example of how make a "strong" and interesting melody with some simple themes, something like a martial theme or "fugue" and this track is very close to the symphonic prog style.This characteristic of complexity only returns in the last track " Islands" , however, whithout the same "brilliancy" of the two above mentioned tracks.. My rate is 3 stars, although I think that the disk deserves a place im my collection !!!

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Send comments to maryes (BETA) | Report this review (#1106771)
Posted Saturday, January 04, 2014 | Review Permalink

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