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Barry Cleveland - Hologramatron CD (album) cover

HOLOGRAMATRON

Barry Cleveland

Eclectic Prog


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3 stars I have to admit that this album is perhaps a bridge too far for me.

But I got it from Barry as a gift/promo and I always review what I get. Therefore, I have to describe what I hear because this is a type of music I simply do not "get".

The music here is a mix of vocals based songs and some avant-garde and drone stuff. The vocals is a mix of female and male vocals. Barry Cleveland uses guest vocals here and some of his friends from the scene/other bands helps him out. Their names is unknown to me so I am not walking down this "impressing the readers" path by namedropping them. See the full list of vocalists in the presentation of the musicians here. Ditto for the other musicians.

The music has a jazz feeling. In particular on the vocal tracks. In short, this album feels like a jazz project with some hints of the west coast. I am off course referring to California. There is also an eastern or even middle east feeling here. Mostly due to the inclusion of Erdem Helvacioglu on this album. His contributions is good. The same goes for Barry Cleveland himself and in particular; the bassist Michael Manring. His work here is excellent.

The quality of the musicianship is excellent. The music......... well, it is an acquired taste. This album is by no means easy listening. In particular for a guy like myself. I feel I am stretching my skin, my ears and my brain cells to breaking point on this album.

........... but I have grown to like it. The guitar sound is excellent. The overall result is good. But this album is too diverse for me to call it a true great album. It feels like I am browsing through a photo album with pictures from both the South Pole and the French Riveria. But I will though recommend it and Barry Cleveland's music to those who are seeking a challenge in the Jazz/ Eclectic Prog area. You will be truly challenged by this album.

3 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#291234)
Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars It's rare to find protest kind of lyrics in Prog. The Wall, Kevin Gilbert's Shaming can be taken like that, but it's just small number of such albums. Maybe also because lyrics aren't considered important by majority of Prog listeners. However, I'm used to such album (even Czech ones with topics like communistic terror or just common complains about modern society).

Torodd already said important things about music, I'll add my personal feelings then and leave theory aside (I'm not that good on describing it anyway) and give you just brief summary. Eclectic here stands for big variety of styles. Maybe Crossover would be the most suited for this album. Some of you may know X-over artist Rick Miller, especially his album Falling Through Rainbows. Well, especially Stars of Sayulita reminds me it. It's calm, beautiful song and certainly not one of the difficult ones on this album, but the very next song, Warning is one of these unpleasant ones (I can take Torodd's opinion about "stretching his skin, ears, brain quite easily, as it's disharmonic hell, which isn't instantly bad thing).

Then the listener is confused again (which looks like common trait of this album and makers have probably a lot of fun from the sheer number of confused people that must be out there, listening this album) with What Have They Done to the Rain, because this song is nothing like previous song, or even pre-previous song. It's melodic, but not calm. Another kerf to their variety element.

And it's just three songs, 10 of them (+ some remixes). There isn't single truth, I'm used to say that there is as many truths as there is people's opinions. But some things are more true than others. And difficulty of this album in general is one of these, where many people will have the same opinion (I suppose).

4(-), nevertheless, there is a lot of magic in this album (second magic album this afternoon, it seems like this will be Perfect Day (tm).

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#293251)
Posted Tuesday, August 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Mind-Blowing

Some days ago I was reading the reviews about BARRY CLEVELAND'S album "Hologramatron", and had some curiosity, being that the music is described almost as a blend of everything, but still was not convinced to spend my hard earned bucks, being that the reviews were somehow contradictory.

I almost couldn't believe my luck when the door bell rang and the mailman brought a package of albums from "Moonjune Records" sent by courtesy of Leonardo Pavkovic and found a copy of "Hologramatron", can't deny I was surprised being that this label works mostly with Jazz music and Hologramatron is cataloged as Eclectic Prog, but later I understood why.

So opened the album and started to listen it, and WOW!, this music blew my mind, it's like a fusion of all styles and genres, from Avant Garde, Psychedelia and Funk, all worked in Jazz style. It's evident that the album is amazingly complex, with dissonances, jamming and elaborated sections plus the voice of "Amy X Neuburg" (who reminds me a bit of Eartha Kitt). Even when I don't like protest lyrics too much, have to accept they are intelligent enough not to collision with the adventurous music.

The opener "Lake of Fire" summarizes what the album is, starting with a complex intro that blends ELP and King Crimson influences but changes radically when Amy adds her aggressive lyrics in a real protest mood.

But what surprised me more is the brilliant work of Michael Manning and Celso Alberti in the bass and percussion respectively. No matter all the insane changes and radical dissonances created by the keyboards, guitar and vocals, the rhythm section manages to make the band keep their feet in the ground and avoid wandering through a mystical and violent amalgam of moods.

Of course we can expect dramatic contrasts, like in the second song "Money Speaks" with a more evident Jazz and Funk mixture that I enjoyed from start to end, all enhanced with the fantastic guitar of Barry Cleveland.

Won't even try to describe the whole album in a song by song review, because expecting the unexpected is part of the adventure that "Hologramatron" offers to the listener, and I don't want to ruin the experience for others, but will recommend the album with confidence, because is simply hallucinatory and a whole new musical conception.

The rating in this case is only an anecdote, because it's almost impossible to transform more than an hour of adventurous music into a cold number, but if you ask me, less than 4 stars would be criminally unfair.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#411080)
Posted Friday, March 04, 2011 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars On this his fifth album, which was nominated for a Grammy in 2010, Barry has responded to contemporary social, political, and even spiritual realities, and has produced a modern-day "protest album" that draws inspiration from a musical continuum spanning art rock, psychedelia, avant-metal, ambient, global fusion, trance, and fun?with two early-'60s pop covers tossed in for kicks. He has brought together a fine group of musicians to assist him in producing his vision, so while he concentrates mainly on guitars of various types including synth guitars, this also involved his long-time collaborator Michael Manring (they were both members of the improvisational quintet Cloud Chamber), drummer and percussionist Celso Alberti (Steve Winwood, Airto Moriera), and pedal-steel guitarist Robert Powell (Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne), along with "avant-cabaret" vocalist Amy X Neuburg, and guest vocalists Harry Manx and Deborah Holland (Animal Logic). Additional musicians include Turkish electro-acoustic guitarist Erdem Helvacioglu, percussionists Gino Robair and Rick Walker, and Michael Masley (also from Cloud Chamber).

I have played this album numerous times, each listening giving me even more, but for some reason the same question kept going through my brain, "How on earth am I going to write about this?". T is complex yet simple, cutting edge yet mainstream, prog and jazz and pop and rock. I mean, what on earth is going on? Years ago I read a very wise review, where the critic said that he was fed up of trying to fit music into pigeonholes and that in future he was going to put music into just two categories, namely "good" and "bad". Well, this definitely fits in the former and if anyone feels that it fits in the latter then I feel sorry for their musical tastes. I suppose one could describe it as art-rock, and Fripp has obviously been an influence, but musically it is all over the show. As with every recording he is involved with, Manring's warm fretless bass is a key to the overall sound seemingly at the heart of all of the layered complexity. This is such an easy album to listen to musically, with melodies in abundance, and a surprise around every corner. One of these has to be the version of "Telstar" which is just wonderful as the Sixties song is taken into a new age. Barry has written some books on Joe Meek and obviously this is his homage.

This is a great album, one that I have enjoyed playing immensely. Highly recommended. www.moonjune.com

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#891127)
Posted Friday, January 11, 2013 | Review Permalink

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