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David Bagsby - Syllogisms CD (album) cover


David Bagsby

Eclectic Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This sizable release from keyboardist extraordinaire David Bagsby is a collage of 18 cuts encompassing the player's mastery of aural texture & timbre as well as his penchant for playful but deliberate composition. I am, as a lifelong sci-fi geek, reminded of the music of the Krell; the fresh, complex and utterly alien sound that emerged from the bowels of the vast installations on Altair IV in the breakthrough 1956 film Forbidden Planet (granted, that was just someone working an aetherphone, but at the time it must've been literally out of this world). If Bagsby's music weren't so aggressive and eclectic, I'd almost call it progressive trance-- it's like what all those New Age artists would sound like if they had a pair.

Up-tempo 'Skewtopia' blows open the disc, Bagsby's layered synths throwing glorious light and hitting notes only dogs could hear, an intricate drum program supporting as the cut moves through altered beats, deep machinery, polyhedral concoctions, extending as far as possible and then going even farther. Orchestral tunings in 'Node to Perdition' cleanse the palate before the oddities of 'Chicken Coop for the Soul', unnerving vocal samples in 'Kafka's Day Off', rather Prog 'Occam's Razor Burn', cetacean 'Camus-The Existentialist Whale' and videogame kitsch for 'Plato's Fun Factory'.

'Cause and Defect' is jittery, sending tingles in a Bernard Herrmann kind of way, and mechanical 'Zen in the Art of Lawn Darts' throws a curve ball at ambient 'Epicurus' Day Off'. The shrill complaints of Schrodinger's cat bemoan an unattentive owner, matched with 'Devils Adjective' but saved by the industrial animatronics in 'Futuilitarian', a familiar Bagsby nod to the music of the classic Warner cartoons. The show closes with very cool sound sculpture 'Goober Mensch'.

Though there are bits here & there on Syllogisms that won't appeal to all people all of the time, that's to be expected at this sort of smorgasbord. As for Dave Bagsby's musical wizardry, I'll let some familiar names speak to that:

"Wonderful, excellent work." - Mike Keneally

"I think he does some great stuff." - Dave Stewart

"The outer fringe of progressive rock." - Keyboard Magazine

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Posted Saturday, October 23, 2010 | Review Permalink

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