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Duncan Mackay - Visa CD (album) cover


Duncan Mackay

Symphonic Prog

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1 stars Popcorn anyone?

I am truly horrified by this album, the first ever solo work (I've heard) by Duncan MacKay. If this is Prog, then I don't know what isn't?

Lets make no mistake, Mackay is a familiar name as he had contributed to a number of relatively Prog albums. All of which will be seriously re-evaluated by yours truly as a result of this release, "Visa".

This is not serious music and at best is only "having a fun". More suited to amuse toddlers on children's television than to provide any quality addition to the music scene in general. To release an album like this and accept money for that from hapless people is bordering on criminal.

OK, onto the music - alas there is very little to say about music here. It's more like MacKay is fooling around on top of programmed drum machines. Ah, is it Simon Phillips on drums? I find it hard to believe. If so, then Phillips had become the first walking drum machine - ever. Well, chances are that Phillips may have contributed to a miniscule amount, but much of the beat in general is not performed by human hands.

With this solo work Mackay had seriously discredited himself as a respectable artist and frankly, I won't go anywhere near a release that he is featured on. Capable musician, no doubt, but with this work, I am left scarred for life.

Report this review (#930471)
Posted Friday, March 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars So. On Duncan Mackay's third solo album, he has thrown away his backing band, other than a light drum track by none other than Simon Phillips, completely rid himself of all Keith Emerson imitations from the previous ventures, and has left himself with, well, nothing.

Track after track, Mackay gives us a sound that has the Euro-pop aspirations of Kraftwerk, the synthesizer swirling patches of Tangerine Dream, all bound together with the compositional sensibilities of elevator Muzak.

Mackay, at least, is an adept keyboardist. He does occasionally add some fills that make the ears perk up, but with the material he has given himself it is generally a lost cause.

It's too bad, because I really like his first two releases.

Report this review (#933629)
Posted Thursday, March 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars ?

After reading a hilariously negative review of this album, I was intrigued. After hearing the album, I was even more intrigued. From the moment I experienced this album I was equally horrified and in love. I do not think I have ever heard anything quite like it. The music is arranged like regular instrumental prog music, but the sound is very synthesised, to a slightly horrific extent. The whole album is very fact I can find nothing serious about it at all, and since prog is a fairly serious genre, I think that this will lose more points with other listeners.

I find myself loving this album because it has a light-hearted charm to it. My favourite track is the funky and somewhat atmospheric "Gin-Sing". However, I find the whole experience rather embarrassing can not imagine anybody else enjoying it.

If you are into supermarket jazz, elevator fusion, or ambient waiting room funk, than this is the album for you.

Report this review (#936381)
Posted Thursday, March 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Mackay certainly isn't your average prog rock veteran. Raised in Britain but a native of South Africa since the early seventies, in 1974 Mackay released his Emerson inspired (and very creative and engaging) debut. 77 saw the less prog more pop but still creative Scores. Visa, on the other hand, can be called proto muzak, almost like a soundtrack for the world with only Mackay on all manner of keyed instruments and the venerable Simon Phillips on drums. I happen to like this kind of music and really find this one engaging, in the same way I praise the album Echoes by African Native Wally Badarou
Report this review (#1955928)
Posted Tuesday, August 7, 2018 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars Fistful of keyboards?

Visa is Duncan Mackay's third album, released in 1980. In being an entirely electronic affair based on synthesizers and drum machines, this album is very different from both his earlier and his later albums. There are no vocals and no other instruments involved. I'm often reminded of Jean-Michel Jarre while hearing this music, which is not necessarily a bad thing depending on your taste. While it is a far cry from the excellent Symphonic Prog of Chimera, I find it reasonably enjoyable.

Taken for what it is, not a bad album. But defnitely not the place to begin your investigation of Duncan Mackay

Report this review (#1978134)
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2018 | Review Permalink

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