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Chroma Key - Dead Air For Radios CD (album) cover


Chroma Key

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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4 stars The solo effort of Dream Theaters ex-keyboardist is the last thing you'd expect from someone who used to play in a band renowned for their instrumental excesses and drawn-out songs. It serves more effectively than any words Kevin Moore could have uttered to explain why he left the band.

DAFR is a slow, mellow and melancholic album, filled with textures and melodies instead of scale runs and 40-character song titles. It's a short ride, but an enjoyable one.

Report this review (#26672)
Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars a record that shows a more matture player and composer, leaving all of the influence of his previous band (dream theater), and focusing into a more melodic, ambient oriented music. Songs like Undertow and On the Page follows more structured arrangements than anyb other past compostitions; the playing of Mark Zonder is amazing, as well as the bass of Joey Vera. This record exposes the greatness of one of the masterminds of "neo-prog"
Report this review (#26673)
Posted Wednesday, April 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars YES! I did read the message saying "now think about this once again, dude, you can't give every "great" album 5 stars" - but if I had to choose a score of records to give 5 stars, I'm pretty sure this one would be one af them. My greatest problem is, that I find it extremely hard explaining why, being a progrock fan mostly orientated towards the VERY weird, very extreme, very confusing, very ugly and very challenging. And this album is certainly NOT. But ... maybe I like it so much because it has just a little of all this but at the same time it contains great melodys, almost pop. While nevertheless you get a clear feeling, that this dude is capable of SO much more. In danish we would say that he "underplays" the music. And even though you can hum the most of the tunes after one hearing, you still discover a whole lot more during the many next - like you should in all good music.

Oh ... and one last thing - this album couldn't possibly be categorized as "progressive metal", just because Kevin Moore is from Dream Theatre, please change that, someone.

Report this review (#26675)
Posted Saturday, March 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Obviously, a very different approach from Moore's work back with Dream Theater, but he opened his own doors to his own sound of something much more artistic and creative. Chroma Key is a "love them or hate them" kind of band, but it takes a musical mind to understand such music. Moore really impressed me with this album because of his creative effects and his artistic view to things that usually wouldn't sound good in progressive music. For example, the song "Hell Mary" is a song with nothing but a person talking about the end of the world, but Moore created this "song" to match the situation of everything going on in this song. To make it more artistic to match the rest of the mood of album, which helps keep the mood of the listener. And the lyrics stay in my head for weeks!
Report this review (#26677)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars OHHHHHHH BOYYYYYYYY(i know its the third or fourth time i say this, but im only reviewing masterpieces today) It's a extremely soothing soundscape, that can take you inside someone's elses life for a few seconds, thanks to moore's master use of samples with voices and noises and everything else you can imagine, a complete album with some of the most intersting ideas out there, you can clearly see why moore left Dream Theater, for a more relaxing and innovating music Altough it doesn't fit into the Prog Metal genre i can't define one for this album, problably this is the rise of a new, and very exciting progressive genre
Report this review (#38135)
Posted Friday, July 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Kevin Moore obivously chose to do something completely different when he left Dream Theater. I think the term Space Rock fits best, although this has nothing to do with Pink Floyd, I don't even think there's any guitar involved. On second thought - there are guitars involved, but only in the background. The main instrument on this album is the piano, and lot's of keyboard textures - and samples.

It all creates a soothing ambience of sound. Moore's voice get's a little dull sometimes, he rarely uses any advanced phrasing technique - it's a strange mix of talking and singing. That - and the lyrics - remind me of Roger Waters a little bit.

I give this album 4 1/2 stars - I really can't put my finger on it, but something is missing for this to be a masterpiece. It's very good though, and really deserves to be more popular among prog fans than it apparently is.

Report this review (#40112)
Posted Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thanks to, I was able to extensively explore this album (along with all his others) before decideing to purchase it. Let me just say that I had mixed emotions at first. I am a huge, HUGE Kevin Moore fan. I loved his work with Dream Theater so much that I knew I had to find out more about Chroma Key. When I finally got to hear one of the songs though, I was dumbfounded. Totally not what I expected at all. In fact, I was even disappointed. I thought "what a waste his talent has gone to now that he's on his own and away from Dream Theater." However, I decided that I should go out on a limb and against every ounce of sense in my mind, and I bought "Dead Air for Radios." Note, I HATE Pink Floyd with a passion, and since this music is the same genre, I was definitely scared when I made the purchase.

So the package finally came in the mail, and I popped the CD into my PC's CD Drive. Colorblind was at the top of the list, so I began with it of course. As soon as it started, I thought "oh my gosh I made a mistake." I must admit that I can be very quick to judge at times. Both clean and distorted, Kevin's voice did not attract me at all. The song was also very boring. I was doing various things on my PC in the meantime, and the entire song went by as a blur (as well as the rest of the CD). When Colorblind poped back on, I thought "wow I don't remember anything about this entire CD." Sadly, I popped it out and let it sit for a while on a shelf. However, I eventually decided to give it another chance and devote my full attention to it (which I have learned to do with every new CD now). Let's just say I was amazed. "Dead Air for Radios" was amazing! You really have to pay attention to the minute details of the songs or it will quite often just come over as abstract noise. So now with a new perspective and new appreciation of this CD, I began delving into what is now one of my favorite CDs of all time (although I still don't get who people love Pink Floyd so much).

"Colorblind" is a wonderful track. It is a soft, moody entrance to the CD, and really gets the listener into the correct state of mind to enjoy the rest of the disc. Kevin begins with a very short musical intro featuring pulsating and etheral synths, then introduces his distorted vocals. He then transitions into clean vocals accompanied by nice piano work. It is a very dark sounding song that climaxes at the vocal bridge of sorts. Kevin ascends into his upper range, and the music lowers to almost a whisper behind him. The combination of vocals and music in this part of the song really create that "feeling" inside of you (you all know what I mean I'm sure, I just don't know how to describe it. It's like as if you are emotionally moved by it, but in reality not really...). He then goes back down to his lower pitch again, but with vocal distortion, then resorts back to the chorus, followed by a soft and long-toned piano lead. Overall the song very straightforward and the chorus is heard multiple times before the end, but there's something about it that attracts the ear. It has yet to get old in my own ear, and is one of the best tracks that the CD offers.

"Even the Waves" is transitioned into unnoticably, but the style and mood change dramatically. The intro of this song features a nice midrange piano line which is later accompanied by Kevin's melodic vocals. Bass (played by Kevin as well), drums, and guitar enter the song eventually as well. This is once again a very simple song, with a dark mood, melodic vocals, and straightforward music. "Even the Waves" is good, though not one of the real stellar works of the album.

The CD abruptly transitions into the third track, "Undertow." This is another dark, moody tune, though actually very upbeat though it doesn't seem like it unless you really think about it. The piano sounds used in this song are top notch. Joey Vera makes his entrance to the album on bass, and plays a very prominent part that really sets the mood of the track. Kevin's vocals are great on this song. They blend with the music exceptionally well; an almost perfect combination. The drums, simple that they may be, really work wonders in the background. The song also features a nice piano solo of sorts, but don't expect any shredding lines like when he was with Dream Theater. It (like every solo and musical aspect of this album is moody and melodic). "Undertow" is quite possibly the best song on the album.

"America the Video" is essentially prog pop. Something about the vocal line utilizing falsetto harmonies as well as falsetto background lines seems very popish in my mind. Kevin ascends to his upper range once more quite often on this song, and once again his vocals work magnificently with the song's mood. This is really the first bright song of the album. It features Joey Vera once again on bass, as well as some nice simple drumming. This song is the most different track on the entire album, because of how popish it feels. It is a gem however, no matter how popish it may be. It really attracts the ear in a unique way.

The fifth song, "S.O.S.", has a nice piano intro that sort of reminds me of a Styx/Steve Walsh fusion of sorts. When I hear it, I always think of Styx for some reason, but it also reminds me of something Steve Walsh would play. "S.O.S." features prominent guitar work much like "America the Video" does, and in fact the two songs are quite similar in style although "S.O.S." is not as popish. There isn't much to the song lyrically, and it is definitely my least favorite song vocally on the album. The vocal line is not very interesting at all and almost too quiet at times compared to the sustained guitar chords. This is the worst song on the album that actually has vocals. It's a decent work, but nothing all to special.

"Camera 4" is an instrumental of sorts, though it utilizes a lot of "conversational dialogue" (the same style that can be found on Dream Theater's "Awake" album). The voices heard in "Space-Dye Vest" on "Awake" are the exact same style as the ones used here. The electric drum beat and background synth noise doesn't create much of a melody, and this song is not really entertaining to listen to. Maybe Pink Floyd fans might want to lend an ear to it, but I personally don't care for it much.

I guess "Camera 4" was the peace before the storm. The next song, "On the Page", is the definitive track of the album. Kevin has even stated that it is essentially the sequel of his masterpiece "Space-Dye Vest." The lyrical content seems similar enough, and the style of the song is almost identical. The only difference is that the vocals are more bright and the moving piano line is quite rapid. This song shows that Kevin's skills on the keys have not deteriorated a bit since his departure from Dream Theater. The end of "On the Page" even makes me think of the ending of "Space-Dye Vest", only more bright and faster-paced. The piano work is the real attraction of this song, and it delivers a phenominal experience that is an instant classic.

"Mouse (Now Watch What Happens)" begins with the mutterings of a voice on an answering machine regarding a mouse's presence which seems to be tormenting the speaker. After multiple derrogatory terms aimed at the rodent, the voice finally tells the listener to "now watch what happens." The music then enters and the song essentially begins. Kevin's vocals can be described as nothing other than haunting. Something about the combination of his pitch choice and the vocal distortion he uses makes him sound almost tormented. The music creates a dramatic mood in the background as well, creating a very intense style. The original speaker's mutterings can sparatically be heard throughout the entire song. The chorus has almost a techno feel to it, and it really changes the mood. The end of the song features a moving piano line that changes the mood of the song once again, and then the song ends with the noise of an answering machine's beep.

The album's final song, "Hell Mary" is..... how should I say this......... horrible. In my own words, it is "Pink Floyd meets Mr. Speak and Spell." There is no real music to speak of, no melody or anything; just a low droning pitch accompanied by sparatic descriptions of the sun by a computer-like voice. That's the entire song. It goes on for a painful four minutes and two seconds. Why is this song on here? I have no clue and in my opinion it tarnishes a wonderful masterpiece. Once again, maybe you Pink Floyd buffs can get something out of it, but in my opinion it's just noise (and annoying noise at that).

Even with the abomination to music known as "Hell Mary", "Dead Air for Radios" is a true masterpiece of prog music. This (in my opinion at least) is the pinnacle of its genre. Dream Theater fans BEWARE! This is probably not for you! Visit the Chroma Key website for sure before buying this album or you may be very disappointed. However, for fans of a very emotional and moody work, this album is phenominal. Kevin Moore's musical and vocal performances are world-class. The only better prog composer I can think of that is better (and this is a tight race too!) is Arjen Anthony Luccassen (Ayreon). Overall, major props to Kevin for making a wonderful album.

Report this review (#76492)
Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars

this is exactly the reason that made Kevin Moore leave Dream Theater... fed with tech music and wanting to create a keyboard centered band (which means a solo project with session musicians) takes the risk and creates Chroma Key... the risk is not only that he left the hottest prog name at that time but also that ,as the title implies, his music is anything but cachy and commercial (thus, dead air for radios).

however, following the path of songs like Wait For Sleep and Space -Dye Vest, he creates a fully emotional and minimal LP with great melodies and human, warm vocals by himself that never managed to exceed in his solo career...

Report this review (#86073)
Posted Monday, August 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Kevin Moore's first Chroma Key projects sends a profound message to his fans that he's much more than the ex-keyboardist from Dream Theater. Sick of the style of substance all to common in prog-metal, Moore creates a bare bones, minimalist album, devoid of anything resembling a solo. This ambient space work stylistically sounds much like it's successor "You Go Now" except perhaps slightly more grounded with rock instrumentation.

Some of the tracks on the album resemble the sort of sound and instrumentation used on Moore's Dream Theater piece "Space-Dye Vest" with a greater saturation of organic keyboard tones and samples. One track on the album, "On The Page", picks up the story where "Space-Dye Vest" left off and follows the sound of that song very closely.

The remaining songs on the album are the pure, atmospheric pieces which would be found on "You Go Now". These spacey excursions are filled with layers of samples and synths all used to convey a mood to the listener. The moods chosen by Moore fall on the darker side of the spectrum conveying feelings of isolation, drifting, and depression.

"Dead Air For Radios" provides a much more cohesive experience for the listener. The songs lock together perfectly to form a uninterrupted storybook of emotions and colors. More of a focus on rock instrumentation keeps the work grounded for the listener correcting the main flaw of "You Go Now" which would sometimes become a lack-luster amalgamation of uninteresting samples. Moore has created an emotional masterpiece equaling anything he has done with Dream Theater and the greats of the prog world.

Report this review (#88513)
Posted Wednesday, August 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars I've never felt excited about doing a review like I am for this record.This album shows the genius of Kevin Moore, and I will also say that this is one of the deepest records i've ever heard. If you have heard it a few times and dismissed it, please give it careful attention, and many spins. I spent quite a bit of time with this record over the Christmas holidays a couple of years ago, and subjected my family to it as well. They felt it was PINK FLOYD influenced. Kevin had helped out FATES WARNING on the "A Pleasant Shade Of Grey" record, and Mark Zonder and Joey Vera return the favour forming a very strong rythm section. I don't no who the guitarist is but I can tell you that the lead guitar is not the focus, mostly adding to the fulness of the sound.

The first song "Colorblind" is a fan favourite. It's a slow atmospheric tune with crisp drumming, electronics and piano. And of course Kevin's reserved vocals that sound amazing. "Even The Waves" is a little more intense than the opener, with similar melodies, great song ! "Undertow" opens with drums and a cool guitar melody. This is an uptempo song with the drums ever present and Joey doing his thing on bass."America the Video" has a catchy beat and electronics throughout. More beautiful piano melodies from Kevin. "S.O.S." has a gorgeous piano intro with a monologue then singing. "Camera 4" is all samplings. "On The page" features great lyrics and vocals, with piano throughout. The genius of Kevin comes through on the final two songs.

The song "Mouse" apparently got it's inspiration when Kevin was visiting a friend and saw a mouse in the guys house. Well some time later this friend phones Kevin, leaving the actual message that is heard on the song on Kevin's answering machine. By the way Kevin thanks the mouse in the liner notes. This may sound confusing but the lyrics Kevin sings on "Mouse" are the lyrics given for the next and last song "Hell Mary" a song that has no lyrics in the actual song. The brilliance for me is that the lyrics sung on "Mouse" are about a relationship that has ended, and the actual song the lyrics are given for "Hell Mary" is a song that features a woman witnessing the end of the world and telling us what she is seeing. It is so powerful and real, but the connection is that when relationships end it feels like the end of the world ! Incredibly spine tingling. Oh, and the "Mouse" song that has the phone message on it is hilarious ! To paraphrase he says "Now I know i'm not crazy, the f***ng mouse is back, and he's in the radiator eating a f***ng dorito, and he's looking at me, i'm going to f***ng kill him !" This is just so funny, no wonder Kevin saved it.

This is a masterpiece !

Report this review (#98374)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Kevin Moore leaves Dream Theatre after doing an amazing job and what would someone expect him to do would be to create a solo album close to what he did with DT in order to keep a fan base. However Kevin Moore doesn't seem to care much about all that and what he does is record a minimalist and expressive album. Kevin Moore shows here what a huge musician he is. He knows exactly what to do no matter the type of music. From the complexity and virtuosity he turns to a style much closer to massive attack than prog metal but what is really amazing is that in both situations he does an excellent job.

"Dead air for Radios" is a wonderful album full of ambience. It reminds me at times Peter Gabriel's solo work. Joey Vera and Mark Zonder from Fates Warning, with whom he had worked before, participate in this truly unique album. Especially Mark Zonder, who is one of my favorite drummers in the prog-metal genre, shows what a genius he is with an amazing performance (check Undertow for example). One might think that the short length of the songs, the absence of the solos and complex compositions doesn't let the album get deep. It's really the opposite cause sometimes less is more (if not most of the times) and this is a great example. Jason Anderson's temperate playing adds to the ambience while the "brain" behind this cd apart from playing keyboards, sings throughout the album with a simple but memorable and touching voice.

Overall, a very pleasant album. For those who love space rock it's a must really but I strongly recommend this to DT fans, in order to see that Kevin Moore isn't just a "flashy" keybordist but a great musician as well.

A few info for those who want to get into this album deeper: The speech synthesizer in "Hell Mary" recites a paragraph from the Bayside prophecies by Veronica Lueken The voice of a woman repeating words and numbers in a foreign language during the track "Even the Waves" is from a famous numbers station broadcast on shortwave frequencies.

Further listening: Anathema - A natural disaster [2004]

Report this review (#100393)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here it's when it comes real. This is minimalistic.

This album sure is repetitive, but I still like it.

If i had to discribe this music, i'd say its space oriented, with lots of FX (noise), resembling Kronos Quartet and John Cage in some way. The dominant instrument is naturally the keyboards, from grand pianos to synths such as moogs and mellotrons. Guitars are used in a very post-rock way, using a lot the 3rd tone over all the chords in the key one by one.

Incredible peace of art. A sure 4.9 stars!

Report this review (#103725)
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars A classy mixture of ambient and pop sensabilities, induced with copious amounts of electronic experimentation, "Dead Air for Radios" is an artistic and entirely listenable release by Kevin Moore.

This album is slick and highly produced, performed at an easy pace and with understated musicianship. Many songs slink their way through one's ears, their inticing mixture of styles and airy grooves catching one's attention every now and again, but for the majority of the time simply filling the space with very cool sounds. His lyrics and singing voice are generally bland, but fit into the clinical tapestry of sounds nicely. There are a few rousing moments, like in the upbeat "On the Page", but for the most part "Dead Air for Radios" is an exercise in style and subtlety. Very rewarding, and very unique.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#119109)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Another belated thank you to my esteemed colleague sinkadotentree for stoking my interest and subsequent hunt for Chroma Key's alleged masterpiece. Even though I can claim to have an above average knowledge of prog, there are always artists that I have never heard, for a myriad of misconceived reasons, which shows precisely how precious a resource PA is. I am no great aficionado of Dream Theater. Not my quite my mug of cocoa! Maybe because I never cared much for Yngvie , as well as other "see how good I can play" maestros such as Stanley Clarke, Alvin Lee or Keith Emerson. The massive thumbs up from PA reviewers made the quest to eventually purchase this recording an inexorably growing impulse. In reading the comments, it was clear that the context was quite remote from the metal genre and even in its proggiest version. In fact, it is closer to John Foxx, The Legendary Pink Dots or Thomas Dolby than Symphony X, Fates Warning or Rhapsody. This made my appreciative pleasure even more exalting, because Kevin Moore has courageously "progressed" into a very personal electronic art-rock vein which is not only extremely successful but also highly worthy of the praise it has received. His keyboard work is less symphonic colorings (as with his former gig), quite clearly in a more Kraftwerkian vein with metallic "Kling Klangs", almost industrial rhythms, filtered vocals, electro-whispers , assorted samples (Yes, some are quite funny, Mouster Davie!) but enhanced with real drums, some lead guitars and real bass. The lyrical content, the somber vocal delivery, the rather gloomy overall tone all combine to make this a highly melancholic, brooding , almost dark set of electro-prog of the highest caliber. Extremely disturbing and very original psychedelic-electronic music. In my mind, this is more dream theater than Dream Theater! I guess Kevin got it right. 5 fizzling dials
Report this review (#138360)
Posted Friday, September 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Dead Air for Radios" is the debut full-length studio album by US ambient/atmospheric pop/rock artist Chroma Key. The album was released through Fight Evil Records in December 1998. Chroma Key was formed in 1998 and is essentially a solo project for keyboard player Kevin Moore, who is probably mostly known for being the original keyboard player in Dream Theater, but also for his involvement with O.S.I. and Fates Warning. Kevin Moore had already recorded a demo in 1995 under his own name, but opted for a name change to Chroma Key.

Although Kevin Moore was a central figure in Dream Theater and the creation of their unique sound, he never cared much for touring and didn´t embrace his celebrity status with joy, so he called it quits after recording his parts for Dream Theater´s 3rd full-length studio album "Awake (1994)". He was replaced by Derek Sherinian for the tour supporting the album.

In that light it´s maybe not surprising that the music on "Dead Air for Radios" is not loud and flashy progressive metal, but instead a laid back, mellow, and pleasant ambient/atmospheric type of pop/rock. The only thing Kevin Moore did with Dream Theater, which remotely resembles the sound on "Dead Air for Radios" is "Space Dye West". The atmosphere is melancholic, the playing and the singing subtle, and the omnipresent piano and keyboards pleasant and well composed.

The material on the 9 track, 53:28 minutes long album is slightly one-dimensional in terms of atmosphere and it´s not exactly dynamic either. Emotionally monotone is probably a valid description, because even though there are plenty of melodic themes on the album, they aren´t hook laden, and therefore very few tracks on the album stand out or are memorable after the album has stopped playing. The most aparte track on the album is the electronic almost techno inspired track "Camera 4", which is also one of the highlights.

"Dead Air for Radios" is very well produced although the drum sound could have prospered from a more organic tone. Overall it´s a nice laid back atmospheric pop/rock album and a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

Report this review (#162688)
Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I see it burning in the sky... it is a red ball of fire...

Also a household name in the prog community, Kevin Moore will likely never be able to shake of his ex-Dream Theater tag that's followed him around for so long. Even if the music that he makes could not be further removed from his old band at all, most people might come marching into his other project expecting a similar sound. However, as mentioned before, these people are likely to be let down. Chroma Key is Moore's first solo venture and it really sounds like he was trying to do something different. More of a venture into electronic psychedelica than a prog-metal affair, this is a spacey album who's overall ''darkness'' factor is a little more than overwhelming.

Characterized by piano, synths and Moore's voice, this was obviously a project where he intended to show off his strengths. He does so very well, because while he may not be the best singer in all the land he certainly knows his limits and stays well in them. His voice often comes off as hypnotic, and I remember the first time hearing it wondering if they had added a constant effect to it. They haven't in all cases, the man simply sounds like a computer. This is a good thing though, because his voice suits the music just so and he doesn't ruin it by trying to be flashy. Comparisons to other bands here are not easy, but the easiest comparison (perhaps obviously with the ability of hindsight) is to his future project OSI but without the guitars. Perhaps a more spaced out and electronic, guitarless Tool would also be a fair comparison for those who haven't heard Moore's other projects.

The songs themselves are rather short, there's no sprawling compositions here to speak of. All of the songs as well are quite evenly matched and stay within the confides of a (kind of) set theme, as well, they're quite catchy with some memorable hooks without becoming too simple for the proghead to enjoy. Ironically, between all the computers and the computer sounding voice there is a very real emotion to be had behind all the songs. Even in the computerized spoken word coda Hell Mary there is a terrible sense of fear and sadness given the context of the words and the ambient music in the background. This is the most extreme example on the album of course, as it's more of an outro than a song, but the real songs on the album do much the same thing. The for example the amazing On The Page, one of the highlights of the album, here we have a delicate piano melody led by Moore's mechanical voice and given life by some very melancholic lyrics that all combine with a good hook to create something very special. Other standouts on the album include the opener Colorblind, the frantic drum beat of Undertow, the accusing America The Video and the haunting Mouse.

While hesitant to give this one a full five meaning 'essential' since some people may not be able to enjoy the electric feel of this album it is certainly an amazing disc which deserves a spin by everyone wanting to give it a shot. If you enjoy dark music driven by keyboards then look no further. People who find something to like about this one but think it needs to be heavier should definitely look up OSI. Highly recommended, this one gets 4.5 cameras out of five. Very near perfection, and an excellent addition to any prog collection.

Report this review (#175193)
Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars I decided to pick this up based on the rave reviews and the strength of the song "On The Page." It is a good song though not a great one. Unfortunately nothing else on the album is as good or better. If I had to sum up Chroma Key's sound on this disc in one short phrase I would call it "prog's answer to smooth jazz." It's mildly upbeat, not too challenging but not ambient either. One of my strongest criticisms of this disc is one that I have of many prog albums: the overuse of samples and found sounds. (I guess this is the one dubious aspect of Pink Floyd's legacy.) Sometimes these are very effective. But other times it seems that bands use them to fill out the music and distract the listener from the shortcomings of their compositions. ("Hmmm this song isn't going anywhere.Hey maybe there's something on my answering machine!") This is the case with "Dead Air for Radios." The musicianship is top notch but even the best songs contain long boring instrumental sections propped up with a profusion of samples. "Hell Mary" isn't even a song. It's a long sample with a low soundtrack in the background. Stripped of the samples, "Dead Air" is like a vaguely attractive but plain woman. Not repulsive but nothing to fall in love with either.
Report this review (#176306)
Posted Monday, July 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars It took Kevin Moore some time to deliver a follow-up to his DT experience. Some three years after having left the band, he delivered this album (on his own label).

As mentioned previously, the music featured here has nothing to do with DT: it deals more with electronic and sampling than anything else. This means that it sounds somewhat cold and impersonal.

Some tracks are just bearable and draw this album on the down side ("Undertow", "America The Video"). Actually, there are hardly a great song out of this debut album; I would say that the Floydian "Even The Waves" is the closest one to come to this standard.

When I listen to "SOS", I wonder if he was not calling out for help: this is flat and uninspired and those samplings sounds are truly indigestible during "Camera 4" which sounds more as an experimental and dull number than a true piece of music.

Moore can't be considered as a great vocalist either, which makes this album just an average experience. At times, some more pleasant melody like during "On The Page" is welcome, but let's face it: we are far to be in front of a masterpiece.

If you are in for artificial sounds, this might be for you. But I don't feel a lot of interest for such an album. The repetitive and boring Mouse together with the indescribable "Hell Mary" definitely put this album on the lower rating side.

Two stars.

Report this review (#183974)
Posted Sunday, September 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you're coming at this from a Dream Theater point of view, then, if you hadn't already realised, take note that this is very, VERY different to Moore's work in the prog metal band. The closest Dream Theater song to the style Moore shows in Chroma Key is Space-Dye Vest from Awake. Dead Air for Radios is very keyboard/piano-driven, very moody and atmospheric, and generally quite slow-paced. It has more in common with the ambient genre than the progressive genre.

Those who dislike the album will do so because of Moore's vocal performance and the apparent monotony of the songs. It is true that Moore isn't the greatest vocalist; however his voice fits well with the mellow, atmospheric music. The minimalistic melodies may put off those used to the complex music more typical of prog.

My initial favourites when listening to this were On the Page and Colorblind; however, after listening to the album many times, I have no clear favourite tracks. The weakest track is Hell Mary, a speech synthesiser talking about the end of the world, which is great... except for the fact that there isn't any actual music to accompany it. Camera 4 is probably the next weakest track, with no discernible tune. It's still a good track, but is much more ambient than other pieces.

I love this album for its atmosphere, for its emotion, for the moods it so perfectly evokes. If that's what you look for in music, then I cannot recommend this album highly enough.

Report this review (#203397)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars An unique journey... each time you play the CD...

To be completely honest, I'm sure must prog fans could hate this album, but non could denied the talent and the master mind of Kevin Moore... sure here there are not guitar solos, not a single one, there's not long epic songs, is difficult to listen a heavy driven guitar... this is just... different... but great in every department...

The album is oriented to piano, moody ambient and a lot of electronic samples. All works to make the journey very unique. The slow motion start of the album is perfect to set the mood... a lot of samples, piano and a very robotic-feelingless voice... just great... cause the lyrics are very cleaver, mental and left without too much emotion... but you have to feel the music, let you surrounded with the ambient to really discover what he really means... is very tricky and very ethereal...

Ok, for the prog fans... if you listen to the prog rock is cause you have an open mind -sure, must don't, but it suppossed to be- you might enjoy this strange journey... your'e warned, there's no long heavy fast music.. this is ambient-rock... or space-rock... that you should dive in to get a chance... but depends a lot in your mood... is better to hear at night, with the lights off... jajaja... but i'm being serious... really... and hear it as a whole piece... 'cause sometimes takes a while to dive in... for me is great, maybe one of my favorites albums... but for prog fans... I say.. .4 stars... 'cause it really woth it...!!!

Report this review (#238274)
Posted Wednesday, September 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I got into Kevin Moore's Chroma Key project via OSI. A logical entry point as Chroma Key is also keyboard and song-oriented, it has no musical connection whatsoever to that band Moore had left a few years earlier.

For fans of OSI, this band has the exact same song creativity and rich keyboards on offer, be it without any guitars. But they aren't missed. The piano, samples, synths, subtle drum rhythms and Moore's poignant vocals have the focus, building lush arrangements with a pervading dreamy melancholic mood we all know from Pink Floyd. The keyboards are never showing off any virtuosity but they are very functional and inspiring. Next to a few instrumentals, the songs all have verse chorus structures and display qualities that could convince Floyd fans as easily as lovers of Depeche Mode or even the Cure. Highlight tracks worth checking out would be Colorblind, Even the Waves, Undertow and On The Page.

With his first official album, Kevin Moore reveals he's more than just a keyboard player, his song writing skills along with his limited but touching voice make this into a most charming little album. Recommended to fans of The Wall and anybody else looking for some really great melancholic music.

Report this review (#276739)
Posted Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars After listening to the side projects of Kevin Moore (OSI and Chroma Key) you can only discover that he is a complete genius and a master in playing the keyboards and composing. Sometimes I wonder why Dream Theater decided to leave him. Was it because of the musical direction intended with his ideas? (Just check Space Dye Vest, for me one of the best songs of Dream Theater) Maybe he would have changed Dream Theater's sound in order not to be so repetitive as it is nowadays. Chroma Key is his side solo project where he uses some musicians to support. The project is really cool, with lots of environmental effects, a keyboard dominion, and the rest of the instruments getting along perfectly to suit wonderful melodies. All the album is perfect, especially for gloomy and cloudy days! Something really different you must have in your collection!
Report this review (#1035597)
Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is prog-lite. Space rock...mmmm there might be some resemblance in a few places that can't really be considered ambient, but in actuality it is more like prog related music with very few prog elements. Not that it's a bad album, it's mostly quite enjoyable, but there isn't much on here that is very challenging. I don't mind Kevin Moore's voice, in fact I find it very recognizable and must say that I enjoy it more in his work with O.S.I. The fact that this album is drenched with piano and keyboards is also a great thing and probably the reason I enjoy it more than anything.

Most songs are upbeat with straightforward rhythm and meters. There is a little experimentation on "Mouse" and "Camera 4", but the music doesn't develop much or lead to anything very interesting. But there is a lot of enjoyment to be had in the music if it is taken as a prog-lite album. As much as I would like to find some challenge to the music, it doesn't really happen.. So, in short, I find the album enjoyable but not progressive enough to be interesting. Good, but not essential.

Report this review (#1324482)
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Let it never be said that Kevin Moore lacks artistic integrity: after departing from Dream Theater during the Awake sessions, he could have gone for the easy money and simply churned out something imitating the commercial hit style of Images and Words, but instead he followed his own muse and established Chroma Key, a space rock project. After producing a range of demos over the next few years and lending Fates Warning a hand in realising A Pleasant Shade of Gray, Moore would release this album to unleash the Chroma Key sound on the world.

That sound, to me, sounds a bit like where mid-to-late Pink Floyd may have ended up had they scaled back the spotlight on Dave Gilmour's guitar work and made the keyboards more prominent. (The vocals even kick off doing the whole "singing through a telephone" thing that Pink Floyd-inspired groups seem to love to do.)

It's all rather pleasant stuff, and at its best is rather relaxing, but at the same time I can't find it in myself to really have especially strong feelings about this album; it's competent enough, but it's just kind of there, and it's in that awkward space where it's ambient enough to be forgettable but not quite ambient enough where that's sort of the point.

Report this review (#1684123)
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2017 | Review Permalink

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