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Different Light - Binary Suns (Part 1 - Operant Condition) CD (album) cover

BINARY SUNS (PART 1 - OPERANT CONDITION)

Different Light

Crossover Prog


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5 stars After releasing the spectacular album 'The Burden of Paradise', DIFFERENT LIGHT took four years to complete their new item. So for now, we have CD 'Binary Suns' (Part 1 - Operant Condition)' which confirms the band's ability to provide remarkable and digestible progressive rock. Built around the talents of Trevor Tabone (lead singing & keyboard courtesy), Petr Lux (guitars & b/v), Jirka Matousek (bass) and David Filak (drums), the a close-knit group cooperate with Lucy Lux to bring an extra dimension in the beautiful sonic landscape. Their recent offering is a wonderful teamwork full of musical dexterity, quirky melodies, subtle dynamics, glued together by gentle harmonies and graceful playing. A crucial strategic move is the vocal delivery of Trevor Tabone whose voice soars, coming front and centre in the well-produced arrangement. Setting a variety of catchy atmospheres, the internal balance has been suitably accomplished. Even though I comment on this release, I don't think that a track-by-track analysis would be of any benefit to the reader - because each listener should find his own meanings on the set which may be described as amazing blend with lots of transformative moments throughout. In terms of overall sound, the music comes into the universe where aesthetics and textures span from lofty Styx to occasional gesture of Yes, switching to nimbleness of Toto intermingled with pretentious REO Speedwagon, passing to majestic Kansas alongside throbbing IQ. This is a really ambitious modus operandi, to say the least. Of course, you may notice elements of giants here, but these are threads scattered in a tapestry with very original nuances. The end result serves as a wondrous scrapbook of 6 songs with the longest one coming in at 21:28 min. which fits under the banner of progressive rock epic. Whatever a number of influences, Different Light produce a message featuring the addictive vocal interplay and majestic orchestration. So I just had to write this because it would be a mistake to let a prog mastepiece like CD 'Binary Suns' be ignored.
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Posted Saturday, March 21, 2020 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This is the fourth album from Different Light, who were originally from Malta. They released their debut back in 1996, but it was only after moving to Prague that singer/keyboard player Trevor Tabone decided to create a different version of the band in 2009 and release a new album. Only guitarist/singer Petr Lux has survived from those days, and on this release the line-up is completed by Jirka Matousek (bass) and David Filak (drums). Listening to this takes me back roughly to the time of the debut, but not to Malta but instead to America. Back then there were a few progressive bands making new strides and pushing boundaries, yet there were also quite a few who were mixing American melodic rock with commercial progressive rock to create something which was very different indeed to most of the prog coming out of Europe. Indeed, when I saw a review of this album saying it sounded almost as if REO Speedwagon and Mystery had come together to form a single unit, I had to smile as I had been thinking a very similar thing myself.

Some of this may well indeed be down to Trevor Tabone, who is similar in many ways to Kevin Cronin, and one wouldn't think he wasn't American from his performance. The piano is very important to the overall sound, much more than the rest of the keyboards, and this combines with multi-layered guitars and loads of hooks to create something which is melodic, poppy, AOR and crossover prog all at the same time. It has been four years since the last album, but one can only hope that given the title the next album will be out sometime soon, as although this style of music was briefly popular some twenty odd years ago it is quite unusual indeed these days, and I found I really enjoyed this. A very easy album indeed to get into on the very first listen, it only gets better with repeated plays. For those who enjoy the American melodic rock style with a tinge of prog, along with great vocals and songs.

Report this review (#2414489)
Posted Saturday, June 20, 2020 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars As the golden age of prog drifts on past the 50 year mark of its existence as a subgenre of rock music, the longing for the classics seems never-ending with many a band offering upgraded retro sounds to satisfy the craving for the stylistic approach propagated by all the prog gods of yesteryear however as we enter the third decade in the 21st century even the 90s revival era has garnered a nostalgic longing with some modern bands looking to that second coming for inspiration rather than mining the 60s and 70s. One such band is DIFFERENT LIGHT strangely enough actually formed all the way back in the island nation of Malta in 1994 by Trevor Tabone (vocals, keyboards), Mark Agius Cesareo (guitars), Richie Rizzo (drums) and Trevor Catania (bass).

The band released it's first album 'All About Yourself in 1996 and then toured extensively through Malta and even supported ex-Marillion superstar Fish but after the release of another EP the band called it quits in 1999 and presumably never to be heard from again but after several years in musical limbo, Tabone moved to Prague in the Czech Republic and reformed the band in 2008 with Hynek Kocourek (guitars) and Petr Lux (guitars) along with Daniel Charron (drums) and Premek Matejovic (bass), This lineup released the album 'Icons That Weep' and then wouldn't be heard from until 2016 with new bassist Jirka Matousek and a new album titled 'The Burden Of Paradise.' Having found a stable lineup the band managed to make a dent in the prog underground and stuck it out with the same lineup with the exception of newbie drummer David Filak to craft the followup BINARY SUNS (PART 1 - OPERANT CONDITION) that his the market in 2020.

Having formed in the 90s Tabone never moved on from the classic symphonic and neo-prog sounds of the 90s therefore out of all the new styles of prog that have emerged in the last twenty-something years, DIFFERENT LIGHT sounds as if it still exists in the 90s along bands like The Flower Kings, Neal Morse, Spock's Beard, Transatlantic and Glass Hammer. On BINARY SUNS the band has developed a fully formed example of what i call flower prog, that symphonic rich happiness inducing prog that many find ecstatic and other the epitome of prog cheesiness. The sunny side of prog this is complete with cheerful melodies, neo-prog guitar wailing and never-ending piano runs that evoke all the aforementioned 90s classic symphonic prog acts, in fact Trevor Trabone's vocal style reminds me often of Neal Morse and a few times even evokes a dead ringer for Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon!

BINARY SUNS runs just shy of the 57 mark and features six tracks, three of which are composed of subunit suites in the form of proggy excess with the sprawler-in-chief title going to the 21 minute 'Spectres and Permanent Apparations.' The opening 'Amphibians' immediately established this album as some sort of long lost 90s recording session held back for two decades with cheerful piano melodies accompanied by atmospheric symphonic runs. The immediate connection to REO Speedwagon as some of the piano progressions sound right out of the classic 80s REO playbook. Imagine 'I Can't Fight That Feeling' only teased out into a Neal Morse / Spock's Beard prog behemoth and you pretty much get the gist of this one. This is particularly true of the track 'Two Faces.' Expect major chord prozac type prog for the entire run similar to bands like Moon Safari and any Neal Morse project and you'll pretty much get the gist.

Overall this is a pleasantly performed album that offers an authentic retro approach to the 90s symph- / neo-prog bigwigs but admittedly this is not my favorite style of prog and DIFFERENT LIGHT belies its moniker and really isn't very DIFFERENT at all. This by-the-numbers 90s symph prog just really doesn't have much to offer in originality or taking this specific musical style into new arenas. Perhaps the lapse in time didn't close a certain chapter in the book but i would think by 2020 that a band that clearly has a firm command of the neo-prog scene could muster up a little bit of music magic in the creativity department. Personally i'd just rather listen to the influences that experience this one again. For those who can't get enough neo-prog, this will surely please but for yours truly i'd rather investigate bands with more inspiration beyond hero worship.

Report this review (#2448457)
Posted Thursday, September 17, 2020 | Review Permalink

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