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Canvas Solaris

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Canvas Solaris Cortical Tectonics album cover
4.05 | 82 ratings | 8 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Berserker Hypothesis (3:55)
2. Sinusoid Mirage (6:58)
3. Interface (5:41)
4. Gamma Knife (8:02)
5. Rhizome (4:19)
6. Reticular Consciousness (17:03)

Total Time 45:58

Line-up / Musicians

- Nathan Sapp / guitars, keyboards
- Ben Simpkins / guitars, bass
- Hunter Ginn / drums, percussion

- Matt Johnsen / shaker

Note: The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: Bill Ellsworth

CD Sensory ‎- SR3037 (2007, US)

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy CANVAS SOLARIS Cortical Tectonics Music

CANVAS SOLARIS Cortical Tectonics ratings distribution

(82 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

CANVAS SOLARIS Cortical Tectonics reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The bold combo from Georgia Canvas Solaris returns to the fold with yet another example of inventive bizarre instrumental metal rock: Snapp, Simpkins and Ginn follow in the multivaried musical trend of their previous gem "Penumbra Diffuse" and manage to create another one titled "Cortical Tectonics". The minor yet noticeable difference is that this new offering works more thoroughly on tension and puntuation among the sonic magma of prog-metal, math-rock, jazz-rock, thrash, Crimsonian vibes, spacey psychedelia and, in a lesser degree, fusion. The strategy to face this task is pretty much based on pyrotechnics regarding the use of contrasts and shifts in tempo and riffing. but that's not all that there is: there are also those more subtle moments in which the ensemble is resolved to deliver well-measured expansions of recurrent recogniseable motifs. The incendiary opener 'Berserker Hypothesis' is a powerfully demanding exercise on neurotic metallic complexity, full of riffs relentlessly syncopated beyond the humanly possible: very much like the "Penumbra Diffuse" opener. After this magnificent entry come two pieces in which the band explore somewaht calmer moods (without letting go of their essential energy). 'Sinusoid Mirage' ges started in an ethereal ambience dominated by fluidly delicate drumming and jazzy soft keyboard in an effective 2-minute prelude: once the main motif kicks in, comes a mixture of metallic rock and jazz-rock, something like Fates Warning meets Attention Deficit. 'Interface' is even more relaxing, headlong for the realms of modern fusion in a well-ordained mixture of exotic nuances and Crimsonian counterpints, not unlike Gordian Knot or Trey Gunn's solo albums. This passage of contemplation shows the band's ability to navigate comfortably in evocative moods. After this effective parenthesis of introspection we see the band return to the metal thing with a vengeance in the highly pyrotechnical 'Gamma Knife', one definitie highlight of the album. 'Gamma Knife' is an 8-minute musical ride across the waters of complex metal-prog between the somber and the electrifying (in some ways bearing influences from Fates Warning). The occasional use of majestic harmonics and the emergence of some notably constructed solos bring some refreshing nuances to the sonic exposure that is mostly dominated by demanding chord progressions and accelerated syncopations. Is this technical prowess abandoned to the rule of self-exposure? Well, indeed it is, but the result is neither boring nor shallow, but an intelligent exercise on exciting musicality arranged with a clever vision about what metal rock cn do to renew itself. Every riff, every lead, every double bass drum attack, every tempo shift is posed in its right place among the development of the track's overall architecture. 'Rhizome' has an opening sequence in which the band briefly fuses the jazz-rock elements of track 2 and the hypnotic cadences of track 3; then comes the fiery main motif, essential Cancas Solaris. The album's final 17 minutes are occupied by the monumental 'Reticular Consciousness', which kind of summarizes the best of the most exciting facets of canvas Solaris' ideology. The initial motif is based on an appealing prog-math-rock structure, with a Ginn that shows (more than ever before in the album) his absolute skill at mixing the emergency of thrash and the swing of jazz in his complex drumming style. Right before hitting the 3'30" mark the track dramatically shifts toward a slow paced spacey segment, with the band setting a compromise between regular Ozric Tentacles and Djam Karet at their most Floydian. While this segment progresses the cosmic textures become increasingly predominant (especially due to the featured use of eerie synth and guitar-synth lines) until a new shift occurs in order to introduce a new KC-meets-PF motif. A few seconds after the arrival of the 9th minute comes a heavy riffing bridge that announces the reprise of the initial motif, but not in an intact fashion. In fact, this reprise has the novelty of featuring the guitar-synth for the leads, almost stealing the limelight rom the dual electric guitars; in this way, the band successfully drags the spacey vibe along across the recovered prog-metal mood. The last minutes are occupied by a solid reprise of the second motif, retaking once again this alternation between the plethoric and the mysterious that has signalled this whole epic. Canvas Solaris have another masterwork in their résumé: "Cortical Tectonics" has to be one of the best prog efforts of the year 2007, and definitely, it stands out as a signpost of one of many possible directions that the metal rock scene needs to take in order to refurbish itself in an adventurous manner.
Review by ProgBagel
4 stars Canvas Solaris - 'Cortical Tectonics' 4.2 stars

One step forward and two steps back.

There are some little things that made this album for the better and worse, with more weighing in on the bad side. The nice influences on the preceding album like Indian and Middle Eastern music are unfortunately gone. There are also a lot of acoustic sections that brought some variety of the music that are gone, almost completely. With that being said, the good thing is more progressive songs. 'Cortical Tectonics' holds just about the same amount of time as the two albums before it, but has fewer songs. The band even decides to create an epic track, which is 17 minutes in length titled 'Reticular Consciousness', a real awesome track. The album also features me favorite track from them 'Gamma Knife', that contains some real nice melodies and lead lines behind some chaotic guitar riffs.

There is not much to say about the album since it has the similar style of the first two. Canvas Solaris still keeps their original charm in this one, but flaunting with some of their attributes on this one, for the worse, in my opinion. There is still no reason why I can't recommend this album, excellent.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is my first CANVAS SOLARIS experience and I can honestly say that it was very pleasing indeed.

The great thing about Cortical Tectonics is that is very technical without sounding pretentious, very difficult to play without sounding inhuman. We can very easily draw a comparison here with another tech- metal band, SPIRAL ARCHITECT. Whereas the latter's music is so ridiculously difficult to play that it seems like it wasn't played by actual human beings, CANVAS SOLARIS' tracks have complexity but in small doses. One's never overwhelmed by technique just for the sake of technique. There's never a section that sounds like it was forced in just to cause a deeper impression. All the passages fit, the difficult and the simple parts work together to create a uniform musical idea.

The riff, of course, is the main star in this album. This is progressive-metal, no doubt about it. At times it gets closer to extreme metal, but generally the pace of the music is middle of the road, with ferocious riffs alternating with quieter passages. All the instruments are played with the utmost level of proficiency. There's not much of a need for keyboards in "Cortical Tectonics". Three instruments, most of the time, manage to create a truly satisfying experience just by themselves.

As with most of this type of albums, sometimes instrumental-only technical records leave me a little bit cold. When I listen to rock and related music, I always need songs, I need some melody. The good thing is that CANVAS SOLARIS is also capable of calmer, more melodic sounds. "Sinusoid Mirage" is a perfect example of that, and it's also the best track in all the album, with its elegant, refined opening that sounds more jazzy than metal.

All in all, a surprisingly enjoyable tech-metal instrumental album that I really recommend to every fan of the genre, and every fan of good progressive music.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars.This isn't as good as the last one "Penumbra Diffuse" but that's all a matter of taste I suppose. This one just hasn't clicked with me (except for the last track) even though we still get that very high degree of technical virtuosity and lots of heaviness. I think the previous album incorporated more atmosphere and synths which was more to my liking.

"Berserker Hypothesis" is a funny title but really explains what's about to hit the fan. Impressive drumming early on this one. I really like when it settles 2 minutes in. It kicks back in with even more aggression. "Sinusoid Mirage" is laid back until it kicks into gear after 2 minutes. It's more melodic after 4 minutes, I like the guitar. "Interface" is all so intricate and reminds me of KING CRIMSON. Synths come and go.

"Gamma Knife" is heavy right away and stays that way. "Rhizome" is much more laid back until it turns heavy after 1 1/2 minutes.The guitar starts to solo before 4 minutes. "Reticular Consciousness" is the epic but even if it was only 5 minutes long it would be my favourite. Heavy drums and lots of guitar early. It settles after 3 minutes. Fripp-like guitar 7 minutes in.The tempo picks up before 9 1/2 minutes. Nice guitar too. It's heavy again and then it settles before 13 1/2 minutes. I like the relaxed drumming to end it.

Very close to being 4 stars.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Cortical Tectonics' - Canvas Solaris (9/10)

Canvas Solaris are widely acknowledged as being the darlings of modern technical prog metal. They are a band that has been able to capture my attention without the use of those pesky vocals, instead letting their instruments do the talking. It goes without saying that this band is at the top of their game from a technical angle, and on 'Cortical Tectonics', they take their auditory calculus to its arguable peak, creating the most coherent and effective album of their careers.

Canva Solaris have been constantly changing as a group, now- if my memory serves- a five piece act with full-time keyboardist to boot. With 'Cortical Tectonics', Canvas Solaris are actually only a three piece, which is made quite surprising due to the unrelenting complexity and busy performance. The many guitars of Nathan Sapp are the feature on all of these tracks, and they tend to vary quite a bit. Canvas Solaris is most definitely a progressive metal band first and foremost. Frantic and tightly composed tech riffs are sometimes even being played two or three at a time, thanks to the dense overdubbing of guitars. Thanks to clever musicianship and arrangement however, it refrains from sounding like a noisy blur, although it is a lot to take in all at once. Ultimately, Canvas Solaris really amazes on all fronts, performance-wise. There is a distinct sci-fi sound to much of the music; spacey effects are occasionally thrown in to provide a new dimension to the music.

'Cortical Tectonics' is arguably the heaviest album that Canvas Solaris have done. Especially compared to its predecessor 'Prenumbra Diffuse', there is a lesser focus on the lighter aspects of the band's music; this can be taken as a good or bad thing, depending on where you are coming from as a listener. I personally find the more unrelenting nature of 'Cortical Tectonics' to really work for the band, because they never lower their integrity for powerful compositions. There is less variety and mellowness to digest on this album, and it does lead to an overall more cohesive effort; instead of wandering through a multitude of different jazzy, eastern, or psychedelic sounds, Canvas Solaris sticks to intense prog metal, and manages to keep just enough mellower moments to keep the sound fresh. On the lighter side, Canvas Solaris draws mainly from jazz, although they never truly wander out of prog canon. If you like technical metal, 'Cortical Tectonics' may possibly become one of your new favourite albums. It's very cerebral without being self-indulgent, and while it lacks the vocals that some listeners may sorely miss, each song the band delivers here is memorable and powerful.

Latest members reviews

3 stars It is my second album I've heard by Canvas Solaris. While there are astonishing instrumental chops and effortless experimentations also creativity, this does not apply to the cohesiveness of the album. Only the last track, maybe due to its length, offers some more accessible moments to breath s ... (read more)

Report this review (#2452912) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, October 1, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Canvas Solaris is a three piece technical metal band based in Statesboro, Georgia. Cortical Tectonics is the band's third release, and features 6 tracks of instru-metal madness. The album was released in June 2007 on Sensory Records, which has been their label since their last release, 2005' ... (read more)

Report this review (#376196) | Posted by usa prog music | Saturday, January 8, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An absolutely incredible tapestry of instrumental technical metal. From the searing opener 'Berserker Hypothesis', to the atmospheric, ethereal wonder of 'Interface', to the band's 17-minute magnum opus that is 'Reticular Consciousness', this album is a work of art. It has the ability to hit you ... (read more)

Report this review (#165103) | Posted by metallica_fan32 | Thursday, March 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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