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Mike Visaggio biography
Based in Virginia, USA; Mike VISAGGIO is a keyboard player and vocalist who first started out as a musician in the late 60's. He was a member of several active live bands in the 70's, and from 1975 till 1981 he worked with Billy FALCON, appearing on his releases in that period. From 1980-85 he was a member of the show band SOUND CITY ORCHESTRA, and was also active in christian rock outfits INNERVISION and THE AMBASSADORS.

A 15 year hiatus from the music scene followed, but in 2000 Visaggio decided to take up his passion for music again. Following involvements with 3 bands, including the recording of a CD with THE STROKERS, he decided to make a solo release. From 2005 and onwards songwriting and recording commenced, and 2006 saw the release of the debut solo production "Starship Universe".

Following the release of this album Visaggio's solo career was put on hold; as one of the direct results of the work with his solo release was the formation of a new band, KINETIC ELEMENT, in September 2006.

US keyboardist and vocalist Mike VISAGGIO have produced a solo album influenced by 70's symphonic progressive rock in general and EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER and YES in particular; mixed with slight leanings towards pop music. The inclusion of VISAGGIO to the database was suggested to and approved by the Neo Progressive team.

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2.68 | 8 ratings
Starship Universe

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Starship Universe by VISAGGIO, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.68 | 8 ratings

Starship Universe
Mike Visaggio Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Mike Vissagio may be un unknown name to many prog listners, his career has more thn 30 years, being parts of some unknown acts across the years but aswell he has an album under his name and aswell he formed 10 years ago Kinetic Element a symphonic/neo prog band worth to be investigated. The album under his name is Starship universe released in 2007 and is sounding like a tribute to Rick Wakeman, ELP or Greenslade, kis manner of composing is influenced big time by those musicians. The vocal parts are provided by himself, are decent but far from fantastic, the arrangements aswell, good but lacking is some bursting moments. The best pieces are: My Elders' Son and The Synchronized Life, these two tracks are to me excellent showing the potential this keyboardis has. All in all decent ok album, nothing special but I think every fan of symphonic prog can take some spins. 3 stars

 Starship Universe by VISAGGIO, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.68 | 8 ratings

Starship Universe
Mike Visaggio Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

2 stars First of all: don't expect anything like straightforward neo prog when playing this album. It's more like a mix of neo, crossover and progressive electronic if you listen to the whole thing. Starship Universe is mainly instrumental album by keyboardplayer Mike Visaggio. When I heard it at first listen I even wondered if it was in the right place here on progarchives but after more spins it's more in between prog related and crossover because the style is very accessible and almost poppy at times (f.i. 5th track !).

But after more intensive listening and correct judgment I have to admit Visaggio does play his music in a quite complex way and therefore deserves the inclusion in the end. His playing style has some similarity with Vangelis but he plays his board pretty fast and so he makes a nice virtuoso impression because of that. In a few songs Visaggio also does the vocals but they aren't really great I have to say.

I'm pretty ambivalent about this release and have a hard time to decide for the ultimate rating. It's right in between 2 and 3 stars for me because I'm not very impressed with this album where the content of progressiveness is concerned. It's almost borderline prog to me and that's the reason I will round down. Nevertheless nothing really poor here so if you like your prog not too complex and enjoy the more easy listening/background style within music this could be for you.

 Starship Universe by VISAGGIO, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.68 | 8 ratings

Starship Universe
Mike Visaggio Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Mike Visaggio is a keyboard player based in Virginia, USA; and Starship Universe is his debut solo album. But although this is his solo debut, Visaggio has an extensive background as a band musician, being involved in numerous bands from the late 60's until the mid eighties, and then returning to the scene after the millennium after a 20 year long hiatus from making and performing music. And it is easy to hear that he still is a skilled musician, despite his long hiatus from the scene.

Musically the classic prog bands from the 70's; Yes, Genesis and ELP are named as some of his influences. And the musical output on this album has a distinct 70's sound to it, in style as well as in production and mix. Of his named influences, ELP may arguably have had the greatest impact on the music on Starship Universe but other influences will most probably be noticed by listeners more familiar with 70's prog than myself. The music here is all keyboard based, which generally is a weakness. Even the best of melodies will sound better performed by "real" instruments than they do from keyboards alone, and Mike's music do suffer a bit from it. The mixing and production isn't high tech either, which may be off-putting for some.

In many aspects this release reminds me of the German one-man band Soniq Theater, both play symphonic prog heavily influenced by the 70's in general and ELP in particular. The main difference between the two is that Visaggio not too often emulates other instruments, while Sonic Theater emulates other instruments in most songs. And of course the vocals; Soniq Theater is a mostly instrumental project, whereas Visaggio does have vocals on quite a few songs.

And that last element will affect some potential buyers decision about getting this release or not. In my ears the pitch and timbre of Visaggio's voice too often sounds wrong, and I could have sworn (although my better half with a long choir background disagrees) that the vocals are off-key with the melody a few times too many. Visaggio has an ok voice, but somehow the vocals just don't sound right to me.

Apart from that, there are some cool songs here, with the cover of ELP's "Blues Variation" being the most interesting. And if you are a fan of retro-sounding symphonic prog, this could be worth checking out. Sound samples can be found at Mike's homepage as well as on CDBaby, so that you can hear for yourself whether or not this music is to your liking.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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