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SECONDS BEFORE LANDING

Crossover Prog • United States


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Seconds Before Landing biography
US project SECONDS BEFORE LANDING is the creative vehicle of composer and musician John Crispino, who set out to create a concept album back in 2011. Two years later, following contributions from numerous guest musicians and other helpers, "The Great Deception" was released. At least for now as a digital production only.

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SECONDS BEFORE LANDING top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.53 | 29 ratings
The Great Deception
2013
3.72 | 15 ratings
Seconds Before Landing II
2014

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SECONDS BEFORE LANDING Reviews


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 Seconds Before Landing II by SECONDS BEFORE LANDING album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.72 | 15 ratings

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Seconds Before Landing II
Seconds Before Landing Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US project SECONDS BEFORE LANDING is the creative vehicle of composer and musician John Crispino, and came to prominence in 2013 with the release of their debut album "The Great Deception", from which the song and accompanying video for the track Welcome to the Future in particular was taken notice of. "Seconds Before Landing II" is the second album to be issued under this project name, and was self-released towards the end of 2014.

Those who treasured the debut album by this project is in for a slight surprise on this second album by Crispino and the musicians he have chosen to work with here, as he has chosen to move away from the the dark, oppressive atmospheres of the debut album. Not that this is a light and jubilant production per se, but it is a different one, where the darkness in mood isn't as totally dominating. In fact, opening cut Big Train is a fairly positive and jubilant affair, revolving around a beefy hypnotic bass groove, elegant rhythms and a subtly jazz-oriented recurring saxophone solo. A songs you can probably dance along to without any problems at all.

It doesn't take Crispino all that long to move towards landscapes rather more familiar though, with the darker and distinctly Floydian Hey Dad. While not as dark and oppressive musically as the material on the aforementioned debut album, the lyrics are far from light in spirit, with a chorus section that in words and expression most certainly gives life to someone's inner, tortured demon.

As this production unfolds the songs does seem to follow some set patterns. Lyrics dealing with darker topics is a recurring feature, where especially the one describing how it is to live when suffering from anxiety attacks on a regular basis, Don't Want To Feel This Way, presumably will be a heart-wrenching experience for many. The lyrics on this one for the greater part expressed by way of what sounds like the sampled, spoken words of a woman, which is either someone giving us a glimpse into a tortured mind or someone acing an actors voice performance with an award quality performance.

Musically one set of songs blends fairly sparse, electronic, voice and rhythms driven passages with more elaborate sections that channels the inner Pink Floyd of the creator quite nicely, while the other set of songs alternate between being atmospheric laden electronic mood pieces musically and at least on a few occasions of being closer to what one might describe as electronic rock. The subtly jazzier landscapes explored on opening cut Big Train returns as well, with the funky undercurrents that is a central premise on concluding track What Chu Do, a song that takes this album experience full circle, book-ending this production with a similar mood and spirit as found on the opening track.

The manner in which Crispino blends electronic textures and effects with various forms of rock music, with a certain emphasis on sounds and arrangements comparable to Pink Floyd, is as intriguing as on the first album, although not quite as bleak and oppressive. The more playful material here channels more of the character and style I associate with guest musician Trey Gunn, a musician that have proven on multiple occasions that he isn't a stranger in landscapes blending electronica with rock music and who fits quite nicely into Crispino's musical universe. Those fond of music of this kind, that use electronic effects and textures both in a mix with rock music as well as in occasional purely electronic dominated excursions, should feel right at home with the music on this production.

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 Seconds Before Landing II by SECONDS BEFORE LANDING album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.72 | 15 ratings

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Seconds Before Landing II
Seconds Before Landing Crossover Prog

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars Composer, singer, drummer and midi player, that is the description John Crispino's name has on the album II, the second release of his personal project Seconds before Landing. On the album he gets the assistance of Steve Schuffert on guitars, JD Garrison on bass, Jamie Peck on piano, saxophone and flute, and Maurice Witkowski on acoustic guitar.

With a line up like that, there is a hint that this could be a jazz rock influenced release, which was also the indication the first track Big Train gives. However, besides the opening track, the only one that confirmed my expectations was Silent Bird, while the rest of the album has a more electronic and midi ring to it. That is not necessarily bad, but also not entirely my cup of tea - I prefer interplay between instruments over midi sounds.

However, there is still a lot to be found on this album for people who have a different taste than mine, and quite a few of those exist. The track Hey Dad for example is clearly influenced by Pink Floyd, think of tracks like Hey You or One of My Turns. Interesting detail in this respect is that the engineer who joined Pink Floyd at the release of The Wall, Andy Jackson, also took care of production for this album.

Two other highlights are The Great Deceiver and My Perfect Girl. The former is a rocky track, with a pulsing bass and a frantic guitar, with vocals that contain a slight hint of Alice Cooper in the vocals. The latter is darker and more industrial, reminding me of Transport Aerian.

Other tracks are more electronic, even ambient, and as said, not really my thing. This type of music has the habit of becoming slightly repetitive and makes me get distracted from it. However, this style does have its fans, so with a 'try before you buy' stamp on it, I'm sure this will still reach many satisfied listeners.

Also published on my blog www.angelosrockorphanage.com

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 The Great Deception by SECONDS BEFORE LANDING album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.53 | 29 ratings

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The Great Deception
Seconds Before Landing Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Pittsburgh-based musician, composer and vocalist John Crispino is the only man behind this project, launched around 2011, when he started writing a concept story about a man, living in a future world, dominated by hate, corruption and war.As he handled the drums and keyboard effects on the album, he invited several artists to participate like King Crimson's Warr guitarist Trey Gunn and Vanilla Fudge's bassist Tim Bogert.The list of guests is quite long (about 10 more names), including performances on piano, guitars, bass, trumpet and vocals.The album ''The great deception'' was released digitally in March 2013.

Being a sci-fi concept work, ''The great deception'' demanded a set of appropriate musical soundscapes to pass through as well as a strong lyrical background for the listener to properly follow the storyline.This effort apparently was based on a standard contemporary PINK FLOYD-PORCUPINE TREE mixture of heavy, spacious and modern textures, which offers a palette of slow Heavy Rock, ambiental moods and electronic spices.But the addition of futuristic elements, like loops, vocal and instrumental distortions and pre-recorded vocal messages was considered as needed by Crispino.Let's set things straight by saying that this rather far from a Progressive Rock work in the way that we know it.No complex themes, sudden tempo switches or instrumental excess.''The great deception'' is a vocal-heavy modern Space/Electronic Rock album with some cosmic and heavier overtones, pretty easy-going in terms of structure and strongly relying on the combination of sampled and natural sounds and the display of intense atmospherics.Having chosen a path of lyrical inventiveness (which at moments reminds me of DAVID BOWIE's unique coziness), Crispino has made a drawback regarding his first attempt's instrumental depth.Some powerful rhythms, spacious ambiences and laid-back tunes are still charming, but the selection of a mass of digital soundscapes along with the rather straightforward approach on songwriting are not my cup of tea.Not to mention that some vocal parts still sound pretty dull and poppy.Of course the artist's concept background is more significant than what anybody wants to hear from an album for himself, but the result is close to instrumentally too thin and even monotonous, buried by the endless hypnotic, downtempo parts.

An attempt on hypnotic Electronic Rock with sparse heavier echoes and lots of futuristics sounds on vocals and instruments.When the lyrical department becomes more attractive than the music itself, then something is propably going wrong.At some point, rcommended only to fans of PINK FLOYD or STEVEN WILSON's side projects...2.5 stars.

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 Seconds Before Landing II by SECONDS BEFORE LANDING album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.72 | 15 ratings

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Seconds Before Landing II
Seconds Before Landing Crossover Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars Seconds Before Landing has a prog soup whose ingredients include electronica, smooth jazz, and the dark sides of Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, and Wilco. The bands philosophy on their second release seems to be to throw everything they've got at the wall to see what sticks, and most of it does. All of this works to a theme of dystopia, but it doesn't always feel that way. "Hey Dad" and "My Perfect Girl" feel like missteps, but otherwise we have a good album chock full of ideas and directions, even if the theme suffers a bit. From the jazzy "Big Train", to the Gregorian-esque vocals opening "The Great Deceiver", followed by a wailing guitar, to the claustrophobically self- loathing "Don't Want To Feel This Way", to the nice electro-prog of the other good tracks, there's plenty to love here, and the album works in the end. If you loved "Corvus Stone II" and want a new and different buffet, try this obscure record out.

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 The Great Deception by SECONDS BEFORE LANDING album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.53 | 29 ratings

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The Great Deception
Seconds Before Landing Crossover Prog

Review by HAL

4 stars Albums opens with a dense rhythm accompanied by news reels and interviews connected to the Roswell incident. This sci-fi mystery pretty much sets the stage for the content of this album. 'The Great Deception' obviously deals with the prospect of alien presence on our planet, and the authorities' efforts to keep the truth hidden from public. Also, there is a certain sense of apocalyptic visions present in these tracks.

Seconds Before Landing is the project of John Crispino, who pretty much composes and performs many instruments, with great aid from a selection of most experienced musicians. Reading from the bands website, the album follows the conceptual idea of a dystopian world, mirrored through the mind of the composer. The use of spoken word and sound clips from newsreels and vintage radio commercials on top of instrumental parts is used with (mostly) great effect, although a bit exaggerated in places. Album ends with 'Message in a field' with narration of what is supposed to be message from aliens in the form of crop circles. The famous 'Crabwood alien' which depicts and alien shaped head accompanied with a (compact?) disc, encoded in 8-bit ASCII. A rather unpleasant and dystopian prophecy, but still with a glance of hope!

John Crispino sings on a number of the tracks, and quite successfully so! His somewhat fragile voice fits in very well with the mood on the vocal tracks. Musically, the album hovers around in the symphonic/bluesy prog landscape, with some soaring guitar work for the most part signed by the versatile notarity of Trey Gunn. Also Tim Bogert (from Vanilla Fudge, and Beck, Bogert and Appice) contributes on some tracks. Echoes of Pink Floyd are obvious, but in a modern context more closely linked to Porcupine Tree, and a number of bands associated with their pocket of 'Eclectic Prog' (Disconnect, Demians and even Peter Thelen's 't' project comes to mind). A few tracks lean too much towards plain pop music for my taste and some parts must be considered fillers, but with 14 tracks (mostly in 5-7 minute category), there are plenty of pieces to enjoy.

John Crispino thinks we are not alone. That certainly bargains for more musical journeys into sci-fi territory in the future. This debut is worth checking out for all of you sci-fi fans out there. 3.5 stars, rounded up for his devotion to the great mysteries of our time.

The truth is out there.

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 The Great Deception by SECONDS BEFORE LANDING album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.53 | 29 ratings

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The Great Deception
Seconds Before Landing Crossover Prog

Review by maani
Special Collaborator Founding Moderator

4 stars First, let me say that, setting aside a quibble or two, this is almost certainly my favorite album of 2013. And that has less to do with any specific personnel, "song" or individual aspect of the album than it does with the fact that the old adage "they just don't write'em like that anymore" does NOT apply here. This is a "progressive" album in every sense of that term, and is somehow able to both evoke the heyday of a particular genre of progressive rock (i.e., have a certain "timeless" quality to it) and to be both timely and relevant in the present.

The primary writer here is John Crispino, about whom little seems to be known except that he is a "composer and musician." (He plays drums, keyboards, and percussion, and provides most of the vocals.) He is joined by a distinguished group of musicians, most notably Trey Gunn (King Crimson) and Tim Bogert (Vanilla Fudge, Cactus).

The effects-laden album -- which is a somewhat loose concept album about a dystopian future -- is quite dark and grim most of the time, evoking some of the darker aspects of Pink Floyd and King Crimson. Indeed, if I had to describe the overall "effect" of the album in one sentence, I would say that it was the bastard child of Pink Floyd (particularly parts of The Wall, The Final Cut, Momentary Lapse of Reason, and Division Bell) and King Crimson (particularly parts of In the Court of the Crimson King, Construktion of Light and Power to Believe), with a dash of Porcupine Tree, and an overall "atmosphere" of Alan Parsons. [N.B. It is astounding to me that of all the possible influences on this album that have been noted in dozens of articles, not one of them mentions Parsons -- yet it is HIS overall approach to concept albums (as well as writing and production) that jumped out at me almost constantly.]

In fact, the "associations" here are quite remarkable. Parsons, of course, engineered Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother, and its genre-definitive Dark Side of the Moon. The engineer on The Great Deception is Andy Jackson, who assisted on The Wall and The Final Cut, and was primary engineer on Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell. And Trey Gunn provided bass guitar on Construktion of Light and "Warr" guitar on Power to Believe. [N.B. All of this makes me wonder (without taking anything away from Mr. Crispino) how much influence both Mr. Gunn and Mr. Jackson had on the WRITING here, and not simply the guitar playing or engineering.]

Of course, few bands were as able to evoke "dystopianism" as Pink Floyd (particularly with The Wall and The Final Cut). And although those dystopias were in the "past," the near-future dystopia evoked here owes much to those albums.

Approximately half the tracks on the album have actual "lyrics," while the other half have either spoken-word vocals and/or "recorded" voices. Re the former, Mr. Crispino sings all but one of the songs, and has a pleasant voice that is (mostly) expressive of the particular song. Re the latter, we get both male and female spoken and/or recorded voices, the latter being mostly of the type heard in some Pink Floyd tracks (think "Run Like Hell" or "The Trial" from The Wall). The female recorded voice is used to excellent effect in a few places, where its oh-so-calm voice is betrayed by what she is actually saying (mostly castigation and threats).

The music tends toward heavy bass lines (including a few truly infectious rhythms), with most tracks featuring a guitar solo at some point. These solos, mostly by Mr. Gunn (using a variety of electronic effects) are evocative of (in order of percentage) David Gilmour, Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp, and John Frusciante, and are all quite good, and always appropriate for the track.

One of the more?interesting aspects of the album is the inclusion of mini-ads for a variety of products, which appear between the tracks (a dozen in all). These ads (which may or may not be for real products) evoke ads of the 40s and 50s. On first listen, I found these ads somewhat jarring. Even now, I can only think of two reasons for their inclusion. One is to simply break the "grimness" of the overall album. The other is to evoke a sense of "normalcy" amid the dark, dystopian atmosphere (which would also explain why it would be ads from the 40s and 50s). In either case, I am not certain they needed to appear between EVERY two track on the entire album; half that number (or even less) would have sufficed. (This is one of my quibbles.) For the record, these ads include hats, cigars, foodstuffs, "iron" and "vitamins," and a variety of bathroom products (hair cream, nose drops, pimple cream, shampoo et al).

My quibbles? The inclusion of the ads (or, at least, so many of them); the "opening-guitar solo-closing" structure of almost every track; and the inclusion of the song, "Mikey Get Your Accordian." While it is a truly lovely, even haunting, song, I am at an even greater loss as to its presence on the album than I am about the ads.

Yet, all that said, The Great Deception exhibits an excellent channeling of its influences, and superb musicianship, production and "atmospheres," and is a fabulous achievement in progressive rock. I can hardly wait for the next album.

[N.B. Although not quite a "masterpiece," I would give this album an extra half star if I could.]

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 The Great Deception by SECONDS BEFORE LANDING album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.53 | 29 ratings

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The Great Deception
Seconds Before Landing Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US project SECONDS BEFORE LANDING is the creative vehicle of composer and musician John Crispino. He commenced work on this venture in 2011 and for the next two years worked to finalize his musical ideas into the album "The Great Deception": A concept album with a dystopian storyline, set at a point not too long in our future.

Seconds Before Landing has been marketed as a band exploring ambient progressive rock, a description that dos summarize quite a lot about what's going on I guess. In terms of sound I often caught myself thinking about Trey Gunn's Quodia project from a few years back when I listened to this one. Not that similar in sound really, but some musical details and the overall mood is to some extent comparable.

The majority of the compositions on this disc revolves around bass details. Toned down circulating bass motifs more often than not, and of a groove oriented variety first and foremost. Gentle and mostly plucked, often resonating instrument details supplements this basic melodic framework, with various layers of futuristic inspired sounds placed on top. Occasionally we're treated to a harder edged guitar motif or a more majestic synth motif too, but most of all we're dealing with careful, gentle and indeed ambient constructions. The main element that transports these songs out into more energetic territories are lead vocals and rhythms with more of an intense delivery, which doesn't happen that often really, and longing guitar soloing Pink Floyd style, which is a key feature frequently employed throughout.

Otherwise spoken word samples from or inspired by 1950's radio commercials are used to tie the different songs together and as an identity enhancing feature, some spoken words sequences are also used in the songs as such, supplementing the mostly spoken male voice and female lead and backing vocals. All of this set in a mix with a dark and bleak yet warm and organic sound, a superb mixing and producing job that really does elevate the listener experience quite a bit. Most impressive to me were the radio friendly, catchy and groove-laden affair They're All Around You, with the extremely enticing bass motif central in Right Before Your Eyes elevating also this one to a higher plane of interest.

A certain taste for bleak, dystopian inspired moods and atmospheres is something of a prerequisite to be able to enjoy Seconds Before Landing's debut album "The Great Deception". A proposed key audience as defined from a musical point of view should probably be those who have a soft spot for the more ambient oriented excursions of Trey Gunn, and especially those among them who also enjoy the accessible side of bands such as Pink Floyd in general and guitar soloing Gilmour style in particular.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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