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John Miner - Variations On A Dream (as Art Rock Circus) CD (album) cover


John Miner


Eclectic Prog

3.15 | 5 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars You can slightly say that throughout the music history there were/are albums lacking on the production, albums that weep for better production. Art Rock Circus' fourth studio release is one of these albums.

Released this year on Tributary Music label, Variations on a Dream is the band's first fully instrumental album comprised of 11 tracks. The band's mastermind and guitarist John Miner explained in a press release that during the creating process he didn't feel that the recorded needed lyrics and vocals, what means that the guys focused on instrumentation and putting all their efforts on creating a dynamic progressive rock release that keeps attention of a listener. For those who don't know, John Miner played guitar on K2's (featuring Allan Holdsworth) debut album Book of the Dead (2005), and co-founded Mantra Sunrise in 1992.

Though Variations on a Dream can be tagged as progressive album, there is plenty of various influences threading through the music, coming from experimental to noise to even ambient. The opening Planet X puts the focus on Miner's soloing and nice flutework. Next two numbers Variation 7 and Crystal are mostly psychedelic-ambient driven, but with South of France melody returns making this piece as one of the album's centerpieces. It's a laid-back tune comprised of melodic lines that employ saxophone, flute, guitar and synth, with rhythm section giving necessary depth.

String Theory #8 is a shortest instrumental on the album, kicking in with interesting organ-led interplay. Junk Male with its bluesy vibe brings forth Hendrix-sytled guitar work crossed with saxophone-constructed soundwalls. On the other side, the longest track and another centerpiece Gothic Sun is a slow-paced organ led song on the album that builds around mentioned organ sounds. Saints comes next and it's the only acoustic track that is there to fill the space. The closing three tracks SOS, Russian Spy and Planet X Revisit lack on steadiness, what's pretty much the weakest spot of Variations on a Dream, besides production.

Overall, the songwriting on Variations on a Dream doesn't seem to be focused, the music often comes from one segment to another without a good connection.

JohnNicholson | 3/5 |


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