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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

4 stars Art Rock Circus returns with a follow up to their critically acclaimed "Tell a Vision" (Tributary Music Label 2005) The new CD "Variations on a Dream" is a throwback to classic 70's golden age progressive rock that focuses more on a blending of organic stylings and classic instrumentation. What differs here from previous Art Rock Circus releases is the absence of strong vocals and conceptual lyrical ideals that have been a staple in their previous work. This is an instrumental record. The bands first. It brought to mind Camel's "The Snow Goose" which took the band in a different direction.

While one might wonder why the band embarked on such an undertaking, it is likely the influence of keyboardist extraordinaire Milo Keysington. His work on "Tell a Vision" was stunted in comparison to his contributions here. While Art Rock Circus ringleader John Miner is usually driving the band forward, he clearly loosened the reigns by giving Milo free reign to explore his keyboard talents and wizardry as well as his compositional skills. Earlier works by Miner such has his wonderful rock opera "Heavens Cafe" and his work with Mantra Sunrise were guitar driven progressive music steeped in psychedelia. However this release sees Miner opening up the ivories to a master of equal talents.

As with other Art Rock Circus albums, the rhythm section shines in it's display of melodic odd metering drum and bass parts that are clearly rooted in 70's prog. Ken Jaquess of K2 and Kelton Manning share bass duties. The drumming by Stolz and Adams is creative and always playing into the melody which is not always heard nowadays.

As a whole, the album feels powerful and fully engaging. While the production lacks the sheen of a highly polished release, to me it felt naturally charming and authentic, but I do tend to like these kind of recordings. This is a band that is maturing like a nice bottle of red. I have to wonder where the band is going next and look forward to hearing more in the future.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves vintage or classic progressive rock. It's a refreshing release to my ears. I would also recommend their previous work "Tell a Vision" equally.

Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Planet X (7:00) 2. Variation 7 (2:09) 3. Crystal (5:33) 4. South of France (4:07) 5. String Theory #8 (2:07) 6. Junk Male (3:57) 7. Gothic Sun (8:15) 8. Sains (2:15) 9. SOS (3:03) 10. Russian Spy (6:52) 11. Planet X Revisit (5:00)

Line-up / Musicians - John Miner / guitars - Kelton Manning / bass - Ken Jaquess / bass - Dr Nolan Stolz / drums - Sage Adams / drums - Milo / keyboards

Surrealist | 4/5 |


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