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Ian MacFarlane - Back From Beyond CD (album) cover


Ian MacFarlane


Progressive Electronic

4.76 | 10 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars A memorable electronic journey!

When everyone turned to synth-pop or drum-boxes, Ian Macfarlane, went further by going back and staying in place.

Taking advantage of people selling whatever to attend the World Cup, I bought wholesale a bunch of late 60's to mid-80's, almost mint condition, "electronic prog" vinyls. Some are uninteresting, some are near jewels, and those which I will highly recommend. "Back from Beyond", 1980, IAN MACFARLANE's second known release, is one of those.

Highly creative, all the way through, it is deep, yet impressively playful. It travels in two, 20 minute compositions, routes that others, take records to pull out. It is "cosmic" and "space-like", but on purpose also "un-tech" and retro. Its inherent unpretentiousness helps to focus on its real beauty. (Although the "studio work" is apparently minimal, it is in fact amazing. )

Really, some parts seem to have been recorded with Casio's early mini, rudimentary keyboards and its drum-boxes. But good music needs no "Steinway", to still be good.

To explain the music itself is quiet a task. So, P/E's and Krautrockers imagine the best parts of your favorite segments of those electronics you like, slice them away of any unnecessary over production, simplify its timing, enhance the melody itself, undress it, and then shower it with artful electronic effects and thread them all in 2 long timed single compositions, connected by its sci-fi concept. There you go! Something like that is the way this album sounds like. The few vocal parts sound fresh, because there are few, and never preaching, but just singing along.

Instrumentation: Mainly simple electronic keyboards, synths, some piano lines, some splashes of acoustic and electrics, some also very poignant but still splashes of creative bass lines, lots of very imaginative sound effects, always kept in size, and best of all FLAWLESS music writing. And yes!, this is no synth-pop, this is a masterful progressive electronic album, which simply did not got a break! (no reviews since 1980, is shameful!)

A lesson for those who think production equals talent.

*****5 complete PA stars!

admireArt | 5/5 |


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