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Cirrus Bay - The Art Of Vanishing CD (album) cover

THE ART OF VANISHING

Cirrus Bay

 

Neo-Prog

3.73 | 32 ratings

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TCat
3 stars The band Cirrus Bay started out in 2001 as an acoustic duo that played coffee houses. Since then, they have evolved to a full- blown Neo-prog.. Since 2008 to the present day, they have released 6 albums, their 6th album being called "The Art of Vanishing" released in June of 2019. Currently, the band line-up consists of founder Bill Gillham and Mark Blasco, who both play most of the instruments and provide backing vocals. On this album, Tai Shan provides the lead vocals and Sharra Acie sings backup vocals. The album consists of 11 tracks, 2 of which are just over 10 minutes which bookend the album, with the entire album's duration being over 54 minutes.

"A Blossom of Hills" begins with some nice acoustic work which is soon joined by some very lovely vocals, starting with Tai alone, and then soon with harmonization. After 2 minutes, the tempo moves a lot faster and the entire band plays, but this strangely fades out rather quickly and the acoustic sound returns. The music gets a bit atmospheric, and then suddenly goes up tempo again without any warning and the guitar improvises off of a riff. This is followed by a synth solo, the rhythm breaks, then returns with vocals. This time the tempo remains upbeat for a while, but the first half of the track seemed quite choppy and poorly executed, but improves in the 2nd half. Everything calms again around the 7 minute mark and the interchanging slow to fast tempo pattern continues through the track.

"Undiscovered Isle" is a nice, peaceful acoustic instrumental track. "A Garment of Clouds" begins immediately with the full band and the vocalist coming in early. The music is simple and easy to listen to, the singing it lovely, but everything else moves ahead in a standard beat. "The North Country" is another instrumental that follows a solider beat with the organ taking the lead and with the overall sound remaining pretty mellow. After two minutes, the beat and sound gets a little heavier and the organ and guitar echo each other pretty much note for note. In the last minute, it returns to the original sound. "Sooke Harbour" goes for a more pastoral feel with acoustic guitar and a recorder (later joined by sax) and a soft, moderate rhythm which approaches a folk-ish vibe. "Eden" is another straightforward sounding track with a smooth, moderate and rolling feel, a rollicking synth solo appears in the instrumental break, followed by wordless vocals and then a short guitar section before returning to the main vocal melody.

"Unexpected Wonder" is a bit longer nearing the 7 minute mark. The rhythm is a bit trickier here. There is some nice sax supported by vibes and other keys with some guitar showing through. The moderate feel suddenly stops and then everything starts again with a more uptempo feel, again chopped and slightly clumsy like in the first track. Sometimes the music moves from one section to another quite smoothly, but other times, it seems like it gets cut off. But the track is more progressive like the first track, just not always well executed, or edited. Overall, however, the music remains mellow and safe. "Lost and Profound" returns to the shorter track format. It is soft and without rhythm with a piano backing up the sax, with a classical feel to it, except for the sax which might remind you of bad new age music. Kenny G anyone? "The Dictator" brings back the more standard, soft-rock sound, but at least features the lovely singing.

"The Vanishing Place" is the closing track, and the other 10 minute song. The track begins with solo piano in a minor key. Soon a sax plays along and then the band stumbles in. Vocals begin shortly after. As is the case with the other two longer tracks, this one is more progressive, but still retains the soft rock sound that pretty much continues through the entire album. The song pretty much stays the same all the way through, however, offering no real highpoints or surprises.

This music would be recommended to those that like their music on the soft side, with hints of folk tendencies throughout. There are progressive tracks, usually the longer ones with the many shorter tracks being more straightforward. However, the music isn't very challenging and is in a soft-rock style. The more progressive sections are somewhat clumsy and not very well edited with fade outs or cut offs between sections. The music isn't bad though, but nothing really stands out on the album either. The tracks stay quite safe sounding, but at least the vocalist is good, so that helps. 3 stars.

TCat | 3/5 |

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