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Marc Carlton - Reflex Arc CD (album) cover


Marc Carlton


Crossover Prog

3.97 | 10 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Contains some fine numbers

Released in 2005, a year after "Still", "Reflex arc" may perhaps be labelled as an abstract concept album. This is the only album to date not released by Marc through his own label, "Reflex arc" being distributed by Musea Records. The track titles give no hint as to the themes which link the tracks, as they simply restate the track numbers in narrative form from "One to "Sixteen".

According to Carlton, "this project carries the multifaceted theme of human responses; some unconscious, some we are aware of, but all of which make up who we are." The relative brevity of most of the tracks confirms that the album is intended to be heard as a complete piece, similar to many of the works of Carlton's inspiration Mike Oldfield. As with the work ethic of Oldfield, Marc once again plays all the instruments here, the emphasis being on guitars and keyboards.

Right from the opening track, ("One"!) it is apparent that Marc is seeking to distance himself from the new age nuances which were a feature of previous albums. Here, improvisation plays a much greater part, at least in the compositional phase. The sounds and themes are far more varied this time, with little in the way of overt repetition.

Highlights include "Three", where choral keyboard effects and melodic guitars combine in a beautiful cacophony of sound, and "Six" which sounds like it could have been lifted from Oldfield's "The songs of distant earth", the lead guitar here being particularity effective. The album is brought to the perfect conclusion with the ethereal "sixteen".

Overall, while this album has obvious structural similarities to the work of Mike Oldfield, I actually find it reminds me more of some of Anthony Phillips best works such as "Slow dance". The music here is that of a talented composer who is able to work within his own strict quality controls to create an album of great beauty and imagination. Recommended.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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