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Rick Miller - Breaking Point CD (album) cover

BREAKING POINT

Rick Miller

Crossover Prog


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3 stars Canadian musician and producer Rick Miller provides an intriguing addition to his catalogue of prog-orientated albums. Breaking Point skirts between various musical genres - from flat out cinematic instrumental compositions that could easily accompany the latest blockbuster release, through to Floydesque prog, replete with intense Gilmore style guitar solos. For some, this eclecticism could be off putting. The transition from the opening track's film-like soundscape to the subsequent onslaught of jangly brit-prog, for example, is abrupt and a little jarring. However, you can't make a prog omelette without breaking some eggs and I enjoyed the album's repeated change of pace and style. Tracks such as 'Suspirar' combine the best of spacey guitar-driven prog with the cinematic impulse beautifully, providing a pathway between the various elements. There is no doubt that in terms of the compositions, this is a top quality album with plenty of innovation. Lyrically, the tracks wander and there isn't a clear narrative progression. Instead the tracks invoke a series of reflections on darkness. 'White Dogs' certainly has a welcome poetic flourish, yet the potential for a stronger story-telling element to the album is lost. That said, when the instrumental sections are of this high a quality, much can be forgiven. Perhaps the only significant issue for this listener was the quality of the vocals when they do appear. Miller is an adept musical craftsman and performer, but a strong singer he is not. I felt that a number of production tricks were being used to cover over the rather mundane quality of the vocals and I wished he'd simply hired or borrowed a vocalist that could give the material the quality of delivery it merited. Recommended for those interested in the blurred boundaries between prog and cinematic music.
Report this review (#1720223)
Posted Thursday, May 11, 2017 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars 2015's 'Breaking Point' had the same line-up as the previous year's 'Heart of Darkness', with glorious guitar mixing with the flute and keyboards to create an atmospheric soundscape. There are times when the music is incredibly cinematic and at times quite orchestral, almost as if he has been working with Richard Wileman (now there is a pairing who would produce an incredible album together), containing elements of the psychedelic Sixties and mixing that both with folk and Floydian elements. As with all of his albums I have heard, this is music to get lost inside, music which is far more than just a series of notes and phrasings.

The flute is used sparingly, but when it comes in it creates an additional element of beauty as opposed to Ian Anderson's breathy attack. One is never quite sure where the music is going to lead, as the percussion can be quite different in its approach at different times, while the symphonic keyboards may well be replaced by picked or strummed acoustic guitar with the Stratocaster only making its presence felt at the absolute opportune moment, when it can easily be imagined that Gilmour, Latimer or Chandler are in the house. This was Rick's 12th studio album, and I have never been able to understand why he isn't more widely known, as he continues to produce progressive rock music of very high quality indeed, and I have yet to heard an album of his that I haven't enjoyed immensely.

Report this review (#2079953)
Posted Saturday, December 1, 2018 | Review Permalink

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