Sunday, November 13, 2022

Top Albums of the Year 2003, Part 2: The Near-Masterpieces

  Somewhere beneath the level of timeless masterpiece status lies a group of albums whose quality and merit deserve categorization of something like "near-masterpiece." These are albums that have either achieved a Fishermetric score of between 90.0 and 87.0 or whose high points or quality level make it remarkable enough to remain affixed in my memory.

From the relatively weak year of 2003, you will find below eight (8) albums releases deserving, in my opinion, of the "near-masterpiece" designation.  

4.5 Stars; Near-Masterpieces
(Ratings of 89.99 to 86.67)

3. LA MASCHERA DI CERA Il Grande Labirinto

Coming one year after their excellent debut, Fabio Zuffaniti's side project produces another fine and true contribution to the RPI collection. The maestro has done quite a marvellous job of collecting the perfect cast with which to create his retro-sound.

1. "Il Viaggio Nell' Oceano Capovolto (parte 1)" (13:45) opens with reversed tracks before giving way to spacious bass & guitar harmonics. Singer and then organ join in, then Mellotron and piano. At 2:25 we finally get the full wall of sound, but then it is quickly extinguished to revert back to the soft, spacious stuff. The two extremes alternate back and forth for a while until we get a switch into a more pastoral, yet crazed section in the fifth minute. The tension builds and builds until there is a release at 5:45. A pretty though eerie section begins with male and female singer singing together until full band enters and Alessandro takes full lead. Nice power section. for the next four and a half minutes before a jazzy-psychedelic 'tron and weird jazzy guitar section takes over to almost the end. Interesting. (25.5/30)

2. "Il Grande Labirinto" (9:43) classy and classic but nothing really new here, more of a rehashing of old music from the 1970s--though done very well. (17.75/20)

3. "Il Canto Dell'inverno" (3:00) piano. Goblin-esque! (9/10)

4. "Ai Confini Del Mondo" (12:41) with the funk! Again, the 1970s are conjured up by the clavichord and Hammond, chunky bass and flute. I must admit that keyboardist Agostino Macor is quite talented. So is vocalist, Alessandro Corvaglia. The instrumental section beginning at the halfway point is my favorite--the whole second half is so much more to my liking. 
      I totally respect the amazing job Fabio and crew have done to re-create the sounds and styles of the RPI masterpieces of the 1970s. Unfortunately, this style of 70s RPI was never my favorite. (21.75/25)

5. "Il Viaggio Nell' Oceano Capovolto (parte 2)" (22:35) This vocalist does SUCH an amazing job at bringing the power and theatricity of the legends of the Italian 70s! (42.5/45)

While I agree with my fellow reviewer MellotronStorm that "every song on this album is of the highest calibure [sp]", I must put my hand up at the lack of originality: all of these songs and styles--even the instruments and voices--are (I take it) intended to re-create specific sounds, songs, and styles of the Italian scene of progressive rock of the 1970s. 

89.61 on the Fishscales = B+/4.5 stars; though a true masterpiece of retro-prog/prog homage with some of the best instrumental performances you'll ever hear, this is only not a masterpiece of original, modern progressive rock.

4. RIVERSIDE Out of Myself

Out of Myself is like the practice or warmup for that which is to come in the next two years. One can hear the potential, the evolution of sound, but the Polish quartet--in its sum and parts--need further growth. There are compositional and engineering tricks that they have not yet learned, but which will appear with 2005's Second Life Syndrome--one of the 21st Century's crowning achievements in progressive rock music. 

Line-up / Musicians:
- Mariusz Duda / vocals, bass, acoustic guitar
- Piotr Grudziński / electric guitars
- Jacek Melnicki / keyboards
- Piotr Kozieradzki / drum, percussion
- Krzysztof Melnicki / trombone (9)

1. "The Same River" (12:01) great atmospheric weave between Maruisz's bass and Piotr Grudziński's guitar while the drums and distant vocalise support. Piotr's lead guitar breaks out at the end of the fifth minute into something magical and is eventually joined and mirrored by Jacek's keys. Brilliant. And all the while Mariusz and Piotr Kozieradzki keep things tightly sealed at the lower end. Seven minutes and only now are we getting some words in the vocals. It's absolutely magical! The guitar and bass weave beneath Mariusz singing sounds very much like the long weave of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells." The wah-guitar in the ninth and tenth minutes, beneath the searing lead, is a bit out of place and the spacious, almost acoustic eleventh minute is a bit of a let down but, it ends well--it's still, a great song--that first half is sublime--prog at its finest! (22.5/25)

2. "Out of Myself" (3:43) a pretty good whole band weave whose trajectory almost takes it into death metal territory. (8.667/10)

3. "I Believe" (4:14) acoustic based, preview of Mariuz Duda's LUNATIC SOUL coming later in the decade. Beautiful harmony vocals and arrangement. (8.75/10)

4. "Reality Dream" (6:15) a full minute of a ticking of a clock floats away and gets distorted in a bent-metal kind of way before being supplanted by a jazzy metal blend with awesome lead guitar over the top. These guys are really creative and inventive. More "pained" vocalise in the background during a brief break before we return to a variation on the main theme. Pretty good instrumental--certainly conveying some great ideas. (8.75/10)

5. "Loose Heart" (4:50) great Goth-like sound palette using old keys and guitar sound (like Whitesnake's John Sykes) with Mariusz's vocal seeming to provide merely another element of the overall weave--at least, that is, until he goes nearly death metal psycho at the end. (8.667/10)

6. "Reality II" (4:45) more of song #4 but not enough guitar fire! Only at the end do we get to feel some of Piotr's passion. (8.667/10)

7. "In Two Minds" (4:38) acoustic guitar strumming while Mariusz' muted voice sings--at least until the end of the first minute when Hammond joins in and Mariusz' voice breaks free of its confines. Excellent lead guitar--especially the solo in the fourth minute. Then we are loosed into an odd percussion-led section over which multiple Mariusz voices weave and interplay with the acoustic guitar to the end.(8.75/10)

8. "The Curtain Falls" (7:59) easily the best song on the album, this one has it all: awesome grooves, awesome interplay between the instruments, great chord progressions and melody lines, and, of course, some great individual performances--especially from keys, bass, tight drums, harmonic guitar, and Piotr's two great guitar tones. And there's even a tempo and thematic shift halfway throught that does not let us down. (14.5/15)

9. "OK" (4:46) Dreamy; Steven Wilson/No-Man like. Love the Steve Jansen-like brushed drums, dreamy keys, and awesome Vangelis Blade-runner-like sounds generated by keyboard artist Jacek Melnicki and his brother, Krzysztof Melnicki, the guest trombonist. Awesome song (except for its misleading length: the last 90 seconds are silent until Mariusz' ten second vocalise at the very end). A top three song for me. (9.25/10)

Total Time 53:11

Out of Myself is like the practice or warmup for that which is to come in the next two years. One can hear the potential, the evolution of sound, but the quartet--in its sum and parts--need further growth. There are compositional and engineering tricks that they have not yet learned, but which will appear with 2005's Second Life Syndrome--one of the 21st Century's crowning achievements in progressive rock music. 

89.55 on the Fishscales = B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music.

5. KARDA ESTRA Constellations

Constellations is an album full, however brief that it may be (approx. 45 mins.), of absolute five-star instrumental gems (vocalist IIeesha's voice is here used as another instrument, never articulating words--as far as I can tell), including a cover of a Steve Hackett piece, "Twice Around the Sun." "Hydra" is my least favorite song, though I know it is only due to personal preferences: the composition and musicianship continue to sustain the group's exceedingly high standards. Another thing I love about Karda Estra is that they are behaving quite prolifically--pumping out an album a year for almost fifteen years now. Would that some of our other favorites would so favor us. 

1. "The Southern Cross" (5:09) starts the album with another dive back into the STEVE HACKETT/GENESIS era--until the arrival of the strings and unmistakable and beautiful voice of KE's Ileesa Bailey. Low key, soft, and actually pretty, not very eerie at all. (10/10)

2. "Hydra" (6:13) Distorted bass and electric guitar chords,  minor keys, and UNIVERS ZÉRO-like spacious chamber music make this a real dark sounding song. (7/10)

3. "Cassiopeia" (3:36) starts a bit plaintively (oboe melody) before the acoustic guitar picking and Ileesha harmonized vocals bring fresh air and sunshine into this gorgeous song. Love the stripped-down version of this one on YouTube, too. (10/10)

4. "Phoenix" (4:51) starts with odd progression of odd piano chords with 'cephiad variable' synth oscillating in the background. Electric guitar and flutes, bassoon, and, later, Ileesha vocals bring this one into the eery Goth world. (Could be a MEDIAEVAL BAEBES song.) I think it actually has words!? A bit abrasive with electric guitars and percussion near the end, but still a beautiful song. (9/10)

5. "Scorpio" (7:50) starts with ghost-eery 'saw' sounds with a lot of other heavily treated instruments adding intermittent sounds to this sparse, unstructured song--until, that is, the 1:40 mark when a kind of BUURT BACHARACH waltz feel takes over. Oboe melody is quite BURT-like. Beautiful section! Back and forth from eery/structureless to BB waltz until the final two minutes when a whole different feel and instrumental composition takes over. A bit too discombobulated for me. (16/20)

6. "Vela" (9:29) is another song that skirts between eery and gorgeous--with every measure, this time, as strings background strings and piano and incidentals often are at direct odds with the melody makers on the top! Brilliant and courageous songwriting! (18/20)

7. Steve Hackett's "Twice Around the Sun" (6:14) is not a song I was familiar with before KE's coverage here. With the woodwinds present here I am pretty sure Hackett's version probably did not sound like this one. A very pretty melody with beautiful support from the acoustic guitar. It could have been a duet (at least before the cor anglais joins in). The second half has such powerful Steve Hackett electric guitar presence. (9/10)

88.57 on the Fish scales = 4.5 stars for this, a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music. I so admire Richard Wileman's incredible compositional vision and production.

6. FAUN Licht 

The "Pagan Folk" band from Germany returns for their sophomore release with a new sound--thanks to the addition of newcomer Niel Mitra and his electronic soundscapes.

Line-up / Musicians:
- Oliver "Sa Tyr" Pade / vocals, bouzouki, nyckelharp, Celtic harp, lute, jaw harp, didgeridoo, strings arrangements (9)
- Fiona Rüggeberg / vocals, rebab, bagpipes, sallow flute, chalumeau 
- Elisabeth Pawelke / vocals, hurdy-gurdy
- Niel Mitra / synths, sequencer, sampler, sounds
- Rüdiger Maul / percussion (tar, riq, davul, muzhar, darabukka, timbau, berimbau, shaker)
- Jennifer van der Harten / Celtic harp (5)
- Carsten Hochapfel / cello (9,11), strings arrangements (9)
- Christian von Aster / spoken word & author (10)

1. "Prolog" (0:31) introducing the band's new lush, electronically enhanced sound. 
2. "Andro" (3:44) great instrumental jam with the full complement of sounds offered on show. (10/10)

3. "Unda" (5:09) the old style with chorus-style singing. The instrumental selections of the band--and of Oliver and Fiona have all expanded tremendously. Cool electronically morphed percussion sounds in the fourth minute. (8.5/10)

4. "Von den Elben" (5:37) beautiful Celtic harp play with angelic soprano of Elisabeth Pawelke soaring above. Fiona's wind instruments are a perfect complement to Lisa's singing--and then the two harmonize so perfectly for the next section. Wow! A masterpiece of Prog Folk. (9.5/10) 

5. "Ne Aludj El" (5:19) Celtic harp and nyckelharp set this one up for an adventure in Arabian vocal stylings from Elisabeth. Great weave (and soli) between Oliver and Fiona in between the singing verses. Another perfect piece of antique folk music. I really, really appreciate these artists rendering these old and diversely ethnic songs for us. (10/10)  

6. "Deva" (1:37) overtone-voice-like drone over which Elisabeth sings in an Persian/Indian style (sounding like SHEILA CHANDRA's 1996 album, ABoneCroneDrone). (5/5)

7. "Punagra" (6:18) bled over from "Deva" the band tries on a Pagan Folk version of an Indian song. Turns out to sound more like an impromptu love in/sit in song from some park or commune in 1967.  (8.5/10)

8. "Wind & Geige" (5:04) a fairly standard Faun folk song with some stellar flute play. (8.25/10)
9. "Isis" (5:40) interesting foreign language intro eventually transplanted by ominous, hypnotic guitar and cello while Oliver sings a beautiful if-eerie vocal. Would have liked to see it develop a little further. (9/10)

10. "Cernunnos" (5:01) percussion background while author Christian von Aster speaks from something he has written for the entire five minutes. Would probably be better if I knew what he was saying. (8/10)

11. "Egil Saga" (5:07) opens like a VANGELIS piece with a whole weave of electronic percussives and other sounds (sounding like they're from a 1980s New Wave/techno pop palette). Elisabeth sings the lead solo before a EURYTHMICS-like two-voiced chorus ensues. Interesting and . . . different. (7.75/10)

12. "Fort" (3:56) Celtic harp prefaces a pretty "Scarborough Fair"-like vocal weave. (8.5/10)

Total time: 53:03

Though the sound engineering is not consistent over the course of the whole album, I am excited by the new (and old) directions the band has taken in only one year since their very-conservative antique folk debut.

88.18 on the Fishscales = B+/4.5 stars; another wonderful injection of fresh sound and professional anachronism into the Prog Folk lexicon. Thank you, Faun!

7. Colossus/Musea Records presents: Kalevala: A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic 

This is a 3 discs, 228 minutes of high quality progressive rock. for those of you who don't know, Finnish progressive rock magazine Colossus and France's prog record publishing company Musea Records have been challenging prog artists to submit contributions to theme albums for over a decade now with some brilliant results. The one thing they ask of their contributing artists is that they record all of their submissions using only instruments that were available in the 1970s. The result is vintage prog, indeed!

The Colossus/Musea Records theme albums are often quite good, always containing some absolute masterpieces. Of the Colossus/Musea records that I have heard so far, Kalevala ranks only behind 2005's Odyssey: The Greatest Tale. There are some 10/10s and 9/10s on this 3 disc telling Finland's own Kalevala myth. Italy's MAD CRAYON's gorgeous RPI classic "Il suono dei ricordi", France's CAFEINE's "Way Is Open", CLEARLIGHT's GABRIEL Era GENESIS-like "The Boat Builder (searching for the Lost World)", Finland's own SCARLET THREAD's cinematic instrumental, "Pimeästa Pohjolasta",  ORCHARD's eclectic folk-jazz fusion "3" and OVERHEAD's folk/eclectic "Wainamoinen and Youkahainen (The fate of Aino)" are all perfect 10s--masterpieces of progressive rock. IL CASTELLO DI ATLANTE's "Ilmarinen Forges the Sampo", HAIKARA's disciplined eclectic mostly-instrumental, "The Creation (The Sowing)", MAGENTA's "Lemminkainen's Lament", Italy's LEVIATHAN's "Filo de lama", Italy's folk jazzy MALIBRAN's "Strani colori", Sweden's SIMON SAYS' Genesis-like "Som Floden Flyter", THONK's ELP tribute, "Kapittu 45/46", the WHOBODIES's 70s-sounding jazz fusion instrumental, "Pine", and Finland's GROOVECTOR's smooth jazz instrumental, "Tuletta" are all 9s--near masterpieces. The other dozen songs are good to excellent contributions.

4.5 stars.

8. THE MARS VOLTA De-loused in the Comatorium

Rarely have I heard a post-1970s album that has taken me by such surprise and overwhelmed me as this one. The shear energy of the song-playing and reckless abandon of some of the performances is like listening to ADRIAN BELEW KING CRIMSON on amphetamines! Wow! "Cicatriz ESP" alone is a jaw-dropper every time I hear it. I've purposely avoided listening to other TMV or Omar songs for fear of blowing aside the mystical awe I hold for this raw and powerful album. Should I? Should I? I think not! I am not worthy! The Mars Volta have created one for the ages! A gargantuan and, IMHO, inimitable masterpiece. Favorite songs: "Inertiatic ESP" (8/10), "Televators" (9/10), "Eriatarka" (10/10), and, of course, "Cicatriz ESP" (10/10). 

Some "throw-away" songs devalue this album a bit, (enough that I rarely listen to it start to finish), but, still, it is full of such fresh, ground-breaking, energetic music that I cannot contain my recommendation for every music lover to give this one a listen. Decide for your self. A display of restrained free-for all, contained reckless-abandon!

4.5 stars, a near masterpiece!

9. NO-MAN Together We're Stranger

Tim and Steve are back with another stroll through the mellow side of poppy prog. This time they've allowed over half of their compositions to drift into the ten minute region, thus we have long slow development with little or no drums or percussion. 

Line-up / Musicians:
- Tim Bowness / vocals, lyrics
- Steven Wilson / instruments, harmony vocals, producer
- Michael Bearpark / guitar solo (1)
- Stephen Bennett / organ & cymbal (6), "noises" (1), film director (bonus DVD)
- Ben Castle / clarinet, bass clarinet, flute
- Roger Eno / harmonium (5,8)
- Peter Chilvers / space-bass (1,2), bass (6)
- David Picking / percussion (2,5,9), trumpet (1,2), electronics (1-4)

1. "Together We're Stranger" (8:31) industrial ambient soundscape. Tim enters singing from a closet in the back of the room at the end of the third minute. Way more like a Mark Hollis song than I was expecting. Some nice, emotional electtic guitar in the middle within the synthy spacescape before some breathy, treated trumpet notes take a turn just before the music turns into the next song. (17.5/20)

2. "All The Blue Changes" (7:48) spacious Mark Hollis-like piano and shakers set up the mood for Tim to perform his elegant magic. Piano, guitar, and other electronics slowy build beneath Tim's vocal. Very Steven Wilson-like harmony vocals in the final two minutes. (13.25/15)

3. "The City In A Hundred Ways" (2:23) more like a warm up of an John Zorn orchestra pit or Art Zoyd wind section. (4.5/5)
4. "Things I Want To Tell You" (9:03) taking over from the bleed over from "The City in a Hundred Ways" echoed Dominic Miller-like acoustic guitar notes and strums join in, almost incidentally, while Tim whisper/croons his almost equally incidentally deposited vocal lines. It's pleasant enough. I'm sure it might mean more if I were into the lyrics. (17/20)

5. "Photographs In Black And White" (10:03) gentle Americana acoustic guitar played while watching an immense open sky of Western expanse provided by thin Mark Isham-like synth washes. The song could almost pass for something by Rikkie Lee Jones or k.d. lang. Clarinet takes over the lead at the end of the third minute for a bit before Tim continues his breathy Paris, Texas confession. Roger Eno's harmonium begins rising up from the deep background as second acoustic guitar becomes a bit more aggressive and the clarinet returns for another solo. Over celestina and acoustic guitar weave Tim's muted voice sings and bass clarinet joins in before some deep bass thrums thunder the background every 16 seconds or so. This is the best part of the album (so far). After the thunder storm ends in the tenth minute, Tim and acoustic guitar finish out the song as it started (minus the synth backdrop).(18/20)

6. "Back When You Were Beautiful" (5:07) what, no drums?! Methinks we've heard this one before. By either No-Man or Talk Talk. Nice floating guitar and bank of Mellotron-like "ahhs" in the middle. Nice to hear Steven's banjo in the final third. (8.5/10)

7. "The Break-up For Real" (4:11) electric guitar and acoustic guitar. Tim Bowness and acoustic guitar. Definitely a Steven Wilson song. Nice AMERICA/TONY PATTERSON vocals. A nice one. (8.75/10)

This is different from but in no way as good as the duo's previous album, Returning Jesus. (primarily because they chose to not retain the services of rhythm maestro Steven Jansen)

87.5 on the Fishscales = B/four stars; a nice addition to any prog lover's music collection--especially if you're in the mood for the mellower more meditative side of prog music.

10. ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS Mild Profundities

Newly emerged from Oxford, England, comes a band whose predilection for wonderfully melodic and upbeat song quirks lands them into the Canterbury Scene assignation. Ladies and gentlemen: a new era of Canterbury styled music is upon us.

Line-up / Musicians:
- Matt Baber / keyboards
- Joff Winks / guitar, vocals
- Paul Mallyon / drums
- Brad Waissman / bass

1. "It's Pissing Don?" (6:26) part Post Rock, part Canterbury, part neo-classical jazz, this piano/keyboard and xylophone-led song features the very solid support of chunky bass, military-styled drums and guitars. (9/10)

2. "Little Machines" (4:50) my favorite song on the album has some very catchy melodic, structural and vocal moments. (10/10)

3. "M.O.D.A.R" (4:50) ambient techno-space house music for the first two minutes, pauses for a very spacey section before reacquiring the weave of techno sounds that it opened with. MIDIed solo from lower mid-register keyboard is mixed in with all the other. Is this the soundscape the Canterbury artists of old would be experimenting with if they were still doing their stuff in the 21st Century? Interesting if not great. (7/10)

4. "Keeny Woka Phoola" (3:08) sounds much more Canterbury-ish--even the squeeky synth taking on part of the lead melody making. At 1:35 it becomes much more poppy with the "beautiful people everywhere" vocal section--kind of like a 60s song from or from one of today's retro-psychedelic groups like Tame Impala or Arcade Fire. (9/10)

5. "Earthsong [With One Sugar]" (7:03) opens with a repetitive mid-to-high pitched electro-pulse over which electric piano plays a kind of étude with two series of chord progressions. Then, at 2:25, the song shifts into rock mode with full band and a very familiar Canterbury sound and structure--like something from the debut Hatfield and the North album. Catchy bass, drums, and keyboard lines form the foundation over which guitars and multiple synth sounds contribute. The song slips back into electronica experimentalism in the fifth minute while drums and other support instruments create their own melodies which eventually merge into a fairly cohesive weave. Recordings of a domestic argument are introduced over the final minute and a half. Interesting! (13/15)

Total Time 26:17

87.27 on the Fishscales = 4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music--this one in the psychedelic experimental spirit of the 1970s Canterbury artists.

11. CHROMA KEY You Go Now

Kevin Moore's second and final solo album after leaving Dream Theater and Fates Warning--before the launch of OSI. It is, like it's predecessor, quite laid back and richly atmospheric. Obviously, Kevin has been impressed and affected by the manned space missions accomplished since the 1950s. Also, he is very much enjoying building songs around media voice samples.

Line-up / Musicians:
- Kevin Moore / vocals, keyboards, bass, co-producer
- David Iscove / guitar
- Steve Tushar / additional guitar (2), co-producer

1. "Get Back In The Car" (5:05) nice sleep-inducing fare. The vocal performance is, for my tastes, a little too laid back--almost as if he does really care. (8.5/10)

2. "Another Permanent Address" (5:05) a little more up-tempo, this one has a piano base that sounds like Bruce Hornsby. The vocal here is more engaged, the lyric a little more engaging, than that of the opener. Nice choruses and nice gentle piano solo in the instrumental section. (8.667/10)

3. "Nice To Know" (4:31) a slow, plodding, dramatic pace and CURE-like low-end leading soundscape supports Kevin's vocal. Too bad every vocal is fed through the exact same effects boxes; being a keyboard master, he obviously has choices of how he'd like his voice to sound. Still, it is one of the more interesting vocals on the album. The song has some cool heavier chords/sounds in between the vocals as well as an overall cool vibe to it. A top three song for me. (9/10)

4. "Lunar" (3:14) opens with TV anchor's news about an Apollo mission then piano with actual voice tapings of Apollo 11 astronaut and Mission Control intercommunication. Nice jazzy tropical outdoor lounge music in support. (8.667/10) 

5. "When You Drive" (5:27) another vocal sample--this time from an Indian man--giving relaxing yoga-like driving lessons. Another vocal sample of a young girl singing in a foreign (Southeast Asian) tongue is used as well. A song with a nice groove that could fit well on one of the Buddha Lounge collections. I like it very much ... I'm just not sure how proggy this is. (8.75/10)

6. "Subway" (4:37) Vocoder Kevin sings over World Music / Buddha Lounge music for the first couple minutes until at 2:26 a heavy synth chord ups the intensity of tension for the following Peter Gabriel-like electric piano solo and then finally takes over and dominates for about a minute before VK rejoins. PG piano and African-like drums to end. (8.667/10)

7. "Please Hang Up" (1:59) weird, wobbly little thing that also reminds me of 1980s Peter Gabriel. Cute editing of the automated telephone operator's vocal. (4.25/5) 

8. "Astronaut Down" (4:56) cool song using a nice, driving musical base over which astronaut samples are mixed with Kevin's effected voice and Peter Gabriel-like Fender Rhodes. Nice little synth solos starting at the end of the third minute and then, the second, later--all beneath astronaut chatter. (8.75/10)

9. "You Go Now" (4:23) nice almost ambient Fender Rhodes-based electronica within which odd spacey sounds and vocal samples are woven. (8.75/10)

Total Time: 39:17

A very pleasant, unoffensive, often engaging if soporific album listen. While I do enjoy Kevin's use of media samples woven within the song structures, I just wish he would employ a little more dynamic diversity.

87.05 on the Fishscales = B/four stars; an interesting and enjoyably dreamy journey into the mellower side of former Dream Theater keyboard artist Kevin Moore's creative brainspace. 

The Rankings for 2003

1. KAYO DOT Choirs of the Eye
2. MASSIVE ATTACK 100th Window
3. LA MASCHERA DI CERA Il Grande Labirinto
4. RIVERSIDE Out of Myself
5. KARDA ESTRA Constellations
6. FAUN Licht
7. Colossus/Musea Records presents: Kalevala: A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic
8. THE MARS VOLTA De-loused in the Comatorium
9. NO-MAN Together We're Stranger
10. ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS Mild Profundities

11. CHROMA KEY You Go Now
12. MEW Frengers 
13. FROGG CAFÉ Creatures
14. TAAL Skymind
15. OCEANSIZE Effloresce
16. SATELLITE A Street Between Sunrise and Sunset
17. THE GATHERING Souvenirs
18. MOONGARDEN Round Midnight
20. EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place

Honorable Mentions:
NIL Quarante jours sur le Sinaï 
MAR DE ROBLES Mar de Robles

Special Mentions:
BLUR Think Tank 

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