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Darling (USA) - 2004 - "D2R"
(49 min, 'HD')


1.  Clown on Fire 4:48
2.  Black Rhyme 4:50
3.  Prom Vomit 2:36
4.  Where Seraphs Despair 3:32
5.  Rope of Sand 1:50
6.  Aggressive Biological Behavior 6:27
7.  An Unsettled Score 2:51
8.  Run 6:30
9.  Dog Dreams 2:46
10. A Breach of Species One Through Five 0:40
11. Mr. Smith Shows the Children How to Smoke a Cigarette 4:41
12. Asunder 6:56

All tracks: by Darling.
Produced & engineered by Darling.


Hal Darling - varied drums & percussion; keyboards


Uri Gatton - electric & acoustic guitars, MIDI guitars
Athan Gaillis - woodwinds & brasses, MIDI horns

Prolusion. "D2R" means "Darling Second Recording". The eponymous Darling debut album was released more than seven years ago, in 1996. What does this mean, in its turn? This means that a man, whose main passion is music, must have a day job. There are too few progressive artists today who would be able to subsist only by producing music and have enough money to provide for their families.

Synopsis. The world we live in is full of freaks. Indeed, freaks are twists of any dual world, just like ours. Musical hack-workers, dehumanizing people by primitive combinations of three chords, rake in the shekels, while geniuses are most often content with a very modest success. Even at the heyday of Progressive, behind the infamous accusation with "the alienation from people", brought by some label owners against Jethro Tull (after the band released "A Passion Play"), was hidden just their concern for profit. Unfortunately, a true creation, the simultaneous flight of soul and thought and the product of genuine inspiration, has zero commercial potential today. Nevertheless, even the most non-conformist heroes of the genre would like to have a more or less large audience. Many Prog-lovers are able to value the music by Darling, as well as the high professionalism of him and both of the other members of the project. However, the number of those who will listen to "D2R" at least half as often as in the case with the traditionally classic albums of the genre will be inadequate. Well, here is another outfit, one of the creative purposes of which is to perform Classical Music by dints of Progressive Rock. Hal Darling is not only a drummer and keyboardist extraordinaire, but also an outstandingly gifted composer. He perfectly grasps all the essential principles of Rock and Classical music and, most likely, those of avant-garde academic music, too. While there are differences between the compositions on "D2R", all of them are submitted to the constant and unswerving, yet, always logical development of musical events that they consist of. No cliches, no repetitions. In short, there is nothing that a conservative Prog-head would be able to scoff at. So, either bravely join this magic flow of notes or row shoreward to join Coca-Cola. Most of the pieces are notable for highly intensive arrangements and are saturated with a dense, almost orchestral sound formed by the parts of all the Rock, chamber, and jazz instruments involved, and also, sometimes, those of vibraphone and violin. The textures of Clown on Fire and Black Rhyme (1 & 2) contain constituents of all four of the basic progressive genres: Art-Rock, Prog-Metal, RIO, and Jazz-Fusion, and also Classical Music, yet, doesn't blend with any of them. In addition, there is distinctly something new. Consequently, here is another striking example of another progressive genre, which, instead of "New Music" etc, I call Fifth Element. The same words are topical with regard to Prom Vomit, Rope of Sand, and Dog Dreams (3, 5, & 9), regardless of their brevity and the lost Prog-Metal-related constituent. All of the other pieces on the album are dedicated to Classical and, partly, Neoclassical Academic Music (no Dodecaphony here). In pure, chamber, form, it is presented on Where Seraphs Despair, An Unsettled Score, and A Breach of Species One Through Five (4, 7, & 10), all being performed with the use of only orchestral drums and cymbals. Classical Music by dints of Progressive Rock in general and those of Symphonic Art-Rock and Prog-Metal in particular is the victorious style of Aggressive Biological Behavior, Run, Mr. Smith Shows the Children How to Smoke a Cigarette, and Asunder (6, 8, 11, & 12). With the exception of Run, all of these 'run' mostly fast and are as intensive and completely unpredictable as those five entities of Fifth Element. Finally, I think I won't be mistaken by saying that Mussorgsky, Holst, and Stravinsky are among Darling's favorite classical composers.

Conclusion. Generally, even the most sincere endeavor to investigate and describe such a complex music as is presented on "D2R" can't give you a really clear idea of what you can expect to hear here. This album is a superb masterpiece, but I can highly recommend it only to those who cover all the progressive genres and are always open to the adventurous combinations of them and just new musical forms as well.

VM: April 10, 2004

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