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TRACK LIST: 1. Part 1 21:03 2. Part 2 17:50 LINEUP: Ben Cameron – vocals; guitars, bass; keyboards Chris Cameron – drums, percussion
Prolusion. The Australian group THE BEN CAMERON PROJECT is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Ben Cameron, currently residing in London, England. "Tipping Point" is the first album to be released under this moniker, and following a two year long creation period it was self-released in May 2014.
Analysis. This album is the result of the accomplishments of one man first and foremost. While a drummer has been brought in, a relative of main man Ben Cameron one might suspect, this album is primarily the creation of Ben himself, up to and including mix and production. A true one-man band effort, apart from choosing to get a real drummer involved rather than to rely on drum machines. Those of us who listen to a lot of music will always be grateful for that small touch, as drum machines more often than not leave a bit to be desired, unless used by seasoned hands with solid experience in how to use their strengths and hide their weaknesses as a tool. As in many other such cases, I'm fairly impressed by the end result. Mix and production aren't the best, the vocals are passable with some weak spots here and there, but generally speaking, the end result is an accomplished one. The two epic-length, multi-themed compositions have been well assembled; the transitions might lack a bit of elegance, but at the end of the day it is the music as a hole that is important. As long as everything else works and is of a decent enough quality, that is sufficient. The first of the two compositions is the most impressive one, a fairly elegant creation that mainly stays put in a vintage progressive rock context, touching base with artists such as Genesis, Camel and Pink Floyd as it unfolds, with organ, keyboards and guitars in various constellations and levels of intensity making the end result sound closer to one or the other. Passages with more of a non-descript, vintage organ and guitar combination come and go as well, and towards the end a more vibrant, guitar-driven phase also adds a touch of Porcupine Tree to the proceedings. The second part isn't quite as convincing. One might describe it as a more atmospheric affair; especially towards the end this one stays put in a more ambient-oriented landscape, and while the earlier parts of the composition feature edgier and more vibrant passages, its second half just doesn't manage to maintain tension and interest as efficiently as the opening one. There's quite a few tasty tidbits to enjoy here, but the experience is one, I think, can best be described as somewhat more uneven.
Conclusion. The Ben Cameron Project documents very well what one man can achieve in this day and age if he has the creative skills present to make good music, and the patience needed to do just about everything himself in order to create an album's worth of material and release it. In this case a mostly vintage-oriented progressive rock album, of the kind that might interest those with a taste for the more accessible parts of bands such as Genesis, Camel and Pink Floyd blended into one package, just as long as you don't expect or crave a top of the line, state of the art mix and production.
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