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(59:11, Mals Records)
Prolusion. The US outfit THE FRACTURED DIMENSION came to be sometime after 2004, when drummer Alex Arellano started searching for musicians he could cooperate with in a band setting. He was soon joined by Twyford and Pitts and as compositions were written and an album unfolded, several musical friends got involved in the proceedings as well. Their debut album "Towards the Mysterium" was self-released in 2008 and later reissued by the Russian label MALS in 2009.
TRACK LIST: 1. Prelude 0:23 2. Towards the Mysterium 4:58 3. Reflection 2:18 4. Refraction 2:57 5. Fibonacci's Notebook 3:29 6. Strangeness 1:40 7. The Mathematics of Divinity 6:59 8. Out of the Summer Sky 1:58 9. Worshipping Slonimsky In A 4:19 10. Piano Improv Take 1 1:39 11. Falling Down Stairs 1:27 12. Despair 3:41 13. Fractured are the Nine Principals 6:09 14. Slendro Improv 2:20 15. Reiteration & Extemporaneous 5:47 16. Preparatory Action 4:10 17. Lecture 4:57 LINEUP: Alex Arellano – drums, percussion Jerry Twyford – bass; percussion Jimmy Pitts – keyboards, piano With: Tom Geldschlager – guitars (4, 13, 17) Brev Sullivan – guitars (2, 5, 13) Joshua Thomson – sax (3, 12) Jim Shannon – trumpet (15) Joe Deninzon – violin (17) Mike Prescott – tabla (14) &: Several more guitarists
Analysis. The works of Russian composer and mystic Alexander Scriabin is a major influence for The Fractured Dimension, to the point that this first effort of theirs is described as a tribute to Scriabin by the band on their homepage. As Scriabin is most renowned for his creation and development of a musical language that in its most evolved form was described as atonal, it's obvious that the contents of "Towards the Mysterium" is pretty far removed from the stylistic expressions most common and popular, even when dealing with progressive music. Scriabin was a composer of neoclassical music, and most of the creations on this album are heavily tinged by this stylistic expression as well. The piano and keyboards have dominating roles and I'd think that most if not all of these compositions could have been performed either as stand-alone piano pieces or as classical symphonic works as well. When that is said, the atonal qualities of these excursions would have made them just as challenging in this guise as they are as tracks performed by a progressive rock act - and in both cases I guess an expression like avant-garde won't be far away in any description of the contents. The music on this 17-track disc contains a great amount of variation – from almost gentle solo piano efforts to passages with distorted, frantic shredded guitar soloing, and stylistic expressions from classical and jazz to passages pretty close to thrash metal. The stylistic variations won't be the most noticeable trait though. Instead, the pretty constant use of arrhythmic, dissonant and disharmonic effects is what will be most noticeable and arguably also best remembered from this release. Whether these are subtle dissonances on the almost gentle, dark and mellow effort Despair or the chaotic, atonal non-melodic noise-scapes of Falling Down Stairs, effects and sounds challenging your perceptions of what can be described as music and melodies is a constant, prevalent feature throughout. There are plenty of passages and even a few tracks where the melody is the central element though; but the challenging features are always present, even if in a subdued or subtle manner. And personally I got most enjoyment out of these parts of this production. This will obviously be a matter of personal taste, but the passages and sequences totally dominated by the atonal, dissonant effects became too chaotic for my perceptions. It's not that I dislike such endeavors, more that I prefer to experience them utilized with some care and, indeed, subtlety.
Conclusion. If you're looking for music challenging your perception of music itself, serving up passages that make you wonder if this can be called melodic or not, this is a CD you might want to investigate. And while followers of more conventional stylistic expressions might find this production to be a bit too much, those who enjoy avant-garde explorations and liberal-minded fans of free form jazz should be a core audience for this venture.
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