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(65:20, Three Thirteen)
TRACK LIST: 1. Reflection of Day 6:08 2. All the While 4:38 3. Depletion Region 8:42 4. Future Memories 7:24 5. Illusionation 4:11 6. Wolos 2:13 7. Offlander 6:04 8. The Blasted Plain 7:54 9. May At Last 6:16 10. The Turne 4:07 11. Day of Reflection 7:43 LINEUP: Mark Harrell - all instruments
Prolusion. US project THREE THIRTEEN is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Mark Harrell. It was instigated in 2002, and so far a dozen albums has been released under this moniker. "Depletion Region" dates back to 2015, and was self-released.
Analysis. Just where to place Three Thirteen in a progressive context is a bit difficult, as this is an artist that at least in my view hovers on the very outer borders of the progressive rock universe. But I guess that a description along the lines of not all that far removed from the likes of Mike Oldfield, at least in some aspects of this music, is as good a description as anything else. In terms of style, I'd say that Three Thirteen on this album incorporate elements from new age and symphonic progressive rock most of all. Arguably a lot closer to the former than the latter in terms of a specific style placement. Mainly because the music tends to be rather unobtrusive. Wandering, plucked clean and acoustic guitars is a key element throughout, and fairly often a song will feature multiple layers of this instrument in certain key passages. Gentle floating, fluctuating and occasionally soaring keyboard textures proves the additional detail many progressive rock fans will enjoy, and the piano and organ is given some room here and there as well. The songs tend to ebb and flow in tempo and intensity, often seguing back and forth between a sparse and a more fully developed, layered arrangement. Some details here and there that nods towards jazz and jazzrock can be found, as can folk music and world music tinged details on a few occasions. Vocal effects and subtle but present backing vocal details is also a recurring feature, often adding some warmth to soundscapes that otherwise may come across as slightly clinical. Apart from those additions, this production is an instrumental one. The main thing I can say about this album is that it is an accessible, pleasant to listen to, but at least as far as I'm concerned also a production that lacks any depth beyond this. The album strikes me as one that may well succeed best when listened to with half an ear, while doing something else, or possibly as a film score kind of production. For concentrated, deep listening this is a CD that for me at least lacks any of those aspects that makes me engage in the music on a deeper level.
Conclusion. Three Thirteen's tenth album "Depletion Region" isn't one I can see will have a big draw for a progressive rock oriented audience. I rather suspect it will have a stronger pull towards a new age and ambient interested audience, despite being rather more sophisticated and developed than many of the artists placed within that context. Otherwise my thought is that this is a CD that may well appeal to those fond of the gentler music made by artists such as Mike Oldfield. Not that I will draw a straight comparison between the two, but in my view there are some similarities in approach and expression here and there that makes this a viable reference.
Progmessor: September 24th 2017
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