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Edhels - Astro - Logical CD (album) cover

ASTRO - LOGICAL

Edhels

 

Neo-Prog

2.46 | 14 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Marc Ceccotti's Monaco-Prog quartet release its fourth studio album in 1991, with a cheesy title, a tired concept, and some laughably tacky cover art (the pseudoscientific hokum of astrology really isn't all that sexy). After the disillusions that followed the supposed dawning of the Age of Aquarius, did an album of instrumental zodiac portraits make any sense? And if not, could it at least be salvaged by the music itself? The answer to both questions is: almost, but not entirely.

The album was released a mere three years after the band's popular 'Still Dream'. But even with the same line-up a lot had changed since 1988. Gone were the melodic Neo-Prog nods to classic '70s role models, replaced by a cold electronic soundstage more in step with the antiseptic early 1990's. However it all might have begun, the music in its finished form was digitized to a not-very flattering degree: cybernetic might be a better description.

A flesh-and-blood percussionist is credited, but he likely had to be plugged into his drum kit and re-programmed before every session. Even the guitarists (two of them, including Ceccotti) sound computerized. On the other hand, any musician who models his technique (and his tuning) after Robert Fripp or Alan Holdsworth deserves our applause, and the performances are often brilliant, even at their most mechanical.

The music too, beyond its impersonal cosmetic design, is never less than challenging. But the episodic framework, often within each song, keeps the listener at arm's length, never allowing even a casual brush of human contact. The album would have been far more involving with a little more organic warmth, but clearly that wasn't in the stars.

Appreciate it as a noble experiment: Progressive Rock by way of Isaac Asimov, or William Gibson. But don't expect too many repeat plays.

Neu!mann | 2/5 |

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