Exposé Online banner

Aelian — The Watcher
(Musea FGBG-4061.AR, 1992, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 1993-12-31:

The Watcher Cover art

Musea tends to release two kinds of music: reissues of excellent obscure progressive bands and debut efforts by contemporary bands. The latter can be broken down further into bands that learn from the past masters of the genre and extend progressive music to new horizons and the “wanna be” progressive bands that only hint at possibilities.

Aelian is one of these latter neo-progressive bands. Hailing from Italy, they root their music in bands like Yes and Styx. Unhappily they are bland imitators without understanding instrumentation and lyric writing. Too much happens in their music. As Robert Browning so aptly put it, “Less is more,” and Aelian would have benefited by not filling the available sonic space with instruments. You can pick out individual instruments, but Maurizio Antognoli’s keyboards are mixed way below the drums and bass. Vocals are not Aelian’s strong point yet there is only one instrumental. Aelian’s music improves by quantum leaps when they are not making space for their lead vocalist Mark Aixer. He occasionally trips over English and often the lyrics do not make sense. Take for instance this line from "You Don’t Touch Me": “How can I do to explain to you / that you break my heart like an innocent crime”; this line from "One Dream All Together": “We tried to slide in the dark side / but the lamps of envious lights up / the corner of a blind man”; and this line from "The Sun Will Shine Again": “Is there someone of us / who can merit unended whiles?” Then there is the quasi-“yellow peril” song "Y. F." inspired by “A Chinese Ghost Story,” which suffers from the almost racist refrain “And yellow faces in my eyes.” Aelian has the potential for being a good band once they gain more experience in song writing and playing live.


by Peter Thelen, 1994-02-01:

This is one of Musea's new releases, a label which for many years I considered infallible, but in the last few years they have occasionally proven me wrong with releases like Fancy Fluid's first, Overdrive, Deyss' first and others. Case in point: Aelian is a new Italian four piece of g/k/b/d, with the bassist doubling on lead vocals. The music is definitely neo-progressive for the most part, but in this case it's not necessarily a negative, they do fairly well, comparable to bands like Now and Sinister Street. The problem, once again, is the vocalist, with his laughable imitation Fish-like emotions, which are only eclipsed by his lack of understanding of the subtleties of the English language in which he's trying to sing. Add to that two very cheesy pop tracks that break the album's continuity, and you have a near total disaster. Fortunately, they did put an excellent instrumental on as the second track, and there are plenty of instrumental stretches in some of the other tracks as well. Still doesn't save it, though, when judgement comes down. These guys (unlike the previous) do have potential; I think a good recipe for a second album would be to skip the poppy drivel and stick to Italian vocals.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 2 , 1992 releases

Related artist(s): Aelian

More info

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Various Artists - A Bead to a Small Mouth – Each track on this compilation integrates spoken text and sound manipulation, with results both mysterious and captivating. On "A New Dress" Nurse with Wound layers shifting, hypnotic metallic tones...  (1999) » Read more

5uu's - Hunger's Teeth – The twisted family tree of the American bands U Totem, Thinking Plague, 5uu's and Motor Totemist Guild is perhaps representative of the challenging, ever-changing music that these four groups...  (1994) » Read more

Doctor Nerve - Skin – Dr. Nerve's latest album features more of composer / guitarist Nick Didkovsky's uncompromisingly dense and aggresive avant-garde rock. The music on Skin swings from a somewhat restrained RIO...  (1995) » Read more

Hawkwind - The Elf and the Hawk – This is a must have, Hawkfans. The Elf & the Hawk is a reissue of Brian Tawn’s fanzine Hawkfan (No. 12 to be precise) from 1986 plus a few bonus tracks. Hawkfan is the Hawkwind newsletter,...  (1999) » Read more

Steve Hackett - Feedback 86 – It just doesn’t get much worse than "Prizefighters." I remember when GTR introduced this song during their only tour, I disliked it then and this version is worse. Take one guitar...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues