Exposé Online banner

Charles Brown — Explorer of Life
((Not on label) no#, 2017, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-02-28

Explorer of Life Cover art

Guitarist and composer Charles Brown is one of Colorado’s best kept secrets — though he has a half dozen previous recordings to his credit, this is his first time on my radar. Explorer of Life is a powerful and dynamic album of surefooted instrumental prog-rock, informed somewhat by jazz-fusion and classical ideas as well, presented in a contemporary context, though classic 70s prog ideals are never too far away. Throughout the ten tracks presented here, he presents power, majesty, and grand melodic concepts that reach forward and at the same time recall the greatness of the past with reverence, and no lyrics to get in the way of the theme, which I suppose is exploration of the journey of life, although that could easily just be my projection onto the music due to the album and track titles. Fact is, this album was released in 2017, but it’s just reaching me now, but as they say it’s never too late. Take a track like “Ecliptic Voyage,” encompassing many of the wide array of influences, including Steve Hackett in his days with Genesis, followed by the powerful hard rock edge of Rush’s Alex Lifeson or Pete Townshend, but it’s when the gripping melodic dual-tracked leads come to the fore, soaring above it all that all of the color and brilliance of Brown’s compositions make their greatest impact. Even more amazing is that, with only the exception of keyboardist Steve Espinosa, Brown has played all of the instruments – including drums, himself through many multi-tracked layers of guitars, guitar synthesizer and more; at times one van hear seven or more layers of guitars in a moving melodic panorama. One unique track here where Brown shows his exceptional skills on nylon string acoustic is his interpretation of Bach’s “Prelude (from Cello Suite #1),” the result being positively magnificent in its subtle beauty. Two tracks, “Wind of Darkness” and “The Darkest Night,” merge together into a beautiful hard rock epic that carefully delivers full-on power while eschewing the metallisms that Brown carefully avoids throughout this finely crafted album. Closer “When the Sun Rises” may be the album’s shortest track at a little over two minutes, but is a reassuring and delicate statement that brings it all home.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Charles Brown

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Corrosive Media - Speakeasy – Speakeasy is a maxi-CD single of three techno-house tracks from German duo Benedict Wyneken and Uwe Wienke. Tracks 1 and 3 clock in at just over fibe minutes each while the centerpiece, "Tommy Gun,"...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues