Exposé Online banner

DarWin — Origin of Species
(Origin of Species OOS5, 2019, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-12-25

Origin of Species Cover art

“We have sufficient computational power to establish control over all networks and computers on Earth.” So begins the epic concept album Origin of Species by DarWin, with a computerized voice declaring its intent to fix the ailing planet. The promotional material for the project features drummer Simon Phillips almost exclusively, telling the story of how DarWin approached him with a proposal to produce an album. Who is DarWin? I have no idea. In addition to production, engineering, mixing, and drums, Phillips handles some keyboards. Well-known session man Matt Bissonette plays bass and sings; other contributors include Ernest Tibbs (bass), Greg Howe (guitar), Dennis Hamm (keyboards, Phillips’ bandmate in Protocol), Jeff Babko (keyboards), and several others. The music fits into the category of modern epic progressive rock, full of big sounds, orchestrations, metal-inflected guitars, and lush keyboards. While the story dominates the project, the songs work as individual works, with the notable exception of “Gummy Bear,” which does not work, but not because of the concept — it’s just an embarrasingly stupid song, probably intended as a lighthearted respite from the serious story of humanity’s destruction of our planet. Like much of Billy Sherwood’s work, it sounds great, with impeccable audio quality, superb performances, and leaves me cold. Origin of Species is exactly the kind of music that appeals to many fans of progressive rock, and I’ll be generous enough to say that it’s the result of sincere effort and artistry rather than calculation of audience taste. Certainly we all know that this kind of music isn’t going to hit the top of the sales charts, so I’m pretty sure those involved aren’t expecting to get rich off of it. Still, it’s impossible to hate music that is so well made, and Simon Phillips’ drumming is outstanding, so I hope DarWin finds his audience.

Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Simon Phillips, DarWin

Latest news

Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Jadis - Across the Water – If this band sounds familiar to you, it's probably because Jadis are usually touted as the alter-ego of IQ. With half of Jadis also members of IQ concurrently (Martin Orford, keys; John Jowitt,...  (1994) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues