Fractal Mirror — Garden of Ghosts
(Third Contact 3CR-1054, 2014, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-03-14The core of Fractal Mirror are keyboardist, guitarist and singer Leo Koperdraat and bassist / keyboardist Ed Van Haagen, who have been working together since the 80s along with a third member long since departed. In those early days, the band was heavily influenced by the then-rising neo-progressive movement led by bands like Marillion, IQ, Pendragon, Twelfth Night, and others – a strong influence that can still be heard in their music. A few years back, American drummer Frank Urbaniak met the others online and joined the band in time for their debut Strange Attractors; on this, the band’s sophomore effort, he wrote the lyrics for most of the album’s eleven tracks, around which Van Haagen and Koperdraat composed the music. The three worked long distance developing Garden of Ghosts, after which Urbaniak’s drums were recorded stateside, along with contributions from additional musicians Don Fast (guitars), Larry “Synergy” Fast (keys) and Brett Kull (additional vocals, along with other members of Echolyn), Kull also serving as the album’s co-producer. Overall, this is a very strong song oriented album, reminiscent somewhat of turn-of-the-century Porcupine Tree and recent material by Pineapple Thief, without any expanded sidelong epics or extended instrumental firestorms, although I think Fractal Mirror would certainly be capable of that if they ever chose to do so. The vocals tend to be expressive and warm, yet the use of similar harmonies and effects throughout the album results in a bit of sameness across the eleven cuts, though after a few listens the vocals, more than anything else become the band’s signature.
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more