Exposé Online banner

Hermetic Science — Ed Macan's Hermetic Science
(Magnetic Oblivion 1-MERM1-97, 1997, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1998-02-01

Ed Macan's Hermetic Science Cover art

If Macan's name sounds familiar, perhaps it's because you've seen or read his book Rocking the Classics (Reviewed in Issue #12). Macan's three-piece band Hermetic Science features bass, drums, piano, and a variety of mallet and tuned percussion instruments (vibes, marimba, tubular bells, glockenspiel, tympani). The album features two different lineups of the band, one dating from '96 and another from '97, both comprised of students at College of the Redwoods near Eureka, California, where Macan is a music professor. With only tuned percussion driving the melodic end of the sound, one might imagine that the music here is not your standard fare; the drums and bass fill the bottom end nicely, presenting a busy framework over which the complex melodic structures are developed. What's missing here is a sonic 'middle ground' to fill in the midrange spectrum — the result being a very light and airy feel that hints as much of Gary Burton's early ECM albums as it does of some of the European chamber rock ensembles like Art Zoyd. The chief difference here is that the compositions here are rock based — never mind the lack of guitars, though more variety in the instrumental approach might have made this better. More than occasionally one might be reminded of the early work of the Quebecois band Maneige, minus all the symphonic elements. Of the eight tunes presented here, five are originals penned by Macan. They also cover Curved Air's "Cheetah," an obscure ELP tune, and the the disc closes with an excellent seven minute adaptation of Holst's "Mars," from The Planets. In all, this is a highly original and promising debut that fans of mallet percussion surely won't want to miss. Recommended.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 14, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Hermetic Science

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Halloween - Merlin – It's been a long time, four years in fact, since we've seen from this highly regarded French outfit. Laz was greeted with a lot of hype when it came out in 1990, it had a lot of people turning heads....  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues