Exposé Online banner

Intelligent Music Project III — Touching the Divine
(Intelligent Music IMPCD03, 2015, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-10-28

Touching the Divine Cover art

I’m always saying “Quality is independent of genre,” and I believe it’s true that quality can be found in any style of music. Dr. Milen Vrabevski is a Bulgarian composer and producer whose music fits squarely in the genre of mainstream rock. This music attempts nothing beyond what has been done by Asia, Toto, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, and a thousand others. Saying this is not an automatic condemnation – I will grant that it’s possible to create good music in this style, and in fact some of the bands mentioned have done so. According to the website, some support for this Project comes from the Bulgarian Memory Foundation, with the goal of preserving and popularizing Bulgarian Cultural Heritage. I’m not sure how a CD full of music patterned after American and English rock of the 70s and 80s advances either of those goals, but it’s not my grant money to distribute. Vrabevski is aided in this venture by an all-star cast of American and English musicians, veterans of Asia, Toto, Bon Jovi, and so on, further obscuring the Bulgarian Culture connection. Lead vocals are by John Payne (some versions of Asia) and Joseph Williams (certain versions of Toto); lead guitar is by session wizard Tim Pierce (who has worked with nearly everyone on the planet from Celine Dion to Madonna, Springsteen, and Elton John); and the drums are handled by none other than Simon Phillips, who needs no explanation here. The music adheres closely to established traditions of the genre, with no surprises in the chord progressions or the melodies, and every note is immaculately placed and impeccably recorded. Given that the singers are native English speakers, it’s a little odd to hear them singing awkward lines like “See again me, see again our life! / Visions of you make me live! / It is so true we accept our strife / Hoping our love is to be.” I don’t necessarily have a problem with “uplifting” lyrics, but it helps if they are grammatically correct, make sense, and are not too preachy. “You’ve got the power of action. / What you achieve in sum / Is just your mind projection / Of your fate to come.” Really? This album is a must-have for die-hard fans of the John Payne version of Asia. For anyone else… approach with caution.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Simon Phillips, Intelligent Music Project (Milen Vrabevski)

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Trio Fattoruso - Trio Fattoruso – It makes perfect sense that Uruguay would not be just another blip on the radar of finesse jazz and rock players. Brothers Jorge and Hugo Fattoruso have been playing various Latin and jazz styles for...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues