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

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
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

2020-07-06
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


Previously in Exposé...

Cast - Al-Bandaluz – By this time, many readers will know what to expect from Mexico's Cast: complex, keyboard-heavy neo-progressive with lots of odd meters. They've stuck to that for what seems like twenty or...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues