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Intelligent Music Project VIII — Miracles Beyond
(Intelligent Music IMPCD08, 2024, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2024-05-24

Miracles Beyond Cover art

I almost wish I’d made an “unboxing” video for the arrival of this CD. I got a notification from the Post Office that something had arrived, I went to my box and picked it up, I got home, and got out my letter opener — it’s a metal one shaped like a tiny scimitar with a Chinese dragon design which was a souvenir of a trip to San Francisco when I was a teenager (I think… I’ve carried the little thing with me through more moves than I can count) — and carefully slit open the packing envelope, not wanting to risk damaging the CD within. I pulled out the CD, looked at it, and immediately muttered, “Crap.” Or something to that effect. Please take a moment to glance at my thoughts about the third Intelligent Music Project (2015) and the fifth one (2020). Now you understand my reaction. We’re now at the eighth one, and I’m honestly quite relieved that I missed numbers six and seven. I had heard two out of seven, and both were awful, but I suppose there’s a chance that the others are better, and that this new one is decent. Yeah, right. Once again, Bulgarian composer Milen Vrabevski has recruited an international roster to interpret his music: renowned drummer Simon Phillips is on board, as he has been for most of the installments; John Payne (Asia) shares vocal duties with Carl Sentance (Nazareth), Joseph Williams (Toto), Richard Grisman, and Slavin Slavchev; Biser Ivanov and Ernest Tibbs handle bass and guitar respectively; keyboards are by Ivo Stafanov, Yasen Velchev, and Samuel Eftimov; and the arrangements are filled out by a choir, an orchestra, and numerous backing vocalists. Vrabevski is the chief songwriter, though Ivanov and Slavchev have a hand in a few of the fourteen tracks. Stylistically, the songs on Miracles Beyond are essentially interchangeable with those on the other albums, being middle of the road rock songs that could have originated in any time since the early 80s. You’ve got rockers and ballads, all fleshed out with strings and trying to sound epic, all thoroughly generic. If you think this might be your thing, by all means seek it out online, and give it a whirl, but for my money (or time) it’s better off avoided.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

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

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