Perfect Beings — Perfect Beings II
(My Sonic Temple MST-1501, 2015, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-04-02
With their first album, the Southern California band Perfect Beings set a very high bar for themselves, with a sophisticated take on modern progressive rock superbly informed by the genre’s history but not devoted to repeating it. I’m happy to report that the follow-up is in no way a letdown. “Mar del Fuego” jumps out of the gate with a blast somewhat reminiscent of classic Yes. The guitar work is outstanding, blending some Howe-isms with some very original touches. Vocals only appear in the last few moments of the track, leading us into “Cryogenia,” which feels almost like the next section of a suite rather than a freestanding composition. It’s a slow-paced, dramatic vocal number, and leads into a brief electronic interlude before the album’s longest track, “The Love Inside.” The beautiful and sometimes elaborate vocal arrangements remind me of early Ambrosia and 10cc, though Perfect Beings stray much further from pop song structures than either of those bands. There are also whiffs of the first couple Klaatu albums, though without the orchestral elements. When you add the quality of the instrumental arrangements to the great vocals, it’s almost an embarrassment of riches. Aside from the previously mentioned guitar work, keyboards are quite prominent, balancing modern and vintage sounds seamlessly. The chordal patches have rich tones, and there are some very nice lead parts, sometimes sounding like a mutated Minimoog – it’s like they took Rick Wakeman at his wildest and ran it through the audio equivalent of a set of funhouse mirrors. Perfect Beings, when considered alongside The Aaron Clift Experiment, Ampledeed, Ovrfwrd, and a few others, affirm the strength of the newest generation of American progressive rock, and show that the old horse, far from being dead, is ready to hit the track.
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more