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Band: Barry Cleveland

CD Title: “Hologramatron”

Band Website:  www.barrycleveland.com

Label: Moonjune Records

Label Website: www.moonjune.com

Release Date: 2010

 

The name Barry Cleveland is well know to guitarists everywhere given his editors role at Guitar Player magazine in addition to four previous recordings that focused on everything from ambient to world fusion styles. With this fifth release, Hologramatron Cleveland delves a little more deeply into music that is heavily influenced by progressive rock. Cleveland has surrounded himself with a stellar cast of players whose work has supported such diverse performers as Steve Winwood to Peter Gabriel: they include Robert Powell (pedal-steel guitar), Michael Manring (bass), Celso Alberti (drums) and Amy X Neuberg (vocals). Additional special guests contribute everything from vocals to violin to congas to teapot! This is a disc of music that at times delivers highly experimental textures and at other times deceptively simple moods.

 

The music of Hologramatron gets underway with “Lake of Fire” [4:25] featuring a brief moody Mellotron strings introduction and then moves into a jazzy flavoured bass and guitars foundation that rumbles ominously forward until ending abruptly. The next track “Money Speaks” [4:40] gets underway with a funky Pink Floyd-ish rhythm and here again the guitars take a tone that is distinctly non-guitar-ish as Cleveland loves to play with our ears. He manages to coax some really unusual sounds out of his instrument and the others involved in the musical creation help out immensely giving each of these compositions a proggy, world-beat feel. On one hand it all sounds kind of spacey and other-worldly and yet at the same time warm, organic and very familiar. Track three “You’ll Just Have to See it to Believe it” [5:20] really gets into a proggy vibe with rumbling bass and layers of spacey atmospherics. It’s slower mid-tempo and pedal-steel guitar runs will again remind some of Pink Floyd but it’s not a style of song they would be doing, this is all Cleveland and company. Lush and majestically haunting all of these pieces are filled with layer upon layer of musicality that at times is quite dense and yet never overbearing. The disc is also full of surprises, in amongst some rather biting social commentaryCleveland gives us his interpretations of a 60’s era Phil Spector-ish “What Have They Done to the Rain” [4:55] and then just to top it off there’s a version of the guitar classic “Telstar” [3:56].    

 

I think Hologramatron will appeal to prog fans on a number of levels. There will be some who really get off on the musicianship, others will really like the unique sounds and in that regard there is much to recommend. Barry Cleveland has created what is perhaps his most proggy set of tunes that has much in common with artists like Peter Gabriel and Tony Levin, so if you are craving something a bit different this would be a really good place to start.

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