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TCP: Fantastic Dreamer

The Temporal Chaos Project is a relatively new band, (formed in early 2008), from the Northeastern US. The band is made up of the "collaborative spirits" of progressive rockers, Henry Tarnecky, vocals and keyboards, Blake Tobias, keyboards and bass; and Jack Wright, guitars and drums. Special guests include Glenn Arpino on keyboards and piano, Tom Shiben on bass, and Nicole Tarnecky on vocals.

This album is just incredible. Please don't miss the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of this band. Someday you can say you knew them when…"Vision" is reason enough to buy this album, but "In the Movie of You", "Ambiance…", "Fading…", and the title track are worthy contenders. There are no low points on this album, which is getting harder and harder to find in music. This band has the muscle on guitars and drums balanced perfectly with that incredible piano and keyboard work. Salutes, back to the better days of prog, while at the same time charting a course for the future with original music. There is nothing missing here.

I was sent this album by the band's label, 10T Records, so thanks to them for bringing the band to my attention. I have since bought their first album The Way, and will be reviewing that one soon.

Heavy bass and drums open "Schizoid & Guntrip" before Henry Tarnecky's Peter Gabrielesque, but unique voice, brings the fears of Harry Guntrip to life, "What do you see? Hiding in a bush behind that tree?" That blistering Black Sabbath like guitar run mixes perfectly with a fast running, "Hocus Pocus" like melody. The matching of the two effects is just magic. A very quick and unique opener. So different than the rest of the album. But a great standout on its own.

The sound of the film reel rolling, then that magnificent piano, which will be featured well throughout this album, highlighted for the first time on "In the Movie of You", my second favorite song on the album. Bringing back all those memories of the abuses of the film culture and industry detailed in many of the great classics of prog. But this is TCP's original take on the theme and their music adds a new twist. The soaring eerie guitars and keys mixed well with drums punctuate the mood perfectly. Henry's vocals bring back those Fish vocal interludes, especially when he sings, "Succumb to beg, steal or borrow, get your studio picture to play…Don't cry, (cut, cut), your eyes, call make up". The blazing guitars and keys that follow are some of the best exchanges on the album. "Vivling hear me now, I don't want to lose you to someone else somehow". That wonderful piano instrumental at 6:26 is just incredible, bringing back memories of the level of playing from Volker Söhl's of Sylvan. Eight minutes of prog power.

The issue of fan devotion is addressed in "Devotee". Bells and chimes, then echoing guitar, open another fantastic piano run. "I'm not gonna tell you what to do. You can always have my heart. Cause you've had it from the start". The bass is crunchy, and the keys shine through. The "live it up" moments bring back more memories of Fish, but they are transformed by those string – like synths and the rhythm of the keys. The guitar solos are excellent. The drums do a great job of keeping the pace. "Faith will take your hand, lead you cross the sea…devotee".

Deep synths and string sounds fill the soundscape as "Ambiance of the Active Mind", another of the best songs on the album takes off. The guitar solos that mingle with the enveloping synths are fantastic. Just as you're lulled into a subconscious state, the pitches on those guitars is raised higher and the power lifts the entire soundscape. Soft keys fill the room as Henry sings, "Save yourself, it's not impossible to break out".

"Fantastic Dreamer, the title song, opens with violin – string sounds before blasting off with bass, lead electric, keys and drums roaring full force. "Fantastic dreamer, show me what it takes to awake and survive". The acoustic and lead guitars take off on a flight of power along with that striking piano, punctuating the rhythm, along with the deep bass. Simply magic. No wonder this is the title song. It is a showcase for everyone's talents. That acoustic solo mixed with the launching electric lead with the keys tightly knit between is excellent. This band is playing like a band that has been playing forever. Fish - era Marillion vocals from Henry that captivate and drive the message home. That piercing lead electric and then Henry's best Fish - like vocal, "Father can you help me…now and at the end?"

Beautiful electric guitar and those awesome keys open "Releasing". The melody sounds familiar, but I can't place it. "Maybe someday grace will come", then a magnificent acoustic guitar, as the electric lead joins in, just beautiful. Then the synths take center stage and along with the drums just blow your mind. Definitely some of the best guitar on the album. "Unlock the seventh seal through which I must go".

Shimmering cymbals like lightning, and piano open "Fading in the Rain", another of my favorite songs on the album. That building momentum of all the instruments is topped off with the crème of a piano assault similar to 'the Lamb'. What a way to start! "Isn't every day a moving day?" Brings back a little of the power of Roger Hodgson's "It's Raining Again". Nicole Tarnecky's backing vocals add just the right soft touch to the sound. "Don't stop defiant. Follow your heart as you seek".

"Upon Further Review" is another favorite song on an album which feels more and more like a greatest hits album by now. There are no misses here. That acoustic guitar opens this song so full of life and promise. The harpsichord - like keys follow in pursuit. "This is a chance. This is a way so lovely. Get rid of the past and such". Sounds like some serious spring cleaning of 'baggage'. The keys and synth playing is wonderful on the instrumental section. They are well supported by the acoustic guitar which weaves its way through. "Upon further review I think its love".

What every great band needs is an epic song that helps elevate them beyond the vast crowd of artists out there struggling for attention. "Vision" is that song for TCP. I think this one will someday be celebrated like the great prog epics of our time. It has all the elements. The over 13 minute epic is blessed with the best and most inspirational lyrics on the album. "Be all that you can be for how long will this wonder last? We were once just children with a heart so young, and our thoughts were simple, let the spirit run. But you can still believe and go beyond." The original and riveting guitar work is masterful. The piano and keyboard work…well…you just gotta hear it to really understand. The album artwork for this song really brings the message into clear focus. Helen Keller's quote is perfectly encapsulated on the inside disc cover, "The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision". Everything you could want in an epic closer. So far my favorite song of the year. "See deep within your dreams and one day you'll be living them".

Track Listing

  1. Schizoid & Guntrip
  2. In the Movie of You
  3. Devotee
  4. Ambiance of the Active Mind
  5. Fantastic Dreamer
  6. Releasing
  7. Fading in the Rain
  8. Upon Further Review
  9. Vision

Added: May 3rd 2011
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 5560
Language: english

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TCP: Fantastic Dreamer
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-05-03 16:57:57
My Score:

Here in the UK TCP is the name of a mild antiseptic that "Soothes pain. Fights Infection". Now I'm not going to suggest that Fantastic Dreamer, which is the second album from this US act who are signed to the ever interesting 10t Records has the powers to stop cuts and scrapes from becoming infected. However I'm thoroughly convinced that each and every one of the nine songs on this fantastic album have the ability to soothe, invigorate, amaze and engross listeners and improve the mood of anybody who takes this album for a spin.

Think what it would have been like if "Wish You Were Here" era Pink Floyd had decided that they wanted to merge with Gabriel era Genesis to create a new, but familiar sound and then add a more contemporary verve and a cutting edge production. You're getting there now, but there are still plenty of twists and turns to make Fantastic Dreamer into what should genuinely be held up as a progressive rock classic - and I don't say that lightly.

This is an album that never drops from start to finish, with the quality of musicianship and composition remaining staggeringly high throughout. That's not to say however that there aren't highlights, but don't take that to mean that each and every one of the songs on this album aren't of the highest standard. My personal favourites come in the shape of beautifully melodic "In The Movie Of You", where a plaintive piano introduces a deeply atmospheric Floydian theme that is as equally uplifting as it is threatening. The guitar work of Jack Wright sings and sears, while the absolutely stunning keyboard work (a theme across the whole album) from Blake Tobias not only sets the scene, but continually moves the music along and pushes its boundaries. TCP are not a band content to sit on a theme for too long though, so as this song blurs past Wright suddenly blurts out a howling guitar solo, allowing the whirlwind drumming (which is also provided by Wright) and the galloping bass (which Tobias also plays) to come along for the ride. The effect is stunning, aggressive and beautiful, which is a pretty impressive trick to pull off. Not content with that TCP then fire out the bizarre, with stunning results. Imagine the cabaret piano of Dresden Dolls pounding over a rocked up Genesis vibe. It sounds plain wrong doesn't it? Well let me tell you, it is oh so right. The guitars work is precise and straight to the point, with the keyboard and the rhythm playing really hauling this song into a full on rampage that has melody to burn.

I haven't touched on the vocals yet and you may wonder why. Well the simple reason is that they deserve to be singled out, with the tones of Henry Tarnecky being similar to Peter Gabriel's husky tones. However the tortured gargles and shrieks that he yelps out, bring a completely unique aspect to his voice that is simultaneously unnerving and beguiling. As with so much of what makes Fantastic Dreamer just so good, it is this remarkable contrast between elements of songs and sounds that makes for such an interesting and invigorating album. However the skill comes in making it all come together in such a seamless manner, which this album does with an impressive and unforced ease. Many prog acts these days feel the need to wedge together disparate ideas simply to sound "progressive", TCP on the other hand allow the different moods, feels and approaches to meld into one another in a completely organic and hugely enjoyable manner, which is a rare treat!

Closing track "Vision" is the epic that all albums of this ilk thrive on and unsurprisingly it doesn't disappoint in any way. It just grows and grows through a simple melody that Marillion would kill for, into an all encompassing journey through some weighty themes and grandiose, anthemic tones. Tarnecky shines once more, but this is a true band effort to make music that is far huger than the sum of its parts - and cranked up, it is absolutely stunning.

Put simply. You like prog? Go get yourself this album. You won't be disappointed.

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