Alvarado, Leon: 2014 – Music From An Expanded Universe
Leon Alvarado is a Texas musician who has been around for decades but did not release his first album Plays Genesis and Other Original Stuff until 2008. His second album Strangers in Strange Places came out in 2010 and now we have his third release 2014 – Music From An Expanded Universe.
On his latest, Alvarado has sought help from ex-King Crimson guitarist Trey Gunn and drummer Jerry Marotta, perhaps best known for his work with Peter Gabriel. Also appearing are Smith6079 (atmospheric guitars) and Gracenotex (atmospheric keyboards) of the ambient project Cyber Zen Sound Engine.
Music From An Expanded Universe is filled with sweeping keyboard soundscapes and shimmering synth excursions. This is not so much about solos as it is about moody atmospheres and textures. I was occasionally reminded of electronic/keyboard specialists like Jean Michel Jarre, Larry Fast or even Alan Parsons.
The atmospheric "Irreverence (Part 1)" begins the CD with its trippy ambient vibe and spacey textural synths and keys. "The 2014 Microcosm" is all mood laden synths and cool electronics featuring a sinuously smooth bass line from Gunn. "Blood Like Red" starts and ends with atmospheric wind effects with the middle brimming with Alvarado's spacier synth exploits and Gunn's textural Warr guitar crunch. It is here the band really get into a full but subtle groove. "Irreverence (Part II)" continues with the ambient nature of part I before crisp electronic rhythms run their course. There is a hint of Parsons in this section. The album ends with a live version of "Cinemania" which originally appeared on the Plays Genesis album. The sound quality is excellent.
My only complaint is the disc's short running time. It seemed just when I was getting into the album it was all over. I have a feeling a few more tunes would have really gone down well.
Music From An Expanded Universe is a very nice electronic/keyboard heavy album that should appeal to music fans who appreciate mood and texture over virtuosic wankery. Quite a refreshing listen and a nice change of pace. Released on Melodic Revolution Records.
1. Irreverence (Part 1) (2:37)
2. The 2014 Microcosm (4:55)
3. Blood Like Red (6:32)
4. Irreverence (Part II) (5:26)
5. Cinemania "Alive" (Bonus Track) (3:40)
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