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Act Of Will: Retire To The Music Room

Phew, I think I need a lie down… In fact, I might just Retire To The Music Room. However, don’t expect it to be a relaxing experience, Act Of Will is one full on outfit and this is one full on album. Dexterity and virtuosity are always to the fore and a flurry of notes is key to the message conveyed on a jazzy, fusiony, metaly, proggy blast - and although it states in the accompanying booklet that all of the compositions were created for 2 drummers, it would appear that the whole kit and caboodle comes as the sole plaything of multi-instrumentalist Michael Wilson.

There’s no doubt that this guy can play - and shred - and there’s no doubt that he wants to share those facts, hence, with unusual time signatures and syncopated rhythms key to what is an undeniably challenging experience, if you don’t take the time to truly engage with this album, it can at times leave you wondering just how sharply it all comes together. The answer, when sought out, is that it clicks into place incredibly well and with a carefully crafted eye from start to finish. However, by their very nature the darting and yet surprisingly laid back classical/electric guitar stand off that makes up “Pandora’s Music Box” or the string infused “Functional Pollution” create an aloofness that can be hard to circumnavigate - even if the latter track does, in places, remind of Pavlov’s Dog.

Taken in small doses, the tumbling beats and cymbal smashes that form the basis of this release can be a stretching but rewarding experience, but as an album it can all becomes a little too much like sitting down to face a seriously testing exam. The level of musicianship is as top notch as it comes but just a little too often for these ears “Escape Of The Undersong” and “D ‘Leary ‘Em” stray just too far out of enjoyment, and instead simply satisfy the ethos being followed by Act Of Will. There’s a lot to admire as we Retire To The Music Room, but this isn’t really how I kick back and relax.

Track Listing
1. Pandora’s Music Box
2. Momentum
3. Unlikely Infection
4. Pathway To Convolusion
5. Functional Pollution
6. Escape Of The Undersong
7. I Think
8. D’ Leary ‘Em
9. Circus Of Assal

Added: December 26th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Act Of Will @ bandcamp
Hits: 483
Language: english

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