If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, Arjen "Ayreon" Lucassen and the guys in Rush should be extremely proud. With Virtuality, multi-instrumentalist Scott Mosher has created a sci-fi novel of an album that merges the modern world "with a hypothetical and abstract ideal based on the environmental dilemmas that we are currently and irrevocably unwilling participants in," Mosher writes in the liner notes. You should also know that the esoteric, tedious and typo-riddled booklet for Virtuality portrays Mosher as a pompous individual who clearly believes his "art, music and interactions with others" will change the world.
That said, let's discuss the music: Virtuality is overly long, with several synthesized instrumentals that seldom veer off in new musical directions. The songs with lyrics - about half of the 12 on offer here - are sung by Todd Corsa, who could be Geddy Lee from Rush if I didn't know better. The songs themselves (complete with lyrics about "mystic light" and "cold alien logic" and "the omnipotence of time") are actually quite good, as Corsa is a bold singer whose clear voice emerges triumphantly from Mosher's bloated symphonic sequencing. The back insert of Virtuality suggests CD dealers "file under ambient neo-progressive cyber-rock." I suggest they file it under symphonic spaced-out knockoffs. Yet the audio quality is superb for an independent release, and that alone makes Virtuality worth hearing.