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Christopher: Smoke And Origination

Christopher's press information calls this music "a vicious reconstruction of pop/rock formulas using approaches found in the avant garde and often reviled progressive rock and metal genres" ... and it refers to "Christopher's unaffected 'au naturale' gender bending vocals"

Well - that description is far more pretentious than the music it describes. Smoke And Origination is in fact easy going and laid back, falling somewhere between the singer-songwriter, power ballad, symphonic prog (small 'p'), and and prog-pop genres. It's very well performed, the songwriting is solid, and the lyrics are far better than we're used to in progressive rock. Think film score music with well-grounded vocals - the overall feel is one of approachable and sophisticated wide-ranging music that would play equally well in the background or in a focused listening session.

Based outside Toronto, Canada, Christopher is a solo artist - apparently a multi-instrumentalist. Although no instrumental sections stand out, the whole is very much more than the sum of its parts - and it's the songwriting that will keep you coming back to this one.

The multi-part "Spaghetti Terrorist" is a soft ten minute mini epic that wanders through section after section, driven by a synth-pop beat and ethereal ethno-influenced sounds. Listen for the sections with soft falsetto vocals sung over electronica and sampled male choirs. Interesting. "Sharp Knives" is a bit more approachable, led by soft, warm vocals and layered with rich female choirs and an occasional cello that adds a wonderful, dark element - and ought to be used more often. There are funky acoustic guitar, mid-ranged singing with strained emotions, over (sampled) choirs. There are light metallic elements, heavy spacey sounds, straightforward analog parts, and minimalist sounds. And there are huge walls of sound - like those on "The Wraith's Progress".

Many progressive musicians have hard-luck stories - and then, you'll find a few that just never seem to catch a break. Christopher won an audition to be the vocalist of a startup Finnish metal band, but circumstances prevented him from being on the band's second CD. He recorded and interpreted a Jimmy Page piece for a movie, but it was discarded - and is now available as a free download. He recorded this CD, but it was destroyed in a fire. So he completed its re-recording 6 months later, but the studio flooded! Tough breaks, to be sure, but on a positive note his previous CD was licensed to various indie flicks - and it's a fair guess that Smoke And Origination will meet with similar success. It's a compelling listen, and reacts well to multiple listens. It's time for Christopher's luck to take an upward turn.


Track Listing

  • The Summoning Vector
  • This Is Your Plague
  • Sunday Is Falling Apart
  • The Following Visual Was Staged
  • Spaghetti Terrorist
  • Sharp Knives
  • Frailty Scan
  • Purpose?
  • An Addendum
  • The Wraith's Progress
  • Derivative Hearts
  • Again

  • Added: August 10th 2007
    Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
    Related Link: The Artist's Website
    Hits: 1820
    Language: english

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