Hermetic Science's snappily titled album is enjoyable jazz-fusion. Of sorts....the jazz elements pervade the album's music, save for the first linking piece, "Melancholia I", which is straight classical piano, but the complementary element within the fusion varies.
For instance, on first listening to "De Profundis" I thought this was a straight classical-jazz fusion album. The brightest sound within the soundscape of "De Profundis" by far is Ed Macan's classically played piano. Within the arrangement the other aural colors are string synthesizer (which, until the album's last composition, is the only instrument with sustained notes), drums and bass. It is the mode of playing of the drums and bass that gives a jazzy aroma but the composition actually reminded me most strongly of the soundscape of the very original Renaissance (you know, the Relf/McCarty version that arose from the demise of The Yardbirds). I later read in the record company's notes (Musea) that Ed, who wrote all these compositions, is an expert on original progressive rock and has written several books about the subject, so it's definitely a possible influence.
"Voyages" loses the piano (which only returns on "Melancholia I") and, as such, has a very different feel to "De Profundis". This has a rockier feel with some thumping bass and organ keyboards being played, but as yet no rock guitar, and the jazz element increases.
"Triptyeh", "Aion" and the second linking piece, "Melancholia II", all boast a large dose of xylophone/vibes type instrumentation as the focal sound, giving this jazz a very "world music" flavor despite the continued use of string synthesizers. Ed plays all of these instruments, called "mallet percussion" in the sleeve notes. (The Hermetic Science trio is completed by Jason Hoopes on bass and "six-string guitars" and Angelique Curry on drums and "percussives").
Finally, "The Second Coming", has a different feel yet again, using organ keyboards and choral synthesizer to add texture to the percussive bass playing during the composition's first part, before some adept rocky lead guitar comes in during the latter half, becoming a straight jazz-rock fusion by the end.
Quite a lot going on then, there's a few different styles on display here. However, I do think that it works as a complete unit because of the jazzy cross-tie that the rhythmic playing gives the different compositions. The synthesizer playing acts as a similar bond, and as a consequence of that unified feel I've really enjoyed listening to this album.
A word for the artwork - the attractive and evocative sleeve cover design, which is replicated on the disc, is by Paul Whitehead, designer of the early Genesis sleeve art.
1) De Profundis (10:08)
2) Voyages (6:38)
3) Triptyeh (15:32)
4) Melancholia I (1:54)
5) Aion (8:15)
6) Melancholia II (1:11)
7)The Second Coming (6:48)