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LaRue, Lisa: Transformation 2012

Given the unprecedented global economic, and increasingly social, upheaval the world is presently embroiled in with our leaders seemingly unable to produce anything other than platitudes and big bags of cash, this album, based as it is on an alleged Mayan prophecy concerning the date 2012, could be seen as something of an omen. 0r at least it would if I believed in any of this preposterous drivel of course. So let's forget the pompous humano-ego-centric allusions and get down to Lisa's music. Lisa is a keyboard player who acknowledges Keith Emerson as one of her inspirations although I suspect Keith would laugh his socks off at the concept and the compositional style is more Wakeman than Emerson.

The album opens with a mixture of sound effects, phantom radio narration and poetic sequences and then moves into a romantically melodic synth, organ and piano piece supplemented by a sweetly flittering flute and dancing percussion. Sadly it is cut short before it really seems to have gotten going in order to return to the poetic nonsense, this time a trite diatribe on the modern commercial world. "Melancholy" is a quaintly pastoral synth/piano solo from Lisa. This is followed by an impressive Bach-like fugue, titled "Warning". The lengthy "Concerto 2012" suffers from a rather unnecessary programmed drum input grating against rather than supporting the well presented classical keyboard arrangement. Again however, the music seems to just stop and change without warning or subtlety into a poorly mixed central segment featuring an illogically placed drum solo. This was a piece that started promisingly but just disintegrated somehow.

"Save me" is a beautifully sung ballad from John Payne which gives off a faint whiff of Asia, followed by "Sea of Unity", featuring the next part of Lisa's take on the Mayan prophecy which she claims foretells a change in human consciousness rather than the doomsayers latest 'end of the world' predictions with which people with brain cells are plagued by the terminally insane. James Sudakow,'s violin returns on "Beautiful World" and neatly complements Lisa's piano, where she excels in my view, as shown again profoundly in Wondering" the next short instrumental piece. "Wake up" is a classical romantic instrumental which would have been at home in a court dance. "Release" is a more electronic instrumental supplemented by uplifting narration of New Age buzzwords this time adding, for some reason, children's voices and a nursery rhyme clip to the ending. The completion of the transformation is an understated celebration with flute and violin supplementing the layers of keys, rather Oliver Wakeman-ish in delivery.

Lisa has tried to encompass the feel of traditional keyboard led progressive rock in her opus with the help of some of the best known names in the field by using Bruford drum samples, John Payne's participation on vocals in "Save me" and James Sudokow's violin. Stylistically the album reminds me of the work of Ridley-Duff on Protos' "One day a new horizon". There are some very well constructed arrangements but the result on the whole is a bitty, rather daft, concept album whose parts too often come together uncomfortably and clumsily. For me she is at her best in the simpler melodic keyboard compositions which she writes and performs well. The soup is only spoiled by the inappropriate addition of certain ingredients.

Track Listing
1. Transformation
2. Waiting for a new day
3. The purist keys
4. Melancholy
5. Warning
6. Concerto 2012
7. Save me
8. Sea of Unity
9. Beautiful World
10. Wondering
11. Wake up
12. Release
13. Transformed

Added: February 2nd 2009
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 1971
Language: english

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