Cleveland, Barry: Hologramatron
Veteran guitarist Barry Cleveland has been recording for more than twenty-five years and has just released his latest CD Hologramatron on Moonjune Records. This time around Cleveland has surrounded himself with some first class musicians like bass extraordinaire Michael Manring, Steve Winwood alumni Celso Alberti on drums and pedal-steel specialist Robert Powell who has played with the likes of Peter Gabriel and Jackson Browne. There are a total of thirteen musicians playing on this album and while all are important, a few really stand out. Cleveland's guitar work is exceptional and vital to these songs. His playing is imaginative and at times superb. Whether he is cranking out metal riffs, creating atmospheric layers of sound or finessing melodic leads, it is all top notch. On a few tracks he breaks out the Moog guitar, and like fellow musician Fareed Haque, he is able to get the most out of the instrument. You will be surprised that none of these songs have keyboards (except for sampled Mellotron on two tracks) as his playing is able to mimic electronic sounds and textures.
To my ears Hologramatron is pure progressive rock with the occasional nod to pop, metal, funk and ambient. Some compositions have an aura of experimentalism that will keep the listener guessing as to what will happen next. Whether creating soundscapes of pure psychedelia or space-like atmospheres, Cleveland doesn't waste a note and nothing seems excessive or out of place.
Hologramatron has been billed as a 'protest album' and with song titles like "Money Speaks" and "What Have They Done to the Rain" it is easy to see why. The album's first track "Lake of Fire" is a perfect example as metal riffs and moody atmospherics are augmented with a jeering rant by vocalist Amy Neuburg covering everything from religion to politics. Neuburg sings with gusto, her raspy voice ideally suited for the task at hand. On "Money Speaks" Cleveland and Manring get their funk out, creating guitar and bass grooves laid over a moody layer of sound inundated with dissonant sound effects. "Stars of Sayulita" features pretty acoustic guitar and has a spacey feel with more Moog guitar and Manring's sinuous bass lines. The doom tinged "Warning" has droning riffs and distorted guitar making this one of the heavier songs followed by the poppy sounding "What Have They Done to the Rain", one of the album's more accessible tracks but no less enjoyable. The catchy "Telstar" has a 60s/70s retro feel and is guaranteed to plant an earworm.
Also included are three bonus tracks - two remixes and an alternate mix that fit in well with the rest of the album, taking the ambient and spacey textures a bit further yet.
Barry Cleveland has come out with an excellent progressive rock CD with Hologramatron. Please do yourself a favour and check it out, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
1. Lake of Fire (4:22)
2. Money Speaks (4:40)
3. You'll Just Have to See It to Believe (5:22)
4. Stars of Sayulita (6:12)
5. Warning (4:20)
6. What Have They Done to the Rain (4:56)
7. Abandoned Mines (5:45)
8. Suicide Train (4:23)
9. Telstar (3:55)
10. Dateless Oblivion & Divine Repose (1:54)
11. Abandoned Mines Forest Fang Remix (8:26)
12. You'll Just Have to See It to Believe Alternate Mix (5:48)
13. Lake of Fire Evan Schiller Remix (4:21)
Added: April 12th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
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