Imagine that the classic Dave Brubeck band went into a meditative trance and plugged in for a moment, and you'll have some idea of what to expect from Dancing Fantasy's rendition of "Take Five" on the German synthesist duo's self-titled Higher Octave debut. Chris W. Williams and Curtis McLaw provide a laid-back shuffle groove and spacy hypno-trance effects to complement the rich Paul Desmond approximation by saxman York. But the tandem really didn't need to modernize a classic in order to show their melodic and groovy wares.
"Say You Will" is an irresistible humalong pop tune, floating Bill Joseph Flynn's sharp acoustic guitar strains and subtle vocalese over a sultry mid-tempo groove, broken up every so often with a synth solo that sounds tonally a bit like the Fender Rhodes. This Fantasy also knows how to imitate instruments synthetically; the soaring melody of "The Power of Life" rings like a new agey version of Tim Weisberg, only there is no literal flute credited. Fortunately, Dancing Fantasy uses the real thing where it counts. Influenced greatly by Tangerine Dream, they use Flynn's crackling electric guitar to wail with abandon on "Carpe Diem," perfectly recalling how that legendary German group built a simmering tune before exploding towards the end.