Cliffhanger

Mirror Site

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An electric wind instrument opens "Rainforest," setting a Braheny/ Roach mood. Along comes Eddie Jobson-ish (Theme of Secrets) rebounding synths and (Zinc) rhythmic sounds. Syncopated, ritualistic, King Crimson lays the tribal aura on you as PFM (Photos of Ghosts) vocals invade briefly to fly away. Permeate all this with Stan Whitaker/Steve Hackett guitars as a superbly restrained beast about to lurch. That is just track one. The next track worthy of note is the 26:49 "Mirror Site I, II, and III." An extended musical investigation is launched into the Internet threat/impact on the psyche of virtual life. Mellotron synths, PFM vocals, in the angst/introspective wail cover you as manic instrumental flights lure you into the cyberworld of despair. An infinite landscape swallows you -- the endless, listless ennui drains. Overdone theatrics? Perhaps -- but think back to Voyage of the Acolyte. Excellent musicianship, imaginative, novel electronica and guitar fugues keep the listener's ennui at bay. Vocals reach Peter Gabriel heights and tight-metered compositions recall Birds of Fire and Crafty Hands. "Mirror Site III" loses the vocals in a Return to Forever/Bill Connors fusion tribute. We waste away in Varèse analog, electronic sputtering ad infinitum. Appropriate finish to a cyber tale. The other tracks on this CD are each pleasing in their own way and mesh nicely in a whole-album-concept tone. Listen for Djam Karet, Floyd, Edgar Froese, Yes, Night Watch, and even Seals & Crofts, because it's all there. A very '70s, "I-can't-stop-this-crazy-guitar-lead" album finale firmly rivets the prog rock label to Cliffhanger.