Silent Heaven is a CD re-issue of two of C.W. Vrtacek's solo LPs from the 1980s: Learning to Be Silent (Cordelia Records, 1986) and When Heaven Comes to Town (Re Records, 1988). This CD shows another side of the hybrid surf rock/prog rock trio Forever Einstein's leader, his softer side. Both albums have been recorded at home on a four-track machine. Vrtacek uses acoustic guitars, piano, tapes and found sounds to create short instrumental tunes. One can't help but think of Steve Hackett's Bay of Kings: simple songs with beautiful melodies. The whole thing is very aerial. Some will perceive it as lacking sustenance, but it is refreshing to hear Vrtacek away from the surf guitar licks. Silent Heaven is meditative and introspective without resorting to new age recipes. The minimal piano stylings of "Minus My Friend" and "Stone Steps" create enchanting landscapes. The last track, "When Heaven Comes to Town," is a 26-minute audio art piece; it gives a lot more depth to Forever Einstein's funny man. Of course, those coming to this album through Vrtacek's work with Forever Einstein or Biota will be destabilized.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture
feat: James Woodruff