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Leon Alvarado: 2014 - Music From An Expanded Universe

Glenn Astarita By

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Texas native, keyboardist Leon Alvarado is a true student of the progressive rock genre, citing the customary troupe of icons such as ELP, Yes, and Jethro Tull as influences, paired with his previous Independent and well-received album, Plays Genesis and Other Original Stuff (2009). On this EP, Alvarado employs bassist, Warr guitarist Trey Gunn who rose to promise as a member of latter day King Crimson.

During his plan of action with Gunn, Alvarado sought to impart a King Crimson-lite touch perhaps as an existential veil that is coated with atmospherics and famed session drummer Jerry Marotta's (Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates) world music touch via his use of a Taos log drum on two tracks. Ultimately, Alvarado generates sweeping synths and keys across broad vistas, complemented with reverberating and roaring treatments atop Gunn's elastic and biting Warr guitar lines and corpulent bass licks. A good portion of the album's makeup is synthesized with colorific textures and employment of multi-layered textures. And the age old inferences of space travel by way of electronic instruments also surfaces throughout.

This is not one of those balls-to-walls prog rock affairs. For instance on "Blood Like Red," the artists execute a slowly moving and budding rock pulse, steered by Gunn's prominent bass lines, in support of the leader's polytonal voicings, sounding somewhere in between a mellotron and synth strings type soundscape. Moreover, Alvarado layers a tabla vibe to incorporate a world music background into the mix, followed by Gunn's stinging and crunchy Warr guitar notes. And on "Irreverence Part II," they introduce turntable hiss and scratches within an ostinato pulse, leading to a solemn state of being.

The bonus track, "Cinemania—Alive" is based upon a straight-four beat along with gruff electronics effects and popping notes, generating march of the titans like imagery. Needless to state, the EP length program left me wanting more, and according to Alvarado, the album was launched in-between other ensuing projects.

Track Listing: Irreverence Part 1: The 2014 Microcosm; Blood Like Red; Irreverence Part 2; Cinemania “Alive” (Bonus Track).

Personnel: Leon Alvarado: keyboards, sequencing, drums, percussion; Trey Gunn; bass, Warr guitars on all except 5; Jerry Marotta: Taos drums (1, 2); Smith6079: atmospheric guitars (2); Gracenotex: atmospheric keyboards (2).

Title: 2014 - Music From An Expanded Universe | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Melodic Revolution Records

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