95

Hermetic Science: Ed Macan's Hermetic Science

By

Sign in to view read count
Hermetic Science: Ed Macan's Hermetic Science Just because ideas are different and have the best of intentions does not always mean they will work. In music, true progressive performers try to find a musical space that has not yet been occupied so as to become innovators and carve a niche out for them or their band. Unfortunately, prog rock aficionado Ed Macan and his band Hermetic Science decided on their self-titled debut CD to carve out the bass/drums/marimba progressive trio niche – a musical space that hasn’t yet been occupied most likely due to the fact that it’s not a very good musical idea.

Ed Macan is a musical educator, and the author of one of the most respected books on progressive music, Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture. This is a man that truly knows what he speaks of when it comes to things progressive. In the liner notes it mentions that Macan’s goal is to create truly progressive music, rather than simply try and copy the more popular progressive bands of the 1970’s. For this, I applaud him. Also, in the liner notes it mentions that the music on the CD contains elements of “jazz, minimalism, Arabic and North Indian music, and Renaissance church music.” Well, try as I did to find these elements, all I found is an album full of bass and drum grooves with marimba and vibe solos on top. And that just ain’t that interesting to listen to for 53 minutes – all the songs begin to sound the same.

Most of the music on the CD is Macan’s own compositions, but the band does include a couple of cover tunes. The first song to get the “marimba treatment” is “Infinite Space” from ELP’s Tarkus CD. I was interested to hear what this would sound like, but after about 30 seconds the song began to sound just like all the other songs on the CD. The last track, and the most shocking in my opinion, is Macan’s cover of Gustav Holst’s powerful “Mars: the Bringer of War”. Performing this piece with vibes and a marimba is akin to performing “Bolero” with a comb and tissue paper – vibes and marimbas just don’t have the sonic fortitude to convey the sense of impending doom that makes “Mars” the brilliant piece of music it is. After Hermetic Science is finished with it, the title might as well have been called “Mars, the Bringer of Pastries.”

I have much respect for Mr. Macan as an author and a scholar, and I think it’s fantastic that he’s making an attempt to do something truly different and “progressive.” But no matter now bizarre and innovative Macan attempts to be, the bottom line is that the music isn’t entertaining to listen to. It doesn’t matter if the tracks are over 6 minutes long, have time signature changes, or contain other prog rock trappings if they’re bad SONGS. Therefore, while I can commend Macan and Co. for their attempts, I cannot recommend this release to the listening community. My suggestion for Macan would be to pick up a guitarist or other lead instrumentalist to accompany his mallet percussion to make the separate tracks sound a little more different from one another.

Another suggestion would be to stop performing Holst on a marimba.


Track Listing: 1. Esau

Personnel: Ed Macan: Vibes, Marimba, Piano, assorted tuned percussion; Andy Durham: Bass Guitar (Tracks 1,6); Donald Sweeney: Bass Guitar (Tracks 2,3,4,5,7,8); Michael Morris: Drums and Percussion (Tracks 2,3,4,5,7,8); Joe Nagy: Drums and Percussion (Tracks 1,6)

Title: Ed Macan's Hermetic Science | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Magnetic Oblivion Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "The Duke Box 2" CD/LP/Track Review The Duke Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "This Could Be That" CD/LP/Track Review This Could Be That
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "Which Craft?" CD/LP/Track Review Which Craft?
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Triloka: Music for Strings and Soloists" CD/LP/Track Review Triloka: Music for Strings and Soloists
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: May 7, 2017
Read "Good 'n' Cheap: The Eggs Over Easy Story" CD/LP/Track Review Good 'n' Cheap: The Eggs Over Easy Story
by Doug Collette
Published: July 3, 2016
Read "Fake It Until You Make It" CD/LP/Track Review Fake It Until You Make It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 17, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.