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Highway 375 is a 20 minute musical journey from the mind and body of multi-instrumentalist Andrew Robinson – and what an incredibly journey it is! Robinson’s brand of futuristic space rock combines Porcupine Tree-style guitar riffs with his own digital synth soundscapes to excellent effect, creating music that is totally engaging and completely relaxing at the same time. The additional fact that Magus manages to make more effective use out of less than 20 minutes than most space-rock bands can do with an entire hour makes this effort even more impressive.
Magus’ music is never overly-complex, but it is always emotionally moving – the title track features mellow guitar passages on top of layered keyboards that invokes a total state of relaxation and serenity. Just when you’ve exhaled, Robinson comes at you with “Arrakis (Part 1)” – a disturbing 2 minute exercise in funeral dirge-like keyboard textures – and “Arrakis (Part 2)” – an ethereal trip featuring some very jarring discordant guitar work. Robinson obviously has great passion for Frank Herbert’s epic “Dune” series of books, as these two tracks do a great job of conveying the sense of seriousness and grandeur that are the backbone of Herbert’s writings. As a matter of fact, the music here actually is far superior and far more appropriate than the music that accompanied the 1980 big-screen adaptation of “Dune”. Magus tastefully closes the CD with the aptly titled “Highway 375 (revisited),” which is an extension of the sonically smooth opening title track.
On Highway 375, Magus/Andrew Robinson does an incredible job at exuding true feeling from his music, and I’m surprised that Magus isn’t more popular in the space-rock community. Highway 375 is a great example of emotions set to music... and if he’s able to keep up this level of compositional quality, the relatively unknown Robinson should enjoy a much higher-profile status in the progressive community.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.