For over 25 years Barry Cleveland writes epic compositions; he is a virtuoso on the electric guitar. For the last decade he worked as a key editor at Guitar Player-magazine. Hologramatron, his fifth album, is a protest against the 21st century. Itís Clevelandís musical response on social, political and even spiritual realities. Therefore, his songs are biting sometimes even brutal giving commentary on the state of the western world. The CD draws inspiration from a musical continuum spanning art rock, psychedelia, metal, ambient, world music, trance and funk.
The cast of players joining Cleveland, comprises some of the most respectable musicians of the avant-rock scene, including bass player Michael Manring, drummer Celso Alberti, pedal steel player Robert Powell and vocalists Amy X Neuburg, Deborah Holland and Harry Manx. Other musicians are the Turkish electro-acoustic guitarist Erdem Helvacioglu and percussionists Gino Robair and Rick Walker. Cleveland wrote all the songs for Hologramatron with the exception of two covers: Malvina Reynolds' anti-nuclear proliferation anthem What Have They Done To The Rain and Joe Meekís icon Telstar. In addition to the acoustic and electric six and twelve string guitars on Hologramatron, Cleveland utilized a prototype of the revolutionary Moog-guitar and the both acoustic and electric GuitarViols. These are hybrid bowed instruments tuned like a guitar along with playing devices such as the Chinese erhu bow and the E-bow.
While listening to this very experimental album, I concluded that Iím not a lover of the avant-garde music of Barry Cleveland. Musically and technically the songs are alright, but the spoken words in several songs are very irritating. They mainly disturb the quality of the songs. I didnít like it on Lake Of Fire, Money Speaks and Warning. The cover What Have They Done To The Rain adds nothing to the original and the other one Telstar is just a simple, weak and silly song. As far as Iím concerned there are only two songs left being above average: YouĎll Just Have To See It Believe and the instrumental Stars Of Sayuita.
†*+ Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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