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Prog Rock: Frank Balestracci, Forever Einstein, Present

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FRANK BALESTRACCI: Existences Invisibles (CD on Carbon 7 Records)

This release from 2005 features 33 minutes of churning prog rock.

The first track establishes a dark moodiness with pensive crunching and dire chords, but the rest of the tunes exhibit more pep and vigor. Rapid notes and complex percussion sets a frenetic tone that is exacerbated by angry violin and popping basslines. A frequently surfacing piano adds a touch of humanity to the darkness. High energy rules as the tunes unfold.

Versatile keyboards generate a plethora of riffs that whirl with tireless verve amid a seething cloud of rhythms and deconstructed voices. Samplers allow Balestracci to pepper his music with a variety of other instruments, each making cameo appearances that highly embellish the already lush mix.

This music sits on the edge of panic, entreating the value of wariness in the modern world. A sense of urgency comes through, punctuated by contemplative pauses before the music resumes its imperative nature. This breathless quality is highly entrancing, carrying the listener through realms of ethereal definition tempered with gritty reality.

A severely manipulated chaos is strong in this music, as frantic passages converge into a mesmerizing flow that glistens with structure. This organized pandemonium produces a refreshing edginess. The result is highly engaging melodies that challenge the audience as they entertain.

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FOREVER EINSTEIN: Racket Science (CD on Cuneiform Records)

This release from 2005 features 51 minutes of cerebral music.

Forever Einstein is: Charles O'Meara on guitar, Kevin Gerety on bass, and John Roulat on drums.

Simplicity is not an issue with this music, despite the strict three-piece nature of the ensemble. Riffs are complex, and the instruments go out of their way to intertwine with each other, creating a lush tapestry of vigorous tuneage.

The guitarwork is sprightly, plucking out chords with jovial abandon. Notes fire off with rapid delivery, bending and cavorting to achieve appealing riffs. Redundancy is a foreign concept here.

Basslines do more than rumble as a solid foundation. They strain forth, often usurping the lead position. Their guttural resonance provides a buzzing embellishment that flourishes with each subsequent outburst.

The drums are durable and steadfast, but equally unpredictable with their predilection to describe quirky tempo changes with effortless ease.

An amusing aspect of these instrumental tracks is the extremely verbose titles given the pieces, like: "It's Almost Impossible to Concentrate in this Cafe with All these Leggy Belgian Girls Walking around in Miniskirts."

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PRESENT: A Great Inhumane Adventure (CD on Cuneiform Records)

This release from 2005 features 72 minutes of intense music recorded live by this Belgian band at Orion Sound Studios in Baltimore on June 6, 1998.

Present is: Pierre Chevalier, Dave Kerman, Jean-Pierre Mendes, Reginald Trigaux, and Roger Trigaux, with Keith Macksoud on one track.

Keyboards are prominent here, as nimble-fingered riffs sweep across the music with dark grandeur. Piano chords punctuate the tuneage too, attributing a serious timbre to the wild forest of dramatic sound.

The guitar possesses a crisp voice that alternates between fiery leads and grinding support.

The percussion is furious and relentless as it delivers breathtaking propulsion for the songs. Complex rhythms are crafted with inexhaustible fervor.

Basslines tremble in a manner that threatens to fracture the ground and release a geological fury.

Vocals provide a vengeful elucidation for the angst expressed by the rest of the instruments.

A sense of intellectual anger permeates this music, outlining rage against the trivialities of mundanity. This dedication to superlative creativity can be felt in each passage of Present's live intricacy.

Longform structure is applied here, allowing each composition to explore diverse variations and do so with slick flourish.

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