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Abstract Sonic Beauty by Ron Geesin

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It's sad how each reviewer (alas, myself included) has to mention Geesin's association with early Pink Floyd (he cowrote and orchestrated Atom Heart Mother) before going on to cite the man's long solo career, during which he has produced a series of eccentric releases that challenge fans of the weirdest music.

And here he is, back after an absence of several years, with another oddity guaranteed to tantalize and baffle listener.

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RON GEESIN: Ron Cycle 1 (CD on Tonefloat)

This release from 2011 offers 51 minutes of lively orchestral music.

Mixing electronics with a prominent orchestral presence, this music exhibits elegance and drama in copious amounts.

A full range of instruments are utilized to express these melodies. Warbling brass and cavorting woodwinds blend with classical strings to convey pensive passages which lead to unexpected breaks into more flighty stretches of amusing sentiment.

Quirky embellishments are regularly found as xylophonic undercurrents rise to the surface and bubble with sly agility. Then choppy keyboards come into play, further establishing the music's bizarre character with nimble melodies of endearing intricacy. Rhythms lend charismatic propulsion to the bouncy tuneage, which then feature snippets of voices alternating from multitracked chatter to somewhat coherent (but barely understandable) commentary.

This combination of cerebral orchestra and modern sensibilities produces a curious result that is rich with classical depth while bursting with twinkling electronic luster. The juxtaposition of symphonic stylings with inventive technology is deftly handled, creating an appealing fusion whose intrinsic appeal is quite infectious.

And just when the listener has adjusted to this eccentric motif, the music dives into a jazzy diversion throbbing with brash horns and crazy percussion. Then things plunge into strangeness (peppered with some elusive commentary) for a bit before delivering a dose of high-speed banjo and some metallic impacts of major crisis (which are subsequently subjected to some tasty sound-bending. The classical approach seems to have difficult reasserting itself over these quirky expressions, but the orchestra eventually wins out for the finale (albeit with a few touches of prior diversions).

This composition has a strongly whimsical air that is strangely delivered via orchestral strains, making it an opus that engages deep contemplation as vividly as it brings a smile to the mind. Instances of drama are seasoned by sonic humor of a subtle nature. Grand moods are evoked, then teased into a fanciful stance before sliding back into serious definition. A delightful excursion that employs manifold musical modes to captivate and entertain.

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