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Outstanding Progrock: Henglers Circus by Michael Daniel

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MICHAEL DANIEL: Henglers Circus (CD on English Electronic Music Company)

This 2014 release features 58 minutes of enthralling electronic progrock.

Daniel plays: 6 & 12 string electric guitars, acoustic guitars, slide guitar, bass, organ, synthesizers, vocals and percussion.

Guitars aplenty, electronics, and percussion are employed to craft some extremely dynamic progressive tuneage.

So many slick guitars, you'll think you've stumbled upon a prime Steve Hackett album. And the comparison doesn't end there, for much of the music carries a prog influence, achieving intense riffs and teasing them to even greater degrees of euphoria. And that intensity continues to escalate throughout each song, striving toward dazzling crescendos.

Notably, these guitars are put to rock use, producing riffs of throbbing emphasis. But there are occasions in which Daniel delivers some complex gentility with almost romantic tenderness.

The electronics seep like honey through the mix. Slippery keyboard chords establish complex melody threads that interweave to produce lush fabrics of sultry sound. At other times, luscious key sweeps generate delicate backdrops for additional guitar pyrotechnics.

Basslines thump with nimble-fingered beauty, goading things to give in to the overall vivacity.

The percussion often gets rather enthusiastic, belting out rollicking rhythms of golden character. There's one stretch where the beats become to crowded they seem to clatter among themselves.

These compositions are long, too, (really long, averaging 13 minutes a piece) granting the melodies more than ample time to evolve, indulge in some spacey diversions, as they surge their ways to pinnacles of astounding glory.

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