Tesseract - Tesseract

EricEric USA
edited November 2022 in Year-1997


ARTIST: Tesseract
ALBUM: Tesseract
LABEL: Independent
YEAR: 1997


LINEUP: Don Tillman - guitars, keyboards, vocals, cymbals * Karen Bentley - violin * Julius Smith - keyboards, guitar * Dave Berners - bass * Josh Schroeter - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Entrance * 02 Heisenberg's Daughter * 03 Cast Of Thousands (Introduction, The Cast, The Vitamin Mine, The Spinach) * 04 Allegro Assai (Bach Violin Concerto In A Minor, 3rd Movement) * 05 Rice * 06 Cymbal Dance * 07 Vantage Point Instrumental



One of the better U.S. progressive rock releases from the humdrum '90s, Tesseract hailed from Northern California and other than a compilation appearance in 2002, zilch has been heard from the band since.

Tesseract, which in case you were wondering is a scientific term used to describe a four-dimensional object, played a handful of performances in the San Francisco bay area and in the pre-internet days created quite a buzz in the progressive community world wide.

Available from the usual vendors of the day, I recall for some reason buying the disc direct from the band, although in all probability is now long out of print.

The Songs

Really this is keyboardist Don Tillman's baby or at least that's the impression I have and with an arsenal of keys including the beloved Mellotron, he's augmented by notable violinist Karen Bentley who was previously heard on Camel's excellent 1996 disc 'Harbour Of Tears'.

The other players are certainly top notch, but its Tillman and Bentley that carry the recording. Comparisons to Kansas are more than obvious, blatant perhaps and without the bombast but there is a fusion element to the Tesseract sound similar to Happy The Man as well.

Unfortunately, that parallel doesn't end instrumentally as Tillman's vocals are painfully similar to Kit Watkins' croak but it's a minor quibble since he doesn't attempt to 'sing' too often - thank god.

The music is brightly coloured and attractive although the best cut is not band penned, but a whimsical and wonderfully baroque cover of Johann Sebastian Bach's 'Allegro Assai' which is nothing short of stunning.

In Summary

Vocal shortcomings aside, this is a superb disc and worth every effort to track down.

The band's web site was last updated in 2008 and includes Don Tillman's address. Maybe he still has a few copies lying around.

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