Visaggio, Mike - 2006 Starship Universe

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ARTIST: Visaggio, Mike
ALBUM: Starship Universe
LABEL: Self Released
YEAR: 2006
SPONSOR: Mike Visaggio

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Mike Visaggio - all instruments * Mike Murray - drums tracks 1, 7, and 8

TRACK LISTING: 01 In The Nazarene Church * 02 Prelude No. 2 for Piano * 03 My Elder's Son * 04 Blues Variation * 05 2001: Also Rocked Zarathustra * 06 Starship Universe * 07 The Sychronized Life * 08 On The Ship Of Emotion * 09 Music's Coming To Us

Background

If you glanced at the album title then the world weary amongst you might have correctly guessed this is epic prog rock. On a grand scale as well. Those still pining for the days when Yes and ELP were in their pomp and glory will find much to savour on this epic set of throwback 70's progressive rock from the 54 year old Visaggio.

He's an industry veteran who was present in the early 70's himself, firstly with Randori and later Billy Falcon's Burning Rose, who at one stage featured Ed Gagliardi (Foreigner, SPYS). Visaggio found religon along the way and turned his attention to Christian rock and after a lengthy twenty year period away from music returned to various projects with this being the most notable.

Handling everything himself, this is a labour of love and the results are impressive, espeically the throwback production that if you didn't know beforehand, would have you thinking it is indeed 1973.

The Songs

'In The Nazarene Church' is obviously religiously themed, as are most of the tracks, but this doesn't overshadow the music, which plays as cleverly as Yes, with keyboards and organs everywhere, the vocal production afforded that unique early 70's vibe.

Suggesting Visaggio is merely a keyboard wizard would be an understatement, here's a guy on the same level as a Jon Lord and Keith Emerson, take my word for it. Dreamlike best describes 'My Elders Son', floating along peacefully, and without the dramatic keyboards.

'Blues Variation' is a self admitted tribute to ELP themselves, followed by another take of a classic, this being '2001: Also Rocked Zarathustra', where Visaggio takes his layered keyboards to the extreme, giving the old classic a new identity. The title track plays like an organ interlude at a Sunday mass, bringing back some memories of many a drowsy Sunday spent at church.

'The Synchronized Life' and 'On The Ship Of Emotion' both feature vocals from Visaggio and run full steam ahead into more classic prog areas, simply it's all about keyboards and how far Visaggio can push them.

The only conventional rock track is 'Music's Coming To Us' which is guitar free and incorporates a brass effect. Quite the foot stomper, it's a welcome change up after the lengthy tracks preceding it.

In Summary

An admirable effort from a talented musician. Visaggio knows his prog inside out and this results in a godsend for those starved for material based on 70's ideals, even if recorded in 2006.

It helps that Visaggio uses instruments from the era, which makes the end product that much authentic. It's a rare treat when handed an album of this calibur, and I suspect only someone of Visaggio's age group is really capable of understanding how to convincingly create music from another time and place.

A pleasant surprise and one for all the classic prog rockers still remaining. This one will have you riding the starship.


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