US composer and musician Dave KERZNER have been quite the visible figure in prog circles for the past decade or thereabouts. A musician that have been around the block a few times, but have maintained a relatively low figure for most of his career. But following the on and off ventures of Sound of Contact he has become much more visible, and since 2014 he has also been a recording solo artist. “Static” is Kerzner’s second solo album, and was self-released in 2017.
This is an album I have had around for half a year or by now, and I actually started doing this review back in November. Life. the universe and numerous other obligations have kept me away from it until now though, and Kerzner appears to be immersed in so many other projects at this point that I do not know how much time he has, if any, to still promote this album.
This is a production well worth having a look at though. As far as progressive rock diehards are concerned it may come across as a bit on the simpler side, at least as far as song structures are concerned. This isn’t a go to album if you enjoy songs constantly changing in tempo and main themes, as many of the songs here have a more conventional nature to them in that context. Quite a few are fairly easygoing as a matter of fact, at least as far as main structure is concerned. Thus it is also an easy album to become familiar with. The melodies are generally compelling, the atmospheres created alluring, and all in all this is material that has a likeable quality to it throughout. Some of the lyrics are strong enough to warrant a mention as well, as they manage to make an impact also for someone mainly listening to the vocals as an instrument. A song like ‘Trust’ in particular impress, more of a ballad-oriented affair that will touch the heart and soul of quite a few that have been in long lasting relationships I’d imagine.
For progressive rock fans in particular, the big thing about this album will be the arrangements. They alternate quite nicely between sparse and relatively simple on one hand and being layered, rich and complex on the other. Kerzner isn’t a stranger to use unusual sounds either, so while we get plenty of atmospheric laden keyboard and Mellotron sounds as well as more dramatic keyboard solo runs, as well as a wee bit of alternating guitar parts of similar nature albeit a bit more subservient in general if my notes and my memory serves me well, there are also a fair few instances of less conventional sounds making it into these arrangements. From exotic sounding timbres by string instruments to Frippian twisted guitar textures, noise details and other effects that flavor the soundscapes with more of an uneasy, nervous and tension-filled atmosphere. Fairly often with a dark, oppressive touch to it.
Otherwise I do note some recurring details that reminds me of Yes, often in the bass guitar, lead vocals and vocal harmonies department, while the guitars, keyboards and general atmosphere gives me more of a Gilmour-era Pink Floyd vibe at times. More often than not one, the other or both are given a slight hard rock touch though, or perhaps AOR touch is a more appropriate description. Hence such details giving rise to associations to a much greater extent than being described as being of a distinctly similar nature.
As is often the case for me I do not bring out the great superlatives for a production such as this one. It is well made on all levels, and the quality is perhaps a tad better on the technical side of things than many others out there as well. If this is a future classic time will have to tell, but as far as it’s status right here and right now is concerned I’d say that this is a prime example of high quality, modern day progressive rock. If accessible and easy to enjoy progressive rock is your thing, and you have a soft spot for music of this kind to feature arrangements that can be and often are much more elaborate that what you get on initial listens, this is a CD to take note of.
My rating: 8/10
5. Chain Reaction
7. Quiet Storm
8. Dirty Soap Box
9. The Truth Behind
10. Right Back to the Start
12. Millennium Man
13. State of Innocence
14. The Carnival of Modern Life