Daniel Park is a mellow rocker with a back history as a screamer in the metal/hardcore band Kiss To Betray, among other efforts. You'd never know that, however, from this collection of crafted songs expanding into other dimensions as they bemuse and beguile. Merely listen through the first cut and you're captured. These Illusions is almost entirely Park: on guitar, on violin, on bass, and singing (Sean MacDonald providing drums on almost all cuts), and the introductory What We Should Be commences the disc simply before slowly building into a very beautiful and surprisingly vaulting song.
The second cut, Anthropology, indicates an age where Eddie Vedder and others pose a high water mark for singers, but Park glides between that venue and trad soft rock strains, engaging the two subtly. Then he backgrounds himself, doubling the effect, and then the violin comes in again and just lays waste to any least resistance the listener might have had, achieving a marvelous texture and airy felicity. Every cut follows the integrity of the first two, and it's impossible not relax into the atmospheres and slowly evolving symphonics.
There are emo aspects, as in Missing You, but they wax into baroque refrains as Park puts them through their phases. For a debut self-produced disc, the discretions shown are excellent, almost zero self-indulgence and miles worth of professional output leavened with bold leaps into improv, soloing, and layered melodies. The composer lacks for nothing when it comes to craftsmanship, progressive thought processes, and innovation. Especially catch the headiness of Prelude, where his violin sounds like a mellotron in a Terry Riley/Moody Blues/Al Stewart interlude. I almost hesitate to say this because there's such talent already present, but with only a very small amount of truly seasoned guidance on top of everything, he'll become absolutely top shelf, already 98% there.
This is an extremely good CD, and I'll be very surprised if it doesn't serve as a prime influence for others contemplating such an exotic approach, but even more surprised if Park doesn't quickly evolve into a major name. It's a friggin' jungle out there, but this young multi-talented individual has the chops to rise above the fray very very quickly…of course, live presentations may pose a few difficulties, but that's what cloning was invented for.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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