If, like me, you dig progrock and are especially enthralled by mellotron and synth string patches, then Carmen Rubino and Aquarian Dream were made especially for your ears. Rubino's a progficionado, too, and has consumed all the greats from the Moody Blues to Yes to Mike Oldfield to Kitaro to Renaissance and many more. His work is imbued with grandeur and light but also literate and based in classicalist sensibilities, so you'll discover the narratives of Vangelis, Mike Pinder, and Ian MacDonald; the pianistics of Suzanne Cianni and Liz Story; the baroque tapestries of Robert John Godfrey and John Lees (early Barclay James Harvest); and so much of what made the introduction and ongoing strains of the modus so irresistible.
Rubino wrote and plays everything in Aquarian Dream and never skimps on a kosmische element well blended into terrene visions, a sense of timelessness within deep memories of days gone by and courtly elegances, of open fields and stars above, solitude and visions. Perfect Harmony is perhaps the most anachronistically oriented composition, kind of like Lizst wedded with madrigalian balladry married to the prog-folk oeuvre with sprites, larks, and solemn academics dotted here and there. In the CD's long 75 minutes, actually, you'll find many curiosities, remembrances, and hidden treasures but never the arcane: everything's well laid out for all to behold, to saunter thoughtfully through. No doom-mongering, no threnodies save for an aching wistfulness evoked by Edenic entablatures, and no sturm und drang.
Look for Hispania and Lemuria in Father, along with many pools of pensivity in a long variegated exposition (12:00) owing much to the Classical Era verging on the Romantic, chamber airs spilling into pastorales with subtle shifts and elongated melody lines convoluting around themselves. It goes without saying that you'll unearth no Keith Emerson here nor even Kerry Minnear but instead a goodly amount of Rick Wakeman's old school strains, when he was minded to rein in the futurisms and knuckle-knotting whirlwind solos, and a very satisfying kinship to Vangelis' superb L'Apocalypse des Animaux by way of richer orchestral refrains and ambiences, tapestries rather than dolorous Satie-vian byways. Both are exquisite, but Erik favored a good deal more the arid than the lush, and Carmen's as lush as it gets, three-dimensional, overflowing with florid ambiance (not, Enoidians please note, ambience; rightfully, there IS a difference, a big difference).
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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