“New Metal From Old Boxes” is at the root of it all “experimental”. Though coming under the category of progressive rock there is absolute proof this isn’t solely an exploration into some great unknown, plucking melodies out of the vacuous space around us and delivering a divinely sculpted piece of musical art. It is experimental. The album is not recorded with conventional sounds which is clear in ‘The Contemplation of the Cosmologer’. In Jason Rubenstein‘s own words: “Some of the sounds are mono synths and samples through Guitar Rig 5 Pro”.
This does detract from what this album could be had it been recorded wholly live but for what it is it’s at least a beacon to the imagination Rubenstein can stretch. One could argue he’ll type the notes onto a computer but he has still crafted the music and judging by his other, more “organic”, material he is more than capable.
The heavy progressive sound is enjoyable to listen to and the dips and dives the pieces take are great, ‘Calculation and Walkaway”s closing minute is a fantastic spiral. ‘The Blow Off’ too is brilliantly crafted, bringing in the ever desired funky patterns into music that can enhance a piece hugely.
The monotonous sound of programming doesn’t add flavour to the songs bearing the inventiveness in mind. ‘The Set Up’ contains passages which are all the while interesting but sandwiched in between relatively dull extracts. With more organic playing it would change entirely.
‘A Burden Of Secrets’ is the key track which encapsulates everything Rubenstein appears to be trying to deliver through this album. It has everything bar the kitchen sink to some degree; the song blurs prog, rock, jazz and a strange taste of 80s crime film score into the best track on the album. If only it sounded more real.
Overall one has to remember it’s an experiment but at the same time it’s a piece of music. Experimentation alone it’s intriguing but ultimately feels somewhat wasted, if it had a more three-dimensional sound it would have a greater replay-ability value. It is however still clever, the passages and turns the music takes are worthy of the intellect Rubenstein is trying to exhibit and given Rubenstein‘s other work, as well as future plans, he knows what he’s doing and is a grown man with a myriad of musical toys he’s commanding like a general and his legions.
Definitely interesting, but needs realism to grant it a soul.