AUDIOCRACY: Revolution’s Son

AUDIOCRACY 1

AUDIOCRACY: Revolution’s Son
2008 / The Lost Records (purchase from CDBaby)
7 tracks / 45:51 minutes

This post includes 6 published reviews, several additional observations, band information and links on where to buy or find out more information…

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Post-Political Concept Album of Epic Proportions
Reviewed by: Progression Magazine, Eric Harabadian
13 1/2 stars out of 16

Audiocracy is the brainchild of of keyboardist, composer, lyricist Tobin Mueller. Along with players Twøn (bass and vocals), Darren Chapman (guitars), Bob Piper (guitars), Tadashi Togawa (guitars) and Navigator’s Rob Thurman (drums), he’s created a post-political concept album of epic proportions.

With intricately arranged vocals, precise and melodic guitar work, heavy organ and seamless production, Audiocracy’s sound recalls classic progressive icons like Yes, Gentle Giant and early Genesis. These tracks are far from derivative, however.

Crucial to the Audiocracy oeuvre is engineer Al Ligammari, who serves as technical assistant and sound designer, plus contributions from additional musicians via the Internet.

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Symphonic Whirlwind of Passion and Sensations
Reviewed by: Progressive Ears, Brian G
Recommended

Audiocracy is a “collective” of musicians pooling their talents to create a greater whole. The collective is lead by the massive keyboards of band founder Tobin Mueller, a Wisconsin-based composer and theatre producer, and the 5-string bass and soaring vocals from Twøn from New York City. Joining them is Bob Piper on guitars from the band Pleaides, Darren Chapman on electric guitars who performed with the group Out of the Blue in the early 1990s, Rob Thurman on drums from the band Real Eyes (He also has an all original progressive rock band Navigator), and Tadashi Togawa on electric & acoustic guitars.

Revolution’s Son comes across as a symphonic whirlwind of passion and sensations following a young man’s post-apocalyptic journey. With their tight, gorgeous arrangements, the songs used every hertz of my sound system with organ, mellotron (synthesized, I think – please prove me wrong!), heavy bass and percussion. Vocals are akin to David Sylvian, Fish, and even David Bowie at times. The overdubbed vocal arrangements stray into early Echolyn’s territory and eventually maintain the forefront of each song, wringing emotional nuances and strong character from each track. Twøn’s vocals stay strong, even when climbing into high registers or scraping low growls.

The intense, minutely-arranged segues in “The Survivors” results in incredible build and release songwriting. This was my favorite song of the album. My car was swaying back and forth as I attempted to keep my mind on the road while being caught up in song’s emotional rollercoasters.

Some of the latter songs have musical ties to Bill Nelson’s free flowing psychedelia. “The Confrontation” opens with the basso voice like Hackett’s Darktown. Innovations on this track include a bass workout like a Victor Wooten live date and the use of archival radio recordings and Celtic melodies to evoke the background and texture to the story.

It is hard to find fault with the musicianship or recording. This frees the listener to enjoy the quality and craftsmanship of the songs. The album flows from idea to idea like birds winging from tree to tree. I predict you will return to this album time and time again, gaining new insights and following along as I did to its emotional highs and lows.

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Excellent Jazz Progressive Rock
Reviewed by: Progressive Era, Denis Longo
Recommended

AUDIOCRACY offers with this “Revolution’s Son”, a directed link to the seventies. As of the first notes, one plunges in a universe with STARCASTLE, keyboards sometimes like WAKEMAN sometimes
like EMERSON. But most fascinating is this clear singing, not far from JON ANDERSON, but keeping unique characteristic. The guitars ROCK, almost Hard Rock at times (or more ROINE STOLT). One feels a YES approach to the music. However, vocal work and certain musical orientations makes us also think of GENTLE GIANT and even SPOCK’ S BEARD. The genius of this group is to have the music always moving, relentlessly, like eighties KING CRIMSON. Brutish guitar leads give way to plaintive guitar and a more experimental approaches, keeping you on edge, listening.Excellent Jazz Progressive Rock. Inventive instrumental sections appear and then one plunges in a universe more reassuringly carried out by symphonic keyboards and a very fascinating vocal harmonies. The solo guitar is more Neo-Progressive. Then, half way through the album, matters take a more violent turn. The music wants to be illustrate destruction, more with vocal work with several voices giving more complexity to an almost dissonant whole. This section gives a small impression of Peter GABRIEL. It climaxes in a section completely dissonant… and fascinating.

With each turning, one does not know any more where one is headed, only that the group wants to surprise its listener. And yes, suddenly, an organ involves all this beautiful world in a new style. More and more Progressive Jazz Fusiono with always an emphasis on vocals. Leading out of the climax, the songs have similarities with PETER HAMMILL before finishing in an approach very much like GENTLE GIANT and YES.

To conclude with this musical journey, the final track features a guitar that cries, with a feeling like MIKE OLDFIELD and singing reminiscent of PETER GABRIEL. A conclusion all carefully balanced, multiple guitars and keyboards, voices rising.

AUDIOCRACY carries out us to the end of this album with a beautiful progression of vocal stylings. If you have understood the entire work, you realize only one piece composes this album, one multi-sectioned song, a piece with many faces that can satisfy many fans of Progressive Rock. “So much diversity” is the phrase that can define their music best.

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Creative Progressive Rock Album!
Reviewed by: RadioIndy.com
5 out of 5 stars

“Revolution’s Son” by Audiocracy brings to the table all of the aspects of progressive rock. The sound is heavily organ driven with layered guitars and a lot of harmony in the vocals. The arrangements are sprinkled with countless exotic fills and experimental sounds. This is a concept album about a man’s journey through a post-apocalyptic world, which makes for interesting lyrics and listen-ability from beginning to end. The lead off track “Part I The Dream-Revolution’s Son” pulls you right in with big heavy organ riffs and great vocal layers. “Part IV The Confrontation – Speak” features thick guitar riffs, great solos, and powerful arena-worthy vocals. “Part VII Dare to Sing” wraps the album up taking you to an ethereal “other world” with organic worldly sounds. If you like Rush and Dream Theater, this album will certainly catch your attention.

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Audiocracy embodies the spirit of Progressive rock
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs: Prognaut

“Revolution’s Son” the debut by Audiocracy, a concept album about a man’s journey through a post-apocalyptic world, is quite an interesting mix up symphonic and complex progressive rock. It’s one of those albums that’s a grower, mainly due to the complex nature of the music. Within each song the instrumentation is constantly changing tempo and time signatures, sometimes a little too much. Don’t get me wrong I do like complex music but in small doses. I’m very much into melodic forms of music.

To me Audiocracy embodies the spirit of Progressive rock, from it’s beginnings to some recently. I hear bands like Kansas, ELP, Rush as well as Cryptic Vision, Dream Theater, Spock’s Beard and so many more. From the first track you hear all those influences and the vocals sound like none of those bands. To me that’s a plus since most bands want a vocalist to sound like someone else rather than doing something naturally.

Songs range from 3 minutes to 10 minutes, which gives a nice balance. Basically the band doesn’t feel they have to fill the album with epics just for the sake of it. I like when bands like Audiocracy compose their music in a quality way rather than quantity. If you like the afore mentioned bands and took some time at the Audiocracy MySpace page, you should be able to make the right choice and get this album today.

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Neo-Progressive Rock with a Message
Reviewed by: Kathy Parsons
5 out of 5 stars

“Revolution’s Son” is the debut album of Audiocracy, an international neo-progressive rock band founded by pianist/poet Tobin Mueller. (Let me say upfront that this is about as far from new age piano as you can get.) The band members change often, with Tobin Mueller and his oldest son, Twon (Anton), as the only constants. From Audiocracy‘s webpage: “‘Revolution’s Son’ is a concept album that follows the life of a revolutionary who comes to The City to be a catalyst for change and a prophet of truth. He falls into an Underground that urges a less innocent approach to change, leading to the execution of many and a post-apocalyptic finish. The lyrics are an impressionistic journey of a young man trying to find his way through expectation, arrogance, betrayal, disillusionment and, finally, re-birth.”

The band members on “Revolution’s Son” are: Tobin Mueller (lyrics and music, organ, synths, drums, bass), Twon (lead vocals, 5-string bass, guitar), Bob Piper (guitars), Darren Chapman (guitars), Rob Thurman (drums), and Tadashi Togawa (guitars).The music is layered and complex, as the artists recorded their own parts from studios in various locations around the world, making this a truly collaborative project.Each of the seven songs is its own short story or chapter, bound together by the common thread of the story as a whole. The music includes a variety of influences that include fusion, jazz, and classical, and incorporates elements of musical theatre, all under the broad banner of the ever-evolving genre of progressive rock. The heavy organ and guitar sounds interwoven with the layered vocals gives this CD a very big sound, and the eight page liner notes booklet gives a full listing of the poetic and meaningful lyrics.

The artwork by Hovakimian Anoushavan on the cover and in the liner notes is also fascinating – a great package! Recommended to fans of progressive rock with a message.

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Exceptional and Unconventional Album from an Uncommon Band
Reviewed by: Progressive Newsletter, Kristian Selm

When one is looking for new bands you find again and again not everyday stuff and often unconventional approaches. Audiocracy regard themselves as a neo-progressive rock band and the album was realized as an impressionistic concept-album. But anyone expecting a derivative implementation according to the book will be quickly disabused.The epic influence is apparent in the song-structures, which are not always accessible at once. A lot of things are blended together that seem not to fit really well on first sight. Audiocracy mostly cultivates a rather unwieldy way of playing, which gets along almost without catchy melodies. The vocal harmonies are rather used as an additional instrument and especially the leading guitars slip over to jazz-rock-regions, while the organ plays Rock In Opposition [RIO].Especially, because one never knows what comes next, the album remains full of tension. Like King Crimson in the 80′s, Audiocracy combine different styles. On the other hand, the American band, whose members are changing, has failed to deliver a reasonably handy concept for their Art/Wave Rock, even when towards the end of the album more and more “normal” song-structures prevail. Every now and then ingenious moments appear, but they fade away soon and lose their original energy by chance.

Audiocracy surely succeeded in publishing an exceptional and unconventional album with Revolution’s Son. People should keep an eye on this uncommon band in the future.

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Symphonic Rock Fans: Approach, But With Caution
Reviewed by: Progressor.net, OMG

When listening to this CD, it soon becomes obvious that Yes has been a major influence on what this band wanted to achieve. The aim seems to have been to achieve a modernized version of classic Yes, utilizing many of the band’s trademark musical details, but with a modernized sound, at times ending up with a distinct ’80s sound and at other times achieving a style with a close to contemporary expression. In other words, slightly intricate symphonic rock is the name of the game here. Symphonic keyboard and synth layers are ever present, used to carry emotional, mellow segments as well as more bombastic, melodramatic and majestic-sounding parts of the tunes. Interplay with guitars and vocals in classic Yes manner are also found in most songs, as well as the more or less standard harmony parts where keyboard and guitar intertwine for a rich and vibrant sound. The guitar, or rather guitars, contribute in most ways imaginable within this context, from fragmented acoustic licks to sweeping grandiose solo segments; although rarely the sole dominating instrument, it is always very much present, and on the fourth track the guitar gets to star a bit in the creation of the overall soundscape, too. The bass guitar both keeps and strengthens the rhythms, and in many tunes adds some jazzy touches to the songs as well, and the drumming adds the usual nerve, tension and solid foundation to the pieces. The vocals are approached in a distinctly Yes-like manner, where the ambition is to utilize the lead vocals as an instrument just as much as a merely lyrics provider, and extensive use of vocal harmonies in a manner every Yes fan on earth will recognize is also very much an integral part of this album. The band tries hard to achieve their goals and ambitions here, but in this case I’m sorry to have to say that they fail rather badly. What grate most for me are the vocals – the lead vocalist tries hard to reach the high notes, but he just doesn’t have the abilities of Jon Anderson in that department. He ends up a bit over the halfway point, on a scale that just isn’t pleasant to listen to; basically it sounds off compared to the music and then comes across as slightly false. And he does overreach at times too, ending up sometimes with a more speech-like, recitative vocal and at other times with a strained, screaming-tinged performance, which isn’t pleasant. An additional trait here is that the lead vocals much too often come across as flat and lifeless, probably due to the singer being at the very edge of his vocal capabilities. In addition, vocal harmonies aren’t a good asset if they don’t succeed, and that is much too often the case here – the layers of vocals making up the harmonies simply don’t harmonize. The instrumental performances do suffer from a few negatives as well. Generally, there’s too much happening way too often. It’s not a matter of too much complexity, though, but more a case of the various instrument players trying to add in some extra effects all at the same time: A power lick from the guitar player happening at the same time that the bass player adds some extra tweak to a note, the drummer has a small roll, the keyboards add in some extra mood layers, and a segment with vocal harmonies just starting off as well. There are just too many instances of situations like the one described, although not always as over the top of course. Still, it results in cacophonic and rather unpleasant moments in the tunes. Disharmonies and small snippets of cacophony can be useful tools in a song if well planned, but in this case I much too often get the impression that these are accidental, random and unintentionally gratuitous.

Conclusion: If symphonic rock in general and late ‘80s Yes in particular is music to your liking, there is a chance that this is a release you will enjoy. Approach with caution, though, this is a release that really needs to be sampled before buying, as quite a few might share this reviewer’s sentiments. Fans of concept albums may want to check this one out too, especially those of that ilk who aren’t too concerned with the music, but instead enjoy concepts per se.

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ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Ovidiu Dumitrescu, FOR THE LOVE OF GUITAR radio show (Romania):
Brilliant… Inspired compositions, great musical vision. In the vein of Yes and other prog icons. I simply adore it.

Al Ligammari, The Lost Records:
AUDIOCRACY is an international collaborative progressive rock band founded by keyboardist/composer Tobin Mueller. Their first CD, “Revolution’s Son,” is a concept album that follows the life of a revolutionary who comes to The City to be a catalyst for change and a prophet of truth. He falls into an Underground that urges a less innocent approach to change, leading to the execution of many and a post-apocalyptic finish. The poetic writing and virtuosic performances make each track a life-affirming and emotionally uplifting experience, even amidst the serious content. “Revolution’s Son” is masterpiece in the Epic Prog tradition.

Audiocracy combines fabulous keyboards (B3 organ, a wide variety of synths, electric pianos), excellent guitar work (four separate guitarist, all marvelous), and dense vocal harmonies. Intricate passages give way to a uniting synergy of power and vision. The guitar is always melodic, from the lightening fast licks to subtle padded overtones, chord clusters, and chaotic rhythms. The personalities behind each performance communicate something special, transcending the distances between the players as they add to each track from separate studios around the globe. The vocals are reminiscent of early Yes, scored like orchestral parts, not only lending impressionistic lyrics but progressive harmonies to the mix. The drumming is strong and inventive, rarely taking a back seat. Each track is a story unto itself, yet the whole is greater than the parts. As all great Prog, influences from fusion to jazz to classical to musical theatre coalesce within the living, ever-changing genre of progressive rock. Breathtaking.

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THE BAND (first album):

TOBIN MUELLER: B3, keys, percussion, vocals. Tobin Mueller has worked with Dave Brubeck, Maynard Ferguson, Entcho Todorov, Donny McCaslin, Ken Schaphorst and others, from jazz to classical to progressive rock. Also a solo piano recording artist, his collaborative chops shine within the context of Audiocracy’s talented membership. Also available from CDBaby: 13 Masks (solo piano: jazz/progressive ragtime); Morning Whispers (solo piano: new age); A Bit Of Life (progressive folk fusion). Tobin is a Dramatist Guild playwright and an ASCAP composer of everything from symphonies to musicals to film scores.

TWØN: Lead vocalist, Olympic 5-string bass, acoustic guitar.Twøn is also lead singer and lyricist with the New York City progressive rock band Invanity. He was a founding member of M-Lab, the bassist and backing vocalist for their first two CDs: “M-LAB” (debut recording) and “From Baser Metals” as well as their current 4 track EP. In the 1990′s, Twøn was lead vocalist and main songwriter for The New York City Crack Team.

BOB PIPER: Guitars.
Performing for over 35 years, his most successful project overall was the band Pleaides. Their premier release “A Moment Of Clarity” was revered as ground-breaking, and is still a masterpiece to this day, timeless. Bob has also scored for motion pictures.

DARREN CHAPMAN: Electric guitars.
Performed with the group Out of the Blue in the 1980s and an Alice In Chains Tribute Band in the 90′s. Hails from Ontario, Canada, where he currently plays with two other bands and teaches guitar.

ROB THURMAN: Drums.
Rob Thurman studied with legendary Buffalo Jazz drummer Louis Marino (Tommy Dorsey). In 1986 he was playing with the band Real Eyes. In 1990, he and his brothers formed the Thurman Brothers Band and toured up and down the east coast until ’97. Rob joined the Genesis tribute band “Seconds Out” in early 1998, and that summer formed his all original progressive rock band Navigator (The Lost Records).

TADASHI TOGAWA: Electric & acoustic guitars.
A renown guitarist from Japan, his influence can be felt in a long line of students and disciples that continue to call him Master.

TRACKS:

Part I – The Dream: Revolution’s Son
Part II – The Hope: Puzzle City
Part III – The Underground: Escape into The Fray Zone
Part IV – The Confrontation: Speak Truth To Power
Part V – The Extinction: Gethsemane Again
Part VI – The Survivors: When The Future Comes
Part VII – The Re-Emergence: Dare To Sing

LINKS:

AUDIOCRACY’s Official Website
AUDIOCRACY on CDBaby
AUDIOCRACY on iTunes
AUDIOCRACY on Amazon.com

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6 Responses to “AUDIOCRACY: Revolution’s Son”

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