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Art Rock Circus - A Passage To Clear

Art Rock Circus - A Passage To ClearThe man behind Art Rock Circus is John Miner.  John is and has been involved with many projects including K2 and Mantra Sunrise but all differ in approach and sound from each other.  A Passage To Clear was released in 2001.

This album is not the easiest to process and recall as a whole.  The music may at any moment in time sound reasonably simple and straightforward but the arrangements are quite complex and the direction often changing.  The answer perhaps is not to try and work out how on Earth John Arrived at a certain point but sit back, close the eyes and enjoy the aural journey.  This is different.

The Art Rock Circus line-up for this album is John (guitars/backing vocals), Devon Lebsack (drums), Kelton Manning (bass), (Karyn Anderson (vocals/keys), and Karen Rene'e (vocals) with guest musicians Ken Wenzel (sax) and Erica Syroid (violin).

The story unfolds over 13 tracks.  The music is hard to explain in words but generally gentle with some 'heaviness' within.  Some pieces have a Zappa-esque feel and when the instrumentals are undoubtedly prog, the vocals take on a jazzy or psychedelic edge.  Karyn and Karen sing on different tracks (i.e. never together).  Both have great voices but it is inevitable we will favour one or the other, and perhaps the tracks they sing on will be as much of an influence as their voices.

The reward to the listener comes with perseverance, focus and three or four spins of the disc.  Further benefit is either to listen through headphones or in an otherwise 'quiet room' with no interruptions.  Nice.

Jem Jedrzejewski

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