Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ben Markham - Dreamscape

Hear The Track Here

Track Seven, so we are informed, of Ben Markham's Treacherous Intrigue album, all ten of which are available on Ben's Soundclick page but don't panic, I am not about to review the entire album - been doing way too much of that this month already. So, Ben Markham? Who he? Well, obviously new to Soundclick and a one man band, so what else is new? Strangely enough, he only cites two influences: Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix but is filed under Progressive Rock which, as we know from that sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs translates into English as the most dreaded genre of all - prog rock. Mind you, there are a few quite amazing prog rock musicians around at the moment and none of them carry the baggage that the original genre carried - at least for me. What I hear is excellent musicians who don't need to stroke their egos because that isn't what its about. Its about playing to as good a standard as you can - just for the kick of it.

From an achingly familiar opening chord, and the attendant guitar style, it is immediately obvious that Floyd are the main roots of this track both in terms of sound and structure. While its a bit too noodly for my tastes (but as befits the style) what you hear is certainly - for the most part - worthwhile, especially if you like a bit of the Floyd taste with everything. As Ben explains in the song comments, it's meant to be a bit dreamy because it signifies a dream sequence (in the layout of the album, which tells a story). Now maybe this is a track that works better in an album because of that connection but to me sounded like a standard instrumental, with its redeeming factor being that Pink Floyd feel.

Now with anyone else, I think I would be taking this musician to task about fluffed lead lines, hesitant changes and an overall workmanlike quality. Nice try, as it were, but you'll need to up your game a bit sonically and performance wise to keep up with the scenes big dogs. So what makes Ben Markham so different that he isn't being chewed out about these things? Well, put it like this, if I was fifteen and I made this track I would be blissfully happy and content with it. Its only when you get to be an old, crotchety ba...(Ed: no swearing in front of minors Gilmore!!) that things like precision, timing and drama become so all important. As it is, there is plenty of time to learn and develop and Ben Markham certainly has the right set of tools to help him on his way.

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