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Paul K

The Fermi Paradox

Review by Gary Hill

For those who don't know, the Fermi Paradox refers to the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence of intelligent life in the universe and the mathematical likelihood that it must exist. It's named for physicist Enrico Fermi. Such is the basis of the concept of this essentially instrumental release. I say essentially because there are plenty of spoken sound-bites (many relating to physics) and some non-lyrical vocals along with some spoken ones. This is not precisely progressive rock, but some of it definitely is. It seems to occupy a space between Alan Parsons type prog, electronic music, new age and space music. The result is a compelling release that has plenty of peaks and valleys.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Anomaly
Gentle tones bring this into being. Piano drives the melody in pretty ways as it makes its way forward.
Sagan
Electronic spacey elements along with part of the recording from the Voyager probes, piano is responsible for the melodies here. This has a real space music vibe at its heart, though. Suitably there is a Carl Sagan sound-bite later among some others. This gets more involved and built up than the opener did. There are some non-lyrical vocals on this cut. It shifts to some world music further down the road, but that slows and deforms at the end.
Ecce Homo
More of a pure electronic texture brings this into existence. This works out to more of a rocking piece. There are more non-lyrical vocals built into this. The cut makes me think of the Alan Parsons project in a lot of ways. This drives forward in style and has a great beauty to it.
The Fermi Paradox
Trippy electronic textures include a spoken interview segment about Fermi. This cut has a real beauty and dream-like quality to it.
Twelve Billion Eyes
While there is more space music and electronic texture here, there is also a real symphonic quality. This number has quite a few sound-bites, mostly of space chatter.
Exegesis
Speaking of symphonic elements, this has a real symphonic texture in the slow moving opening section. It rises up from there to some of the most rocking music here, again calling to mind Parsons a bit. The cut explores that soundscape becoming one of the most decidedly progressive rock oriented things on the whole disc. I love the driving instrumental melodies on this killer track. It's really a highlight of the set.
Embryonic

Piano creates some cool melodies, but there are other musical elements adding to the majesty of this piece. It's a mellower number with plenty of electronic and classical texture in the mix.

K I C 8462852 (Boyajian's Star)
Piano meets percussive elements and sound-bites on this understated track. Other textures come in over the top as it grows outward.
Parallax
Another has more of a rock energy to it, this has some non-lyrical singing, too. It's more of a mellow prog rocker. It has some electric guitar and symphonic qualities at play adding to the mix. This is another highlight of the set.
Dark Matter
Driving melodic textures are the concept on this effective number.
F R B
There are non-lyrical vocals lending a bit of magic to the arrangement here. This has a lot of world music in the mix. The piano creates much of the melody.
The Great Silence
A mellower cut, piano drives much of the intro to this, but there are other layers of sound over the top. A spoken female voice joins in. Then the song explodes outward into a driving rock arrangement. It's still melodic prog rock, but this is a powerhouse. It drops back for the return of that spoken voice. We're taken back into the rocking stuff one more time before it again drops to mellower textures for the final spoken vocal section. This is another highlight of the disc.
Drake Equation
Melodic textures that have a lot of fusion built into them are at the heart of this cut. More spoken sound-bites are added to the mix as it continues.
Arecibo

Another mellow and quite beautiful piece of music serves as the intro for the closing number here. This drifts into more pure space music further down the road, with a decided electronic bent to it.

 
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