Recommended Albums #62

kerzner

Dave Kerzner: New World (2014)

Pink Floyd fans starved for good new material, rejoice!

American producer/songwriter/keyboardist Dave Kerzner has given you the next best thing to a decent new Pink Floyd record that you’re likely to hear, and a work far more engaging than Floyd’s mostly-instrumental Endless River, also released in 2014.

kerznerThe co-founder of progressive rock band Sound of Contact, Kerzner has produced a solo debut prog concept album that tells a story, set in the future, of a man making his way from desert isolation back to the domed city from which he came. But as with all good progressive rock, the music stands on its own merit, regardless of whether the listener takes any notice of the overarching plotline.

The level of craftsmanship and the roster of top-notch collaborators brings to mind Brit Steve Thorne, whose excellent Into the Ether album is examined here.

Among the prog rock notables making appearances on New World are Steve Hackett (Genesis), Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard), Keith Emerson (ELP), Francis Dunnery (It Bites), David Longdon (Big Big Train), Billy Sherwood (Yes) and Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn).

While Kerzner’s no household name, he’s worked with many who are: Madonna, Tom Waits, Smashing Pumpkins, Jon Anderson, Steven Wilson, Alan Parsons, and Neil Peart. And he’s created custom sound programming for Beyoncé and Rolling Stones tours.

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The excerpt from “Stranded” is an almost too-perfect reproduction of Dark Side-era Floyd. “Ocean of Stars” is reminiscent of Porcupine Tree. And “New World” with its smooth prog-lite arrangement and achingly melodic chorus harkens to the heyday of Alan Parsons Project. It’s okay to sound like someone else, as long as it’s the right someone else, and the music isn’t merely derivative, lacking the quality of the original.

Kerzner isn’t simply copying–each of these songs sounds like it could have been found in the tape vaults of one of these great bands of past years–that one track left off a multiplatinum-selling classic rock record.

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New World is one more example of quality work largely missing its audience due to a combination of radio’s prevailing tastes and the taste-lock of fans of classic rock, who reason that since all the great rock music was created in decades past, there’s no point looking.

Bands and artists like Riverside, Steve Thorne, Blackfield and Dave Kerzner prove that if you never lost your taste for rock with a touch of class, complexity and integrity, it is worth looking.

Listen to: “Stranded Pt 1–Isolation”

Listen to: “The Lie”

Listen to: “Ocean of Stars”

Listen to: “Nothing”

Listen to: “New World”

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