Adrian Stone - The Dream Captain" (self-released 1999, CD)
From Aural Innovations #15 (April 2001)
Adrian Stone is a solo project from Ohio musician Tony Kendrick. With the exception of guests playing bass on two tracks, Kendrick plays all instruments on The Dream Captain including electric and acoustic guitars, D-tuned guitars, bass, keyboards, guitar synth, and percussion. The music is a combination of space ambient, progressive rock, and New Age. I think the prominence of guitars and a bass giving a sense of rhythm keep the songs more in the prog rock than New Age realm, and it all sounds quite nice against the spacey and proggy keyboards.
The opening track, "The Gate", sets the atmospheric tone for the album being an extended spacey buildup track. A slight New Age touch... maybe even a symphonic feel. "Myst", though short, is a nice prog rock keyboard piece. "Whisper" is a standout track with beautiful rapid electric guitar runs and slowly picking acoustic guitar against an angelic symphonic space backdrop. There's little development throughout the song, just nice playing that creates an atmosphere of peace and serenity. "Just A Dream" features acoustic guitar, an angelic choir, and tranquil ocean waves.
"The Gilstone" and "A Wizard's Trance" introduce blues elements to the music. "The Gilstone" includes an interesting combination of piercing bluesy guitar licks and oriental New Agey keyboards while "A Wizard's Trance" has bluesy acoustic guitar and cosmic keyboard washes plus a really nice melody. Adrian Stone gets more into structured rock songs on "Spell" and "The Gauntlet". "Spell" is a symphonic piece with a Celtic feel. And "The Gauntlet" features crunchy guitar chords and wailing licks combined with trippy cosmic keys. The music builds up for a while and then launches into a kick ass rocker that serves as a fitting close to the album.
What's interesting about the music on The Dream Captain is that, like most space ambient music, it take the listener on a journey without worrying too much about it's destination. But the prog rock element creates tension and often gives a sense that something is about to happen. In most cases this is a strength that gives variety to the music and helps Adrian Stone stand apart from most typical space ambient music. But sometimes, particularly on "Beyond The Light", the music builds up in ways that it feels like it's going to go somewhere but doesn't. Space music most certainly journeys without the need for destination but Adrian Stone creates an anticipation that demands a few twists and turns. And given the song's 7-minute length I sort of expected that would be the case. But this is hardly a negative as the music on The Dream Captain is overall quite beautiful and combines space ambient and progressive rock in a way that makes for an enjoyable listen.
For more information you can the Adrian Stone web site.
Contact via snail mail c/o Tony Kendrick; 55 Verlin St; Wakeman, OH 44889.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz