Maximum Coherence During Flying - s/t
(In-Phase Records 1999, BEM01 CD)
From Aural Innovations #7 (July 1999)
Maximum Coherence During Flying (Maxco) is a Texas band playing a hard-to- describe progressive rock style that includes elements of space and psych. The band consists of Bottom Aholje on guitar, vocals, and keyboard, Robb Kunz on percussion and synthesizer, Bryan Manzo on sax and guitar, Michael Young on synthesizer, piano, and vocals, Sonya Shaw on vocals, and Torv on bass and electronic treatments. There are also nearly a dozen guests contributing an array of horns, wind, and string instruments. This is their first CD release.
The disc begins as a heavily orchestrated quirky rock opera style piece with the sounds of planes, and this is followed by a sort of vaudeville piano musical bit that slowly evolves into a spacey section with a nice guitar melody and interesting vocal harmonies. Actually the shifts thoughout are a bit abrupt and listening to the music implied that this may be something of a concept work. I asked band member Michael Young about this and he explained that the whole work is supposed to begin and end at an early 1900 air show, though all the songs are separate stories.
Starting with "Jason Starfighter" we get some cool freaky synth work and the guitar work, though in no way flashy, continues to appeal to me. The rock opera style male and female vocals (plus a robotic efx'd voice warning of annihilation) sing of Jason's fearlessness. The song finishes on a bit of a psychedelic note. "Zoom" is a cosmic instrumental journey that made me feel like I was in mission control when some mighty bad news was coming in. Lots of machine sounds, more robotic voicings, and wah-wah synths sounds. But Maxco shifts gears again and it becomes a song with what I found to be a gorgeous melody featuring Sonya's vocals accompanied by the wah synth. "Crusade TV" was a standout track for me, a cross between early 70's classical progressive and 60's folk psych. "Man In The Speaker" also has a bit of a folk-psych feel and a segment of guitar that sounds like The Beatles "She Said, She Said".
Throughout the disc the band mixes a lot of freaky space keyboard work with extensive instrumentation, varied vocals and harmonies, and beautiful guitar work throughout. Maxco's style is difficult to pin down but I would recommend it to AI readers that like adventurous forms of progressive rock. It's a little uneven at times, but they've certainly created something different.
You can visit Maximum Coherence During Flying at their web site.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz