The Daily Vault
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/24/2009
Product is an act that takes the art of concept albums to Wikipedia level. In the same vein as the band’s other records, all of which are based on historical figures – On Water is about the story of Jacob Nagle, a young sailor during the American Revolution; Aire is inspired by Galileo; The Fire is based on the life of Nero – is Earth, an album inspired by the life and works of Nikola Tesla.
Earth flows as an autobiographical narrative, and beneath the sometimes pedantic accounts of Tesla’s life and works is a brilliant musical foundation. The duo, made up by Arman Christoff Boyles and Scott Rader, is creative with their music, taking care not to let the meticulously factual – and hence overly academic – lyrics become boring chapters out of a history book.
Earth brims with the vibrancy of a well-made concept record, balancing the weight of its theme with complementing music that never gets too self-indulgent.
Stylistically, this album inherits from a diverse range of influences. It seems to be in a constant state of flux with its facile switching between genres (prog rock, electronica, art rock, folk rock), indulging in a rich canvas of shifting mood and setting up for a dramatic listening experience.
Even with its intelligent repetition of concepts, as evidenced by the breezy chorus of the opening track “America Pt.1,” which transforms into a song as a continuation of the subsequent track “Edison,” and usage of sound-bytes as avenues into and out of tracks, Earth is not the kind of progressive record, one would associate with bands like Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Tool, Porcupine Tree and the like. Unlike the others, Product’s music is least driven by unconventional rhythmic meters or extraordinary music-playing; they are not a band of exceptionally gifted or brazenly flamboyant musicians.
The disc’s dark and languorous sound has a close resemblance with the Elbow’s aberrant folk-rock debut, the gloomy Asleep In The Back. Even Boyles’ vocals have the same laidback, scruffy, and emotional quality to those of Elbow’s Guy Garvey, and the cuts “Edison,” “Earth,” and “War Machines” are, in fact, folk-tinged, different from a stereotypical “progressive” sound. The track-segues and instrumentals (“1893 World’s Fair,” “Message”) are sparsely ambient with lush layers of towering synthesizers.
The musical complexity of Earth is as fascinating as its concept. The way in which the band weaves the various stylistic elements into the theme of the record is superb. A lesson in history never sounded so cool.
(Translated from Dutch)
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was a physicist and some say the true inventor of radio. He was born in a village in present-day Croatia, although his parents are Serbian. He studied physics in Prague and then went including working in France and Germany. In 1884 he emigrated to the United States, where he took a job at General Electric, the company of Thomas Edison.
About the relationship between the young Edison and Tesla is a funny anecdote. Edison could not solve a particular problem, so he praised a prize for those who would come with the solution. Tesla solved the problem in a snap on, and strangely enough the Edison refused to pay it. The Tesla got indignant and started working at rival George Westinghouse. That was good, because Westinghouse focused on the delivery of alternating current, which Edison was an advocate of direct current. Westinghouse won the competition, thanks to improvements in Tesla.
The life and the many inventions and discoveries of Nikola Tesla are also the subjects of the concept album "Earth" Product of the U.S. project, consisting of the multi-instrumentalist Armand Christoff Boyles, responsible for all material, and drummer Scott Rader. Together they entertain on a small scale all about the prog community nearly ten years with handsome invented, highly elaborate and technically seated prog gems. That go as it were, the four elements, water, air, fire and earth, in random order. This is already the fourth section and it stands head and shoulders above the other, already quite impressive portions.
What is particularly admired the gritty, but crystal clear production of this product that we released on CD. This ensures that the "nature" of the plate better justice to. As the voice of Boyles including almost mumbling and whispering is getting 'Earth' a very pleasant sultry and exciting atmosphere. That is (fortunately!) Reinforced by very strong song material, suggesting that no note is pointless, no theme and no building remains unfinished with no climax comes. It is the kind of atmosphere that fans of plate Gazpacho, No-Man, and Lunatic Soul airbag will eat, and where fans of Porcupine Tree and Pineapple Thief even agree to listen to.
What is also striking emphasis on finished, mature compositions, where time is taken. Consider such a beautiful song like White Dove, a ballad by his great building slowly but surely under your skin crawl. Goosebumps! But Strange Transmission, with its violent eruptions-Hammond, is a brilliant climax to a plate in each other is so clever, that highlights speak almost an insult.
In the previous section, "The Fire" I wrote that I was curious to the actual views and feelings of Boyles. I am ashamed to post this comment, because I rarely heard in "Earth" so many hidden and subtle emotion. "Earth" is so good that I regret that no more elements exist.
But listen especially yourself!
Review by Jurriaan Hage, Axiom of Choice
Title: The Fire
Label: Cyclops CYCL 147
Length(s): 62 minutes
Year(s) of release: 2005
Month of review: [11/2005]
Product is a duo that is getting quite a name. I have no idea what the
prog audience thinks of them, but the reviews are quite positive on the
whole. And deservedly so. This album is a concept album about the life
of roman emperor Nero, which I guess also explains the title of the album.
From The Tall Tower I is dark ambient style opener. The sound is as yet
very sparse, but slowly we get underway. The theme is strong, a bit Floydian
mellow, and carrying plenty of emotion. The church bells add nicely to
this atmosphere. It Begins continues the Floydian feel. We also get some
vocals here, somberly sung using a rather low voice. Boyles is not the
best of singers, especially in this region, but when he goes a bit higher
he turns out to have a pleasant voice, similar to that of the singer of
The Blue Nile. His voice does continue to sound wavery and fragile. Musically,
I hear parallels not only with Floyd, but also with modern day Marillion
in a melancholy mood. The guitar resonates quite a bit, lending a vibrant
feel to the music.
World Of Nero is much rowdier, with some tense rhythm guitar work, as
if the clock is ticking. Then we flow into catchy melodic rock that we
find also with bands such as Gazpacho, Pineapple Thief and the like. Product
is of a more epic character and is also a band who works more on the atmosphere
side of things. This is further exemplified on Netting and Don't Talk,
which all have a dark and moody atmosphere and rather pronounced percussion.
All Is All is a somewhat up-beat and poppy track, but the somber sheen
stays over the track the whole way. Where Or Why continues the softer
somber, acousticy and melodic line of this album. The vocalist sounds
quite tragic here. From This Tall Tower II seems an instrumental, with
sound effects mostly, but halfway we get some spoken vocals, that become
more and more 'sung'. In fact, it turns into a majestic and tragic piece
Product knows how to form atmospheric music into songs. Jaded Love I is
no exception. There is the moodiness that pervades the whole album, The
Blue Nile/No-Man style vocals, a bit crooner like even. The vocals are
mainly in the lower regions, and not always that melodic. The end of the
song is uplifting as the organs set in.
Before we come to the second part of Jaded Love, first we encounter Age,
a very soundtrackish piece. Jaded Love II then opens with a laid back
guitar solo. Then the drummer starts to pound, and the music swells. It
also dies, playfully with piano, to swell again. Excellent piece of work
this. The manicy vocals at the end remind of Steve Hogarth, but a bit
Isis is another acoustic guitar dominated piece, while Haze is a more
orchestral piece, although still subdued. The use of (synth) strings here
reveals a seventies singersongwriter tendency similar to No-Man. Towards
the end, the music builds up, and becomes louder and more forceful.
It Ends sounds quite mean by comparison. Listen to that rhythm guitar
softly grinding. It announces it seems, the evil that is to come. The
music becomes a bit more bouncy then, the guitar is slightly psychedelic,
and effect rich.
The Fire is the closer and it is actually quite long. It opens slowly
with low acoustic guitar, reminding me of the opening of Marillion's Brave.
The vocals are vocoded, wavery. Slowly, the momentum increases, although
the music never breaks loose or anything, do not expect this kind of easy
climax. The music does increase in fullness and can be quite majestic.
I guess Product is best described as a combination of Marillion's Brave,
No-Man and Pink Floyd: soft and melodic, laid back even, but with occasional
outbursts. The music is quite song oriented, underneath, with plenty of
acoustic oriented songs. The music is not difficult to like, I found,
but the details need close listening, like Brave an album to listen to
in isolation. The third chapter in the life of Product is again a good
one. Let us hope the book is not yet closed. If you have not discovered
them yet, and the names above strike a chord, it is time to check them
out. It is hard to point out high points, the album is more like a bath
to immerse in.
DPRP - Dutch Progressive Rock Page
2005 Vol. 42
Pretentious, complicated and boring: could be a first impression of this new Product album. Pretentious because of the subject matter of this album: the fall of the Roman Empire. Complicated because of all the small fragments of music floating into the air. Boring because these fragments have neither start nor finish. But that is only a first impression, once you are able to recognize that the fragments do indeed create melodies, you will also find that these fragments floating around, create an atmosphere with just modest musical elements. Some elements return throughout the album, a mark of a true concept album. Listening to the album in this way shows this new album, sprung from the mind of Arman Christoff Boyle, is one to cherish and listen to again and again. Isn't it always like that: dislike it first grow to really love it?
From This Tall Tower I introduces the story with a couple of drum sounds, it then goes into a imminent guitar and bell sound. Soon taken over by It Begins which is the first instant that Arman Christoff Boyle's very good voice can be heard. Fragile at some points while firm at others. Nero notices the fire has begun. World Of Nero has a very nice build up, it has what could be called a controlled musical breakout. A senator sings of Nero's way of doing things. I have to say that Boyle's voice on occasion reminds of Neil Young and this comparison is most evident on Netting because the acoustic guitar sound could also be of Young's hand.
Don't Talk mainly creates atmosphere although the breaks contains a very nice melody. All Is All starts of with a banjo (?) sound and a very nice drum rhythm - the chorus is very catchy. Where Or Why is a more synthesizer and vocals oriented track. But as in the other tracks, again the music is most important not one single instrument. From This Tall Tower II continues where the first part left off. Jaded Love I starts with the sound of a crackling fire, a clear guitar is faded for a more rhythmic part and the song becomes forceful towards the end. Age is a small interlude to Jaded Love II a track that continues the first part by repeating the last two refrains. Isis is a very intimate track with vocals most prominent. Haze is also very intimate mostly because of (again) the vocals and the acoustic guitar. Nero is aware everyone has gone, no one there to protect him so: It Ends. The Fire closes the album, it has a dramatic atmosphere.
A lot is happening throughout the album and it is like music is always waiting to burst into existence. It is that tension that gives the music it's interesting quality (it also the thing not obvious at first). Even when the music bursts into a heavier guitar sound, they are not loosing control, the rougher parts are carefully constructed. The sound quality is very good. All the instruments are very balanced and the sound is very clear. Because Product consists of two members only, I assume a number of overdubs have been done to create this music. I can't image they have created this rich sound in another way.
Product compares their music to Pink Floyd and Salem Hill. For the Pink Floyd part: it is an accurate comparison. The guitar lines are much like Dave Gilmour. Salem Hill I am ashamed to say is not in my collection. I had not heard of Product before, something I find amazing after hearing this album. If their other albums are as good as this one those should also be checked out. If you are interested in more subdued, well thought of progressive rock and don't expect guitars ripping through your speakers Product should be in your collection. The first lines of this review are of course quite nasty, hopefully they managed to get your attention Product deserves it.
Conclusion: 7.5 out of 10
from Cyclops (our
Those who bought
their last album, Aire, will need no introduction to this stunning band.
Product produce a sophisticated progressive with haunting melodies created
by beautifully crafted songs and lyrics, along with instrumental sections
which evolve into classic themes. From quiet moods Floydian guitar attacks
appear and grow into darker pieces before lightness again conquers with
swirling keyboards and guitars, all this laid on top of some of the most
intelligent use of percussives to be found.
Once again Product have produced a concept work, this time based on the
life of Nero, and the group comparisons to Pink Floyd/Salem Hill will
give you an idea of their class.
One to savour again and again.
Music in Belgium
PRODUCT - The
Product est le projet musical de Arman Christoff Boyles (chant, guitares,
claviers) et Scott Rader (batterie, basse, backing vocals). Ces deux californiens
ont commencé à travailler ensemble en 1990. Ils ont déjà
deux albums à leur actif, "On Water" sorti en 2000 et
"Aire" sorti en 2003.
Inspirés par les problèmes politiques et la guerre, ce nouvel
album est basé sur le monde complexe de Néron. L'album est
divisé en deux parties représentant chacune un acte de la
pièce. L'ensemble nous plonge dans un monde d'intrigue au temps
des Romains. Mais, cela est-il bien loin de notre monde à nous?
L'ambiance se fait mystérieuse et mélancolique. Les intrigues
se font ressentir. On pense souvent à Pink Floyd pour les couleurs
et les douceurs. La batterie joue un grand rôle l'air de rien car
elle soutient l'ambiance et de bien belle façon. A d'autres moments,
comme pour "Where or Why", cela se fait dans une ambiance acoustique
très douce qui pourrait rappeler certains Anthony Phillips.
La mélancolie et les couleurs sombres sont de rigueur. L'acte II
l'est particulièrement avec une voix très grave et lancinante,
voire plaintive, et des tapis de strings. Les tons se montrent alors parfois
agressifs amplifiant ainsi notre impression de plonger en plein drame.
Quant à la finale "The Fire", de près de neuf
minutes, elle nous emportera de tout son long au sein de son enveloppante
Avec ce troisième album, Product nous offre un rock progressif
qui devrait plaire aux amateurs de Pink Floyd, Anthony Phillips et de
musiques aux tons mélancoliques et lancinants.
Cyclops CYCL 147
QUÉBEC AUDIO & VIDÉO POUR CE DISQUE
Dans le numéro
de décembre 2003, je vous avais fait découvert cet
extraordinaire duo de Los Angeles par leur deuxième album, Aire,
avais apposé une Sélection Québec Audio & Vidéo.
J'avais été alors
littéralement estomaqué par cet opus innovateur. C'est donc
avec une anxiété
évidente que j'attendais le troisième essai d'Arman Christoff
guitares, claviers) et de Scott Rader (batterie, basse). Hé bien,
terme « perfection » doit être apposé à
un album de rock progressif cette
année, je tiens à ce que ce soit celui-là! Dernier
maillon d'une trilogie
(On Water-Aire-The Fire) déjà passablement excitante, The
Fire nous entraîne
dans un univers très intimiste où se côtoient rythmes
recherchés, variations ethniques et expérimentations osées,
tout ça sur un
fond de rock progressif irréprochable. Alors que plusieurs groupes
construisent leur musique sur des fondations connues et éprouvées,
comme Product, n'hésiteront pas à réinventer, à
essayer de nouveaux
arrangements, quitte à surprendre, déranger, voire provoquer
Plus terre à terre que ses prédécesseurs mais tout
aussi audacieux, l'opus
nous replonge de plus belle dans l'univers trouble et sombre de ces deux
protagonistes plus grands que nature qui effraient, séduisent et
en même temps. Savant amalgame de progressif, de art rock et de
monde, cet album est, à l'instar de Aire, divisé en quinze
entre elles par un concept existentiel. Les paroles impénétrables
énigmatiques de Boyles sont très bien servies par sa voix
calme et lente de
même que par celles de deux gentilles sirènes. The Fire est
à mon avis les
plus réussi de la trilogie, ce qui n'est pas peu dire compte tenu
qualité des deux autres.
SÉLECTION QUÉBEC AUDIO & VIDÉO POUR CE DISQUE
Axiom Of Choice
© Roberto Lambooy
In the recent past several bands (such as Anathema, Opeth and Radiohead)
have come up with albums that blend several related styles of music, including
rock, metal, alt and progressive, creating a musical vein that is new
yet familiar. A style that is rock, yet atmospheric. This album here by
Product catches the wave. Aside from that there is a certain melancholy,
that is most often perceived in Swedish music, and not unlike T's Naive
(albeit less pained).
None of the tracks is very long, staying away from the traditional epics.
This could be construed as a more poppy approach, which is more or less
true as far the build up of songs is concerned, yet the complexity of
the songs, both rhythmically and melodically easily demonstrates the opposite.
Apart from that, such tracks as Value Of Gold smoothly demonstrate that
there is room for build up and climaxing within five minutes (hey, focus,
I'm talking about music here). Having said all that, this album is something
of a concept album, devided into two acts. This is reflected in the fact
that the songs are well integrated, the album feels more like "an
album" than it does like the collection of songs most albums are.
Boyles voice is full and easily
brings across any emotions. This suppleness in performance is displayed
in other aspects too, never does the music sound as if compromises were
made. It sounds very much like it was played the way it was intended.
I liked the bands debut On Water, but it didn't particularly strike me.
This album does. The well integrated overall sound, the melancholy, combined
with expressive strength makes for an album that can be listened to at
both a conscious and more distant mode. Late as it may be, this album
clearly is an addition to my top five over the past year.
Dutch Progressive Rock
Tom De Val
Product consists of songwriter,
vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Arman Christoff Boyles and bassist/drummer
Scott Rader, who, in their own words, create historically based
musical theatre geared towards the ears and mind. In essence, this
means that Product are creators of that old favourite of progressive rock
artists, the concept album.
Product have released two albums to date. Their first, On Water, was originally
issued in 2000, yet the band state that they were unhappy with the limited
distribution of it, so appear to be doing some re-promotion to tie in
with the release of the new album Aire (on the Cyclops label).
On Water is set against the backdrop of the American Revolution, and is
based on a journal by a young sailor named Jacob Nagle, focussing on the
confused, surreal and unsettling reflections as he slowly drowns. It is
hardly upbeat material, and Product have produced a dark, constantly shifting
musical backdrop to these troubled recollections. Instrumentation is used
primarily to create atmosphere, and its rather disingenuous to look
at individual songs in general as this is very much a whole
piece, to be listened to in totality. Having said that, there are some
tracks that stand out in their own right, in particular You, a powerful
ballad with a fine duet between Boyles and guest vocalist Marianne Joan.
Much of the material could be labelled melancholic and balladic, but there
are regular shifts into heavier, industrial flavoured territory, where
distorted guitars and clanking drumbeats rule the roost. This shift, often
very abrupt (as in Eye To Eye) can be disconcerting, which Im sure
is intended given the nature of the story. The nautical theme is well
used throughout, giving the album a feeling of unity, and also lending
itself to certain musical styles (not least the sea-shanty-esque romp
Yardarm To Yardarm).
Aire, the bands most recent album, is based on the life of Galileo,
and purports to examine the internal and external conflict between
church, science and politics. The setting and context of the album
is not so clearly defined this time, but this is more than made up for
by the fact that the band have come up with stronger, more varied and
accessible material, especially in rockier, mid-tempo tracks such as Age
Of Reason and Value Of Gold which show a stronger sense of melody, and
there is an epic sweep to the album that I felt was missing on On Water.
Influence-wise, the main ones I identified on both albums were Salem Hill,
latter-day Porcupine Tree, late seventies Pink Floyd and mid-90s
Marillion indeed, Boyles expressive voice has a definite
echo of Steve Hogarths, particular in the quieter, more reflective
sections. Other points of reference include more mainstream acts such
as Radiohead and Elbow, and the now-defunct avant-garde popsters Talk
Talk the latters influence being particularly noticeable
in the way that silence and the less is more ethic are utilised.
Overall, these arent the easiest albums to listen to, and the starkness
and minimalism of some of the material may alienate some people, but its
worth persevering as there is some fine music here. If asked to recommend
one over the other I would go for Aire, due to its (relative) accessibility
and the stronger songwriting, but in all honesty if you like one youll
probably want the other, as both are stylistically similar. Ones for those
into the darker side of prog.
On Water: 6.5 out of 10
Aire: 7 out of 10
RECOMMENDED RELEASES OF 2003
"Aire" is a sprawling epic in two parts over 17 tracks of between
2 and 5 minutes produced, amazingly, by just two musicians (backed by
guests on a few tracks): Arman Christoff Boyles, composer, vocalist, guitarist
and keyboards and Scott Rader who takes care of the entire rhythm section.
I hear many influences: 'Brave' era Marillion (mostly), 'Discipline' era
Crimson, No Man. Adventurous, melodic, conceptual prog rock. (Cyclops
Reviewed by: Stephanie Sollow, March 2004
If ever the term moody could be used to describe a piece, or suite, of
music, it is now with Product's second release, Aire. At least, that's
the initial impression. The sonic palette is dark, the mood mostly somber
and at the end you aren't sure if you like it or not. While the music
occasionally breaks out of its musical malaise, you are left with the
feeling that you have spent an hour in another world that never becomes
fully formed. That is, there is a dream-like atmosphere that permeates
the entire release, perhaps reflective of the internal nature of the concept.
Part of moodiness is due to the understated - and often dreary - vocals
from Product's driving force, Arman Christoff Boyles. Whereas On Water
bore striking resemblance to Marillion (and "Memory Of Water"
specifically), there is significantly less of that here, so little that
it bears mention only for comparison purposes between the two albums.
In a very general and non-specific way, Pink Floyd came to mind. By that,
no one specific track comes to mind, but rather a mood or effect.
Aire is a concept album based on the life of Galileo "outlining the
basic struggle between church and science in a somewhat personal manner
writes Boyles at the band's website. Galileo was an inventor of many things,
one of which was the telescope - at least, a better telescope, which magnified
at 20x (other telescopes invented in Europe at the time were 3x). This
led him to make astronomical discoveries: "With this telescope, he
was able to look at the moon, discover the four satellites of Jupiter,
observe a supernova, verify the phases of Venus, and discover sunspots.
His discoveries proved the Copernican system which states that the earth
and other planets revolve around the sun. Prior to the Copernican system,
it was held that the universe was geocentric, meaning the sun revolved
around the earth." It was his theories that brought him into conflict
with the Catholic Church, and The Inquisitions. "[H]e was warned
by Cardinal Bellarmine, under order of Pope Paul V, that he should not
discuss or defend Copernican theories. In 1624, Galileo was assured by
Pope Urban VIII that he could write about Copernican theory as long as
he treated it as a mathematical proposition. However, with the printing
of Galileo's book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Galileo
was called to Rome in 1633 to face the Inquisition again. Galileo was
found guilty of heresy for his Dialogue, and was sent to his home near
Florence where he was to be under house arrest for the remainder of his
life. " Galileo died in 1642 at the age of 78. This provides the
backdrop against which Boyles lays out his concept, and yet, it isn't
a straight narrative. As Boyles writes, "Act one of the album is
mostly about the basic frustrations of just trying to be someone of significance
in a material world void of answers. Act two is the internal and external
conflict between church, science and politics. Only in old age and death
do the barriers finally dissolve."
The dynamics between somber and explosive is given right in the first
track, "City Of Gold," where a sparse opening suddenly gives
way to crashing percussion and bass. "Age Of Reason," which
follows, is one of the livelier pieces and one of the few that recall
Marillion, complete with crying guitar that evokes Afraid Of Sunrise-period
Steve Rothery. "The Mighty Maze" contains some superb chiming,
shimmering guitar work from Boyles on a surprisingly upbeat piece, and
lyrically, it's positive, too, as the central character looks forward
to the following day. If Boyles' vocal performance weren't as restrained,
this song would really take flight. The rumbling percussive drive on "Here
Comes Tomorrow" is palpable, reflecting the nervous energy the character
feels, maybe Product's most energetic moment. It gives this moment an
urgency the rest of the album doesn't have -- and our character is ready,
and anxious about, presenting his theories. "Still Here" is
the most beautiful moment, especially the tinkling piano that is featured
in this piece. Though the pace is very relaxed, you can almost imagine
the character (and pianist) alone on the darkened stage, only a spotlight
on. Boyles here is accompanied by guest Bob Young on a particularly warm,
yet subtle, violin. Haunting, this piece is. Though much more sparse,
"Wonderful Dreamers" is just as haunting.
Another rockier piece is "The Value Of Gold," (that we're all
weighed down by our reward for keeping silent is the theme here). Tom
Petty came to mind (or the Byrds) at the beginning, though thicker, darker
in tone. Hmm
Petty by way of Evergrey maybe, jangly guitars but
dark, emotive vocal delivery. Or maybe a darkwave band
and atmospheric keys provide the sparse backdrop to "Other Worlds,"
another haunting track, that at about 2 and half minutes in, explodes
with a waterfall of sound - guitar, percussion
and it is this element
that recalls Floyd, at least for me (and Marillion, but mostly Floyd).
And Floyd will also come to mind during "Beyond All Reason,"
dark as the rest of the album, but the prominence of percussion and bass
make this much heavier than the rest of the album. Actually, King Crimson
also come to mind here, only the edges are a less angular. If every piece
were like this, we'd be describing Product as a more metallic Crimson
As I said, at times Boyles' understated delivery comes across as very
dreary, but it also gives it a haunting effect, especially given the deepness
of Boyles' voice. Especially on "Fall," which may be Boyles'
best vocal performance here. Instrumentally it's sparse, violin and percussion
mainly, before the piece opens up, expands outward with keys, guitar filling
out the mix.
Joining Boyles are Scott Rader on drums and bass, plus guests Bob Yang
on violin (as mentioned), Chana Rothman and Melody Carpenter on vocals,
Barry Smith on harmonica and resonator guitar, and Eric Gaskell on strings.
That harmonica appears on the second to last track "Last Word"
and seems overly lively compared to the rest of the piece and the rest
of the album, though Smith doesnt' let loose on it. It does add
a bluesy element to the piece, which, with its use of acoustic guitar,
has a tinge of a western feel to it.
Aire is not an album you will necessarily like on the first or second
listen, but something about the music draws you in for longer looks and
much of it will appeal to progressive rock fans (and some sections are
very "neo" in sound). The weakest element is how Boyles sings,
though I think he has a great tone. I just find I want something a little
less dreary, since it makes it seem as if he's off key.
Tales Of Wonder
REVIEWED 2003 DECEMBER 16TH
... I invite to you to free your mind from anachronistic preconcepts and
to taste this good example of progressive rock. Product is a progressive
band from the U.S.A., moving around Arman Christoff Boyles and Scott Rader
with the support of four othermusicians. These two guys define themselves
as deeply interested in the novellistic power of music, that is, there
must not be only music, but also a story to tell. This intellectual approach
to music started in 2000 with their first release "On Water"
and now goes on with "Aire". The next release is already planned
and will be called "The Fire", followed by the fourth element,
such as Earth.
Anyway let' s take Product' s most recent:"Aire" is to concept-album
inspired by the life of italian scientist Galileo Galilei, who became
famous for his incredible astronomic discoveries, although sadly recalled
also for the Church' s dullness who never accepted them. There is a passage
taken from "Other Worlds" which is perfect to understand the
concept of this album: "Truth is a door, open and believe it. Not
trying to destroy God. Just reveal him ".
From the musical comedy point of view the album is pretty well built around
the story: each track flows always in search of dark and melanchonic athmospheres,
even if sometimes, there' s much more strongness (with good guitar riffs,
see "Value Of Gold"). The main influences of Product' s music
are certainly Pink Floyd (The Wall period), Timothy Pure, Mostly Autumn
(althought less folky) and something of Peter Gabriel post-Genesis.
An enjoyable album of refined and classic progressive rock, a good piece
of music to listen with your mind free from any anachronistic pre-conceptions.
Le 5 Domande Di Radionotte
Product - Aire
di: Gabriele Desole
Non posso iniziare a parlare di questi "Product" e della loro
nuova fatica in studio senza accennare al
precedente lavoro "On Water". Ebbene nel loro debut album i
Product hanno gettato le fondamenta dei loro
percorsi musicali creando un concept inerente all'elemento dell'acqua.
Ben si capisce dunque che "Aire"
è un lavoro indissolubilmente legato come continuità e contiguità
musicali e narrative all'album d'esordio.
In "Aire" tuttavia il tema centrale delle liriche è incentrato
sul personaggio storico Galileo, con una
analisi fredda e lucida di quelle che erano le relazioni tra questo esimio
scienziato italiano e le autorità
che facevano il bello ed il cattivo tempo in Italia in quel periodo. Il
rapporto travagliato di Galileo con
la chiesa, i soprusi e le ingiustizie da lui subite da parte di quest'ultima
nel nome di una bieca e strenua difesa
dell'antropocentrismo, concezione che di li a poco sarebbe stata completamente
demolita e dalla scienza stessa e dalla filosofia, si trasformano in "Aire"
nel pretesto per raccontare la vita di Galileo. In questo background storico
viene inserito l'elemento dell'aria che viene inteso come quella sostanza
che separa l'uomo dalle stelle, e uscendo fuor di metafora, come le credenze
comuni che ostacolano il raggiungimento della vera conoscenza. Come si
può ben capire dunque i contenuti non sono di facile e immediato
uso consumo e assimilazione, almeno per coloro che hanno con i testi un
approccio superficiale andandosi a perdere una fetta importante del lavoro
che sta dietro ad un album del genere.
D'altro canto anche la musica in senso stretto di questi "Product"
risulta essere il frutto di un'attenta ricerca, dove
l'antico si unisce al nuovo; sono scomparse le piccole (ma dopotutto trascurabili)
imperfezioni di "On Water". La musica
acquista una grande compattezza ed'è una piacevole sorpresa ascoltare
la bella voce di Arman Christoff Boyles vera anima di questo progetto
sia come compositore che come paroliere d'eccezione. Rimane immutato il
senso d'angoscia che trasuda dalle note dei Product in gran parte dell'album,
se in "On water" era dovuto al fatto che sicuramente non è
tra le cose migliori che possono capitare andare a morire tra i flutti
dell'oceano, in "Aire" invece si vuole esprimere anche attraverso
la musica quel travaglio interiore che Galileo provava mentre era a costretto
a rinnegare in un odioso tribunale le proprie idee e le proprie convinzioni.
Un lavoro di pregevole fattura ispirato da immagini e da suoni italiani
che è anche una gradita riconferma ed una ulteriore evoluzione
di questo gruppo.
poor translation of above:
I cannot begin to speak about
this "Product" and their new hard work in study without to point
previous job "On Water". Well in theirs debut album the Product
has thrown the foundations of theirs
musical distances creating a concept inherent to the element of the water.
Very it is understood therefore that "Boost"
it is a job indissolubilmente legacy like musical and novellistic continuities
and contiguità to the album of debut.
In "Boost" however the topic centers them of the lyric ones
is centralized on the historical personage Galileo, with one
cold analysis and polishes of that they were the relations between this
esimio Italian scientist and the authorities
that they made the beautiful one and the bad time in Italy in that period.
The travagliato relationship of Galileo with
the church, the soprusi and the ingiustizie from he endured from part
of this last in the name of one oblique and courageous defense
of the antropocentrismo, conception that of them little would have been
completely demolished and from same science and the philosophy, is transformed
in "Boost" in the pretest in order to tell the life of Galileo.
In this background historical it comes inserted the element of the air
that comes meant like that substance that separates the man from stars,
and exiting fuor of metaphor, like the common sideboards that they hinder
the attainment of the true acquaintance. As it can be very understood
therefore the contents are not of easy and immediate use consumption and
assimilation, at least for those who they have with the witnesses a superficial
approach going itself to lose an important slice of the job that it is
behind to a album of the sort.
Of other song also music in tight sense of this "Product" turns
out to be the fruit of a careful search, where
the ancient one joins to the new one; the small (but after all negligible
are passings) imperfections of "On Water". Music
spirit of this plan acquires a great compactness ed' is an pleasant surprise
to listen to the beautiful voice of Arman Christoff true Boyles is like
composer who like paroliere of exception. It remains immutato the anguish
sense that trasuda from notes of the Product in great part of the album,
if in "On water" it had had to the fact that sure is not between
the better things that they can capitare to go to die between the flutti
of the ocean, in "Boost" instead that inner suffering is wanted
to be expressed also through music that Galileo tried while to she was
forced to rinnegare in a hateful court the own ideas and the own convictions.
A job of pregevole invoice inspired from images and Italian sounds that
are also one appreciate reaffirmation and one ulterior evolution of this
Quebec Audio Video Magazine,
Montreal Canada (www.quebecaudio.com) Nov 2003
Kinisis Records Nov 2000
This is a new CD were very excited about. Primarily the work
of songwriter/producer Arman Christoff Boyles, with help from musician/producer
Scott Rader and several guests, this album tells a surreal story from
the viewpoint of a drowning young sailor, set against the backdrop of
the American Revolution. The level of originality is high... Vocally,
Boyles is closer to Peter Gabriel (solo). Songs usually start off in acoustic
singer-songwriter mode, with dry, close-miked vocals, then blossom into
lush, majestic progressive rock. A wealth of subtle production effects
warrants repeated listens... This is progressive rock for the new millennium.
Larry Kolota (Kinisis Records)
Journal of the Classic Rock Society Issue 110 March 2001
Product On Water Self Produced CD 01POW
On the face of it, a concept album the recollections of a drowning soldier
during the American Revolution sound so bizarre as to be totally unworkable.
However, if you combine this story with one of the finest progressive
albums of the decade then you are on a surefire winner. Product is the
brainchild of two musicians, Arman Christoff Boyles who has written the
words and music and provides vocals, guitar and synth and Scott Rader
with drums, bass and guitar.
The music is further fleshed out by the addition of several guest musicians
to make this a total musical experience. On Water is a progressive rock
masterpiece and very much inspired by the works of Pink Floyd, Genesis,
Radiohead and Talk Talk genius Mark Hollis. Boyles has a wonderful, restrained
voice that is very evocative and sends a shudder down your spine.
The music is complex, beautiful and haunting and simply carries you away
with the concept. This is only the first of several concept albums that
Boyles and Rader are working on and if On Water is the standard to which
these guys works then we are looking at a serious major talent here. You
simply must have this quite sublime album in your collection. The band
is looking for a distribution outlet so any record companies out there
should contact Arman Boyles as a matter of priority.
ProgressiveWorld.net January 2001Product - On Water Released: 2000
Label: self-released Cat. No.: 01POW Total Time: 62:24 Reviewed by: Stephanie
Sollow, January 2001
The thing I was most struck by in listening to Product's On Water
opus was how much it mixed in lyrical and sonic elements from Marillion's
1997 album This Strange Engine. Water was a preoccupation of Hogarth and
Helmer in penning the Marillion album, and water plays a very large role
here on On Water, a title that cleverly has multiple meanings: "on
water" as in about water and "on water" as being on the
surface. The album's concept touches on both these meanings - in "Eye
For Eye" the lyric is: "A few rules on water / you have to know
what her name is / you have to know where she's been / and you've got
to know where she's going / you've got to trust her spells." The
story of the concept concerns a ship and its crew, and is told from the
point of view of a drowning sailor. And the setting is the Revolutionary
War period, with elements said to be based on The Nagle Journals. What
I especially think of in regards to Marillion is the tracks "Memory
Of Water," "Estonia," and "This Strange Engine."
So, if you can imagine a combination of all three, different elements
at different times, then you'd have a pretty good idea what Product sound
like. There are moments here, too, that made me think of mellow Porcupine
Tree, and of Alan Parsons Project. However, being for the benefit of those
not so familiar with the Marillion album (or Porcupine Tree or Alan Parsons
Project), here is what you can expect. Much of this album is understated
and very acoustic in feel...in some ways a very dreamy feel, as the gentle
music carries you along ... like ocean waves. The guitars and synths set
much of the atmosphere and tone, the latter adding bits of colour here
and there, though starting things off with dark synth washes. There are
scattered turbulent eddies (percussion mainly), but these never last long,
once past the initial track which goes from acoustic guitar (Danny Flores)
and voice (Arman Christoff Boyles) to angular bombast to mellow synths,
angelic vocalizations (male and female) heightening the dramatic feel.
These give way to martial drumming that cuts off suddenly. It is during
the more bombastic moments that you can most hear the drum work of Scott
Rader, who also plays bass and guitar on the album as well. In fact, the
album features a total of three bassists, though one suspects not simultaneously.
Besides Rader, Les Bloome and Todd Anisman contribute bass, the latter
also contributing guitar. In the sonic mix, too, are French horn (Lee
Ingram), violin (Nate Tuleson) and additional vocals by Marianne Joan.
As much as Boyles sings like Steve Hogarth, during "Yardarm to Yardarm"
I also thought of Rob Hyman, once vocalist with the Philadelphia band
Hooters. And I'm reminded of one of the tracks off their debut, "Where
Do The Children Go," which, unlike their "hits" from that
disk, was relatively mellow. And, as I mentioned above, Boyles also sounds
a little bit like Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson. This is not a happy
album, as it concerns a very gloomy story -- drowning at sea is rarely
a happy occasion. And yet, it's an album that drowns you in atmosphere.
It's an album for those who spend as much time thinking about their music,
about the themes and concepts, as they do listening to their music. If
there are any negatives, it is only that this may be too subtle for it's
own good. There are sections between tracks that are extremely quiet,
where you either think there's nothing on the CD (the first 30-40 seconds)
or that the album has ended (various points throughout). And to enjoy
any of it short of using headphones, you have to have to volume turned
up quite high. It's not an entirely bad thing, in that you won't have
your neighbors calling the cops because it's too loud (well, depending
on what sort of neighbors you have). More about On Water: Track Listing:
Raising Of The Mainsail And A Song For The Damned (6:59) / Eye For Eye
(4:20) / When The Smoke Fades Away (5:03) / Water Bodies (3:35) / Yardarm
To Yardarm (2:45) / Safe Harbour (1:16) / London Towne (3:45) / You (3:26)
/ Islands (6:15) / Lemmings (7:39) / Ghosts (3:55) / Underwater I (1:04)
/ Without You (5:25) / Underwater II (1:02) / On Water (6:05) Sound Clips:
Kinesis (RealAudio) Musicians: Arman Christoff Boyles - words and music,
vocals, guitar and synth Scott Rader - drums, bass, and guitar Danny Flores
- bass, classical guitar, mandolin Marianne Joan - vocals Nate Tuleson
- violin Lee Ingram - French horn Les Bloome - bass Todd Anisman - guitars
and bass Contact: Available from Kinesis [Review Index] ÊÊ[Home]
© Copyright 2000 ProgressiveWorld.net
Great stuff, November 1,
Reviewer: Jim Harkins from Del Mar, CA USA This is not metal, it's barely
progressive, and I'm not sure it's even rock. In fact, I'm not sure what
to call it. The best review of it,in fact, the only review I've seen.
This is a very moody album, telling the story of a drowning sailor in
the 17th century. If I could write worth a dang I'd do better, but I'm
just going to recommend the ach ee double hocky stick out of it...
A GREAT CD, July 16, 2000
Reviewer: N. Barrett from IL This cd is my fav. in my collection. With
songs like EYE FOR EYE and SONG FOR THE DAMNED make this cd great! The
album is non stop greatness!
Product - On water
(62:31, Flickertista Records, 2000)
Zwischen Wunsch und Wirklichkeit bei den Presseinfos zu einer CD stehen
oft Welten. Doch gibt es auch lobende Ausnahmen, die wirklich (zumindest
zum Großteil) halten, was sie mit salbungsvollen Worten versprechen.
So wird "On water" welches vom Duo Product alias Arman Christoff
Boyles (Gesang, Gitarre, Synthesizer) und Scott Rader (Schlagzeug, Bass,
Gitarre) komponiert wurde, im Ansatz als Mischung aus Filmmusik mit Rockeinflüssen
kategorisiert, wobei als Vergleichsmomente Pink Floyd, Radiohead und Genesis
Gut, Vergleiche sind immer etwas schwierig und treffen meist nur Ansätzen
zu, was selbstverständlich auch bei Product der Fall ist, doch merkt
man bereits nach wenigen Minuten beim Eintauchen in dieses Album, dass
hier mehr drin steckt, man noch einige Durchgänge benötigen
wird, um den vollständigen Geist dieses Silberlings zu erfassen.
Zunächst einmal fallen die vielen, ruhigen, stimmungsvollen Passagen
auf, in denen Atmosphäre geschaffen wird. Oft werden sie abgelöst
von auf den ersten Blick einfach angelegteren Akustikpassagen, die aber
oftmals in gefangennehmende Melodien münden oder sich mehr und mehr
in packende sinfonische Klanglandschaften voll Volumen und Schönheit
steigern. Irgendwie fühle ich mich hier und da an die letzten Alben
von Porcupine Tree erinnert, wo ebenfalls eindringliche Melodien in ein
leicht progressives Umfeld gepackt wurden, Frontmann Boyles erinnert stimmlich
etwas an Steve Hogarth von Marillion.
Und wie schon oben erwähnt, offenbart bereits der zweite bzw. dritte
Durchlauf die vollständige Qualität dieser CD. Langsam gewinnen
die Songs immer mehr an Struktur und Inhalt, die Arrangements graben sich
langsam tiefer ins Gedächtnis ein und die Mischung aus stimmungsvoller
Tiefe und melodischer Eleganz nimmt einen langsam gefangen. Anspruchsvoller
Rock, Progressive Rock, Folk wurden melancholisch, aber stimmig vermischt.
Okay, nicht jeder der 15 Songs hat durchschlagende Wirkung, doch das Gros
wirkt überzeugend. Tiefere Ursachen für die Schönheit dieser
Scheibe liegen offensichtlich darin begründet, dass sich die beiden
Hauptkomponisten diverse Gastmusiker ins Studio holten (u.a. an Violine,
Mandoline) und sie es zudem in ihre Kompositionen schaffen, zwar eindeutige
Inspiration aus der Vergangenheit zu holen, im Gesamten aber ein modern
klingende Ummantelung ihrer Ideen erschaffen. So wirkt zwar vieles vom
Inhalt her bekannt und einfach zum Zurechtfinden, aber zugleich auch durchaus
frisch, neu, nicht verstaubt oder antiquiert.
Wie auf diesem Konzeptalbum die surrealistische Geschichte ertrinkenden
Matrosen währendes amerikanischen Unabhängigkeitskrieges spannend
erzählt wurde, macht Hoffnung, dass man auch 2001 wieder mit einigen
interessanten Alben rechnen darf. Product gehören mit dem nicht spektakulären,
aber unheimlich eindringlich wirkenden "On water" auf jeden
Fall schon jetzt dazu. KS
Kontakt: Flickertista Records c/o Arman Christoff Boyles, P.O. Box 5673,
Snowmass Village CO, 81615 U.S.A., Vertrieb u.a. über Kinesis Mailorder
(Link auf unserer Website)
a short summary:
An album with a lot of emotion, acoustic parts which create
varying moods, overall a perfect mix of sophisticated rock,
progressive rock and folk. Even though this concept album
isn't spectacular, it really has something, which makes it worth
to listen to the album several times and dive deeper into the
music. This album definetely grows on you and its worth every
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