Transience - Sliding - 1999


Transience is the project devised by Fred Hunter, keyboard player of the North American band Land´s End. In this first album, "Sliding", we have the artist's vision on 8 postcards from images corresponding to places in the US and around. In spite of being a solo project from Hunter, at the end the other members of Land´s End appear (Mark Lavallee (drums), Francisco Neto (guitars) and Jeff McFarland (vocals). Nevertheless, and in spite of the fact that the work is very well elaborated, you cannot compare it in a global way with Land´s End work, one of the most interesting current bands in the world progressive scene.


"Sliding" is a very mature, elegant and descriptive work, with a shortage of progressive risk, but that does not mean it is commercial. The proposal is directed (obviously) to the lovers of keyboards, of calm atmospheres and for the musical travelers that want to go for a walk around the chosen places. Very suitable for followers of Camel or the calmer Pink Floyd. Hunter deploys a great arsenal of keyboards in a wise way, guessing right in most moments which keyboard to use.

Dissecting the Cd, it opens up with "At Squaw Peak" (7:54) a very calm and relaxing piece, with a simple vocal melody, but with exceptional interventions of Hunter to the keyboards and a great guitar solo to conclude, courtesy of Neto. Some very experimental keyboards introduce us to "Sliding" (4:19), a pleasant song plentiful of Latin flavor starting from percussion and acoustic guitar. "Desert Falls" (12:59) is the first -and not the longer- suite of the album, subdivided in two parts. The first is the Floydian "The Memory", with Jeff's soft voice and a good performance of Neto and Hunter, and a wise use of keyboards with legend flavors (close to Procol Harum's hammond sound). The second instrumental part “Time flows backwards” possesses a disturbing atmosphere of keyboards decorated with a Crimson sax while the bass -very well played- recreates the atmosphere. The fourth track "L.A. Post" (4:58) is a beautiful song of American progressive which owes to the west coast sound –kind of C,S,N&Y for the progressive- and that for sure Neal Morse would love. Anyway, too much hand clapping and too simple.

"Captiva Island" (5:42) is much better, a beautiful instrumental full with keyboard passages developing melodies in the purest style of Kitaro, that concludes with a solo of very temperamental guitar that reminds from a calm and "fugazian" Rothery. Excellent. "Utah Revisited" (8:28) is another dreamy beautiful song with Camel connotation, whose first part ends up being too boring, but that later takes off with a sax solo in a strange mixture of Marillion ("Easter") and Pink Floyd to save the general tone of the composition. To end up, we find the long suite "The seven pool" with an excessive length of 19:04 minutes for a song of these features (sometimes the ghost of the new age lives around). In this case Hunter deploys all his array of keyboards, pianos, synthesizers, etc, trying to never make the listen boring. This song is ideal for relaxation, the flight for Floydian universes, and it is very well structured (brilliant guitars again). Nevertheless, I insist, a bit too long. To conclude, we have "Stanley Park" (3:00), a luminous and positive melody as a film score for keyboards. that puts an elegant end to the album.


In conclusion, an album that will delight all the lovers of the keyboard sounds, with explicit evocations to the sound of Pink Floyd, but that is also of interest for those that like to relax with sounds a la Kitaro, George Winston and, of course, the calmer Lands End. Maybe the only “but” that we could apply to the Cd it is that if Fred tries to release a second Cd in this style, it would probably be very boring. Although to solve this potential problem, he could come for holidays to Spain to drink sangria and to be inspired by other good postcards.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - April 2000 -   - Cyclops