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2017-10-08 – ProgArchives (Review)

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Ben Craven Crossover Prog
4.08 | 6 ratings
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4 stars

Australian composer and musician Ben CRAVEN have made a name for himself in progressive rock circles by steadily releasing quality material for more than a decade, and while he isn’t a household name yet those with a somewhat deeper knowledge about the genre these days will be aware of his material. “The Single Edits” is a compilation album, and was released in the spring of 2017.

The idea behind this compilation was, it would seem, to present Craven’s music in a more accessible manner. To cut out what is unneeded, to separate singular entities from an epic length context, and otherwise present his music in a way and a manner that would not alienate the part of the listening audience that will never be quite at home with 15 minute epics or albums made in a manner that makes a whole album listen through mandatory to be able to capture the spirit of it all. In essence: To present the songs as individual entities that can be enjoyed in their own right, without being a part of a greater totality.

In many cases I do find Craven’s material to be striking enough to come across as successful also in this context. The manner in which he blends atmospheric tendencies and what I’d generally describe as a Floydian take on progressive rock can at best be brilliant, and the ones shining brightest here in my personal opinion are Critical Mass part 2 and Spy in the Sky Part 3. Others are just about as striking as well, and the first half of this compilation is a joy to experience for most people with a tendency to like atmospheric laden, accessible progressive rock. Despite rather than because of the occasional film score tendencies in my opinion.

Some of the gentler and more acoustic based excursions later on doesn’t quite strike me in the same manner, and some of the other cuts are too slowly paced for my personal taste to be able to impress me on a higher level. But there aren’t any songs here that are not good, merely a few cases of songs that for my particular taste in music are more pleasant than striking.

As far as the general premise of this compilation goes, to present the music of the artist in a more accessible manner, I find this compilation to be successful in that context. This is an album that will have a broader appeal due to the shorter length of the songs and that they are not a part of a greater totality. Besides that aspect of it, this is a fine introduction to the musical universe of Ben Craven, and those unfamiliar with his material that tend to enjoy accessible progressive rock of an atmospheric laden and Floydian vein should find this album to be a good place to start discovering his take on this kind of music.

Windhawk | 4/5 | 2017-10-8