Local Progressive


Easter Island

By Tim Roberts

Imagine - It's Easter Sunday, 1722. You're on a Dutch ship exploring the Pacific off the coast of South America. Your captain, Jacob Roggeveen, snags you for a landing party going ashore on an island that's been spotted. You and your shipmates will find that the coastline is full of oblong statues the Moai, with long, emotionless faces, many aimed in the direction of the sunrise. Admiral Roggeveen names the island after the holy day on which it was discovered. After you lift your jaw back up to your face, you and the others spend a few days exploring the island. You then pile back onto the ship and head home with news of the bizarre discovery. Nearly three centuries later the massive statues you found will become part of world culture, most notably as tiki-bar decorations and the inspiration for The Coneheads.

And a progressive rock band from Louisville will borrow the island's name.

A trio of veterans make up Easter Island, so we know we're getting more than a prog rock band whose members read too much Tolkien while Tarkus slammed through their headphones. Mark Micelli, formerly of Elysian Field (whose was CD reviewed in last month's LMN), is on guitars, synth and vocals, Richard Streander is on guitars and vocals, and Bob Chapman plays electronic drums and percussion. Having three experienced musicians is one of the best aspects of the recording. As veteran players, the three of them know they have choices in how they present their music. Put another way, the craftsmanship on MotherSun indicates they are apparently not bound to any preconceptions of what progressive rock should sound like.

Likewise, another aspect is that MotherSun is progressive rock that both avoids and rethinks many of the cliches associated with that subcategory. We get sensual chords from guitars instead of screaming riffs, "synthesis" of many electronic instruments instead of tortured synthesizers, acrobatic rhythms instead of thundering drums, a jazzish use of space instead of sound crammed into every bar, with lyrics that affirm life choices and changes. Think of it as Dave Brubeck meets Andreas Wollenweider hip New Age music that could never be used in an elevator.

The name Easter Island itself provokes mysteries and puzzles. But it can also be used as a synonym for discovery, for solving riddles, for answers that reveal more questions. The music in MotherSun from Louisville's Easter Island is a discovery a mystery waiting for you.