Exposé Online banner

Aelian — The Watcher
(Musea FGBG-4061.AR, 1992, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 1993-12-31:

The Watcher Cover art

Musea tends to release two kinds of music: reissues of excellent obscure progressive bands and debut efforts by contemporary bands. The latter can be broken down further into bands that learn from the past masters of the genre and extend progressive music to new horizons and the “wanna be” progressive bands that only hint at possibilities.

Aelian is one of these latter neo-progressive bands. Hailing from Italy, they root their music in bands like Yes and Styx. Unhappily they are bland imitators without understanding instrumentation and lyric writing. Too much happens in their music. As Robert Browning so aptly put it, “Less is more,” and Aelian would have benefited by not filling the available sonic space with instruments. You can pick out individual instruments, but Maurizio Antognoli’s keyboards are mixed way below the drums and bass. Vocals are not Aelian’s strong point yet there is only one instrumental. Aelian’s music improves by quantum leaps when they are not making space for their lead vocalist Mark Aixer. He occasionally trips over English and often the lyrics do not make sense. Take for instance this line from "You Don’t Touch Me": “How can I do to explain to you / that you break my heart like an innocent crime”; this line from "One Dream All Together": “We tried to slide in the dark side / but the lamps of envious lights up / the corner of a blind man”; and this line from "The Sun Will Shine Again": “Is there someone of us / who can merit unended whiles?” Then there is the quasi-“yellow peril” song "Y. F." inspired by “A Chinese Ghost Story,” which suffers from the almost racist refrain “And yellow faces in my eyes.” Aelian has the potential for being a good band once they gain more experience in song writing and playing live.


by Peter Thelen, 1994-02-01:

This is one of Musea's new releases, a label which for many years I considered infallible, but in the last few years they have occasionally proven me wrong with releases like Fancy Fluid's first, Overdrive, Deyss' first and others. Case in point: Aelian is a new Italian four piece of g/k/b/d, with the bassist doubling on lead vocals. The music is definitely neo-progressive for the most part, but in this case it's not necessarily a negative, they do fairly well, comparable to bands like Now and Sinister Street. The problem, once again, is the vocalist, with his laughable imitation Fish-like emotions, which are only eclipsed by his lack of understanding of the subtleties of the English language in which he's trying to sing. Add to that two very cheesy pop tracks that break the album's continuity, and you have a near total disaster. Fortunately, they did put an excellent instrumental on as the second track, and there are plenty of instrumental stretches in some of the other tracks as well. Still doesn't save it, though, when judgement comes down. These guys (unlike the previous) do have potential; I think a good recipe for a second album would be to skip the poppy drivel and stick to Italian vocals.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 2 , 1992 releases

Related artist(s): Aelian

More info

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Zao - Akhenaton – Zao was a fantastic French fusion band that released a half dozen albums in the 70s. Formed by saxophonist Yochk'o Seffer and keyboardist Francois Cahen after leaving an early incarnation of Magma,...  (1995) » Read more

Gentle Giant - Artistically Cryme, The Missing Face & Playing the Cleveland – Gentle Giant’s headlining and support tours are further documented in three more marginal bootleg renditions from Voiceprint in the UK. Artistically Cryme is the first release, and a complete two...  (2004) » Read more

Magical Power Mako - Music from Heaven, Trance Resonance & Lo Pop Diamonds – Mako seems to delight in perpetrating an image of mystery and enigma. With a history going back to 1975, and a load of albums, he never seems to settle into a singular style. However, along the way he...  (1996) » Read more

Richard Bone - Saiyuji – Named after an ancient Singaporean Buddhist temple, Saiyuji is a collection of Asian-tinted electronic music. The songs are definitely serene and calm, and most follow a similar structural formula....  (2007) » Read more

The Last James - Kindergarten – Is this Magical Mystery Tour Vol. II? Kindergarten is a brilliant concept album of intense psychedelic pop, loaded with Mellotrons, great vocal harmonies, song-to-song musical references, outstanding...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues