Album: The Moraz Alban Project
Release Date: 06/24/2015
In his time with Yes and the Moody Blues, keyboard whiz Patrick Moraz usually played fourth or fifth banana to his respective band mates. Now serving as producer, arranger and composer for his own eponymous project, there appears a spring in his synthesized musical steps. However, no amount of progressive virtuosity can prevent this self-produced work from sounding more like sunny Florida meets Super Mario Kart soundtrack than it already does.
MAP is not a bad album. Even for a self-produced work, it takes finesse to have your synthesizer sound like five instruments at once. And Greg Alban is a dynamite drummer, who can play whatever genre and pace you want him too. Moraz himself is no slouch behind the keys, but he’s more of a chord presser compared to say, the more classically proficient, Rick Wakeman.
The tracks on MAP are upbeat and dabble in fusion and world genres. Overall, Moraz seems enamored with sounding out of this world, considering three of the album’s tracks are named “Jungle Aliens,” “Alien Intelligence” (arguably the best tune on MAP) and “Alien Species.” While it’s good to hear an underrated icon of the progressive rock era return with a work that sounds like it was built out of nothing but fun and smiles, these tunes inadvertently travel backwards—they just would have fared better back in 1985 than present day 2015.