BARRY CLEVELAND – Hologramatron


As soon as this CD was received (quite a while back) I had discarded it right away, such was the level of “instant negative reaction” experienced at that time. The attempt to re-tackle Hologramatron now – with additional doses of patience – unfortunately confirmed the first impression, namely that of an over-produced album containing a surplus of technical flash and bell-and-whistle technology, an indigestible mass that’s impossible to define as a deep statement despite the Grammy nomination boasted by the press release and the abundance of positive reviews around the web; how easily satisfied people are nowadays. Cleveland – a renowned Guitar Player editor – chose a handful of illustrious companions (among them Michael Manring, Amy X Newburg, Gino Robair and Forrest Fang) but their involvement does not add anything to this pretentious heap of generic compositions / songs and outright commonplaces in terms of lyrics. Frank Zappa dealt with the same topics thirty years ago in a way that still makes me laugh today, whereas something like “Money Speaks” and, especially, the insufferable “Warning” generate a temptation to join the other side: verbal attacks against some “establishment” sounding sinisterly similar to the fake opposition of the equally corrupted Italian left to our current conservative government. Hopefully there’s no irony implied, because it really doesn’t seem so. Icing on the cake, a version of “Telstar” whose ugliness is bloodcurdling. Let’s forget the whole, full stop.

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