Solipsistic Reviewed on Danger Dog

Joel Rittberg from “Danger Dog Music Reviews” published a review about Solipsistic yesterday July 29, 2013. Joel loved the album so much he gave it a score of 5 out of 5!

Here’s the full review.

Solipsistic Album Cover

Semantic Saturation: Solipsistic
Instrumental Progressive Rock/Metal
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by Joel Rittberg, 07.29.2013

Semantic Saturation is the project of Shant Hagopian. He is a guitarist from Canada, who has played with other musicians throughout other parts of the world. What we have here is his self-produced debut.

Shant Hagopian (guitars)
Shant Hagopian, guitarist

Ambivalence starts off this disc, with a very heavy groove riff, that leads into an awesome melodic lead, that becomes an instrumental version of a verse. The entire song builds upon this melody, and each time leads itself into a new part of this six minute plus opener. Make Believe, shows off Shant’s amazing melodic songwriting skills. This song feels part-Rush, part-Dream Theater in its ability to change tempos. A great keyboard/guitar trade off at the two and a half minute mark, showcases the extremely talented Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater and many others) on keyboards. Sherinian and Shant go at each other, like its a heavyweight boxing fight, trading blows.

Lost and Found Insanity has a very cool keyboard melody that repeats throughout this intro, that reminds me of an old eight-bit video game. With a very warm guitar lead that joins the song a minute in. Around the minute and a half mark, Shant shows you his project is not about how fast he can play, but how great of a songwriter he truly is. The next song Stardust shares the same common melodic sensibilities as Lost and Found Insanity. Blessing in Disguise will remind listeners of John Petrucci from Dream Theater, especially the 2000, Metropolis Part 2, Scenes From A Memory. Its a truly beautiful melodic piece of instrumental progressive rock. The last twenty seconds again, showcases his idea of less is more, substance over quantity of notes played.

Armchair Activist, has a very Surfing with the Alien Satriani meets Passion and Warfare-era Steve Vai, a solid rocker, that showcases Shant’s abilities. This is probably the most technical song on the disc so far in my opinion and it also showcases a short break between drummer Virgil Donati and bassist Ric Fierabracci. Point of Singularity is a beautiful clean guitar and atmospheric keyboard piece that introduces a melodic guitar solo near the last minute of the song, that takes the song to new heights. This song would not be far out of place in an old sci-fi movie, with its keyboard tones.

Time Is An Illusion, is another masterpiece like Make Believe, without writing the same song twice. The last song, What if We All Stop, is the only song that features vocals. Those vocals are provided by the very talented Andy Kurtz of the German band, Vanden Plas. The open features a beautiful melody with Kurtz’s vocals coming in. The song turns into a full on prog-a-thon halfway through, and its definitely a welcome addition, to the instrumental tracks before it.

Solipsistic is an amazing piece of art. It’s a journey of musical emotions that reaches amazing heights, that brings us back down to earth when its ready too, not any sooner. Easily recommended for fans of Derek Sherinian’s music, or for those who appreciate instrumental guitar music, that isn’t about how fast you can play through every song.


Richard Wright’s 70th Birthday

Happy Birthday to Richard Wright; the crazy diamond, the mastermind of spacey keyboard sounds of Pink Floyd.
If Rick was alive today he would’ve been 70 years young, nevertheless he continues to inspire millions, and forever lives within us all.

You’ll always be missed. Shine on!

Richard Wright
Richard Wright 1943-2008

Guitar Effects Rack Used on Solipsistic

Here’s a photo of my guitar effects rack used on the album ‘Solipsistic’ for those who are interested.

Guitar Effects Rack used on the debut album: Solipsistic
Guitar effects rack used on the debut album: Solipsistic

From top to bottom: Furman power conditioner M-8×2.??KORG??DTR-1000 digital tuner. The amazing??Fractal Audio??Axe-FX processor.??Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 firewire audio interface and preamp. And finally the Fractal MFC-101 MIDI foot controller.

Pompeii and The Experience

Pompeii Amphitheater - Pink Floyd - Live at Pompeii
Pompeii Amphitheater

Pink Floyd’s Live at Pompeii was one of my very first experiences with the Floyd. In fact it was the first time I saw the band play live. Back in 92 – 93 when the Internet was not an option for me I was looking for names and pictures of the band members everywhere, pretty much like a person wearing a blindfold looking for a needle in a dark room.

After much research and asking people who I thought may have known the names of these legends, I have finally acquired the information I was looking for. The next step was sitting in front of the TV for endless hours, days, weeks; in hope of catching a glimpse or a video clip for one of Pink Floyd’s songs. And of course I was able to see both video clips for High Hopes??and Take it Back, both of which unfortunately do not show the musicians.

One of these days, while I was watching music shows that TV stations used to air in our times, they showed a very short clip from Live at Pompeii. That was actually my source and my next goal to find and purchase this video tape somewhere in the record stores. Fortunately I was able to find the only available (back then) Pink Floyd VHS tape from a record store in Lebanon (6-7 hours drive) and it was actually Live at Pompeii. Super excited, jumping and screaming like a little girl I ran home with my friends who also were Pink Floyd fans whom I discovered the band with.

The images from the movie are forever burned in my mind, the slow camera panning behind their gear and amps, the boiling lava scenes, Gilmour’s experiment with the slide sitting down in the ruins of the amphitheater, Waters’ screeching, Mason’s drum solo, Wright’s haunting keyboard sounds and piano keys smashing, the psychedelic tunes, and spooky themes, the gong, and then Echos! It’s a completely new and one amazing experience that I consider myself lucky to witness.

What’s your favorite rockumentary or album based movie ?