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.
Semantic Saturation: Solipsistic Instrumental Progressive Rock/Metal 5.0/5.0 WebsiteFacebook 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.
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.
Olivium from the French web’zine Progressive Area reviewed Solipsistic on April 7
Here’s the original review in French, and the Google’s English translation attempt below it.
Et oui je le sais, je vais encore me comporter comme une midinette ang??lique qu???un petit rien ??moustille, mais avoir entre les mains une nouvelle galette de pur Rock Metal Progressif sur laquelle joue Virgil DONATI (PLANET X, Steve VAI, Tony MacALPINE, etc???) et Derek Sherinian anciennement dans DREAM THEATER, est un instant jubilatoire et excitant. Bon, commen??ons par le debut. SEMANTIC SATURATION n’est pas ?? proprement parl?? un groupe, mais un projet n?? de l???esprit de Shant Hagopian (guitariste de NU.CLEAR.DAWN), compos??, autofinanc?? et produit par lui : donc autant dire que comme il n???y a pas de label ou de maison d?????dition ?? r??tribuer ; quand vous achetez l???album, l???int??gralit?? des dividendes tombent dans son escarcelle. ?? Solipsitic ?? n???est pas cher (un peu moins de 9 ???), son packaging est superbe, mais surtout???son contenu musical ne peut que f??d??rer un large panel de fans de gros Rock, allant de Steve VAI, Joe SATRIANI, John PETRUCCI ou RUSH. Une petite pr??cision tout de m??me, les 53 minutes de ?? Solipsitic ?? sont essentiellement structur??es par des morceaux instrumentaux, sauf ?? What if We All Stop ??, sur lequel chante Andy Kunts du groupe VANDEN PLAS. ?? Solipsitic ?? est un album qui me convient ?? 800%, pour la simple et bonne raison qu???il n???utilise pas tout ce qui me fait mourir d???ennui dans le Rock ou le Metal : la surench??re de technique pour la technique, les sons de batteuse genre ??????mitraillettes blast??s?????? au taquet, un son actuel hyper st??r??otyp?? et manquant profond??ment de chaleur. ?? Solipsitic ?? est justement tout l???inverse ! Je retrouve tout ?? fait l???univers m??lodique et ??pidermique transmis par les 3 ??????guitar h??roes?????? pr??cit??s plus haut. Chaque riff est construit pour v??hiculer une sensation, donc pas de d??ballage de notes ici, mais de la fluidit?? ?? ??????fleur de peau??????. L???expressivit?? est de rigueur et chaque solo raconte une histoire, surtout quand toute la place lui est fait comme sur une composition telle que ?? Point of Singularity ??, ??pur??e et jou??e ?? la guitare acoustique. La construction rythmique globale pousse cette logique jusque l?? aussi ; allant dans le sens de l???efficacit??, bien souvent Shant se dispense justement de soli car les riffs principaux, bien structur??s, ??tayent largement l???ambiance en richesse harmonique, donc il n???y pas forc??ment besoin d???en rajouter. Virgil DOANTI avec son jeu reconnaissable d???entre tous, met ??tonnamment beaucoup de r??serve dans ses d??veloppements, apurant au maximum pour mettre en avant l???aspect ??????faussement facile?????? des titres. M???enfin, ses breaks restent toujours spectaculaires ?? entendre. Ensuite, et l?? cela m???a presque fait un choc???non j???exag??re un peu, mais la l??g??re folie cr??atrice ?? laquelle nous ?? tr??s souvent habitu?? SHERINIAN est elle aussi mise de c??t??. Hormis sur ?? Lost and Found Insanity ?? o?? il se fait novateur aux niveaux sonorit??s, le reste du temps il adopte un jeu classique de ?? question/r??ponse ??, ou de renfort harmonique sur les soli de la guitare auquel tout le monde est habitu?? dans le Progressif. Attention ce n???est pas r??dhibitoire, et j???imagine que c???est ce que Shant voulait lors du processus de cr??ation des compositions. Par contre je trouve dommage que Andy Kunts n???ait pas ??t?? mis plus ?? contribution, il apporte beaucoup sur ?? What if We All Stop ??. Lui aussi a su s???y faire ??volutif, doux et pos??, la Setlist est assez ??clectique et connaissant l?????tendue vocale du m???sieur, il y a fort ?? parier que le r??sultat dans son ensemble en aurait ??t?? rehauss??. Bon, par contre je pense que cela ne regarde que moi apr??s tout. ?? Solipsistic ?? est une excellente rentr??e de d??but 2013 en mati??re de Rock Metal Progressif, soutenons, et ne boudons pas notre plaisir.
And yes I know I’ll still have me as a shopgirl angelic little thing that tantalizes, but the hands have a new slab of pure Rock Progressive Metal Virgil Donati plays on which (Planet X, Steve Vai, Tony MacAlpine etc …) and Derek Sherinian formerly in DREAM THEATER, is a joyous and exciting time.
Well, first things first. SEMANTIC SATURATION is not strictly speaking a group, but a project born from the spirit of Shant Hagopian (guitarist NU.CLEAR.DAWN), composed, self-financed and produced by him so far as to say that there no label or publisher to reward, when you buy the album, all the dividends fall into her purse. “Solipsitic” is not expensive (just under $9), its packaging is gorgeous, but mostly … musical content can only unite a wide range of fans of big Rock from Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, John PETRUCCI or RUSH.
A small precision anyway, the 53 minutes of “Solipsitic” are essentially structured instrumental tracks except “What if We All Stop”, on which Andy Kuntz from VANDEN PLAS group sings.
“Solipsitic” is an album that suits me 800%, for the simple reason that it does not use anything that makes me die of boredom in Rock or Metal: the escalation of technology for technology, sounds like thresher” blasts” the cleat machine guns, sound current hyper stereotyped and lacking deep heat. “Solipsitic” everything is just the opposite!
I find the world quite melodic and epidermal transmitted by 3” Guitar Heroes” above above. Each riff is built to convey a feeling, not unpacking ratings here, but the fluidity” edge”. The expressiveness is required and each solo tells a story, especially when it is all over the place is like a composition such as “Point of Singularity”, refined and played acoustic guitar.
Overall rhythmic construction pushes this logic up there too along the lines of efficiency, often Shant dispenses precisely because solid riffs major, well-structured, largely supports the atmosphere in harmonic richness, so there not necessarily need to add.
Virgil with his game DONATI recognizable among all, is surprisingly great caution in its development, auditing up to highlight the look deceptively easy”” titles. I finally breaks his spectacular remain to hear.
Then and there that I was almost a shock … no I’m exaggerating a bit, but the slight creative madness that we often used to SHERINIAN is also set aside. Except on “Lost and Found Insanity” where he is at innovative sounds, the rest of the time it adopts a classic game of “question / answer” or reinforcing harmonic guitar solos that everyone is accustomed to The Progressive. Warning this is not prohibitive, and I guess that’s what Shant wanted in the process of creating compositions.
By cons I find it unfortunate that Andy Kunts has not been more involved, it brings a lot of “What if We All Stop”. He also managed to make it scalable, sweet and laid the setlist is quite eclectic and knowing the extent of voice sir, it’s a safe bet that the overall result would have been enhanced. Well, by cons I think it is my business after all.
“Solipsitic” is a great start back in 2013 in Rock Progressive Metal, support, and do not spoil our fun.
I always face-palm when I see people arguing with a friend or some random dude online about who the best player is, or who can play faster. This “My-dad-is-bigger-than-your-dad” mentality has to stop. Funny thing is the media also likes that, every once in a while you see a magazine asking people to vote for their favorite guitar player, and then they present it with big letters “Best guitarist of all time” “Greatest guitar solo of all time”.
Just because some people voted for a drummer, a singer, a guitar solo or a guitar player from a record that was sold thousands or millions, it doesn’t really make them the “best”. There IS NO best. this is music, and like everything else, everyone has their own opinion, you can’t just go to a person and force them to listen to music and make them love it. Voting for the “best” is pretty much doing the same, after all we see how elections go anywhere in the world.
I hate it even more when they compare, say a Cobain guitar “solo” to Gilmour. WHAT?!
That’s like comparing a paralyzed person to a world champion. I understand that magazines do this kind of thing because it will bring them more sales, but I’m guessing as an individual you have to be bright enough to know the difference.
Now here’s the other face of this “competition.” Shredding and artists who believe that playing faster will make their compositions more enjoyable.
I started writing this post in early January, it was only a draft when Rocio Flores Bedoya published her review of Solipsistic on Lady Obscure, and when I read the paragraph where she discusses the same idea in the review, and the fact that she actually received the message through my music alone, it totally blew me away! I was relieved that there are actually other people who realize what’s really going on, and it motivated me even more to continue writing this piece.
Everyone can shred.
I can play two gazillion bajillion notes in a minute and make you bleed from your eyes until you quit playing, but that’s not music to my ears. I think in a different way, why kill yourself to write and play highly technical lines to impress the listener by your chops, where you can play a single note at the right place and the right time and give them the chills. Isn’t that actually the point of listening to music? for enjoyment?
And especially when your shredding isn’t 100% clean, if you are a guitarist I’m sure you totally understand what I mean.
Ignore your weaknesses and only cultivate your strengths. -Steve Vai
Yes; shredding is fun and enjoyable but overdoing it will not make you “the greatest guitarist of all time.” wink wink.