David Minasian – Random Acts Of Beauty
Better known for directing films, including 'Coming Of Age' for the band Camel, David Minasian is also an accomplished composer and musician, having successfully penned songs for films. Working in films has enabled him to learn techniques and develop his skills to portray moods with differing soundscapes and effects. 'Random Acts Of Beauty' is a solid piece of symphonic progressive rock. There are some epic compositions and intricate melodies; and the listener is kept riveted by the sheer symphonic enormity of this album.
The opening track, 'Masquerade', features the vocals and guitar playing of Minasians long time friend Andy Latimer of Camel. The track is sumptuous with its mixture of melancholic keyboards and development into searing guitar over layered synthesisers and a solid rock beat. This is the sole contribution of Latimer as David's son, Justin, plays guitar on the rest of the tracks on the album.
The atmospheric 'Chambermaid' is next with its slower tempo and the contrasting competent guitar work of Justin Minasian. The overall feel of this track is much different from the first and epitomises the versatility of the composer. The listener is transported to medieval times with the introduction to 'Storming The Castle' before the tempo is upped and the heavy guitar is introduced; Justin Minasian showing his prowess with some speedy, intricate work.
The emotional 'Blue Rain' follows before the long instrumental 'Frozen In Time'. If you thought that prog rock was dead, think again; this track sounds fresh and is filled with memorable moments. Unlike the overindulgences from the some of the older prog rock bands of the past, the fusing of classical and rock tempos and instruments here gives a pleasing result. This is symphonic progressive rock at it's best; just enough orchestration, just enough rock.
Throughout the album the use of multi-layered vocals is often used; this is especially evident in 'Summers End'. Acoustic guitar and synthesisers also feature along with the obligatory lead guitar break to keep it all together. The synthesiser work here deserves a mention, as does the overall exquisite phrasing of the piece. The album finishes with 'Dark Waters'; where clarinet meets piano and synthesiser. A fitting end to a great album, the atmosphere is gentle and mood is slow; the instrumental arrangement featuring some excellent guitar.
The album isn't full of surprises; it's what you'd expect from an accomplished musician and composer. 'Random Acts Of Beauty' is a great piece of work and keeps alive the traditions of symphonic progressive rock.