Barry Cleveland is an editor for Guitar Player magazine, yet fashions a gem on his third release as a leader. One of the notable aspects of this outing pertains to Cleveland’s shrewd employment of textural effects to complement his in-depth knowledge of various genres other than progressive-rock. With an estimable support structure in place, the artist generates a big sound, spiced with foreboding overtones atop all-world bassist Michael Manring’s thumping bottom-end. Moreover, pedal steel and lap-steel guitarist Robert Powell lays out a streaming sound-sculpture that imparts an ambient layer to the sum of the moving parts.
On the opener "Lake of Fire," vocalist Amy X Neuberg provides a slightly ominous, but melodic shade to the band’s massive presence atop drummer Celso Alberti’s solidly pumping beats. Here, Cleveland rather coyly uses volume control techniques, tremolo and molten chord voicings to assist with providing an eerie, but heavy-handed backdrop. However, Powell contrasts the proceedings by generating sweet-toned notes and spawns an ethereal component to the overall picture.
Strong compositions always yield the winning formula. Cleveland triumphantly morphs a King Crimson-like aura with drifting themes into a mobile wall of sound to complement off-kilter deviations and world-beat treatments. The guitarist also incorporates melodic hooks into the grand schema. Cleveland goes against the grain by offering a program that stands out among the hordes of technology-drenched prog albums that place more importance on extended soloing jaunts via subpar material. Simply stated, Hologramatron is an unforeseen revelation for 2010.