Sometimes the name of a band or the title of an album provide for a completely wrong impression. That's what happened when I read the name Fusonic. My first hunch, regarding the band's name, was that Desert Dreams would contain a mixture of 'fusion' and 'sonic'. I expected to listen to an album with a powerful kind of heavy fusion so to say, and that's just the kind of music I like. So never rely on the first impression and let's forget about the name. Dutch band Fusonic plays an instrumental version of progressive rock with a slight touch of new age. Normally the band is a trio. Teo - no last name available - plays guitars and bass, Harry Ickelsheimer plays keyboards and bass and Ronald Hoogwout is drummer and percussionist. Guest musician on the album but - when needed - also playing live is keyboard player Sjak Franssen.
Desert Dreams takes you on an imaginary trip. Just close your eyes, listen to the music and let your imagination take you to the wide open spaces of a foreign desert. Long, stretched tones of the guitar and a piano softly playing a melodic theme fill your mind, like a movie score. A constant factor on the album is a repeating guitar theme. The four Desert Theme parts are built up on the same principle. My personal favourite is Endless - Exit, whereon Teo plays a fine melody that turns into a long and almost improvised sounding solo over layers of keyboards and soft drums. The first influence that came to my mind was Camel, but Mike Oldfield also pops up on a regular base. The band members themselves mention influences of classical composers like Mahler, Sibelius, Philip Glass, Villa Lobos and Albeniz. They also refer to bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis and Yes and to more heavy progressive bands like Pain Of Salvation, Rush, Pendragon and Porcupine Tree. I noticed the link to the classical composers, but I don't see any connection with the heavy progressive bands. Nevertheless, their music is pleasant to listen to. Teo plays some furious solos besides his more laid-back, stretched single notes stuff. Intriguing music I have to say. The more I listened to it, the more new elements I discovered.
Desert Dreams is a very nice first effort of this promising band. If you listen to it more often, the diversity in the songs will become clearer. Teo has a nice guitar sound and his melodies and solos are of a high standard. However, in my opinion the album could have used a bit more power. I hope Fusonic don't get lost in the prog desert.
*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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