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astray


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Astray
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Audio CD, April 15, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The 68-minute CD features all new tracks including the 21-minute song suite Modern Times. Produced and engineered by Parmenter, astray is decidedly psychedelic in atmosphere. Songs unfold into dreamlike improvisations that surround the listener. Bassist Mathew Kennedy appears throughout the CD, the sole guest musician on astray. Parmenter covers vocals and other audibles, including piano, guitar, drums, saxophone, violin, organ, synthesizers, marimba, Theremin, and Mellotron sounds.

Review

"...strong melodies, mellotron passages, and other instrumental workouts, especially the 20-minute closer, 'Modern Times.'...Recommended." --David Taylor, Progression Magazine

"...Matthew Parmenter's Astray is rechargeable, reusable, and grows stronger with every use. This is progressive rock in its highest form. It's like a work of art that hangs on a museum wall. Patrons will see something new with each and every visit even when the details don't jump out at them right away." --Joshua Turner, Progressive World.net

"...Quite simply, Astray is one of the best solo progressive albums I have heard in a long while, fans of Discipline won't be disappointed as it has been worth the wait." --Mark Hughes, The Dutch Progressive Rock Page

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Now 9:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Distracted 7:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Dirty Mind 9:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Another Vision 7:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Some Fear Growing Old 6:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Between Me and the End 5:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Modern Times21:09$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 15, 2004)
  • Original Release Date: April 15, 2004
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Strung Out Records
  • ASIN: B00023DA2K
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #515,840 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Hodges on December 19, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
While I was not always in the mood for it, I was a fan of Discipline's particularly dreary brand of progressive rock in the late 90's. If I was feeling a little introverted and evil, and after "The Downward Spiral" was worn out, "Unfolded Like Staircase" certainly met my needs. While not nearly as acerbic as Reznor, Parmenter's unique and passionate voice delivered a certain psychotic prog intellectualism that I was getting in touch with, and I developed a respect for his work. As a result, I chose to purchase "Astray" at the same time as Neal Morse's "One." I thought that "Astray" may act as a compelling foil to Morse's increasingly Christian (but still well-written) viewpoint. After all, both Parmenter and Morse have some interesting similarities as talented, charismatic, and possibly overbearing conceptualists (for entirely different reasons).

While "Astray" does not come close to exhibiting the compositional strength that Morse seems to just sweat, it is a decent listen. Parmenter has a knack for brooding, menacing atmospheres, and his thinly drawn line between confession and self-deprecation would most likely appeal to die-hard fans of old-school Fish-led Marillion, in the vein of "Fugazi." While Parmenter's approach may not be as poetic or aloof as Fish's, his tendency to shine a flashlight on uncomfortable aspects of himself is simultaneously disquieting and cathartic in a way that teeters on Goth.

Rather than a poet, Parmenter's approach is more that of a storyteller, which is both a boon and a bane. He takes considerable care to imbue his lyrics with a dramatic plot that climaxes effectively like a short story, but his desire to lead the listener through his lyrical ideas sometimes results in overlong and periocially muddy arrangements.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dan A. Bobrowski on January 12, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Many influences abound on Matthew Parmenter's first solo release. The Genesis school of theatrical music, VDGG's pain and anguish (Parmenter occassionally sounds very much like Peter Hammill) and early King Crimson's aural soundscape (heavily mellotronised) and even a glimpse or two of Jon Anderson styled lyric lines (in my head I could hear Anderson singing some of the vocals. Not timbre, mind you, more inflection). All in all, a healthy prog soup.

Except for the bass, all instruments are played by Parmenter. Drums, percussion, vocals, keyboards, violin, sax, guitar... It has such a live feel, it's hard to believe everything is totally overdubbed. Each instrument is played with finesse and the conviction one puts into being adept at only a single instrument. This guy could be a member in any band. Versatility is an understatement.

This album is a grower, each listen (about 15 for me) brings forth new elements and wonders. By the third or fouth listen, I was captured.

Vocally, Parmenter can be a chameleon. He changes styles and tones in an instant. From Hammill's melodrama to Anderson's wispy naivete to Gabriel's storytelling characters. Personally, I would be appreciative if he dropped the Hammill persona. It comes across as almost too imitative, rather than personal. I researched other sites regarding this release and some even credit Hammill as singing on this record. Believe me, Hammill''s name does not appear on the CD sleeve, nor on the MP website. Strange? I'll say. Discipline's last studio release, Unfolded Like Staircase features some Hamillesque vocals as well.

Musically, Astray doesn't get as heavy as the Discipline albums. There are many softer interludes and rarely do the tune reach any climatic cresendoes. The music lilts and flows.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Murat Batmaz on December 21, 2004
Format: Audio CD
As the Amazon description reveals, Matthew Parmenter's first solo album Astray is the ultimate melting pot of dark, deep and heavily introspective songwriting. Parmenter is American underground prog band Discipline's frontman, but Discipline hasn't released any albums since 1997 if I'm not mistaken. I was rather surprised to find out Parmenter had returned with a brooding solo offering titled Astray, which proves to be a significant improvement in many ways. Not only that, but it is also a true 'solo' album in the way that Matthew Parmenter basically plays every instrument except the bass. He sings, plays the piano, guitar, drums, saxophone, violin, organ, synths, mellotron and a number of other instruments. His Discipline bandmate Matthew Kennedy accompanies him with his subtle bass lines. Parmenter recorded, mixed, produced and engineered Astral as well. The outcome is brilliant and his diversity has to be respected. From what I know, the only other artist who has played every instrument on a solo album is Dan Swano on his Moontower record (though the two musicians play quite a different style of prog).

"Now" welcomes the listener with a strangely beautiful piano melody that creeps into the song mixing with jazzy drumming. Parmenter's drum work is nothing short of brilliant. The way he plays with the cymbals and gives more emphasis on content rather than technique is nicely displayed here. His singing seems different; more mature in a way. There is a distinct Peter Hamill feel to be found but the music is more in the league of Gabriel-era Genesis. Brief guitar lines run underneath the dark atmosphere of the song with fat, pulsing bass throbs. All these overlapped instruments are blended to give the mosaic of "Now" its final character.
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