The Gabriel Construct is the project of Gabriel Riccio, a vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist from Maryland. To say that this fellow is musical prodigy is an example of understatement. He's a graduate of the prestigious, quite expensive, and very liberal Swarthmore College where he graduated a mere two years ago, earning also the Melvin B. Troy Prize in composition after studying under Gerald Levinson.
If you have a moment or more, take a simple gander at his website to explore the depth of his accomplishments, and the concept and music behind Interior City, his first album. If you're a accomplished musician yourself or simply a prog music wonk, you'll likely learn more about Riccio and the album than from my ramblings that follow below. Read on if you must.
First, the concept has something to do with an individuals journey to recovering self-respect, in a society that respects nothing. Read more at the website. Musically, Riccio seems to draw from an infinite number of sources and influences for this project, drawing classical to rock to jazz to pop music for his compositions. They're equally atmospheric as they are densely layered, even busy, notably in the piano and keyboard, drum, and vocal arrangements. Songs like Subway Dweller, Fear of Humanity, Defense Highway, and Curing Somatization are monolithic, even Olympic, in their construction. There's sometimes so much going on, as in that latter song, to border on something between foggy blur to mesmerizing chaos. Even the brief Retreat Underground does the same in the shortest time.
Conversely, Arrival in a Distant Land and more so in the later Inner Sanctum, one struggles to hear anything significant in the eerie quietness of the composition. Riccio has made no attempt to create something pedestrian or mass market accessible. This is challenging stuff, meant for those who want their music to intrigue and even confound if necessary. It's also music that likely cannot be transposed to a live setting without losing it's soul. The Gabriel Project's Interior City is equally extravagant and epic as it is mercurial and constant in it's avant garde progressive rock. Recommended.
The Gabriel Project's Interior City is equally extravagant and epic as it is mercurial and constant in it's avant garde progressive rock. Recommended.
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