Back in 2006, I had the pleasure of reviewing Incandescent Sky’s Paths And Angles. Now four years later the band released “Four Faradays In A Cage” and continues in their own brand of improvised instrumental progressive rock/fusion. The band scaled down to a quartet - John MacNeill (keyboards), Mike Marando (bass), John Orsi - (drums, percussion) and Don Sullivan (guitars). The instrumentation is amazing to say the least. Each of the musicians contribute to create a structured yet improvised music.
Opening is “September Song” (9:27) which sets the tome for the rest of the album. The framework of the song is created with the sublime guitar sounds of Don Sullivan with John Orsi providing the backbone. John MacNeill adds in the ambient tones and Mike Marando lays down the melodic groove.
“Antarctica” (9:07) continues with similar themes that started with the opening track but seems to expand on it. It also has a very spacey vibe, almost sounds like something Robert Fripp would create but Incandescent Sky does it better and with fresher ideas. (Sorry Mr. Fripp).
“The Byways” (4;18) is the shortest track on the album and has a more percussion based sound. “Orange Ice” (10:21) is the second longest track on the album. It also has a more “noise” than the previous tracks. Which elevates the music beyond an ambient soundscape structure with a more percussive presence. I’m most reminded of the ProjeKcts, primarily of how Fripp bounced his ideas off of Bruford. Again, a lot more interesting themes happening here.
The second shortest track, "Concrete Glass, Steel," (4:39) is the “heaviest” song of the album and the more interesting pieces on the album. I feel the whole band‘s presence here. It also feels like it segues into the next track smoother than previous tracks.
Ending off the album is the title track (16:25) which takes everything the band created so far. I hear more of a “song” than improvised piece. The song combines all of the talents of each of the musicians. If I had to say which song represents Incandescent Sky, then it would be the title track of Four Faradays In A Cage.
Four Faradays In A Cage improves on what the band started out with on Paths And Angles and expands upon it further in the band’s evolution. Let’s hope the next album doesn’t take as long. This is among the best instrumental albums of 2010 that I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. Without any doubt, this gets a high recommendation, especially for fans of Robert Fripp’s solo work and the instrumental side of Steven Wilson.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on September 16th, 2010