David Maxim Micic
16th August 2015 – Self-released
01. Universe in a Crayon
02. Satellite (feat. Dan Wieten)
03. 500 Seconds Before Sunset
04. The Flock (feat. Scampi)
06. Stardust (feat. Miyoki)
With the ink still slightly damp to the touch on our review of Ego, David Maxim Micic has swiftly followed up with the release of its sister disc Eco. Perhaps some will wonder why the two shorter-form releases were not released as a single package, but whilst the links between Eco and Ego are clear, they also remain very different creatures.
While Ego plays most comfortably as a single, continuous piece of music, the tracks that comprise Eco are more readily separated into stand-alone songs. From the almost stately introductory track “Universe In A Crayon“, David once again successfully conjures an Alice in Wonderland-style fantasy world, with top quality songwriting that draws from modern progressive metal and more traditional folk music, injected with a dash of electronica and a healthy dose of pop sensibilities, all delivered with exemplary musicianship. Whether David is closer to Lewis Carroll himself, or the Mad Hatter, may be a matter for some debate.
Impressively, especially considering the inevitably digital nature of the recording, is just how organic Eco sounds and feels. At times, it bubbles and meanders pleasantly like a forest stream. Perhaps the most chilled out collection that David has released so far, it ultimately feels like a combination of Devin Townsend at his most reflective, and British electronica outfit Lamb.
Despite dialling down the extremes of experimentation a little, there are still a couple of neat little audio tricks for those paying attention. Probably the most obvious are the reappearance of motifs first introduced during Ego. Also, David’s standard practice of coralling a variety of guest musicians to contribute remains in full effect. Probably biggest hitter would be Australian guitar wizard Plini lending a distinctively slinky solo, but a clutch of vocalists also make appearances throughout, helping to give each track its own identity.
Eco is so chilled that it doesn’t seem right to slap a catch-all ‘progressive metal’ label it. At times, even ‘progressive rock’ seems a step too far. “500 Seconds Of Summer” really would not sound out of place on a compilation of dance music stamped with the logo of an Ibiza nightclub. This is certainly not a bad thing, so perhaps it might be best just to call David’s creations simply ‘progressive’, with no qualifying suffix at all.
The stand-out track is probably “The Flock“. Its quirky and playful dynamics are topped off by Scampi‘s delicate vocals and a great violin solo from Shravan Sridhar. It also serves as a timely reminder that new material from David’s main project Destiny Potato material is due in the not too distant future.
Fundamentally, what David manages to is construct exquisite aural tapestries, which are then further embellished with a rich and vivid palette of colours, sometimes drawn from surprising sources, but applied with such thoughtfulness as to rarely be anything less than delightful. There’s certainly a case to be made that David Maxim Micic is amongst the very best songwriters in progressive music right now. With each successive release, that case only gets stronger. Long may it continue.