Title - 'Outer Light, Inner Darkness'
Artist - The Aaron Clift Experiment
Progressive Rock from Austin, TX, isn't previously unheard of, this we understand, but listening to The Aaron Clift Experiment you could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps it had never sounded so good. With Clift on vocals and keyboards, Eric Gutierrez on guitar, new bassist Devin North on bass, and Joe Resnick on drums, The Aaron Clift Experiment's second album Outer Light, Inner Darkness was actually successfully funded via a KickStarter.com campaign. Indeed, 113 backers pledged $15,494 to help bring this project to life and we must thank each and every one of them!
The Aaron Clift Experiment combines elements of classic and cutting-edge music into an innovative whole and here on their sophomore album they bring all their collective talents to the fore in spectacular style. Drawing from a wide range of influences – from classic progressive rock acts like Genesis, Pink Floyd, and Rush to modern groups like Porcupine Tree and Opeth to classical and jazz composers like Beethoven, Schubert, and John Coltrane - the guys continue to lead the way in fusing the sophistication and depth of classical music with the passion and raw power of rock and roll.
Outer Light, Inner Darkness is, at its heart, a concept album, as all good Prog Rock bands should put out to the masses, and focuses on the two elements featured in the title: Light vs. Darkness. That then leads, like branches on a tree, to other sub sections such as Individual vs. Group, Hope vs. Despair, etc. Opening track 'Kissed by the Sun' is a stunning way to begin this album, this Opus, and immediately allows you into the taking of this soaring musical journey with the band from the very off.
Indeed, the first half of the album detail the conflict between these opposing forces of light vs. Darkness, while the songs in the second half of the album are a journey of their own toward reconciling the extremes cultivated therein. Along this magical journey we encounter 'Locked,' the incredible 'Fragments of Sleep,' and amongst others, the 'Moonscape' trilogy, and finally, 'Bathed in Moonlight.' This last track, a song about how humanity can learn to embrace its outer light and inner darkness, to then become one with both sides of its nature, is quite possibly my favorite of the bunch; although having listened to this album three times on the spin now, that opinion falters, changes all too often.
I urge you to listen to this Opus and find your very own favorite track, but be aware that your opinion could change upon each listening also. As an added bonus, the CD comes with two (2) bonus tracks: 'Your Arms Hold Them to the Dark (Acoustic Version)' and 'Kissed by the Sun (Single Version).' Just place the CD on Play, lean back in a comfy chair, shut your eyes and allow yourself to be transported into the sumptuous world created by the musical genius of The Aaron Clift Experiment.