RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Progressive Spotlight: The Aaron Clift Experiment 
The Aaron Clift Experiment: Outer Light, Inner Darkness

Rating: B

This was my first exposure to The Aaron Clift Experiment. The band is based in Austin, Texas, and is beginning to make a name for themselves.

Outer Light, Inner Darkness is just the second album from this young band. But it is clear this is a group of very talented musicians with a solid mastery of the progressive format. They have taken numerous and easily recognizable influences and combined them into a unique sound that will expand as this group continues to develop. 

Outer Light, Inner Darkness is not an overly produced album. The pieces are mostly composed of tasty, straightforward parts performed very well. There is not a lot of the extensive backing instrumentation often found in progressive music. It is easy to hear a group of musicians hanging out in a studio working on parts as opposed to a larger group of producers and arrangers trying to develop the perfect, immensely produced epic album. The organic nature of this album is refreshing and appreciated. 

The Aaron Clift Experiment does a nice job bringing together ethereal and rock styles. They are not entirely true to the progressive tradition of extended length songs, which, in this day and age is probably not such a bad thing. This is a newer style of progressive music with a lot of jazz overtones to accompany a wide array of emotions. On display are high powered rock stylings heard in “Kissed By The Sun”, a musically diverse “Fragments Of Sleep”, as well as the deliciously disturbing and foreboding “Your Arms Hold Them To The Dark”.

My favorite piece on the album is “Last Oasis”. It begins as a lush instrumental piece with interesting piano and diverse string parts that are nicely blended into a wonderful classical interlude midway through the piece. It blends classical music into a classic rock format with a strong guitar chord presence and ends with an increasingly stronger rock finish. Very nice.

I feel that things will only get better for the Aaron Clift Experiment. I like what I heard. I look forward to someday seeing them leave Texas and tour through the US. For progheads looking for a new approach to an established genre, Outer Light, Inner Darkness deserves a listen.

Track Listing:
Kissed By The Sun
Fragments of Sleep
Your Arms Hold Them To The Dark
Aoide, Goddess Of Song
The Last Oasis
Bathed In Moonlight
Your Arms Hold Them To The Dark (acoustic version)
Kissed By The Sun (acoustic version)

By Roy Rahl