The Following Review was Published on the 1rst of Dec. 2004 in GoodNewMusic.com
Looking for something new and exciting in the world of progressive rock? Need a change from the old-school fare of the ’70s? Fretting over what to do now that Neal Morse has left Spock’s Beard? Wondering who the next Flower Kings might be?
This Northern California-based trio is the answer. Jay Tausig, Shelby Snow and James Camblin, who happened into each other in and around Nevada City in the Sierra Nevada foothills, know exactly what they’re doing.
Tausig writes and sings the songs, and plays guitars, drums and synths; he’s classically trained and was in the East Coast prog bands E-Motive, Solid Space and Lunar Sea before Rodger Hodgson asked him to relocate west six years ago to work a North American tour. Snow learned bass under the tutelage of Bob Stern (son of famed concert violinist Isaac Stern). Camblin has played guitar for numerous Northern California bands and has opened for Rush.
This is their debut, recorded at Tausig’s home studio, The Pyramid, in North San Juan. Tausig’s vocals bring to mind Tony Carey, Adrian Belew and Roger Waters. The stellar musicianship is like the best of Genesis, Yes, Happy the Man, and early Utopia, distilled into something completely different.
The sugar in the pot: Camblin’s slide Strat work on “Changes” and the 14-minute “Ancient Future,” accomplished using a steel bar and Bic lighter, respectively; Tausig’s mandolin accents on the latter; and the lone non-Tausig composition, “Pastozaporius,” in which Jaco Pastorius meets Frank Zappa.
-Peter Hund goodnewmusic.com
D'ARCANA are a psychedelic/space/folk trio from Nevada fronted by 15-year veteran multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jay Tausig (of E-MOTIVE, LUNAR SEA and SOLID SPACE). Tausig is accompanied by Shelby Snow on bass, percussion and backing vocals and by James Camblin on guitar and backing vocals. They have released one eponymous album in 2004.
Nicely textured, the music is at times cozy, especially when the acoustic instruments take over; at other times, it is quite spacey in an old 60's psychedelic fashion but with a strong contemporary feel. The drums, very much VDGG-like, are played with conviction and the guitar work is eclectic, alternating between folk, fusion, rock and even melodic neo-prog. As for Tausig's vocals, they are emotional and introspective, something of a cross between Greg LAKE and Peter HAMMILL (especially the latter). Not overly complex material overall but fresh and stimulating, flowing nicely between spacey textures and calm, melancholic moments of great depth.
Recommended if you like Tausig's work with E-MOTIVE, or to anyone into smooth, easy-listening psychedelia.
: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :
The Following Review was Published on the 29th of Oct. 2004 in ProGGnosis
"D’arcana is a new project by frontman Jay Tausig (E-Motive, Lunar Sea, Solid Space), here accompanied by Shelby Snow and James Camblin. Hailing from Nevada, U.S. this album shows a warmth and essence that does not match up with the desert landscapes that populate my imagination when thinking of that State. In fact, the music here is many times cozy, especially when driven by acoustic instruments (great Piano and acoustic guitar), like in Nightshade, Let it out or Windows Through Time. Despite this, the self titled album also incorporates a collection of Spacey/Psychedelic tracks in the good old late 60’s/70’s fashion with a strong contemporary feel that makes it sound very actual and, why not?, fresh and stimulating.
The music on D’arcana displays a deep Progressive Rock feel, occasionaly sprinkled in Alternative Rock ( in disguise), like in Set in Stone, Spacey instrumental parts filled in Psychedelic sounds and is complemented by the use of changes in direction and slight dissonant parts that, obviously (if you are a Proghead), exponentially increases the interest…
The drums are "Pure Prog" played with conviction and a very Van Der Graafesque touch, like on Picture This.
The guitar work is very eclectic for it walks through various paths like: Folk (Changes), Fusion (Pastopazorius), Rock (Set In Stone), melodic Neo (some solos in Ancient Future).
With emotional and sometimes introspective vocals that remind me of a cross-over between Greg Lake and Peter Hammill (with special emphasis on this last one… just listen to the last track!), Jay Tausig shows again that it is not absolutely fundamental to have a fabulous voice to be able to provide a great performance and perfect entwinement with the music that supports it.
The duality between the Space/Psych tracks and the calm ones is also responsible for this album's nice flow, for it provides thoughtful escapades into different pastures. It feels like the portraying of human mind, divided between feelings of melancholia/nostalgia and more active/perspicuous/raging/opinion ones. My favorite track in the album, though, is when the two sides merge into one single, and really great, happening - Ancient Future. Here, those different spheres that were mostly kept apart during the remainder of the album are masterfully put together to create a new body of work that can and should be more explored in next releases...
Without being overtly complex and without really challenging the listener with over-crafted architectures, still this album is a real discovery, for its listen provides melancholic moments of great depth as it does provide arousing feelings when the psychedelic textures mark their position.
A tremendously good listen, yes sir"!
ProGGnosis - Progressive Rock & Fusion
"I was lucky enough to get a promo from D'arcana and I have to say it is turning out to be one of my favorite CD's of 2004! I highly recommend this disc!"
New band led by Jay Tausig previously known for his band E-Motive and LUNAR SEA with the latter one nothing was released. Psychedelic - Progressive - Space and Folk are the 4 words used as definition by the new band to define their music, and I can say that's right. But we have to add the rock element in the music because of it's importance. I think here about Nord Americain-rock, even elements of country-music and the like of singer-song-writer music. The band is a trio, but not a power-trio as many are, and the music is spacey or smooth most of the time and even ambient / new-age, FRIPPian's guitar in 'S.U.A.P.Y.G. Except in 'Picture This' and 'Set in stone' which are the louder songs on the CD, heavy progressive-rock for this one, 'Picture This' is in between K. CRIMSON and HAWKWIND, and 'Set in Stone' is a litlle bit like RUSH and HAWKWIND. All the other songs are made in a soft progressive-rock format. Not too far from PINK FLOYD sometimes, on 'Ancient Future' for a very short passage and in 'Miles Away' and 'Changes'. And even if Jay Tausig appeared on 'GENESIS' and also Peter HAMMILL (VDGG) tribute CDs, the music here doesn't remind me of GENESIS in any moments, but likeness to VDDG concerning the music (Beginning of 'Ancient Future' for example), and the voice of Jay, it's true that it's not so far from HAMMILL in many time, but not marked as him, are present.
So this is a welcome CD to come out these day, somewhere out from it's time, an era where metal and heavy things are the criterion. I like a lot of this CD for it's own personality, even with it's markable influences, their is a lot of beauty and calm in this CD, and it's great to my ears. A second CD is coming soon , 'As Worlds They Rise and Fall' , so keep and eye on this band guys....
-Denis Taillefer 01/2005 Proglands.com
The following review was Published in the fall issue of Progression Magazine.2004
"13 out of 16 stars"*************
"D'arcana is a project fronted by Jay Tausig, a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has been featured on tribute CD's to Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator, as well as a member of bands such as E-Motive and Lunar Sea. Tausig plays guitars, keyboards, drums, flute, mandolin, cello, dulcimer and percussion on this self-titled full-length CD, which also features co-producer Shelby Snow (Bass, vocals and percussion) and James Camblin (lead guitar and vocals).
But what's most interesting is Tausig's voice, which allows him to sound remarkably like Peter Hammil, one of his heroes. Judging from the freaky material on this album, he has also been influenced by people like Daevid Allen, Peter Gabriel and Frank Zappa.
Ken Kesey and Timothy Leary are listed as influences in the liner notes, so it's pretty obvious where D'arcana's head is at. Toss in bizarro bits of psychedelic melodicism like "Pastozapatorius" and "s.u.a.p.y.g." and you'll know you're listening to a talent who's more than ready for the "Gong" show". -Mark Newman
D'ARCANA - D'Arcana (Lemuria Music 000401) This trio features Jay Tausig on guitars, synths, flutes, mandolin, dulcimer, cello, drums & vocals; Shelby Snow on bass guitar and James Camblin on guitar. I know Jay Tausig from a few years back when he had a studio in NY and worked with Daevid Allen. He has since moved to Northern California where this was recorded. Jay was also an inventive bandleader, guitarist, songwriter and prog-head. D'arcana begins with that charming early seventies folk/rock/prog grooviness. By "Picture This", they are into some fine swirling sustained guitars, synth and endearing vocals. Jay has a sweet voice, perhaps with a bit of Jon Anderson or Daevid Allen blended together, but still with his own distinctive qualities. I love the way the trio layer all those guitars, other strings, synths and vocals into a truly enchanting blend. There is a certain purity here, that is free of those prog clichØs or those derivative elements that would have someone call it too Genesis-like. What makes it special is that is the songs and older style that really shines through, solos are mostly short just another part of the a well composed piece. D'arcana should do well with the folks who order from the Wayside catalogue and might just play at a future NEAR-Fest and do quite well. - BLG
Down Town Music Gallery , NYC