"Starship Universe" (Self-produced; 2006)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Before I plugged in this CD to give it a listen so I could review it (yes, I actually listen to every CD the boss sends me), I skimmed through the liner notes. Hmmm. Looks like an older guy sitting at a keyboard. Okay. So, the music starts and I’m thinking when was this produced? 1970? 1975, maybe? No. It was 2006. Mike Visaggio is an accomplished pianist and keyboardist as well as a purveyor of prog rock. He notes that he is influenced by the progressive music of the 70s like Asia, Emerson Lake & Palmer and Yes.

Visaggio is a one man band. He samples most everything but the keys are all his own work. Visaggio is also a Christian performer. One might be tempted to dismiss the possibility of progressive music, science fiction music and Christianity skipping down a narrow road together, but Mike notes the lyrical themes are Christian although the music is classic and progressive rock.

I only disagree with the “rock” part, here. I listened to this disc a couple of times and, in my opinion, it borders on Muzak. Visaggio's vocals are a bit thin, too. He doesn’t sing on every track and, when he does, it’s not as though it's enough to make you cringe, but you really begin to appreciate his synthesizer talents.

Visaggio covers "Also Sprach Zarathustra," from "2001: A Space Odyssey," here. He jazzes it up a bit considering it was originally written in 1896 and revamped in 1968 for the movie soundtrack. Mike just puts his own space age touch on it. 

Basically, this kind of music is too tame for my taste but I do have to give the guy applause for creating something and then having enough guts to boomerang it out there. I can’t recommend this disc for anybody who needs guitar instead of coffee to get through the day, though. It's just too soft. Prog rock? More like prog pop. If that.

Sometimes the music sounds like wedding music; at others it sounds like the B-side of a song you've never heard. But this is Visaggio's first disc. He was a truck driver for many years and now music is his creative outlet. With his undeniable talent, who knows? Someday his compositions may make it into some media format and you can spray paint a big “I Told You So” on my front yard. Until then, Mike's got to heavy it up a little to get my attention.

Performing on "Starship Universe": Mike Visaggio – Korg CX-3, Alesis QS 7.1 synthesizer.

For more information, check out http://www.mikevisaggio.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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