Though my physical world that I spend the day to day life in is a veritable void of prog outside of my own home, a look at the world of music available to me shows that the absence of prog in my life here is merely an aberration of the culture I live in. Prog is alive and well, and if the debut album from The Ben Cameron Project, Tipping Point, is any indicator, classic style prog has one hell of a future as well. Produced by Australian musician Ben Cameron (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards) and Chris Cameron (drums and percussion) over a two year span to finally see it’s release in 2014, Tipping Point is a dramatic look into a first person perspective of depression and related disorders. Drawing from a myriad influences ranging from the classics of Yes and King Crimson, as well as contemporary stars like Steven Wilson and Transatlantic, Cameron shows to be an act of great potential.
Tipping Point is a two track album, with each one being in the twenty-ish minute range. From the opening notes, the grand nature of the prog is immediately made present, with huge sounds announcing the albums arrival. Throughout the length of the first track, Part 1, and it’s successor Part 2, the music, specifically the writing, is the star of these albums. Cameron has a natural gift for producing compositions on a large scale and executing them so as to not seem disjointed and stuttery, but rather seamless and flowing, natural. The parts all find their place, with each instrument playing its role. Execution wise, the instrumentals are performed admirably, without any excess of wankery so commonly seen in prog, there are very few wasted notes.
There are a few downsides to the album though. The two main ones are the vocals and the production. As is common with independent productions, the mixing is somewhat lethargic, with the tracks not quite seamlessly blending in with each other. They seem more stacked. The vocals, while competent, don’t even come close to living up to the grand nature of the music. This is the type of music where someone with tremendous range would be needed, and Cameron just seems too one tone for the task. Lyrically he handles the very delicate subject well, and though it’s a bit sophomoric in tone, he gets the basic feeling across.
Overall, the one thing that comes out of this album is potential. Great, great potential. Cameron’s writing and execution of his musical vision is brilliant, and from the complexity of the music, it gives a sense that he is just beginning. With a little maturity, I see a lot of excellent music coming from this amply talented mind.