Ben Craven
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Ben Craven

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia | INDIE

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia | INDIE
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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"Two False Idols CD Review"

Tunisia is the brainchild of 28 year old singer songwriter, Ben Craven – a talented solo artist who credits such diverse performers as Pink Floyd, Brian Wilson, Sheryl Crow, and orchestral composers Bernard Herrmann, John Barry, and George Gershwin as major influences. So is it any wonder his music has been christened by many as ‘cinematic rock’?

Ben Craven ‘is’ Tunisia. He dispensed with the ‘band approach’ to compose, perform, engineer, and produce his debut album independently. The result, “Two False Idols” is a finely crafted collection of tunes, showcasing his talents as musician and songwriter – balancing commercially acceptable progressive rock ballads (i.e. - no side long tracks or mini-epics) with energetic rock and roll.

Craven doesn’t bore the listener with extended solos and guitar pyrotechnics. Instead he crafts his tunes around catchy hook laden melodies, brilliant songwritting, and richly orchestrated arrangements. His guitar texture on the first track “Great Divide” sets the tone for what is to come, with a pleasant David Gilmore quality to it – bringing to mind Gilmore’s latest “On An Island”. Track Two, “Captain Caper” begins as a Mexicana-flavored rocker, seamlessly shifting gears to something echoing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, then morphing into vintage Floyd. Very cool tune.

Beautiful ballads like “Over” and “If You Knew” remains with you long after the CD quits spinning. The same can be said of “Look Away” which harkens back to tunes found on the Ray Wilson/Genesis album “Calling All Stations”.

“Enough About You” and “Not Me It’s You” are witty 70s’ styled country rockers that could easily have been on Steve Miller’s “Joker” album.

“Two False Idols” closes with “Celeste”, a beautifully haunting instrumental track – one of my favorites.

Although artists prefer to think of themselves as unclassifiable and unique, readers unfamiliar with the artist come to expect comparisons for reference purposes, to which I would suggest Pink Floyd, RPWL, Steve Hogarth era Marillion, and the solo work of Kevin Gilbert. The ten tracks on the CD get a 10 out of 10 rating.

Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on August 24th, 2006 - ProgNaut.com


"Tunisia - Two False Idols"

Described on the website as ‘Cinematic Rock’ Tunisia is the brainchild of Australian Ben Craven who is responsible for playing and writing almost everything on ‘Two False Idols’, recording it on a shoestring budget in a small home studio. The end result really is a labour of love, wonderfully played and with a production standard of extremely high quality.

The first thing that struck me was the cover, something that Hipgnosis would be proud of and, sure enough ‘Great Divide’ is a suitably grand and typically Floydian opener. Featuring some classy lap steel playing and layers of Hammond, it also reminds me of Neal Morse – era Spock’s Beard and that is no bad thing, having a very intelligently written lyric.

However, before you think this is going to be ‘just another prog’ album there is an array of styles to be found on ‘Two False Idols’; from the country sound and Beach Boys harmonies of ‘Enough About You’ (complete with a suitably wry lyric about the aimlessness of celebrity culture) to the wonderful acoustic work of ‘If You Knew’. Craven really has come up with something very different and ingenious here and, as such, ‘cinematic rock’ is pretty much a perfect description. The arrangements that flow through the album are delightfully executed and his playing is remarkably consistent throughout. Elsewhere,’ Not Me It’s You’ is a driving rock anthem in the making, whilst ‘Captain Caper’ (another clever lyric about “the greatest superhero”) and ‘Golden Band’ are interspersed with passages that are somewhat Lennon-esque.

‘Two False Idols’ has just been released across Europe on Cargo records and also comes with a bonus disc in DTS surround sound. - hardrockhouse.com


"Tunisia"

Don't call it prog rock!

That's what Australia's Ben Craven, the man behind the one-man-band, Tunisia tells interviewers.

It's not that Craven doesn't like prog; he refers to his own music as "cinematic rock", so he certainly embraces a sound that's both programatic and expansive. It's just that, when he tours as Tunisia (so named because he liked the way it sounded), his instrumentation bears a closer resemblance to John Lee Hooker than Yes. On tour, it's just Craven, his guitar, his stomping foot, and sometimes, a bassist -- doing music like this dreamy, hummable track, from Tunisia's debut:

Look Away by from Two False Idols.

Buy Two False Idols at the band's website.

by Diane E. Amov
- FreeFormFM


Discography

Two False Idols (debut album)

* Hear clips at http://www.cdbaby.com/tunisia

Released across Europe on Cargo Records. 2 cd package includes entire album in DTS surround sound!

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Bio

Ben Craven. Master blender of charming acoustic songs, rock riffs, and big crashing orchestral flourishes, all wrapped around lyrics presented in an intimate fashion. It really could be called ‘cinematic rock’.

How, one asks, did someone come to have such influences that obviously include 1970’s progressive rock music, a la Yes and Pink Floyd? Just blame the parents. Ben grew up in an environment of liberalism and was immersed as a toddler in the era of big, prog rock. His earliest musical memory is of Dark Side of the Moon. A second early memory was that the roll-up tobacco enjoyed by grown-ups listening to this music smelt remarkably different from regular tobacco.

Armed with a musical memory different from most kids his age, Ben taught himself guitar and keyboards and joined a series of bands, none of which made it and none of which remotely played the kind of music that had been burned into his mainframe as a kid. Nonetheless, the songs he wrote accumulated steadily. Finally in 2005 he quit yet another band, adopted the pseudonym Tunisia, and decided to record his own music, all of which became his debut album Two False Idols.

Two False Idols was Ben’s realisation of the necessarily independent approach to writing and recording this sort of thing - music to please himself, leaving it to faith that it would find its audience and dispensing entirely with the band approach. Influences range from obvious stalwarts like Pink Floyd and Brian Wilson, to the likes of film composers Bernard Herrmann and John Williams. Not to mention some less-fashionable progressive rock hipsters. So we won’t.

After releasing the album across Europe in both stereo and 5.1 surround formats, Ben is now stepping out from behind the Tunisia moniker and recording his sophomore effort. Delivering on his cinematic promise, Ben is now going widescreen - literally - as he blurs the boundaries between conventional songs and orchestral soundtracks. The new album is sounding exactly like what it is: someone revelling in the creative freedom that only comes from not caring what you think others want and delivering what you feel instead.

* Catch a sneak peak of Ben's new album here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6xtztXoawY