Chris Gabriel
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Chris Gabriel

Portland, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2000 | INDIE

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2000
Band Americana Avant-garde

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"Chris Gabriel Time Machine Review"

Chris Gabriel started recording “Time Machine”, his third full length solo album, several years ago in a remote town in Poland, and just recently completed it in Portland, Oregon. The span of space and time is a theme Gabriel explores at every turn on this album. From its title to the thorough, almost musical-like narrative he tells as the album progresses.

It starts with the genre-bending title song, “Time Machine”, describing a point in the not-so distant future. “Let’s get out of here,” he invites the listener, taking us on a 37-minute musical journey through yesterday, today and tomorrow ,moving backwards and forwards.

‘Here’ is an idea explored in most of the songs in between. Are we awake or asleep? Is her make believing any different or real than our reality? “We can’t change,” Gabriel sings in “The Natural Order of Things” (his new romantic/nod to The Parson’s Project “Eye in the Sky”), “and it is perfect that way.”

He only breaks from theme in two songs, with the effervescent “Free Time Pop” and “Curled Tongue”, which don’t necessarily move his narrative forward, but much like ”Beauty School Drop Out” in Grease or “Under the Sea” when all the animals rock out in The Little Mermaid, allow for some fun and for Chris to highlight two gems that have been in his repertoire for a while. Any long time fan of Gabriel’s will be thrilled to hear his production of two songs he has played live so many times over the years.

“Over the Ocean” is the album’s masterpiece. It is Gabriel at his best—dreamy, light, but also full of discomfort and critical thought. It is a song about contrast, literally in between Earth and Outer Space. It explores the idea of flight, an idea so majestic and light, until humans get involved and it becomes extremely counter-intuitive and scary as fuck. “Let’s cross our fingers and hope it works this time,” he sings. “The best of what we make comes from suffering and with some pain.” Ugh. I have listened to this song a million times, and I can’t get enough of it. It’s brilliant.

Chris brings us back to the future at the end the album. He makes us question reality once again and paints a utopian, wouldn’t-it-be-nice version of a future in which everything is free, but also a little worrisome, because just as with the song “Experiential Data” it is hard to tell whether he is talking about humans or machines. But in the end, with the light, airy techno/synth fun melody, it’s all good. Like, whatever. You can kind of see Chris there, shrugging and smiling, you might as well just have fun and enjoy yourself.

Emily Minty Mullooly
11.02.2014
Portland, Oregon - Emily Minty


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Still working on that hot first release.

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