Aural Innovations & Lowcut -reviews

Low Budget Orchestra - The Second Best
(Low Budget Music LBM-02)

This is the second CD by Finnish multi-instrumentalist Mikko Muranen. Actually, he does everything. Plays all the instruments, mixes the music, and does the artwork as well. The CD features 8 tracks in about 40 minutes in a nice digipack format. The music is all instrumental guitar oriented progressive rock.

The CD begins with Take on the World, which has a very rich sound dominated by the keyboard during the first part before the guitar really kicks in with some intense double bass drumming. I really like the melodies and cool delay guitars during this opening track. Settle for the Second starts with a Sci Fi movie sample before a very melodic uptempo track kicks in. Mikko plays some really cool guitar in this track as well and lets the keyboards dominate at the end. I felt like another movement was required on that last one. Emperorís new Clothes is religious in some way, based on the opening sample. Again uptempo, melodic with some beautiful keys balancing the more metallic riff. Nothing will be the Same slows things down a bit and features some acoustic guitars behind the mainly synth driven track. About 1Ĺ minutes in the monster guitar riff enters and he lays down a great guitar solo. Stalemate starts with synthesizer before the pace really takes off and the guitar riff kicks in. The synths are rich and floating and flying all over on this track as it gets going. The drums are almost drowned out at times in the instrumentation. Rather than Words begins with another sample about God, before a melodic track with electric and acoustic guitars, synth and probably the best bass on the CD take us forward. Nice harmony guitars. Julietís Waiting begins with a keyboard sequence that leads into a more dreamy number with a guitar solo that just flys and sadly leaves too early. Dream Another ends this second CD by Low Budget Orchestra. It also features probably the best guitar and synth work on the CD.

Overall, a very strong and enjoyable CD but Mikko seems to have stuck with a similar format for most songs (sample, keyboard solo, guitars, keys, ending). The choice of synths sounds could be a bit more varied as well but the overall sound is improved over his first CD, especially the drums and more full less crunchy metal guitar. The CD is available for a really good price, just 7Ä or $10 including postage worldwide.

Check out the Low Budget Orchestra web site at:

Reviewed by Scott Heller

Points (at the Lowcut-website): 3/5

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