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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Cannata - 2006 Mysterium Magnum
Cannata - 2006 Mysterium Magnum

ARTIST: Cannata
ALBUM: Mysterium Magnum
LABEL: Oxford Circus
YEAR: 2006


LINEUP: Jeff Cannata - vocals, guitars, keyboards, synths, bass * Greg Trabandt - drums * Jeff Batter, Jay Rowe - piano, synths * Bob Giannotti - guitars, flutes * Jimi Bell, Chuck Beckman, Jay Johnson, Rohn Lawrence - guitars * David Coe - acoustic guitars * Pete Hodson, Rose Coppola - backing vocals * Catherine De Neuve - ambient voice on 'French'

TRACK LISTING: 01 Spirit Of The Four Winds * 02 Kali Allah * 03 Somewhere Beyond The Sun * 04 4:17 California * 05 King Of The Mountain * 06 Promise You Heaven * 07 Book Of Ages * 08 Tears Of America * 09 Wanted Dead Or Alive * 10 Life * 11 French * 12 Reason To Live * 13 Reprise: Kali Allah



'Mysterium Magnum' is a Latin term meaning The Great Mystery, a term used in Alchemy in connection with the fabrication of the Philosophers Stone and the Elixir of Life. What is less mysterious is the man behind the music, and the intent from which it comes. Jeff Cannata, the name behind his Cannata and Arcangel projects, is well known to many readers of this site. Prior to his AOR phase of the eighties, Jeff was a member of an outfit called Jaspers Wrath, who had very progressive leanings. All the way through, it is apparent that Jeff has progressive rock running through his veins, even up until this day. Somehow he has manifested many areas of personal interest into a musical collection that is as mysterious and intriguing as the album title might testify to. The album is not all about 'hocus pocus', wand-waving, and heroic deeds of Harry Potter like proportions. No, the content and subject matter is all very serious stuff, and as we question our place in the Universe, amid the global conflict and confusion (i.e. Iraq and Iran), Planet Earth is indeed a 'Great Mystery' to us all. Quite clearly Mankind has not gotten the message, and nor it seems, has it grasped the concept of moving forward and together, in peace and harmony. Perhaps we are all trapped in some dark spiritual prison waiting for the end-game to be played out? Maybe Jeff is onto something..

The Songs
The album lifts off with 'Spirit Of The Four Winds', a timely ode to the events unfolding in the Middle East. Lyrically Jeff has hit it on the head with many of his musings and insights. 'doesn't anybody hear, the dissonance in man so clear.. there's no connection'. Musically it's prog rock for the ages, toes and fingers dipped in each significant era of the genre. 'Kali Allah' starts out in simplistic fashion, but then turns into a tribal anthem for all of the world's citizens. The acoustic guitars take the limelight on 'California 4:17', a bright light on the album with nigh on an electric instrument in sight! The tempo is held back on the moody 'Promise You Heaven', the tale of a relationship struggle, while 'Book Of Ages' instills faith in the Great Creator (aka The Great King), and that we may yet see hope and freedom in this world. Both 'Tears Of America' and 'Life.. 101' bemoan the direction in which the Western World has taken. The former traces the hurt of recent events in a melancholy mood, while the latter referring to carefree and fun days of yesteryear passed up in lieu of war, fear and hatred.. 'In a world of lies and endless competition, I don't even know your name..' says the opening line. 'French' is an unusual track for Jeff. Well for us at least. A trippy near-trance like affair that revolves around a hypnotic rhythm pattern and spoken French dialog. A couple of old Arcangel songs are resurrected here ('King Of The Mountain' and 'Wanted: Dead Or Alive'), plus a Jasper Wrath track ('Somewhere Beyond the Sun'), but these are of less interest to me because they have been heard before and offer nothing new.

In Summary
Musically, 'Mysterium Magnum' is a smooth progressive set, without the bombast and fanfare associated with Jeff's previous works. Not a lot of OTT keyboard playing, nor do we get flashy individual solos popping up everywhere. The theme asks questions of humanity, and is a humble reminder of where we have come from and where we are going, though with a degree more pessimism than optimism I would suggest. The album comes with lavish packaging, and some excellent illustrations that encompasses the mystical theme. Musically this isn't Arcangel revisited for 2006, so die-hard AORsters can time-warp to somewhere else please. Head on over to CD to order your copy.

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#1 | Jez on June 13 2008 16:12:05
A very strong release & one I prefer over the 'Tamorok' CD from a few years back (although that was a strong album in itself). This is nice collection,taking in most aspects of JC's varied career so far. The 2 Arcangel re-workings,'Wanted: Dead Or Alive' & 'King Of The Mountain' are great aswell. 'Spirit Of The Four Winds' & 'Kalli Allah' are my standouts so far, but there are alot of very strong tracks on this one. An album I didn't know was in the pipeline at the time and a VERY nice surprise it was.
#2 | Danielovich on January 22 2010 10:23:18
All Cannata albums have "quality" written all over it.
Carefully crafted and experimental, but irresistibly melodic with a touch of prog (sometimes the other way round!)
Check out "Watching the world" (more AOR) and his cover album, "My back pages", in which he does very personal arrangements of 60's songs (and, strangely enough,"On the turning away" by Floyd!)
#3 | Nick C on January 23 2010 00:30:48
The "My Back Pages" release is excellent. I'm not usually one for covers albums but it is fantastic. In a few cases I prefer some of his versions to the orignals.
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