Ben Craven - Last Chance to Hear

Ben Craven Last Chance to Hear cover
Ben Craven
Last Chance to Hear
Independent Release
For those who are not aware of Ben Craven, I should say that he’s a gifted multi-instrumentalist & composer from Australia that has been around since 2005. “Last Chance to Hear” is his latest work that is lightly inspired by the end of the music industry as we knew it, in Ben’s own words. What does that mean, huh?! Well, Ben hit the spot by explaining that “there’s never been a time when so much new music was being made by so many people and being listened to by so few people. The concept of paying for new music is now alien to a lot of the audience. Digital downloads have made physical media virtually obsolete”. Weird, sad but so friggin true.
“Last Chance to Hear” is an atmospheric, symphonic, cinematic & melodic prog rock album that features a few vocals, only in 3 tracks (out of 11). Ben sings in two tracks, on the opener “Last Chance to Hear Part 1” & on “The Remarkable Man” (that has been released as a video too), while the third track “Spy in the Sky Part 3” features William Shatner (Captain Kirk himself!) on vocals. On the specific track, the vocals have been produced and engineered by Billy Sherwood (YES, Circa, etc.). The production is lush and crystal clear.
Ben has decided to let the music do the talking, that why this album features more instrumental tracks. I can’t say that he didn’t choose rightly as sometimes you gotta let the music do the talking… and believe me in that way you can say so many thought-provoking things. All the performances have been made by Ben himself and I must congratulate him on doing such a hell of a job. It ain’t easy to perform at such a high level and write stimulating music as well. My favorite tracks are the 3 parts of “Spy in the Sky” (maybe part 1 is my beloved one), the two parts of “Critical Mass”, the two parts of “Last Chance to Hear” (the second part is my cherished one) and “The Remarkable Man” that is the most radio-friendly track on the album. Those who fancy atmospheric, symphonic, cinematic & melodic prog rock music (and film music as well) should give this album a chance, cuz it does deserve it 100%. You see there are so many new releases each day that some truly well-crafted albums, like “Last Chance to Hear”, might be lost in the ocean of newly released music. Then again, that is the “curse” of today’s music industry… one must really seek out to find some really good stuff among the garbage offered through the web every day.
Ben recently won the award for the “Best Instrumental” category in the 2016 Australian Independent Music Awards. Hence, I’ll close this review with Ben’s own words, cuz everyone should be aware of the actual music truth of our times… “This is a desperate time for music. The landscape is littered with album reissues, remixes, repackages and compilations. Record companies are trying to squeeze out every last cent while they still can. Some artists only put out new albums so they can tour. Others have decided that nobody wants to hear their new music so they don’t bother making any. There’s so much noise out there now that it’s virtually impossible for anyone to stand out without the marketing might of a big record label. I want people to know that there are still those of us flying under the radar, the obsessives, who make music because it keeps us alive. With no realistic expectations of financial success, it’s the anticipation of the next song, the one we haven’t finished yet, that keeps us going!”…