Darling - D2R - 2003

“Busy album with hyperactive and brilliant moments!”


“D2R” is the second album (D2R= Darling Second Recording) of Hal Darling. But the booklet also says that “D2R” could stand for “detour” as in alternate route or indirect course. Hal Darling is playing all the drums, percussion and keyboards on this album. There is so much happening in his compositions that it becomes a little hard to digest. If you think that you have heard everything what’s going on in the progressive scene … you will be in for a surprise.


Hal Darling – All manner of percussives and keyboards.

Special guests:
Uri Gatton – All electric, acoustic and MIDI guitars; Athan Gailis – All woodwinds, brass and MIDI horns.


This is not “everybody’s cup of tea” the English would say. And this is an understatement. Fred Trafton wrote the words … “fasten your seatbelt and prepare for a sonic roller coaster ride”. When I heard this album for the first time I had the same feeling. I found it to hectic and was overwhelmed by his musical ideas. The album has twelve compositions. Not only the compositions but also the songtitles brought a smile to my face when I was thinking of Frank Zappa. How did he come up with titles like “Clown on fire”, “Black rhyme”, “Prom vomit”, “Where seraphs despair”, “Rope of sand”, “Aggressive biological behavior”, “An unsettled score”, “Run”, “Dog dreams”, “A breach of species one through five”, “Mr. Smith shows the children how to smoke a cigarette” and “Asunder”. It’s a good thing that Hal explains the idea’s behind his compositions in the booklet. In most of the tracks you hear a lot of drums and percussion with complex rhythms and counterpoints. Sometimes combined with Keith Emerson like Hammond solo’s and dark orchestral synth scores. “An unsettled score” is an electronic piece in which Hal reproduces the sounds of a real symphony orchestra. This is very well done and I can only come up with names like Serge Blenner, Amin Bhatia and Tomita who have also that gift to keep the feeling, emotion and intensity in their electronic music. The orchestral keyboard parts remind me of Amin Bhatia’s wonderful album “The interstellar suite”. But a track like “Prom vomit” reminds me more of the genius of Frank Zappa.


This “difficult” album is for open minded people who like experimental and RIO music. I would advice you to listen first to this album at your local recordshop (if this is possible). Because this album with hyperactive and brilliant moments is not everybody’s cup of tea. 

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - May 2004 -   - Independent Release