The creative energy behind Linfinity is Dylan Von Wagner and A Manual For Free Living: Installation is an EP introduction to what is planned to be a seven volume set.
… Installation is five tracks (one hidden) and just a little more than fifteen minutes worth of music that can only be described as a stroll through progressive rock's memory lane. The first track, "Companero" immediately called Peter Gabriel to mind, not only in the style of music but the tone of his voice. The overt similarity was just too hard to shake, and the comparison to a legend, one that is awful hard to live up to, lay just under the surface nagging me as I continued through my first listen.
As the second track began, "Chu Chu Train to Venice" the comparisons to Gabriel faded, but were immediately replaced with those of Elvis Presley. The similarities, too great to be coincidental, distracted at first and left me wondering if the album should be considered a tribute to all rock-n-roll greats. As with the first track, repeated listening helped me get past the vocal comparisons and I was able to hear "Chu Chu Train to Venice" as a fun and energetic track with the pounding piano emulating the rolling aural repetition of a train barreling down the tracks. The vivacity of both the music and the lyrical delivery is infectious and sitting still while listening soon becomes an impossibility.
But just as you find yourself absorbed by the liveliness of the track, it's over and the mood changes completely. This is another (very minor) complaint about the EP. The mood and tempo shifts are great for an album consisting of only five tracks. It's jarring and left me searching for the cohesive thread that strings the songs together into an album. As it turns out, that thread would have to be the good ol' fashioned solid alt and prog rock sound that carries throughout.
As mentioned, "Tycoon" and "Molly Mar of Rome" are completely different in tone and timing than the previous two, but it's the fifth track that is the stand-out, the hidden EP closer, "Magdalena". With the piano accompaniment, and Wagner's smoky voice blended seamlessly into the mix, it's sometimes hard to differentiate it from the other instruments. It then becomes obvious his voice is in fact just that, another instrument delivering the part of the song that conveys the story.
With repeated listening I was able to get past the overt simulation of two musical icons and accept A Manual For Free Living: Installation for what Linfinity is offering it up as – a prelude of things to come. I'm hoping future volumes will showcase the talent of Dylan Von Wagner, because I sense from the music and the structure of the songs within, he is an incredible musician with plenty to offer. If you would like to hear tracks from … Installation visit Linfinity's Myspace profile. Information about future volumes of A Manual for Free Living can be found at Linfinity's website.