A Review by MJ Ankenman

If you want to have a break from the "real" world, let your imagination go and dwell in a place that opens the mind to possibilities and "alter" worlds, then listen to Paul Marcano's virtual band Aztech Rising new work "Where Spheres Touch".

His first lyrical work since 2001, "Where Spheres Touch" was born from a phrase that came about in a discussion of one of his earlier paintings,"Worlds within Worlds". As Marcano tells it, "it opened a floodgate of lyrics" which accumulated in a collection of 10 new songs. The songs are influenced by experiences in the past few years in the Virtual World as a participant, performer, architect and designer. The album is credited to the band "Aztech Rising", Marcano's virtual band that performs in the virtual entity that is "Active Worlds". The band has had several "live" performances in "Active Worlds" including weddings. Marcano goes by the stage name "Sunshine" in the virtual world as well as Artist3D, his designer/architect persona.

Titles such as "Free Fall for All", "Need a Little Space for Time", The Final Theory of Everything" and the mysteriously coded "KOCLU2morrow" give a hint to the engaging lyrical journey that awaits.

Experiences between the virtual and real world are given life with playful lyrics. The conflicts that are bound to arise between those who believe in the virtue of altered worlds and those that don't are addressed in " KOCLU2tmorrow"

  • (SOUND CLIP KOCLU2morrow- Click to Hear)
    "You say I escape
    I say that's not true
    We say it's a play
    with a stage that's set to view.

    Come and see there
    the world outside
    that takes you on a cruise

    Come and see hear
    the world inside that
    dreams me through the ruse."

    Where Spheres Touch is a pleasing blend of light and airy keyboard and guitar. The effect of the music is to feel like you are floating around in one of these worlds thinking about all the possibilities. As he writes in "Where Dreams Go"

  • (SOUND CLIP Where Dreams May Go - Click to Hear)
    "There's a place
    Where all the dreamers can go
    (Where) artists paint the skies
    with what dreams may come
    where dreams may go...."

    Interesting to note that the collection finishes with a piece titled "Hal" that is sung by an altered machine voice proclaiming:

  • (SOUND CLIP HAL - Click to Hear)
    "The only real, the only real liberation
    is the one, is the one that can free you
    from your self.

    And I feel and I feel we can make it.
    and I know and I know that it's going to be
    so very high.

    We got to keep we got to keep on changing
    because you see, because you see it's happening
    all over the world."

    Set to some spacey guitar rifts, Aztech Rising juxtaposes the modern machine with the ageless quest for fulfillment. According to Sunshine, with the help of the virtual world we will be successful in this quest. Listening to the music, crafted at the hands of the very real Paul Marcano, I feel it and believe.

    * The music of Aztech Rising is available online as a download with all songs, CD cover at and lyric sheets
  • Click Here to See Catalogue:

    A Review by Active World's Virtual DJ

    "I must say it is quite a treat to anyone with an appreciation of music. Very uniquely written and composed, each song flowing into the next with ease. It is quite a pleasure to listen to and really expresses some of the ideas behind virtual reality in a way that entertains the listener at the same time. I highly recommend this album to anyone that has ever heard Aztech Rising or enjoys aspects of Virtual Reality".

    A Review by Josh Clarke

    Next G : I was there, this thing just happened. It's got so many parts, so many feelings, I love the layers.

    Where Spheres Touch : We live together, we show it through love, we meet, we exist. Let us be, let's co- exist.

    KOCLU2morrow : The very creative lyrics portray a poignant message for our times. Escapism meets reality.

    Product of Dreams : The guitar work carries the chorus like he never stops singing. The message is we are hear.

    A Distant Star : Acknowledging freedom can give a sense of accomplishment.

    The Final Theory of Everything : Beginning, enjoying, questioning. I get an ethereal feeling of floating, reminiscing. Enjoying the sense of acceptance.

    Free Fall For All : Own it. Step up. Be not afraid. Show your self it can be done. DO IT. Let's go for a ride, can you relate?

    Where Dreams Go : Meet me at the edge of your imagination and don't forget this is just the start. How far, Not far, just around the bend. Be-leave.

    Need a Little Space For Time : Great tempo, striking percussion. I get it. Got it? GOOD. Wonder-full lyricism.

    HAL : Solid groove, great guitar. Bring it together, let go, Groove on life and don't stop.

    The production is incredible. The lyrics are amazing and "cleverly outspoken." The density and clarity of soundscapes is at a very high level of aptitude. Astounding, put on the headphones and float away on a dream day. Very creative guitar work, with a strong percussive prescence. It is very well mixed and has a well rounded sound that relaxes the mind. I love the stereo on the phones. Lots of time to think, I reflected on my existense through out the whole album. That's what I think.