Imaginary Lines is a studio project of rock songs produced by Ric Albano between 2004 and 2009. It culminated with the release of the triple-length Imaginary Lines 33 on September 9, 2009. The music has been described as progressive rock or vintage rock with many strains of sub-genres ranging from jazz to folk to Americana.
Originally, Imaginary Lines was to be a trilogy of “concept” albums, set up in a circular, infinite loop. The first two issues of this were released in 2005 and 2007 respectively. However, practicality ruled and Albano ultimately decided to release everything on a two-CD set of 33 total tracks.
The bulk of the recordings were made at Saturation Acres in Danville, starting on April 7, 2005, and included Cellarbirds’ Bret Alexander on guitars and Ron Simasek on drums. After drums, guitars, and bass were recorded at Saturation Acres, Albano added keyboards and vocals at his home Cygnus Wave studio along with all initial mixing and mastering.
The orginal material stemmed from a 14-song 2004 demo, seven (or half) of which were included in on the intial album Imaginary Lines I along with two new tracks written in early 2005. Over half the songs on this first album were longer than five minutes in length and all were constructed with unique arrangements, chord patterns, and instrumentation. The ultimate goal being to compose something of longevity, with new discoveries on every listen, and which might still sound fresh five or ten or twenty years down the line.
The next album, Imaginary Lines II consisted of more traditional, shorter, and simpler rock songs. However, there were many production delays and by the time this follow-up was released in late 2007, Albano had already decided to abandon the trilogy idea, remix much of Imaginary Lines II, and develop a dozen more songs to complete the 33 song collection.
The significance of the number ’33’ has a bit of history, as it was in the title of songs on each of the Two original albums – “33 Flames for Mary“ and “33 Shots at Louis“, and a third “33″ song (“33 Visions of Time”) was considered for the defunct third album. Ultimately, Ric Albano would name the company he founded in March 2009, 33 Dimensions.
The first section of the compilation (tracks 1-8 of disc 1) is made of previously unreleased material, save that which was omitted from Imaginary Lines II due to time constraints. These include the songs “Crimson, White, & Indigo“, “Tommy’s Got a Gun” “Deuce“, “Princess of Pearl Avenue“, and newcomers “Sister Josephine“, “999 Escape“, and an instrumental titled “Rubicon“. Also included is “Ashes“, which appeared as the prefix link in the Imaginary Lines I version of “The Phoenix“.
The first professional production by Ric Albano, Imaginary Lines I was an ambitious undertaking with complexly arranged songs. The album contains some good performances to complement the rich compositions. Recorded and released in 2005, it songs written by Ric Albano, dating back as far as 1997 and recorded at Saturation Acres studio was mixed and mastered by Albano at Cygnus Wave studios. All the songs were re-released on Imaginary Lines 33.
This leads into the second section of Imaginary Lines 33 (tracks 9-17 of disc 1), which is the whole of Imaginary Lines I – nearly verbatim. Aside from the re-mastering, the only significant changes to the original are the omission of the “Ashes” intro into “The Phoenix” (the new “Ashes” immediately preceeds “The Phoenix” anyway) and the editing out of about 36 seconds of ad-lib during the coda of “Perfect Light“. Also the faint lyrics (…where is the buzz when you need it the most/drowned in black coffee, eggs, bacon, and toast…) were re-instated into “Lorelei” shortly after the organ solo in the mid section. The first disk ends much the same as Imaginary Lines I, with “One” and the fading of the “dangling string”.
Imaginary Lines II was an effort to follow up the richly-produced Imaginary Lines I with a simpler counterpart. At its inception, the album was to be the second in a trilogy of Imaginary Lines single albums but some production delays that pushed it’s release until late 2007. When released in December 2007, the album excluded some unfinished songs and contained no guitars on any track. All the songs were later enhanced and included on Imaginary Lines 33 in 2009.
The second disk (and third section of the compilation) is made wholly of the full, complete version of Imaginary Lines II. Starting with the introductory “dangling string” during “The Fool’s Overture”, it is immediately apparent that this is updated from Imaginary Lines II, as Bret Alexander’s droning guitar (originally recorded along with “One“) joins in. All of these songs on disk 2 were remixed and re-mastered, with many having guitar parts added by Erik Trabert as well as further arrangement and production enhancements (albeit not quite to the level of Imaginary Lines I). The sequence of songs follows the same pattern as the original Imaginary Lines II up to track 9 (“The Cup”), with tracks 10-13 being the separately listed tracks of “Ocean Suite”, followed by “Naked”, the previously omitted “Deuce” and “Half Hearted”, and finishing with “Long Way Home”.
With the release of Imaginary Lines 33, the project has come to it’s completion. Being that there are no immediate plans to perform live shows, the name “Imaginary Lines” is effectively retired.
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