Paradigms Goes Streaming

You can now stream Paradigms on all major platforms: Spotify, Deezer, Bandcamp, TIDAL, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon… You name it.

A compact page is also launched where you can listen to the album, watch our music video and leave us comments and/or mini reviews. Check it out here.

English Review on Esther’s Rock Blog

A couple of weeks ago Esther published a review in Dutch on Esther’s Rock Blog and on Rockmuzine. Yesterday she told me the review is now translated in English, so I’m sharing it below.
Esther rated Paradigms with a score of 92/100


Semantic Saturation – Paradigms (GB)
6 september 2018 – Esther Kessel-Tamerus

Shant Hagopian is a guitarist from Canada. In 2010 he founded the prog rock / metal project Semantic Saturation. The idea behind the project is to work with a different line-up on each album.
‘Paradigms‘ is the second album. Here, contributors included well-known proggers: Craig Blundell (Frost * / Steven Wilson), Kristoffer Gildenlöw (ex Pain of Salvation).

The intro of ‘Mirrors of Confusion’ could have been as well an intro of a blues-rock track. When metal elements kick in, you know that we are in for something different. The metal element is not only alternated with rock, but also with quieter parts. As expected, the drumming is very good. There’s a fine division between rhythm and melody. This opening track ends very nicely.

‘Carousel of Death‘ has a tight start. There are some high, electronic sounds. The rhythm is interspersed with melody. There are many twists and turns, with -for example- trumpet playing, which provides a jazzy twist. Because of the amount of twists your ears almost can’t keep up.
The structure is complex, yet Shant knows how to interweave a catchy melody and rhythm. These are real ear-worms that stay in your head. There are bouts of fast and tight performances. A bit later, sometimes even at the same time, the melody is hovering over. Even the musical rests are nicely placed. This track has a tremendous ending.

‘Empty Whiskey Jar‘ has a calm, collected start. Here too, all instruments are in balance. The vocals sound mainly as an instrument, but they are a wonderful addition. This track has a lingering dreamy atmosphere. For the first time, the ending is less surprising. However, during this part, small details are nicely incorporated.

Initially ‘Ulterior Harmony‘ has a catchy rhythm. The guitars provide the rocking element, which slowly becomes heavier and faster. Again, there are unexpected twists and combinations that you should actually check out for yourself. The high tones of the keys are intermixed, or alternated, with the heavy riffs. This occasionally peculiar or restless mishmash is well balanced. The tempo is fast, while the melody is unwavering. All this is well distributed over the headphones. There is an extensive build-up towards the end, experimental in nature. This seamlessly flows into ‘Disturbance Within‘. After a calm, experimental start, a sudden hit of solid rock follows. Again, the guitar work is exquisite. Electronic sounds provide a spherical end.

Semantic Saturation always knows how to surprise me: In ‘Universal‘ with their piano sounds. There is a transition to a more rocking, with a touch of Latin American atmosphere. There are plenty of twists in this piece. The piano returns briefly. The layers are also beautifully separated during the quiet part. There is a sudden change to rock. This contains a cool bass groove. In a nutshell, there is so much to listen to. Once again, the build-up is very good at the end.

Also ‘Where Dreams Have Died‘ is fantastic. Towards the end the mysterious music is played softer and softer until you hear almost nothing. Then there is silence. But… the music returns. But just for a few seconds. This is amazing, what a surprising ending. This last track is an epic, which is a fantastic way to wrap up the album.

The artwork is made by Shant, and looks very professional. He is very talented, both visually and audibly. I have heard many beautiful things. I was regularly impressed by the sublime guitar playing of Shant. He has, together with this team, made a very good album.



The Man Behind Pink Floyd Turns 75 Today

Today is this man’s birthday, a legend who turns 75.

This photo was taken by me during his “The Wall” tour in 2010
Photo copyright Shant Hagopian 2010

The amount of influence Roger Waters had on my musical career is enormous. He has inspired me from the very first day I discovered Pink Floyd in the early 90’s, when I was still a young teenager. I wasn’t lucky enough like many of you who are born back in the 50s or 60s, neither was I lucky in the the location I was born. Back in those days when I was still in Syria (and even now) we never had any bands on international level to perform live shows, so when I heard Roger Waters was coming to Lebanon on his “In the Flesh” tour in 2002, I was ecstatic. This also happened to be my very first live experience, so try to imagine my feelings.

I was counting down the days from the day I reserved my ticket. And a couple of days before the show, I got on a bus to Beirut; 7-8 hours drive from my hometown Aleppo. The concert was held at Biel, when we arrived there a few hours early, or I thought it was early, but some folks told me that the man himself stopped by for an autograph session half an hour ago… I was devastated! I went there prepared for an autograph with a Wish You Were Here CD booklet and a sharpie.

My seat was on the far left, and the backstage access was on my level and I was able to peak through the curtains from where I was, so I expected him to stop by and take a peak through the curtains at any moment. I was very alert. And suddenly it happened, just like I expected. I remember running towards him with the sharpie and booklet in my hand, what an excitement to shake the hand of a legend and have him sign your CD, and by the time he was done there was a big crowd lined up behind me. Mission accomplished.

Here’s a photo of the booklet itself, which David Gilmour also signed in 2016 on the Rattle that Lock tour in Toronto.

Happy birthday sir!

What was YOUR very first experience?

Paradigms Review in iO-Pages magazine

The review by Geert Ryssen is in Dutch, translated poorly by Google below.

“Semantic Saturation is the brainchild of Canadian guitarist Shant Hagopian, who with his second album Paradigms consolidates his fusion between metal, progressive rock and jazz. He does not want to be stuck with the same musician, and besides guest contributions from Derek Sherinian, Alex Argento (keyboards) and Squiggy McFlannel (trumpet) – each with a song – he opted for a rhythm section consisting of Kristoffer Gildenlów (ex-Pain Of Salvation) on bass / double bass Crain Blundell (Frost*/Steven Wilson) on drums. Particularly original is the choice of jazz singer Houry Dora Apartian in Empty Whiskey Jar, the only vocal number on the record. Hagopian does not want to fall into the trap of virtuosity because of the virtuosity and plays in the compositions, that offers enough space to display his guitar skills. Hagopian is not dictated by a certain sound but chooses variation in the sound spectrum and has a nice, full tone. He can fiercely and energetically rage, but also lyrical and thoughtful and that never goes away because the focus always remains on the composition. The interplay of the three protagonists is communicative and does not sound mechanical at all, here are clearly three musicians who are listening to each other. With the ten-minute closing song Where Dreams Have Died, Shant puts the crown on an enjoyable album.”