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 Gildenl├│w (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.”

Source: https://www.iopages.nl/editie/id/153/io-pages-152

Prog Magazine Reveiws Solipsistic

It’s really a great honor to be reviewed in the classic Prog Magazine (issue #36) which is out today.
Special thanks to Grant Moon for all the help and amazing support.

SolipsisticSEMANTIC SATURATION
All-star calling-card from talented Canadian fret-wrangler.

Enterprising Canadian/Syrian guitarist Shant Hagopian brings us a work of mind-blowing complexity and technical proficiency.Solipsistic features prog-metal keyboard maestro Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater) and monster drummer Virgil Donati (Planet X). That title is perfect for this work – a convincing stall-setter like this comes only from relentless self-belief and focus. Hagopian takes his thick-toned, solo metal guitar on a dizzying lap of the musical labyrinth on nine intense tracks with titles such as Ambivalence, Make Believe and Lost And Found: Insanity. There’s something earnest and affable in his
expression throughout, even in the knottiest moments of workouts. Stardust and Point Of
Singularity, while in parts there are shades of Joe Satriani, our My Prog Hero guest this month. Ballad Blessing in Disguise and feelgood jam Armchair Activist in particular evince a lyrical ear, elevating his fretwork above the many wannabes launching themselves daily over the Prog ramparts. Vanden Plas’ Andy Kuntz gives an impassioned performance
on What If We All Stop, the sole vocal number on this pleasingly nerdy, dazzlingy proficient record. -GRM

Here’s an extract from the magazine.

Prog Magazine #36 - Semantic Saturation Review
Prog Magazine #36 – Semantic Saturation Review

Art, Not a Competition

Greatest Guitaris of All Time

I always face-palm when I see people arguing with a friend or some random dude online about who the best player is, or who can play faster. This “My-dad-is-bigger-than-your-dad” mentality has to stop. Funny thing is the media also likes that, every once in a while you see a magazine asking people to vote for their favorite guitar player, and then they present it with big letters “Best guitarist of all time” “Greatest guitar solo of all time”.

Greatest Guitarist of All Time

Just because some people voted for a drummer, a singer, a guitar solo or a guitar player from a record that was sold thousands or millions, it doesn’t really make them the “best”. There IS NO best. this is music, and like everything else, everyone has their own opinion, you can’t just go to a person and force them to listen to music and make them love it. Voting for the “best” is pretty much doing the same, after all we see how elections go anywhere in the world.

I hate it even more when they compare, say a Cobain guitar “solo” to Gilmour. WHAT?!
That’s like comparing a paralyzed person to a world champion. I understand that magazines do this kind of thing because it will bring them more sales, but I’m guessing as an individual you have to be bright enough to know the difference.

Now here’s the other face of this “competition.” Shredding and artists who believe that playing faster will make their compositions more enjoyable.
I started writing this post in early January, it was only a draft when Rocio Flores Bedoya published her review of Solipsistic on Lady Obscure, and when I read the paragraph where she discusses the same idea in the review, and the fact that she actually received the message through my music alone, it totally blew me away! I was relieved that there are actually other people who realize what’s really going on, and it motivated me even more to continue writing this piece.

Everyone can shred.

I can play two gazillion bajillion notes in a minute and make you bleed from your eyes until you quit playing, but that’s not music to my ears. I think in a different way, why kill yourself to write and play highly technical lines to impress the listener by your chops, where you can play a single note at the right place and the right time and give them the chills. Isn’t that actually the point of listening to music? for enjoyment?
And especially when your shredding isn’t 100% clean, if you are a guitarist I’m sure you totally understand what I mean.

Ignore your weaknesses and only cultivate your strengths. -Steve Vai

Yes; shredding is fun and enjoyable but overdoing it will not make you “the greatest guitarist of all time.” wink wink.

Interview on Soundlyfe – French Magazine

Here’s the English version of my interview with Soundlyfe, the French music magazine.

Semantic Saturation

1. Where does this project come from?

Semantic Saturation is progressive metal project founded by me, featuring world class musicians and progressive masters, such as Virgil Donati on drums, Ric Fierabracci on Bass, and special guests, ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian, and Vanden Plas vocalist Andy Kuntz. So there is no particular base for the project as everyone comes from different part of the earth, I’m from Canada, Andy is from Germany, and the rest; Derek Virgil and Ric are from LA, thanks to the powers of the Internet and all the technology available to us today, otherwise it would’ve been impossible for this project to be born.

2. You are surrounded with big world references of the rock or metal scene : Does it mean that Semantic Saturation requires to evolve in a band? Or certain opportunities just appeared?

It’s really a great honor to work with these guys, they are all virtuosos and amazing people. Semantic Saturation is currently only a project, my project to be precise, it would be awesome to become a band but that depends on a lot of criteria, and since the project is relatively new with the debut album Solipsistic that just launched two weeks ago on January 21, I believe it’s too early to say at this point, but you never know. And again I don’t know if I’d want it to be a permanent band, as I’m planning to work with different musicians in future albums, but that doesn’t mean that I also don’t work with any of the current musicians. A lot of people are asking if there would be any live performances too, again at this point there are no plans for any performances, but I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to play live shows if I have the chance, the biggest challenge then would be adapting and meeting everyone’s busy schedules, as you may know Derek, Virgil and everyone else have their personal projects and bands, they’re always busy touring or recording in the studio.

3. What are the events in the coming months of Semantic Saturation?

As an independent project, I’m currently focusing on promoting the album “Solipsistic”, I’ve been working on it since December 2010 and I’ve put a lot of effort in making it as perfect as possible, so I definitely want to promote it as much as I can, otherwise all the effort and hard work we put in this record will go unnoticed. I had planned a music video for one of the songs from the album, and we are still trying to make that happen. Also I have plans to make a single dedicated to the Syrian people and all the crimes against humanity that are happening there right now, but it’s too early to talk about it.

4. Does Solipsistic have a main thread? What do you speak about musically?

Solipsistic comes from solipsism which is a state of mind, a philosophical idea that can only proves ones own mind or self to exist. The idea came to me as a kid and I kept thinking about it, until I started working on the album and thought it’s the perfect chance to use it. Musically I’m trying to deliver strong expressive melodies and stimulating music that speaks to you and keeps you wanting for more, there are a lot of bands nowadays who tend to forget that music is actually an art and not some kind of competition, a lot of them have overlooked and forgot what music actually is, they’re constantly trying to concentrate on the technical side only. For me that is not music, and playing thousands of notes a minute will not make them any better.

5. Besides Dream Theater or Vanden Plas, represented in your project by current or old former members, what are your musical influences in any kind of genre?

I grew up listening to Pink Floyd, so they have been a major influence, besides Dream Theater with all their side projects and Vanden Plas, bands that have influenced and inspired me are Rush, Porcupine Tree, Pain of Salvation, Muse, The Gathering, Steve Vai, Ayreon, Joe Satriani, Transatlantic, Opeth … I can keep on going but I think I’ll just stop by saying thank you very much for the interview! And I’d like to thank you (the reader) for your interest. If you’d like to support the project get your copy today at www.semanticsaturation.com (CDs include free guitar picks and posters signed personally by me).

Source: http://globalgame.wix.com/gam3#!home/c14yj