Ian Narcisi (Genre: Progressive Rock/Pop)
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Visit Official Site: Ian Narcisi has always understood one simple truth: If you have a dream, make it happen. Ian’s dream is to change the world through his music. With a spiritual-humanist philosophy and a penchant for complex synth-based melodic progressive rock, Ian believes in the power of the human race to become their dreams. He seeks to build a better world through music, prodding all who will listen to become the selves they have envisioned.
Ian has wanted to make music since a young age. His first steps were piano lessons at the age of ten, but piano just didn’t appeal to his then pre-adolescent mind. What did register was the wild abandon of drumming. Inspired by a friend of his brother’s, Ian began taking drum lessons in 1983. Eight years later, he auditioned and was accepted into The American Conservatory of Music. Ian studied Jazz drumming and composition while at ACM, but eventually left to pursue his other passion, meteorology.
Chasing storms and interning under Tom Skilling at Chicago’s WGN were exciting for Ian, but all the while he was continuing to play with various bands around the Chicago area. Ian began studying voice with opera singer Janice Pantazelos in 1998, going on to perform accapella at various venues around Chicago. Around the same time, Ian returned to his roots on the piano, and began writing songs from his heart. In 2000, Ian met Scottish McMillan, with whom he would play with for close to a decade while continuing to develop and enhance his skills as a performer.
What has happened since then could only be categorized as a slow-moving musical reaction. Ian has continued to develop artistically and as a human being. The latter has been a matter of spiritual, if not religious, inspiration. The former has been a continued progressive rock exploration that varies in synthesis from the classical-inspired compositional style of Muse to the heavy progressive magic of Porcupine Tree. Ian is relentless in his pursuit of the muse, delving deep into his own emotional and rational understanding of the world and sharing in song.
Ian began documenting his songwriting and performance style with 2005’s Off Purpose, a collection of seven piano/vocal originals. This album grew out of a chance meeting with an old friend, Tim Sandusky, owner of Studio Ballistico in Chicago. Sandusky not only provided the studio space, but also engineered and co-produced the album. The process was like the loosening of a dam, and songs began to spring forth unbidden. Off Purpose (2006) was Ian’s first full-band EP; this, an important step developmentally. By 2007, Ian was no longer playing out, focusing his time on writing and recording his third EP, Niche In Time.
This new focus brought a greater depth of songwriting; a depth that showed more fully on Ian’s first full-length album, WEIGHT OF THE WORDS, which featured re-masters of the EPs Off Purpose and Niche In Time in addition to six new songs. This dreamy synth-based progressive rock collection shows off a distinct musicality and vision that expands on traditional rock compositional styles in a Muse-meets-King Crimson ménage. Highlights include “Burning” and “Forever Today”. Ian’s songwriting takes on a bit more edge on his 2009 EP FEEL NO EVIL. With songs such as “Sparkle And Shine” and “Little Bit”, Ian shows a developing sense of musical drama.
Ian’s 2010 EP, PHONE CALL TO INFINITY brings to light his vocal ability. The edge noted on Feel No Evil is still here, but Ian has polished the rough edges to a fine musical sheen. The song “Behind The Dawn” shows an expansive sound that’s part Queen, part Muse and part Pink Floyd. Similar musical colors dance through “Five Below Nothing” and “Absent Today”. At some point in the recording of this EP, Ian has transcended mere creation into art; at the same time elevating his messages about becoming the best possible you to pure poetry.
Post 2010, Ian began to pursue his lyrical style and how it related to the music. In 2011 Ian’s “Come of Age (New Sun)” single sparked his intuitive/spiritual side. The song summed up Ian’s recent connection to his Guru in southern India and the incredible experiences he encountered while there.The spiritual groundwork was laid for a new direction both with Ian’s songwriting abilities and multi-instrumental musicianship. The end result was a 21-song, 3 album concept album entitled THE STORY OF BLUE. Included within the concept album based loosely on the four Tattvas (four ancient Vedic truths: Authenticity, Integrity, Responsibility and Enriching) is the main character Blue and his tumultuous introduction to life which, through many twists and turns, ultimately leads him to the state of enlightenment. Excluding the final of the three albums, the first concept album THE STORY OF BLUE: INTRODUCTION introduces the listener and Blue to a single character Aylah (the first letter of her name representing the first Vedic truth – Authenticity) who appears to Blue at a most critical time in the form of a dragonfly. Next, album two. THE STORY OF BLUE: THE JOURNEY, weaves within Blue the second Vedic truth Integrity represented by the character Icarus who introduces Blue to a whole side of life never seen. The final album of the trilogy THE STORY OF BLUE: BEYOND welcomes two new characters: Reia (representing the third Vedic truth – Responsibility) who ferociously reveals to Blue what powers the mind can truly conjure and Elsa (representing the fourth of four Vedic truths – Enriching) who takes Blue to the highest of vibrations.
Ian’s multi-instrumental skills are pushed to their limits within this massive undertaking. “The Story of Blue: Introduction” features Ian’s drumming abilities. “The Story of Blue: The Journey” places his keyboard wizardry front and center while “The Story of Blue: Beyond” pushes Ian’s vocal range to its extremes (noteworthy is the song “Resonate”).
In 2017, 2018 Ian released two music videos (both are currently viewable on YouTube). The song “Transcendence” from his first concept album – “The Story of Blue: Introduction” further exemplifies his drumming skills. The song “Dawn” (from his second concept album – “The Story of Blue: The Journey”) focuses more on Ian’s keyboard and vocal talents. Both videos were recorded and edited by Ian with the creative vision of “Dawn” coming from his wife Cynthia.
It’s difficult to imagine where Ian might go next, but imagine you will. Ian’s music evokes the dreams you never consciously suspected but always understood on some deep, quiet level. This is transcendence. This is art. This is Ian Narcisi.
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