(All Album Reviews by avestin)
Acknowledging he can do better, hence the title of the album, the man behind this project, Mikko Muranen is trying to become a one-man orchestra. Befitting its name, this indeed sounds like a Low Budget Orchestra as it consists of one person, who is a multi-instrumentalist who's album The Second Best is his second release under this moniker. The low budget is probably the reason why there are electronic drums used.
Guitar driven, accompanied by electronic drums and keyboards the make up the lush sounding entourage, albeit not without some drawbacks. His music is instrumental and in this album he presents eight tracks that make up according to him, a flowing sequence of music meant to be heard together. I can definitely hear it, as I think the fullest impact would be to listen to this as a whole piece and not random tracks put together with no care.
The music is not flashy or meant to impress the listener about the technical abilities of the musician. Mikko states in the promo notes that came with the release that "Rather than strictly technical or intellectual, the foundation and focus in my music is on the emotional. Each song is designed to tell a story, convey a feeling, constitute an emotion." I think Mikko achieved just that in these eight pieces of music he presents here. Each one, while connected to others in its sounds and overall style, has a distinct mood and sensation that dominate it. They all sit well when considering the album as a whole and they complement each other quite well and continue the flow naturally (though each track is individual and there is space between them). Mikko's music here is guitar-oriented and lead, but as the tracks go on, he adds more layers to it, mainly with keyboards (that may give the impression of a neo-prog sound). As for the appeal of the music, there are good and catchy ideas here, but nothing out of the ordinary or too impressive. It is enjoyable and catchy guitar-lead instrumental (and keyboard 'enveloped') progressive rock. Sometimes spacey, occasionally highly energetic, the ambience here is quite constant and unified in its style and sound.
Nothing spectacular here, nor too impressive, but not bad as well; however, I do believe that having more musicians on this project will benefit this project's sound, although being with a low budget probably means Mikko can't afford session musicians.