This 1976 album opens with the track New Country, which has somewhat of a country hoedown feel to it - complete with a "foot-stomping" bass drum/bass guitar pattern and the lightning fast picking of the acoustic guitar and Jean Luc Ponty's "country music on speed" fiddling style. An odd way to open this otherwise proggy jazz rock album perhaps, but the track is pretty neat. The rest of the album however, is really fantastic and blends elements of jazz with rock, along with an admixture of prog rock and a tiny pinch of psychedelic rock too (the spacey and heavily echoed/phased violin solo instrumental "Wandering on the Milky Way" is a good example of this). As a huge prog fan and a casual jazz rock fan I found the blend to be very listenable and extremely enjoyable.
The musicians on this album include virtuoso violinist and band leader Jean Luc Ponty (he played on Frank Zappa's Hot Rats album (1969) and a few mid-70s Mahavishnu Orchestra albums), bassist Tom Fowler (he played on Frank Zappa's One Size Fits All album (1975)), solid studio musician Daryl Stuermer on guitars, Billy Cobham inspired drummer Mark Craney, and keyboardist Allan Zavod (mini-moog, string synthesizer, acoustic piano). I should note that Jean Luc also played Hammond organ and synthesizers too. Come to think of it, synthesizers are featured pretty heavily on this album. All of the musicians are fantastic and although I generally like Daryl's approach and playing, he sometimes "overplays" on the electric guitar (he also did this with Genesis during their live shows). It is not distracting mind you; I just do not feel that his "fast" playing has the same organic feel that virtuoso guitarists John McLaughlin or Alan Holdsworth got when they were burning up and down the fretboard.
The griping aside, the music on this album is just fantastic. It is a perfect blend of jazz rock and prog with enough dynamic contrast, melodic development, and above all else, unchecked virtuosity to keep any proghead thoroughly entertained. My favorite piece of course is the 19'55" multi-movement "Imaginary Voyage" suite. This really is a great track that covers a range of moods and features some excellent playing by all of the band members along with extremely intricate ensemble work - I won't bother going into the numbers of meter shifts per measure but there are a lot.
All in all this is a great album of jazz-rock with an admixture of proggy elements that features the violin as a solo instrument and would make a fine addition to the jazz rock or prog rock album collection. Highly recommended along with the excellent follow-up album Enigmatic Ocean (1977) and other jazz rock albums such as Romantic Warrior (Return to Forever, 1976), Birds of Fire (Mahavishnu Orchestra, 1973), and Cross Collateral (Passport, 1975).