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Various Artists

Kinections: The ProgDay Support CD

Review by Josh Turner

There are two great things about this release. First off, it's for a charitable cause. Second, it is truly great music. Lew Fisher (on behalf of the ProgDay foundation) is the mastermind behind this project. What I like best about the album is the diversity of his selections. No two are alike and none of them consecutively follow the same mood. We are presented with an assortment of instrumentals, epics, and even song-oriented numbers.

Ed Unitskey is the featured artist for the cover. He is best known for his artwork on The Tangent albums. However, I must ask, why did he choose to feature a naked man on the cover and why is he flying nude on the inner artwork? His designs are cool, but I can't help from shielding my eyes each time I reach for the disc.

For more information or to order the disc, follow this link http://www.progday.com/support.html.

Track by Track Review
Strawbs - Riviera Dei Fiori/Under a Cloudless Sky
I've heard of this group, but never heard any of their music. This will probably change. I really enjoyed this opening piece. It sways like freshly blooming trees under a cloudless sky. The budding flowers smell fresh in the blissful spring day. The acoustic guitars are utilized proficiently. This is a mix of Yes, David Bowie, and Talking Heads.
Djam Karet - Pentimento
This is the dark, dreamy, and spacey soundscapes used in many seventies sci-fi action flicks. I found it compares to Gordian Knot, yet it is slightly avant-garde like Birdsongs from the Mesozoic.
Nathan Mahl - The Place We Call Home
It is great to see this compilation being used to expose fans to new talent. Nathan's style reminds me a lot of Kevin Gilbert. There is also a hint of Platypus. The song is flashy, upbeat, and tight. It's a real entertaining piece that has great interplay between all the instruments.

Trettioargia Kriget - Lang Historia
This has the flair of a Flower Kings jam. The music is melodic and moody. They hail from Sweden, so maybe there is a connection.

Wobbler - Leprechaun Behind the Door
Again, Lew introduces us to a lesser known artist with superior talent. This might very well be the highlight of the disc. This is one of the longer pieces and it's completely instrumental, but it doesn't really let up for one minute. I really enjoy this piece. It's cheerful, energetic, and sometimes mysterious. By this point in the album, you're sure to be thoroughly impressed and there's still much more remaining.

Sonus Umbra - Self Erosion
I became familiar with this band at ROSFest. Due to extraneous circumstances I missed their set. Shortly thereafter, I picked up one of their albums and was disappointed in myself for this absence. Do yourself a favor and don't make the same mistake as me if they happen to roll into town. They are innovating and unique as well as technically sound. Integration of Latin influences into the music is their own distinct trademark. They incorporate acoustic and electric guitars seamlessly into a mix that's both accessible and yet truly progressive. There is more where this came from on their album Spiritual Vertigo.

Gert Emmens - The Warlock Returns
The visual that comes to mind is a loaded arena, partial darkness, spotlights on the court, and larger-than-life athletes charging out from their locker rooms. I also picture Richard Roundtree as a cool, confident, and cocky detective walking the mean streets, having his way with the informants, and ultimately taking down the criminals. In other words, this song is similar to Sirus from Alan Parson Project along with a touch of Shaft's theme song. It's a bad mother, shut your mouth. Here's your Chicago Bulls! Can you dig it?

The Muffins - They Come on Unknown Nights
First we get the sinister piano that plays throughout the chase scenes in the movie Tron. Later the music gets outrageously crazy to the point of schizophrenia. While this is fun and entertaining, it's a tad unsettling. On an album that has been mostly organized, methodically upbeat, and mainly optimistic, the wackiness and weirdness is almost welcome.

Guy Manning - Top of the Mountain
I must give Guy a lot of credit for this one. He really donated a valuable piece of music. It's a demo and it's unreleased, but don't hold these two traits against it. This is one of the best songs I've heard from him. It's the longest song on the album and like Wobbler's contribution, it too doesn't lose the listener during its duration. It is symphonic and melodic and provides us with a ton of great instrumentals and vocal passages. For an album with a big heart, the finish leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. The only thing that could have improved this release was an appropriately placed pair of shorts. Aside from that, I am quite enamored with Kinections contents and give much praise for all the generous gestures that led to its creation.

 
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