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Earthshine

Cold Night

Review by Gary Hill

I like this disc quite a bit. I should reveal that Scott Prinzing, one half of this outfit, writes for Music Street Journal. Still, despite that connection, I’m devoted to doing an unbiased review. This has a lot of mellow folk influence, but it falls under progressive rock. Given that there’s both folk and classical music built into this and there are female vocals, comparisons to Renaissance are obvious, and often deserved. This is a cool disc and features some nice packaging. It comes highly recommended.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Cold Night

Intricate and lush, this is a powerful piece of music. It’s certainly acoustic based, but it’s also very much progressive rock. In some ways it calls to mind Renaissance. There are also some jazz leanings in some of the meandering music that skirts over the top of this. There are some distinctly classical sections of this cut, too.

All Around Me
I really like the mood and tone of this cut. There’s almost a psychedelic element here, but it also has plenty of that symphonic progressive rock built into it. It drops down to a killer jam from there that reminds me a bit of Traffic, but turned more folky and psychedelic. It continues to evolve, but remains consistent.
Khuraine
Dramatic and powerful, it’s hard to believe that this is purely acoustic early on in the arrangement. As it continues to evolve and expand, it’s more delicate and classically oriented. There is some great instrumental music built into this and it’s just plain cool. The comparisons to Renaissance are again appropriate, but additionally Jethro Tull might be a valid reference in some ways. There are definitely world music elements here, but plenty of other sounds, too. Later we get an airy sort of soaring vocal line that’s incredibly high in pitch.
One Foot
If you’ve got the basic concept of the rest of the disc, you’ll have the basic idea behind this. It’s folk based music that’s exploratory and powerful, despite the sans amplification concept. Again, references to Renaissance are appropriate, but that only comes so close. This is quite complex in terms of song construction and it works out to a more rocking segment.
El Suplico
Starting like a delicate world music ballad, this is partly in English and partly in Spanish. It’s definitely one that’s not really progressive rock, but rather Spanish influenced world music. The guitar playing is both effective and intricate. The vocals fit the music and are good. This just isn’t really my particular cup of tea. It seems a little long based on a fairly constant arrangement and progression.
Sea of Words
This is another pretty and delicate cut that includes vocals from both Prinzings.  As this develops later there is a definite string squeaking heard at times. Personally, I like that sound. I know there are some out there who feel it’s the sign of poor technique. Those folks probably will get turned off by this section, but in terms of the validity of their judgment, I have just two words to say “Steve Howe.” All in all, this is a cool track that features more of the same music that’s heard on the rest of the disc, but it never feels like we’ve heard it before.
Her Eyes Were Blue
There’s almost a show tune texture to this in some ways, but it certainly fits with the rest of the disc. Some of the later sections have some almost gypsy-like sounds, too. Symphonic elements are certainly heard over this arrangement and it’s quite cool piece of music. It’s one that probably doesn’t fit under the progressive rock heading, but I do like it.
Singapore Highrise
This is delicate and pretty. It’s also got a lot of folk and world music built into it. It’s quite entertaining and effective. It’s not an exceptionally long cut, though and therefore stays reasonably consistent.
Sparkling Blue
There’s much more of a rock element to this. Comparisons to Jethro Tull and Renaissance are both appropriate. This is accessible and still meaty. It’s my favorite track on the set and includes some great instrumental and vocal moments. If you listen to only one piece from this set, let me recommend this one.
Blooms of Clover
The main reference here is a world music style with an old world, minstrel quality to it. It would be easy to just mention that concept, but there’s a lot more here, too. This is quite an intriguing piece of music that has plenty of classical music and some complex and delicate organic progressive rock in the mix. There’s a cool little flute bit that ends the tune nicely.
We Find You Again
Here’s another cut that’s in the same vein as the rest of the music. It’s very folky, but also has plenty of delicate prog in the mix.
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