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Patrick Moraz

The Story of i: Remastered Edition

Review by Gary Hill

The first solo album from Patrick Moraz, this is getting a cool remastered edition. This features two bonus tracks and restored art. The music here is not the kind of thing that's well-suited to track by track reviews, in part because it's so frequently changing and shifting. The mix between classical music, progressive rock, fusion and even island sounds is intriguing, though. This is the kind of thing that works best to just "let it play." Most of the songs segue from one to another. There are some moments here that call to mind some of the music Moraz did with Yes (including some keyboard parts that seem to be direct quotes), but those moments are not that common.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Impact
Noisy organ based keyboards open this. The cut grows forward with different keyboard textures and percussive elements at its heart. There is a lot of electronic music here along with some jazz and more. There are some non-lyrical vocals here and there. Some bits of bass emerge at times, too. This is mysterious, dramatic and very cool stuff. There is a dramatic crescendo at the end that segues into the next piece.
Warmer Hands
Coming out of the previous cut, some weird tribal elements emerge before the cut shifts to a melodic rocking motif. There is a lot of fusion in the mix here. A fast paced jam brings some styling weirdness and the cut just seems to shift this way and that as it drives forward. This has the first real vocals of the album as it works to the song proper section. This is a powerhouse jam with so many great changes and instrumental movements.
The Storm
Starting with a bit of a scream as it comes out of the previous tune, this is just a short bit of weirdness.
Cachaca (Baiaio)
Piano brings this into being from the subdued chaos that ended the previous number. Some harp comes up, and then the song shifts to sort of an island based interlude. That's punctuated by a blast of synthesizer. Eventually the track fires out into a killer melodic prog jam that's fast paced and quite tasty. There are some seriously playful moments along all the changes.
Intermezzo
Classical music delivered on electronic instrumentation is the order of business on the introduction to this piece. The number is still very classical as the female vocals emerge. After that the piano takes a solo.
Indoors
With two movements ("Interaction" and "Imp's Dance"), this is a powerhouse prog jam that is fast paced and just as fast in terms of the changes. There is plenty of fusion in the mix on this thing. It's a dramatic and quite potent piece. While the first movement was purely instrumental, the second has some vocals.
Best Years of Our Lives
Keyboards soloing opens this with some powerful melodies. The track evolves from there. As the vocals join the cut becomes a tasty melodic number. It has some pretty textures and runs forward with a lot of style and charm. It works through a number of changes, but is one of the most mainstream progressive rock cuts of the disc.
Descent
Fast paced synthesizer jamming leads this thing out of the gate. At less than two-minutes of music, this instrumental is one of the shorter cuts here. That doesn't stop it from working through some different flavors and movements. It eventually makes its way to a slower section that segues into the next piece.
Incantation (Procession)
Coming out of the previous one, this has some intriguing keyboard textures and melodic elements at play. After the one minute mark it moves to a straight tribal section with just drumming and a voice. Then the keyboards rise back upward after that interlude and start speeding up as they move to the transition into the next number.
Dancing Now
There is tribal drumming on hand here, along with some killer melodic fusion textures. As the vocals join this has a mainstream prog meets fusion element at play. They still manage to take things through some cool changes along the road. There are some powerhouse sections later in the piece.
Impressions (The Dream)
Once more this comes out of the previous cut. As the dramatic electronic textures fade away Moraz launches into a piano solo. It is quite classical and evocative and gets very powerful. It takes us into the next number.
Like a Child In Disguise
While the piano brings this into being, other instruments and vocals are added to the mix as it continues. There are some bluesy vibes to the mellower sections of this. As it builds outward to a more powered up section, this has some almost Beatles or Klaatu-like sounds. The cut is another that lands along the lines of more mainstream prog. It's one of the most accessible songs of the disc. It's also a real highlight in a lot of ways. There is plenty of fusion in the mix at times, too. The cut peaks and works out into the next one.
Rise and Fall
Coming out of the previous track, there is a dramatic, almost dangerous, building momentum here. Around the 40-second mark it shifts to some fusion jamming. There is some killer guitar that comes over the top. There are elements here that make me think of Moraz' time in Yes just a bit. The cut continues to evolve beyond that, though. It works through a number of shifts along this musical road. References to Al Di Meola are warranted at times here, too. This is a dynamic and powerful number. There is a powerhouse movement later in the track that even has some keyboard textures and riffs that seem tied to the Relayer album by Yes. It's all part of a crazed ride, though.
Symphony in the Space
Coming out of the previous piece, this does feel rather symphonic. Yet it is decidedly electronic. It's a pretty journey that makes for a satisfying close to the album proper.
Bonus Tracks
            
Cachaca Variations

This alternate version features a lot of drumming and a lot of piano. It's a cool excursion. There is some great piano soloing built into this thing. There is a bit of bass right at the end of this. 

Cachaca Children’s Voices
Seeming like a studio run through, the tribal voices and drums are the idea here, with a lot of studio banter built into the proceedings. This worked well in the context of the song with its limited role. It doesn't work as well here. That said, it's an interesting out-take.
 
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