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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Bob Couchenour

The Sound 1.0

Review by Gary Hill

You know, in many ways this disc breaks a lot of rules. Frankly, instrumental music in my opinion can be boring. Music that doesn't change in terms of structure has an even greater tendency to suffer from that affliction. Well, this is all instrumental music, and the four songs on here are each based on one basic song structure. In fact, in terms of the first three it's a fairly simple one. Yet Couchenour manages through advantageous use of soloing and melodic lines over the top to create a disc that doesn't put you to sleep. When you figure that the first cut on the album is nearly half an hour in length this is even more impressive. This music would be great to just sit back and relax to, or have on in the background. It is probably most closely related to progressive rock - hence the inclusion in that section of MSJ - but there are also elements of jazz and new age music here. He may break all the rules, but Couchenour does it with style. I guess it should be mentioned that this is Christian music, but with instrumentals, how can you really tell. For more information or to get the CD, stop by Couchenour's website.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Sound - The Search - Primal Longings
This leads off with a rather funky groove. Other sounds come over the top of this backdrop after a time and the track gradually begins building on these musical themes. This is a wandering sort of guitar based prog instrumental jam. It doesn't move far from it's basis, in fact the rhythm elements remain pretty much unchanged, but there are layers upon layers of varying element laid on top of this throughout it's duration. Frankly, at over 27 minutes it could have benefited from some variants in the overall song structure, but the spacey jamming never leaves you wanting.
The Sound - Faith In Motion
At less than half the length of the previous piece, this one is still a rather massive one at over ten minutes. It has another solid groove backing up some inspired instrumental work. It's another smoking guitar prog instrumental. Once again, it could have used a few changes in structure, but manages to hold the interest throughout based on the layers of soloing.
After The Flood
Rhythm starts this one off. Then a pretty ballad like melody joins in to carry it while other musical elements work their way over the top. This one feels a bit like Pink Floyd at times to me, but there are also hints of country music and blues on show here. While this one again only has one musical format, at less than seven minutes in length, this is less of a detriment here.
The Sound - Ninety One
The final cut on the disc clocks in at a little less than ten minutes. In terms of general song structure it is also the most interesting on show here. At least there is more substance to the basic track over which all the instrumentation plays. This one has a bit of a jazz feel to it. It's a pretty and rather invigorating jam. There still aren't a lot of changes to the central structure, but this one is a bit more intricate to begin.
 
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