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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Dream/Clone

Transymphonic EP

Review by Gary Hill

Hip hop doesn’t often get the respect it deserves in much of the music community. While there are good arguments to discredit the style – particularly the over-reliance on the producer and samples of other peoples' music  – there are also those out there who work within rap and still keep it artistic. Dream/Clone is one such outfit. These guys seem to put a lot of emphasis on the music side of things, rather than just using it as an afterthought to accompany their raps. This doesn’t reinvent the medium, but it goes a long ways towards perfecting it. With just about any hip hop CD it should go without saying, but just to be clear – parental guidance is advised. You won’t want to play this around your kids.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Get Amped
A pretty typical hip-hop intro gives way to a cool groove that serves as the backdrop for the real rap of the tune. I don’t think that the introduction worked that well, but by the time they launch into the real song – with its jazz meets classical backing – it is quite effective. I like this one a lot, but for my money a stronger intro would have made for a better lead off to the disc.
KTU
This is intriguing. It’s got sort of a lightweight, house feel to it, but the rap is meaty. The tone of this is quite cool and it’s a good change up. This has sort of synthesizer solo near the end that’s a nice touch.
Apocalypse
Dramatic and powerful soundtrack type music with a classical bent serves as the background for a fast rap that seems a bit like Eminem’s flow. The chorus is a cool sung section with vocals that resemble Gregorian chant a bit. This song has a bit of a mysterious texture and is extremely powerful. I’d have to say that it might be my favorite track here.
Lookin’
This one has a cool playful texture to the music. The chorus has a great soulful feel to it. The rap feels pretty hard-edged, though. The combination works well, making this another effective piece.
Back2Back
A jazzy piano leads things off here. The whole tune has that sort of feel to it. A jazz groove serves as the backdrop for the rap with a more hip hop oriented rhythm track backing it all up. This is a unique piece and another highlight of this EP. This is also one of the more dynamic pieces, with the music running through several changes and revisions.
Too Good
Bombastic and powerful, this is another cool tune. A number of interesting music moods and motifs serve to create quite a listenable jam. It’s another highlight of the set. If I had set up this CD, I think I might have put this one as the opener. It’s strong and might have made a better intro. Still, the closing position is important, too – so it’s good to have this there.
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