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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tracy Hitchings

From Ignorance To Ecstasy

Review by G. W. Hill

A reissue of this solo outing by Landmark vocalist Tracy Hitchings, this disc is almost more pop than prog. I chose to include it in the progressive rock section due to Tracy's prog background, the overall theme of the disc and the inclusion of Clive Nolan. Even at its most pop oriented, though, prog sensibilities can be heard. However, the production on the CD feels a bit flat at times. The musicians on this disc are Tracy Hitchings, Dave Wagstaff, Clive Nolan and Karl Groom.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Beaty and the Beast
A tolling bell begins this cut, making this reviewer at least expect to hear the guitar chording of AC/DC's "Hell's Bells". However, a haunting keybard segment with whispy, ghostlike vocals is the intro that actually follows these particular bells. As the guitars come in, the cut changeds gear, becoming a proggy sort of '80's rock mode, a bit like bands like Quarterflash and Art In America. This is a good cut and features a strong instrumental break. It ends with bells and a vocal workout that is very distant.
From Ignorance To Ecstasy
A James Bond music oriented texture makes up this cut in a piano and vocal arrangement. As the other instruments join, it is in a prog ballady type mode. This one features a very tasty guirar solo as part of a killer instrumental break. This is a very dramatic piece.
Escape
This is faster paced prog with a definite '80's sort of texture to the sounds of the keyboards. The ending segments of this one are particularly strong.
Horizons in Your Eyes
Nicely intricate piano work, coupled with Hitching's vocals, make up the intro to this one. As the rest of the instruments enter, a fairly stripped down progish mode takes the cut. This one features a wonderful acoustic guitar solo. The mode becomes more lushly arranged as the cut carries on. It also includes a dynamite electric solo and nicely evocative and dramatic ending.
Caamora
I The Judgement
A dramatic and emotional keys and vocal segment, at times this one feels a bit like something from Marillion's "Misplaced Childhood" Cd. The cut begins buiding and the intensity jumps up, getting very strong. This one has a considerably dark texture, but a jazzy more light section serves as an interlude. "My house was a house of misconception, built on lies and self deceit, In spite of all my good intentions now rubble at my feet".
II Living With My Dreams
A sparsely arranged prog segment with a martial sort of percussive texture begins this movement. The mode begins building up from there, in dramatic and emotional form. This segment is another that feels a lot like old school Marillion at times. It jumps into a great off kilter sort of jam.
III Walking Through Fire
Building on earlier themes, this segment ends the cut in dramatic fashion.
Everything I Am
'80'sish rock textures in a progressive motif, this is a solid number.
Hide and Seek
This one is more mainstream based on prog elements.
Behind the Scenes
The intro on this one is rather playful, then a dramatic orchestral, almost stage-play oriented mode begins the song proper, fitting well with the lyrics. "When the play is over, So many different characters, I'm looking for a shoulder to cry on, Lost in the wings, no script to rely on." It becomes more dramatic and traditional progressive rock after a time, building on those same themes, and features a considerably dramatic outro.
 
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