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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Mark Klock Group

Tentacle Dreams

Review by Josh Turner

This album consists of eleven delicious ditties. Each dish is served in an individual snack size. It's like a sampler platter for the auditory senses. There are many catchy beats, yet only a scant amount of repetition. The album remains fresh throughout each course.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
From the get go, you know you're in for a good album. This fuses jazz and rock together in the much the same way as Platypus. Jerry Goodman's electric violin throws in a splash of Kansas. Marc Klock's guitar growls like Eddie Van Halen's in Hot for the Teacher. Phil Coen's bass, Jimmy Paxon Jr.'s drums, and Ed Roth's keys gives this the touch and texture of Dixie Dregs.
Mummy Dearest
This has an improvisational feel much like Phish, only it's devilishly darker like Derek Sherinian's Black Utopia. Ed Roth adds intrigue with some strange and unpredictable sound effects. The listener is taken on a trek through sticky mud as algae scrapes upon the ankles. Swamp gas bubbles with each step taken. While you might wish for a shower to wash this grime away, it's still a joy sloshing through the slimy soil.
Tentacle Dreams
The title track is slow to build up. It starts with light jazz in a Las Vegas lounge before abruptly changing its timbre. A third of the way in, the music gets mean and nasty. Think of Izz with a colossal chip on its shoulder.
We take our roundtrip flight back to Kansas. Jerry Goodman plays an electric violin that monopolizes the mix. The bass and keys are supportive of their partner. Towards the end, Mark's guitar becomes the life of the party.
This song continues to showcase Mark's virtuosity. One would think he was Steve Morse, Stevie Ray Vaugh, or Eric Johnson. This is guitar playing at its finest. With the others playing in the capacity of a pit crew, all attention is on Mark as he motors around the track.
This concoction is laced with chubby chunks of bass. Drums are doled out sparingly in tiny lumps while luminous keyboards are lightly sprinkled over the surface. The syncopated beat is true seventies fare. It's a rainbow of funk and groove.
The Ballroom Blitz from Wayne's World is ever-present in this piece. On a natural high, the drums seemingly dance without the need for a drug. The others are presumably popping their pills. The piano is playful once it swallows its prescription of Prozac. The violin vibrates after downing a dose of Viagra.
Get Up
This is like waking up from a long and lingering slumber. Well-rested with lofty aspirations, you shove the sheets aside, stretch your stiff limbs, and slide the curtains apart. Warm rays of sun thaw the knots from your back. The slate is clean and the skies are the limits. As if there are hot coals under your feet, you're compelled to dash out the door. This Caribbean calypso will have you hopping in no time flat.
On Second Thought
After a day of fun in the sun, you relax at a seaside café. The cool breeze combs through your hair and tickles your neck. The jazz band returns to play a soft and soothing number. People are slow dancing under a mellow moon while the tide splashes ever so gently in the distance.
Peace at Sea
In the wee hours of the night, all is calm and peaceful. This is the slowest and simplest piece. It is mainly a guitar gliding over the water. The waves crack with a bit of bass and a more speckle of percussion.
Back From Mars
The transmission is unclear as the dials are tweaked through each of the stations. Whenever it seems we'll stay with a channel, we suddenly change frequencies. While we never get a clear signal, the static is quite stimulating. The guitar licks are experimental, extemporaneous, and eccentric. They sound like Paul Bremmer's in several places. It's a fitting finale to a diverse collection of music. Marc Klock brings us a gourmet feast. From appetizers to entrees, the entire meal flows effortlessly down the digestive tracks.
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