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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

King Chubby

Is

Review by Gary Hill

While this disc has elements of other music, feeling a bit like many of the instrumental experimental prog bands of today, the overall sound is all their own. There are elements here of King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and others, but none of these really define the sound. This one is a bit too similar in sound in places, and at times a bit too dissonant for my tastes, but it definitely has an intriguing texture. It won't be for everyone, but if you like mostly instrumental prog that has leanings towards jazz and atmospheric sounds, but yet a dark and disquieting nature, this one should definitely be up your alley.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 1 at https://garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2005.

Track by Track Review
Turn It On
A sedate jazz like segment starts this. Elements of louder darkness emerge at times. Then a funky free for jam takes over from there. This feels a lot like an early King Crimson take on early Pink Floyd with a solid infusion of funk thrown in. It wanders into near chaos at times, but manages to move back. This doesn't move far in terms of song construction, but the instruments are all over the place on this. It has a bit of a dark texture and a few understated processed spoken vocals add a weird, almost creepy texture.
Short Summer
A mellower, slower groove makes up the backdrop here. Although in many ways, this one is more melodic than the opener, some of the strange overlayers lend a very disquieting texture. Once again there are no dramatic changes in terms of song structure, but the various instruments provide the diversity in the form of wanderings overtop of this backdrop.
Wandering Angus
This one is an even stranger, but yet very cool jam. The overlayers and various wanderings bring a dark disquieting chaos, but the rhythm section puts in one of the more dramatic and dynamic performances, working between a fairly sparse to heavy rocking percussive texture. This one is quite dramatic, even if it takes a little warming up to appreciate. This has real vocals in the form of a spoken word recitation over top of strange atmospheric elements. It wanders into Hawkwind like weirdness at times.
Microgrand
This one is much more atmospheric and pretty than the rest, feeling very Asia at times. It is quite an impressive jazz like fusion prog jam and a favorite off the disc.
Who's Afraid of Retrograde
Another rather free form jam, this is often quite atmospheric. It's a good cut, but the overall sense of more of the same pervades it. Still, it has some cool Asian like jamming at times. It also drops to a weird sax solo that would make Nik Turner proud.
Nahvay
This satisfying jam has a texture that seems to combine the sounds of the rest of the disc with world textures and a taste of Enigma. It's another standout. It does wander into some weirder territory later, but is still one of the more entertaining tacks on the disc.
Rock Sand
This one is very weird with strange processed spoken vocal loops and instruments weaving trails over top of fast paced rocking back beat. The overall feel is Hawkwind goes jazz. This is quite a cool, yet very odd jam.
Greenmonk
This is electronic weirdness in the vein of early KC.
Awaken
This is by far the strangest cut on the disc, and a bit too dissonant and odd for me.
Swaha
More sedate than the last piece, this one could still use a little variety.
 
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