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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Orbit Service

Twilight

Review by Gary Hill

This CD is a very intriguing, if not fully successful one. The main elements here are sort of a combination of the more prog oriented modern Radiohead and Pink Floyd, but there are other sounds present as well. In good prog rock tradition, each song segues straight into the next one creating sort of indivisible whole. The thing is, the band seems to like to wander into overly strange textures a bit too much. I think that it also suffers a bit from poor song placement, truly, rearranging a few of the tracks on the disc would create a strong album. All that said, though, there is enough good material on show to please any fans of darker, more mellow prog. I have a feeling this band will be doing better things in the future, and this is a good, if not great start.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Start Dreaming
Weird spacey keys start this, the track feeling like Hawkwind at first. Then trumpet gradually enters, fighting to bring a jazz texture in amidst the spaciness. Acoustic guitar begins to paint a balladic portrait amidst those elements, bringing order to the near chaos. The vocal segment brings in psychedelic rock tones vocals paired with a Pink Floyd like song structure. This one is odd, but also pretty and quite intriguing. The ramp up the arrangement a bit later, moving it more firmly into Floyd like territory, but the horn keeps returning as accompaniment. They move this back to percussion and spacey keyboard textures as they move it forward.
Dark Orange Sunset
A rhythmic pattern from the previous number starts this in a killer stripped down jazzy pattern. Spacey textures begin to emerge to keep it company and this slow jazzy groove feels a bit like both Pink Floyd and Radiohead. They turn this very heavy later, it feeling at times like a super heavy, super proggy take on early Bowie. They turn it toward Italian café music later. This is a unique arrangement.
High Orbit
Keys left over from the last cut start this in odd ambient textures. As this textural weirdness carries the cut forward only bits of processed vocals appear.
A Song About Birds
This has a cool spacey prog ballad like texture, growing ever so slowly and feeling somewhat dark and just a little tweaked, but still rather accessible. Once again the prog era Radiohead can be heard on this one. It explodes into a killer expansive excursion with awesome musical textures. At times this feels like hat one might expect from a proggy Pearl Jam. It moves into a more sparse arrangement that's mostly just drums and voice. They build it back ever so slowly from there, but only partly, then drop to just keys that get very pretty and lush. Once again this links directly into the next track.
The Seven Rays
A retro psychedelic sound merges with early David Bowie like elements and prog ballad sounds to weave a pretty and powerful ballad like number. Layers of sound create an intriguing mood in the early sections, then they ramp the song up to carry forward. It drops back to the mellower to continue on. Then it goes down further to textural to merge with the next number.
How I Know You To Lie
This one starts with the textural modes from the last one, gradually moving forward in a mellow spacey ballad approach. This is a dark, quirky alternative rock based balladic cut. It has a very effective melancholy texture. This turns very strange as the arrangement gets more full. Once again odd atmosphere takes this to pull it into the next one.
When Everything Was Dead
Coming in as another exercise in strange effects dominate ambient music, elements of melody appear, but quickly vanish in this unusual piece. This is really nothing more than a textural sound effects track.
Thought You Should Know
This one comes straight out of the last piece of weirdness, then slowly builds up in odd, but pretty tones until it bursts out into a satisfying, if somewhat dark rock cut. This one has an odd otherworldly surreal texture to it due to the varied layers of sounds at times. This is a very effective number and another that calls to mind modern Radiohead. This moves up to the harder, more energized later, but they pull it back down after a short time, but only in degrees. The changes come in more minor overtones. This one is an awesome track and one of the highlights of this CD.
Minutes, Dollars, Days
Strange percussion and atmosphere start this and moves slowly upward. This is a little odd, very atmospheric, and only OK. It changes to a techno-sounding groove later, but this is still a bit too unusual for my tastes. This is very percussive and eventually drops just to ambience to carry into the next one.
Sad Syrup
Effects and percussion from the last one starts this and carries forward making this more weirdness a bit like some of the stranger King Crimson. The builds a little bit, but very slowly, and it another that doesn't work very well because it really doesn't go anywhere.
Down Again
More ambient textures this time coupled with a somber ballad like structure builds this ever so slowly. It eventually jumps into another fairly strong number that feels both like Pink Floyd and Radiohead. This is reasonably cool, but after the last couple it really need to work better to pull the disc up.

 

 
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