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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Zone Six

10 Years of Aural Psychedelic Journeys

Review by Gary Hill

As one might guess from the title this is a compilation. I’d never heard of this group before, but apparently they are a German space rock outfit. When you say “space rock,” you think Hawkwind – well, I do. Certainly a lot of this music sounds like Hawkwind, but there’s plenty of other stuff on display, too. For my money the first few tracks (with female vocals) are stronger than the rest of the album (all instrumentals). Maybe a better choice would have been to move those around to sort of spread out the instrumentals. Either way, other than one song here I think everything is awesome. I’ll be checking out more by these guys. If you are a fan of Hawkwind (or space rock in general – of course, then you are probably a Hawkwind fan) you should pick this up.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Something's Missing
Sparse elements start this in spacey ways. It begins to grow gradually until a louder Hawkwind like grind rises up to take control. Musically this definitely resembles Hawkwind, but perhaps a bit crunchier. The vocals come in and have a sort of Mazzy Star feeling to them. The track begins moving through some changes on the road. Around the four minute mark they drop it way back down, but shortly come back out into the harder edged sounds once more. Around the six minute mark it drops back again and a psychedelic guitar solo takes it. This solo wanders through some seriously cool territory. This definitely gets more purely prog rock oriented than Hawkwind. After the next set of vocals they take us into some seriously noisy space territory. It resolves out for more vocals and we get the title in those lyrics. It’s the first reference to the title and we are nearly at the end. They dissolve down to more atmospheric space – again very Hawk-like – to end.

Beautiful
With a sparse space music texture the first set of lyrics are “Jack and Jill.” A cool guitar element takes it after the first vocals and then the lyrics come back turning it towards a Kerouac road story. They work on these themes, lyrically and musically as they carry it forward. It turns noisy at times but definitely builds organically. This never really gets hard rocking, but rather stays fairly mellow – particularly in comparison to the previous piece. It has some jazz like tendencies at times, too. This is incredibly cool and tasty and serves as a nice contrast to the opener. They shift it out to an extremely savory groove later in the piece. They do build this up towards the kind of hard rocking territory the last number displayed, but it never really gets quite that far in the direction. Before it ends they drop it to more stripped down territory for some vocals and then noise rises to close it out.
Come Inside
Some Hawk-like space elements serve as the backdrop for a little poetry reading type of thing. Then it shifts to a stripped down, but more rock oriented jam as the singing enters. The vocal performance on this is amazing. The whole song really soars. It’s definitely a highlight of the CD. I’d probably describe this as “Jefferson Airplane goes Hawkwind.” This is moved through a number of changes. It gets heavier at times with a fuzz oriented wahing guitar. As is true with most space rock, nothing changes quickly here. Rather the alterations are organic and in degrees, but yet the music really does move from one place to another. This gets incredibly intense at times. This piece by itself would be worth the price of admission.
Knuf On Tog
A slowly rising, echoey pattern starts this off. It carries it for a time until it is eventually transformed to something more like a high energy Hawkwind grind. This instrumental works through a number of moods and textures, but never leaves Hawkterritory.

Hidden World
Weird sounds and textures start this and hold it for a while. Eventually a pounding grind enters and heralds a rise up to more “rocking” music. It is another instrumental that has the classic space rock tendency of going everywhere – but doing it gradually. It’s another great tune.
Grateful Life
Blend the blues and Grateful Dead with Hawkind styled space rock. Now you have the concept of this number. As is usual with this type of music, this instrumental is more about the ride than the destinations on the way. It winds its way through space and time and gets pretty intense at times.
Rockhead To Eden
In some ways this doesn’t vary much from the track that came before it. On the other hand it’s rawer and more punk rock like. It’s another instrumental.

Infernale Grande
I’m not so sure about closing it off with this. An extensive track in some ways it doesn’t differ much from the rest of the instrumentals on here. That said it really wanders far into noise territory here and there. There are segments I like, but much of it is too “out there” for me.  They pull it together nicely here and there, but wow – there is some definite noise fest stuff in here, too.

 
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