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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Pontus H.W. Gunve

Movements

Review by Gary Hill

Those who like melodic instrumental progressive rock will enjoy this. I hear a lot of Steve Howe in this, but also plenty of Jarre, Vai and Satriani, as well. It’s a good disc that manages to entertain without vocals. That’s often quite a difficult feat.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Welcome
This twenty-three second long cut is just sound effects as an introduction.
Blue
Pretty music rises up from the humble beginnings and this takes on a definite keyboard dominated texture. Then scorching guitar brings in sounds that are closer to something from Steve Vai or Joe Satriani. As this carries on there are moments that make me think of Steve Howe. Keyboards re-take the lead further down the road. Then the two elements meet in a fusion-like arrangement that’s quite cool.
Bengal
Here we get a bit more of a pure rock motif, but there’s still plenty of other elements keeping it interesting. This is a lot more guitar oriented in nature. The comparisons to Satriani and Vai are again warranted.
Don't Do It!
This is a trip. It’s got a space rock meets jazz texture and there’s a real mysterious sound to this. Sound effects and percussion wander about the arrangement. It takes us through a number of changes and alterations, but never loses sight of its roots. 
Funkified
Coming in super heavy, this is (in case you can’t tell by the title) quite funky. It’s another strong rocker that might make you think of Satriani and Vai. 
Float
This is built on a rich musical tapestry that combines a mellower segment with almost Yes-like sounds. The only thing I’d peg as a negative is the canned rhythm section we hear at times. There’s some more Satriani-like guitar here and there.
Race Across India
Starting a bit sedate and quite melodic this grows up into a very powerful piece of music. As one might guess there is plenty of Indian musical elements here. 
Movement I
Here’s another cut that feels a lot like something from Steve Howe. This is another strong track and actually one of my favorites on show. It’s quite a diverse and dynamic piece and just plain awesome. 
Down Stream
This comes in like a bluesy rocker, but shifts out to more Steve Howe-like territory as it carries on. There’s a cool retro (Iron Butterfly-like) keyboard sound late in the piece over the top of a smoking guitar solo. 
Days Ahead
Dramatic and at times bouncy, this feels a little like Pink Floyd in places. I love the powerful climbing section later and the mellower resolution is quite cool, too. 
Intermission II
Don’t get confused, you did not miss “Intermission I.” Gunve just skipped straight to the second one. Van Halen meets Yes on this fast paced cut. At just over a minute in length, this is also a short one. 
Time Runner
In some ways this doesn’t vary a lot from some of the other music here. At least that applies to the opening segment. It suddenly gets slowed down, though and then moves into purely percussive territory to carry on. From there it moves into Hawkwind-like space. This is taken into some Eastern Indian styled zones with the Hawkwind elements still driving it. It is worked through a few variants and themes before ending. 
Drift
This starts off with melodic progressive rock and that carries it for a while, but it shifts into dissonant territory for a while, too. 
Movement II
He saved the best for last. This starts fairly modestly but grows into the most powerful piece of music on show here. All the elements from the rest of the album are present and much of this reminds me quite a bit of Pink Floyd. There’s a weird spacey section in the middle of the track. From there we are taken to a twisted carnival and then we get some off key xylophone and then percussion takes over. Sound effects take it up to a very short trip to an asylum.
 
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