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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tuner

Muut: Live in Estonia 2007

Review by Gary Hill

This live recording of Pat Mostellotto's grouping Tuner is quite intriguing. One might suspect that the music would sound like Gunn’s more famous band King Crimson – and one would be right to a certain degree. This music tends towards more atmospheric, though. And instrumental, though it is, it never really drags or gets monolithic. It’s a cool disc and shows just how talented these guys are to pull this sound off this well in the live arena.

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
Bells of Tartu
Tuned percussion and ambient textures start things off here. It rises up gradually from there. Some hints of guitar and bass are heard here and there, but this is far more in the textural territory and serves more as an introduction to the mayhem to ensue.
Tied into a Phrase
Seeming to come out of the previous one, this is still slow, but it’s a lot more cacophonous. There are hints of Pink Floyd in the mix, but you can also hear the band that Mostellotto is perhaps most famous for – King Crimson, too. I don’t know that you’d really call this a “song” structure as it’s a lot more freeform than that, but the dark and mysterious elements do have some sort of pattern or cohesiveness to them. It does move out into a twisted melody later and we get some serious grooving bass type sounds, too. At over thirteen minutes in length, this is the longest cut on show here. As that might suggest this covers a lot of musical territory, moving here and there.  In many ways it comes closer to King Crimson music than a lot of the stuff here, and it wouldn’t be a huge stretch of the imagination to picture this done by that band.
Slow Cabaret
More symphonic and rather pretty, this is energetic if still fairly mellow. It’s far more “song oriented” than the two openers.
On Bass
With sound effects and other weirdness this has a female voice announcing several people “on bass” including her husband and Robert Fripp. Each time an announcement is made the volume and power ramp up. 
Rocky Looks Like a Flower
This is even more ambient, but in many ways the general map has not been cast aside. It never gets boring or repetitive, but there’s not a huge chunk of “song-like” element here. 
Müüt
Here they give us a cut with a lot more percussion in the midst. While there is a lot of King Crimson built into this machine there is also a definite Native American element, too. I can also make out space rock and serious psychedelia. This pounds out in a great manner and is a highlight of the disc. At over eleven minutes in length this is another of the longest cuts on show and it works through a number of variants and alterations in the course of its journey. 
Viljandi Presidential Suite
This is shorter. It’s also the strangest and most chaotic cut on show here. I’m not crazy about this one to be honest. Then again, I’m not a big fan or RIO and this feels a lot like Rock In Opposition to me. 
Imur
Another of the massive musical moments of the CD, this one is number two in terms of length. Of course, part of the end of this is silence. It starts quite sedately with a rather sparse arrangement and grows organically. It tends towards some of the prettiest moments on show here. Pretty female vocals are added to the mix later and this is really the most song like structure on the disc. It’s quite an intriguing and beautiful piece of music and one of the highlights of the whole set.
Ühesõrmelise Leierkastimehe Seiklused and the Organ Grinder's Addiction
This is short, but also a much more retro styled prog rock jam that’s quite cool.
 
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