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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Patrick Moraz

Change of Space

Review by Gary Hill

There are many who remember Patrick Moraz for his work in Yes. Still others might think of him from his time in the Moody Blues. Well, he’s had quite a solo career outside of both of those bands. This is his latest solo work and it might be his most diverse and consistent. The music here runs from killer R & B like grooves, to space rock, prog rock, pure jazz and a lot more. Everything here is quite strong, though. Whether you’ve followed Moraz over the years, or lost touch in the interim, this is a great way to reconnect.

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
Peace in Africa
There’s some killer hard rock on this. It screams out of the gate and we get an African rhythm and a funky bass line. The vocals are classic. This is just an exceptional piece of music. It’s got a killer instrumental segment that makes room for both keyboard and guitar solos.
Change of Space
This one begins with a keyboard fanfare that’s symphonic and more along the lines of what I expected on the disc. This holds the track for a while, but then they work out into a rather jazzy jam that’s in many ways similar to the previous number. It’s another killer rocker. Around the half way mark this shifts into a more melodic movement for the “change of space” section of the vocals. This is a lot more purely prog rock in nature. They pull it out into a great jazz excursion after this section works through and then we’re brought back into the song proper from there. Next up a rather dissonant instrumental movement with some funky bass. As Moraz continues on his extended soloing excursion it reminds me a lot of some of his work on Yes’ Relayer album. There’s a return to the “change of space” section before they close this one out.
Sonique Prinz (Movement 1)
While there’s a rhythmic structure the main focus on this movement is the keyboard soloing. Moraz creates a number of varying music patterns and moods.  Again I’m reminded at times of his work with Yes.
Sonique Prinz (Movement 2)
As it shifts into this movement a screaming guitar makes it obvious that this is a wholly different sound. While the rhythm section remains the same this is a scorching fusion motif. The thing is, what at first I thought was guitar seems like it might be for much of the track, but then it also resembles a distorted keyboard line at other times. Whatever instrument it is, though, this thing purely scorches. 
Sonique Prinz (Movement 3)
The final movement of this extensive instrumental merges the two halves into one cohesive sound. It’s a great way to bring this to a close and shares a lot of musical space with Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and the like. 
One Day in June
Percussion starts us off here and then they launch out into a killer jazz jam. They take us through a number of changes and variants as this is one of the more purely prog-like cuts here. It’s an instrumental and a highly tasty one at that. Listen carefully and you’ll hear a bit of a song you’ll probably recognize in the midst of this. This is one of the most dynamic cuts on show here – and one of the best.
Cum Spiritu
As this enters and gradually builds it really feels a lot like Yes. It takes on a bit more of a Latin texture later and becomes a bit more dramatic. This instrumental is another that’s quite a diverse ride. There are bits that are jazz-like and other sections that are classical in nature. It’s all very tasty. 
Power of Emotion
This is jazzy and has a sort of R & B groove to it. It’s the first track in a while to feature vocals and it kind of reminds me a bit of Toto. It gets a lot more purely jazz-like later.
Stellar Rivers and Streams of Lucid Dreams (movement one to three)
The sounds of nature start this and tribal percussion rises up from there. Then they move out into a great fusion groove and begin to build some killer musical motifs out of that. This gets into some killer classic jazz territory as they carry on. It’s a great instrumental and another highlight of the disc that serves as an ever shifts musical landscape. 
Stellar Rivers and Streams of Lucid Dreams (movement four)
This movement really changes the image. There’s an ethereal other worldly element to this. It’s also got a funky bass line and this is quite a cool piece of music. I would think that this is more about the lucid dreams of the title than the other movements. This is quite a beautiful instrumental piece. It has some magical passages. We do get some non-lyrical female vocals later in this track.  
Alien Spaces
This is textural and atmospheric and pretty much purely keyboards – or at least it seems to be. This is pretty and suitably spacey. I’m just not certain something this understated was the best choice to close the disc – especially after such an energetic opener.
 
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