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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Samwell Rowan

The Closing Procedure

Review by Gary Hill

If you like ambient space music you’ll probably like this. There isn’t a weak track here. The problem is, much of it is far too much like the rest. The monolithic nature really grates on you at times. Also, the pacing is bad because the slowest, most mellow track closes the disc. These two factors make this a good disc that could have been great with a little more variety and better planning in terms of the album flowing as a whole.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Intro Guard
In many ways this is quite ambient, yet there is definitely energy and almost a groove to it. I can hear fusion, King Crimson and Pink Floyd all in its midst. There’s a rubbery funk that calls to mind Tony Levin and this is just plain cool.
North Granite Stairs
There is a darker feeling to this in many ways. There’s also a bit of dissonance added to the mix. We get less of a groove on this, but overall it’s not all that different from the opener. Still, there’s enough variety to keep them from seeming the same.
You Got Stepped On
The mold has not been broken here, yet somehow this feels lighter and more playful in a lot of ways. It’s got a bit of a world music texture to it, too.
FM4
The keyboard sound that starts this off has a more classic prog feeling to it. As the track moves out from there it resembles Pink Floyd quite a bit. There is also a definite fusion element on this. 
Oxabylyss
This is the coolest thing thus far. It’s got a driving repeating rhythmic structure, but also has some of the most spacey and rather odd music. I can hear some Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and Djam Karet here, but this is more pure electronic music than that, too. We definitely needed something different to keep it from getting stale – and this does the job nicely. 
Area 35
Here we have a track that’s a bit too much like the earlier ones to really distinguish itself. The formula is beginning to wear a bit thin. 
Tense Heaven
A bit more bass driven and weird, this manages to stand above the crowd a bit. 
Checking
I really like the cool groove oriented textures on this one. Again I’m reminded a bit of Tony Levin and King Crimson, but there is also Djam Karet and pure fusion in the mix. 
In The Fountain Court
Here we have a moodier cut that moves rather slowly. It’s definitely atmospheric and just a little creepy. 
The White Glove Tour
A playful electronica sound permeates this. It’s a bit like Gary Numan and Kraftwerk with Brian Eno thrown in.
By The Money Tree
This is the first track that really qualifies as “rock.” It’s quite a powerhouse and reflects both a harder rocking sound and more of the elements that make up the rest of the disc.
Long Thursday
Starting mellower this shifts into more territory that’s a bit too much like the rest of the disc. This gets noisy and rather abrasive at times, but the whole formula is starting to wear very thin by this point.
The Closing Procedure
Without question this is the slowest in terms of movement and growth of anything on show here. It’s also the most ambient and strangest. Add in the fact that this is the longest cut on the disc and it’s obvious that Rowan chose to go out with a whisper – or perhaps a snore. Personally I think this track would have served the disc far better in the opening position. 
 
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