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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

KTU

Quiver

Review by Gary Hill

KTU is Trey Gunn, Kimmo Pohjonen and Pat Mastelotto. One might recognize the first and last names there as King Crimson alumni – and one would be right. The final member brings his voice and accordion to the table, lending a different twist on some rather Crimson-like proceedings. The music here is mostly instrumental and even when there are vocals it’s all non-lyrical – more as another instrument. It’s all quite good and sometimes great. This is a cool disc and I like it a lot.

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
Fragile Sun
This starts off a bit like something you might hear at some European café, but shifts towards more ambient textural electronic music as it grows. There is a definite random quality to it, yet it has musical themes that remain present throughout.
Kataklasm
They bring this in with a hard-edged crunch and as it builds more classic prog sounds are introduced. There’s a definite rubbery groove to this and some killer musical elements and stylings. This is hard rocking yet also very “progressive rock” oriented. It’s a killer instrumental number. They drop it back to a great rhythmic, mellower motif later that’s very much in keeping with modern King Crimson but bring it back out to the main themes from there.
Nano
It feels like this piece combines the music stylings from the previous two numbers. It’s a high energy and somewhat odd cut that still works very well. Some non-lyrical vocals make an appearance and they drop it to a bell sounding segment later.
Quiver
Some cool keyboard like sounds start this, but they quickly bring in some rather reggae like textures. This holds it for a time and then it shifts to a more electronica meets classical music vein. When the Celtic sounds return we also get some metallic screaming from the guitar. Some more traditional prog bits appear later and are built on as the build up to the outro. 
Purga
Chiming church bells lead us off here. We are taken into some extremely atmospheric, textural motifs from there. Then it builds up gradually into some killer music with wonderful moods.  When they take it out to a more rocking arrangement there are moments that make me think of ELP.  As they continue to reinvent this it gets some more non-lyrical vocals and eventually turns into a pounding jam that calls to mind Deep Purple (while still retaining some of its earlier sounds). 
Womb
This is a far mellower piece more like the opener. 
Wasabi Fields
With more of a groove to it, this starts with that café sound. It alternates between this sound and a more standard mellow modern King Crimson element. This is a killer piece that continues to build upward in some awesome ways. I’d have to peg this as my favorite cut on show here. 
Jacaranda
Take a standard, rubbery sort of King Crimson rhythmic structure and add the world music cafe sounds to it and you've got a very good idea of what this track is like. There are even a few Yesish moments here, though.  This is definitely a close runner up to the last one. It’s got some incredible music. 
Aorta
One of the more energized numbers on the disc this is a real stomper. It’s not that different from the rest of the album in terms of content, but in some ways feels similar to Niacin. There are some vocals here – singing some kind of nonsense and deep in the mix. There’s also some killer guitar work.
Miasmaa
Here’s another hard rocker. The first portion of this is not quite on the same plane as the previous two, though. Once they twist this out into a King Crimson like jam, though, this really takes off. From there they work through a number of changes and even include some film soundtrack like music. There’s a false ending and then an incendiary reprise of the previous section that ends it.
Snow Reader
They close this with a track that almost feels like a bookend to the opener. It’s good, but a bit of a let down after the last few.
 
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