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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Jennifer Cutting

Ocean: Songs for the Night Sea Journey

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve seen this album called a folk disc. I don’t see it. Sure there’s some folk here, but I could more easily picture this under new age than folk. It’s got a lot of Celtic texture to it and the prog rock that’s in this is on the mellow side. It’s a great atmospheric sort of disc that rocks out when it needs to it. It has a nice balance between instrumental tracks and those with vocals.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Call of the Siren
Non-lyrical vocals, harp and other elements create the introduction on this piece. As it works out from there to the song proper, it feels in a lot of ways like something from Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow album. The vocals, though, are perhaps closer to something like Enya. This is mellow and lush and quite pretty.
Out on the Ocean / Rolling Waves
The same type of sound effects bring this one in. As the music enters, though, it’s more of a Celtic folk dittie. As other instruments join this becomes quite a rocker, very much in a Tempest sort of mode. It remains purely instrumental.
The Gladdest Breeze
Another with a traditional Celtic texture, this is more acoustic and folky and reminds me quite a bit of Renaissance on the early sections. As other instrumentation joins I can hear Tempest again. When it shifts to less Celtic territory it reminds me a bit of Kansas. The track alternates between these varying sections as it continues and there’s a smoking hot hard rock jam later.
My Grief on the Sea
This is pretty and quite organic. It’s somewhere along the lines of new age music. Again I can hear Enya on this, but I can also make out Jon Anderson.
Dissolving / King Neptune
Folky and yet rocking, this is an intriguing multipart piece of music. There are definite Celtic aspects to this and a lot of varying musical concepts. There’s a killer organ solo later that heralds a new more powerful instrumental journey. The keyboard solo near the end really reminds me of Rick Wakeman.
The Sands of Time
I suppose folk or world music would be the best description for this. Yet there is still some definite progressive rock in the mix. The vocal performance is the real key to this one, though. 
Sleep (On the Deep)
This little instrumental reminds me a bit of Jethro Tull, but that’s probably due to the flute more than anything else. 
Song for the Night Sea Journey
The general musical concepts aren’t changed all that much here. This is a prog oriented and yet quite folky piece of music with definite Celtic leanings. It has mellower moments and more rocking ones, but the whole thing works quite well.
Forgiveness
I definitely can hear some Renaissance on this cut. It’s still quite folky, but there is enough progressive rock influence here for me to still consider it such.
Neptune Reel / Woman of the House
Very much along the lines of something Tempest would do, I’d call this an instrumental, but there are vocals. I just don’t consider it to be a “song” rather than instrumental because the vocals are non-lyrical ones.
If You Are Near
Piano and vocals make up this track. I guess I’d call this one folk rather than progressive rock. It’s good, but not really my kind of thing.
The Siren's Farewell
Here we have just a short little fanfare type piece. It’s less than a minute long, but serves as a nice closer to the set.
 
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