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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Barry Cleveland

Hologramatron

Review by Gary Hill

I like this album a lot. It has a lot of modern progressive rock mixed with space rock and many other sounds built into the musical tapestry. There are both male and female vocals (depending on the track). I would definitely expect this disc to make it into my top ten albums of 2010 list. I know it’s still rather early in the year and I’ve already pegged some others, but this is that good. If you like adventurous, yet accessible, modern progressive rock, then you really need to check this out. It’s among the best.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Lake of Fire

Weird, but cool, keyboard sounds start this in a rather ambient motif. It launches out from there in a rather rubbery sort of jam that somehow makes me think of Liquid Tension Experiment. Cool female vocals come over in a rather jazz-like motif, but as the cut turns the corner to seriously metallic sounds we get a spoken/screamed diatribe that reminds me a bit of Otep. The cut alternates between these styles in fine fashion. There’s also a killer psychedelically tinged jam later in the number.

Money Speaks
There’s a killer funky vibe to this track. It’s less dynamic than the previous one, yet there’s also a bit of a King Crimson-like element. The vocals are along the lines of those on the opening track and there’s a killer exploratory jam mid-song.
You'll Just Have To See it To Believe

A mysterious motif that again reminds me a bit of King Crimson (the more ambient side of the Red era) opens this and grows gradually upward. As it continues, this instrumental reminds me a lot of something from Bruford Levin Upper Extremities. It’s more readily melodic and cohesive than the previous pieces. That doesn’t mean it’s staid, though. On the contrary, there are plenty of changes, alterations and variations built into it. It’s quite a tasty piece of music.

 

Stars of Sayulita
This starts with an intricate and rather pretty balladic motif and builds up from there. As this moves into a folk-like piece with progressive rock treatment the vocals enter. This time they are male vocals that make me think both of Bob Dylan and the Strawbs. The real prog elements on this portion come in the form of layers over the top of the main arrangement. The instrumental segment later is quite inspired and powerful and works through some great soaring modes. 
Warning
A noisy jam, this has a spoken (male) vocal and reminds me a lot of something from King Crimson’s Discipline album. It’s stripped down and rubbery, yet weird. It wanders near dissonance at times. 
What Have They Done to the Rain
The female vocals are back here, and this cut resembles a 1960’s pop rock piece, but with a modern proggy arrangement. There are some cool instrumental moments here (especially the bass line), but overall this is a pretty straightforward arrangement. 
Abandoned Mines
This instrumental has an appropriately mysterious feeling to it. The track has some world music sounds and a rubbery modern progressive rock arrangement overall. It works into some space rock territory later and is another exceptional effective cut. 
Suicide Train
There’s a mellow groove to this that has both old-school funk and space rock in its midst. The vocals are male ones here. It turns toward harder rocking territory later. 
Telstar
Here’s a cover of the old instrumental rock tune. They manage to keep a lot of the retro stylings in place while still updating it to a more modern progressive rock arrangement. I’ve always liked this piece, so it’s cool to hear this rendition.  
Dateless Oblivion & Divine Repose
This is an ambient instrumental that’s pretty cool. 
Abandoned Mines Remix
As the title will tell you, this track is a remix of a track that appeared earlier on the disc. This is more ambient and rather creepy. It reminds me at times of some of the music from the soundtrack to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
You'll Just Have To See it To Believe Alternate Mix
Another remix, this one is tasty and perhaps closer to the original than the last tune was. I like this a lot. It’s very much in a style that’s mellow space rock with some fusion woven into it.
Lake of Fire Remix

Here’s a remix of the album’s opener. This has a lot more of a Bruford Levin Upper Extremities and modern King Crimson feeling to it. It’s not hugely different than the original version, but it does seem different in terms of its overall affect.

 
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