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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Canvas Solaris

Irradiance

Review by Gary Hill

If you like progressive rock that’s instrumental and fusion oriented, this disc is probably for you. For my money, there isn’t enough variation in the early parts of the disc to keep it interesting enough. The closing track is a great variant and would have better served the set somewhere towards the middle. As it is, there’s a bit too much similarity from song to song. Even one or two songs with some vocals could have helped to break things up a bit. This is a cool set, though. It just isn’t built for intense listening. It’s better to have on in the background.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Adaptive Optics

This comes in feeling rather like old Rush. As it powers out that sound is merged with Pentwater in an off-kilter jam that’s part metal, part prog and all cool. As this instrumental continues we get some fusion and some King Crimson-like moments. It’s a dynamic and tasty cut that serves as a great introduction.

Conveyance Of Flux
A weird segment of textural elements starts this. It powers out from there into more fusion oriented hard edged rock. This is more King Crimson-like than the previous one. Yet it has plenty of other things on the table, too. I liked the first track, but I think this one is even more dramatic. They drop this back to a bass-driven section that’s pure fusion, but then come out into some of the most metallic music we’ve heard thus far. From there it turns more melodic and rises out into something more akin to Joe Satriani.
The Horizons Feast On Stars
Parts of this are more metallic. Yet, there is also a more melodic air to some of the music here. I make out a Rush-like vibe to some of this, but also a bit of an epic metal feel at other points. There is a cool mellow melodic segment mid track. 
Glacier
This powers out much like the rest but turns far more purely progressive rock. The keyboards lend an almost Dream Theater-like air to this and these guys take it through some more metallic territory and lots of changes before they are done. It gets quite RIO-like at times and there are sections that make me think of Djam Karet. 
Accelerated Testing Phase
This is a smoking hot fusion jam through most of its length. However, it drops down to a melodic, almost ambient movement that has some rather science fiction like sounds built in. 
Threads Of Dead Space
The modes that start this off are nearly pure fusion. From there they take us on a real adventure of rapid changes and all kinds of left turns. There’s a cool mellower section that’s rather psychedelic in texture and it rises up to some soaring music from there. 
Soliton (Emergence From Dispersion)
This comes in hard edged, but there’s almost a Latin feel to the rhythm section and this has a lot of real jazz built into it. It works out to more hard rocking territory, but this is really a cool piece of music. There’s a killer traditional prog jam later with a tasty organ solo. 
Vapor Chasm
This one’s almost metal. It’s got some serious dissonance built into it and I’d consider it sort of a metal Rock in Opposition. There’s a weird speed up and slow down process going on here. It’s definitely the noisiest, and hardest to latch onto, track on show here. It shifts out towards more melodic territory later, though, in a killer jam.
Null Proximity
This mellow cut is very Latin in nature. If there’s a track that’s tied to old school progressive rock, this is it. It’s a much needed piece of variety. It’s just too bad that it comes this late.
 
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