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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

ScienceNV

Pacific Circumstances

Review by Gary Hill

Science NV’s blend of instrumental progressive rock is unique and original. Still, you’ll hear things that seem familiar throughout. Frequently heard elements include things that sound like Emerson, Lake and Palmer and King Crimson. You might make out Hawkwind at times, too. The whole thing is both entertaining and intriguing. It’s a great follow up and one of the stronger albums of 2010. Considering the quality of music coming out this year, that says a lot.
Track by Track Review
Danse Macabre

Keyboard dominated and very cool, the first half of this reminds me a lot of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. There is a section mid-track that features a lot of sound effects and weirdness. Then the keyboard driven motif returns and is merged with the unsettling oddities as they carry on. There’s a cool section later that’s quite jazzy and features a piano solo prominently. We get a guitar solo based instrumental movement beyond that. This is a killer tune and a great way to start the album in style. It gets a little noisy before it ends.

H1NV7
Starting rather processional, this moves out into something that at first feels a little like King Crimson. It takes on a playful nature as it continues and then we get some more of those ELP-like keyboards. This piece is just a lot of fun and moves from one thing to another in rapid succession. They take it through a lot of different movements. At times it becomes very world music oriented. This is a killer cut.
Morning Jump
Another that’s rather exploratory and even a little playful, this is less seemingly randomized as the previous piece. It has a lot of killer atmospheres and musical textures within. There’s a cool little percussion solo segment on show, too. 
Conflicted

This starts off a lot more sedately. Little atmospheric sounds and affects are combined in an almost science fiction-like arrangement that conveys a sense of wonder. Around the two and a half minute mark (this cut is over ten minutes long) they take it out into some King Crimson-like territory. The cut grows from there, combining those elements with the earlier ones. It turns moody as it drops way down. It’s even a little creepy, yet some of that Crimsonian element still remains. It powers back out into some Red era styled Crimson-like music. They carry forward by building on that sound and arrangement. Then, around the eight and a half minute mark, there’s a false ending. Percussion brings it back up and it eventually works out to another hard edged Crimson-like movement. It becomes noisier and rather strange after a while.

Quadrapole
This one comes in sedate and dramatic with ambient elements playing over one another. While this one is fairly slow to change, that’s a nice break. The musical elements that come over the top to augment the arrangement are pretty and powerful and this feels a lot like Hawkwind at times.
Devil in Witches' Toes
This comes out of the previous track and feels quite a bit like Hawkwind as it powers up. It becomes more jazz-like after a time. Then we get more of that playful, yet rather classical meets ELP and King Crimson music. They take us through some killer twists and turns as they carry onward. At different points different instruments and segments drive this, but the one thing that’s constant is the drama. There’s a killer harder edged jam later in the track. The closing section on this piece is particularly powerful. 
Billy Burroughs Brain
This one is decidedly harder edged and there’s a real groove to some of it. It gets a bit noisy and chaotic as it carries on, though. There are some unusual little cross cut excursions here and there.
The Ouroborus Variation
There are no huge changes in terms of stylings, but after some atmospheric sounds at the beginning, it moves to some ELP-like stylings and then a rocking guitar enters to switch it around even more after a while. A little past the mid point (this track is over twelve minutes long) there is a false ending and then it rises up with a noisy, sounding motif. It grows from there. It works out to more melodic territory and there are some non-lyrical vocals later. It switches out to a mellow keyboard solo type section further down the road.
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