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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Ukab Maerd

The Waiting Room

Review by Gary Hill

This project is a spin off from Djam Karet. It shares the explorative nature of that band and the lack of concern for mainstream directions. Beyond that, there are few similarities. The music here is more on the ambient textural end of things and is all keyboard based. It manages to vary quite a bit from track to track and within each track. Considering the nature of the music that’s impressive. This isn’t exactly the kind of music you’d put on to get your groove on, but it’s quite cool.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Cave

At over twenty three and a half minutes in length, this is the epic of the disc by a wide margin. Electronic chirping and other sorts of echoey elements lead off here and begin building upwards. It works out to something akin to white noise, but with more of a pattern and a power to it. It works through in textural ways, but never gets stagnant. This grows and changes ever so gradually. Around the nine and a half minute mark a keyboard type of melody emerges over the top and threatens to take it into new directions. It never really emerges as that type of change, though. Instead it drifts away and other ambient elements take further control.

White Light, No Heat
This track is also based on ambience. Somehow it seems like a weird field of electronic birds and wind at the onset. Then a synthesized orchestra seems to be tuning up to start playing. Other ambient elements take over and later a pounding, sort of like some weird factory and other noisier sounds join. It turns out to a more bouncing sort of harpsichord turned synthesizer melody later. It feels rather rubbery. It almost gets into a jazzy groove later, but stays fairly mellow. Although, this does rise beyond the level of ambience and into something closer to new age meets jazz and Pink Floyd. As more melody emerges there is definitely a closer tie to Pink Floyd, but also references to Tangerine Dream would not be out of place.
God’s Elastic Acre
Dark and dramatic sounds, much like the soundtrack to a science fiction film lead this off and build upward. There is a warped gong kind of texture that calls to mind space being bent by a black hole. This goes away, though, and more of a white noise on steroids type of sound replaces it. As it continues this has a definite creepy science fiction film feeling, too and other elements are added into the mix. It shifts out to static-based noise, like a radio out of synch for a time. Then a new, more dramatic and rather melodic movement enters. It builds gradually and while less soundtrack like, still feels rather ominous. Noisier bits of melody emerge later with an echoey sort of effect. Hints of Eastern music come across. Later those Eastern elements become stronger. The cut moves through several changes and variants from there. There is a recurring melody line that can best be described as “snake charmer” music. An overpowering droning sound emerges later. It drops back down towards white noise and then a keyboard flourish that calls to mind Hawkwind a bit enters.
Sati & The Trainman
Echoey and quite tasty, this almost feels like rock at times. It’s very much and come and go sort of sound and is twisted and tweaked, but it’s also quite intriguing. It moves to a bouncing, droning kind of sound that’s more like a Tangerine Dream. It builds quite gradually. It is pretty and tasty, if understated.
 
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