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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Base 3

Live from Earth

Review by Gary Hill

Those who enjoy instrumental prog that borders fusion and space rock will enjoy this release. It’s basically one long, ever evolving jam, although it is broken up into separate cuts. There aren’t not huge variants from track to track here, but it never feels tired or redundant either. It’s a cool disc that really works quite well for those who enjoy this type of sound. I’d have to say that I’m a hard sell when it comes to this kind of music, and while this isn’t something I’ll listen to a lot, it does work quite well.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Ninth Ward

The first minute or so of this is quiet and mellow. Then some noisy guitar, a bit like modern King Crimson rises up and threatens to pull it in a new, crunchier direction. Instead it sort of drops away and we get more of the same, but with a bit more volume and energy. Then that guitar seems ready to come back in full force, but instead it brings with it hints of a surf meets freeform jazz sound. This is like Djam Karet meets RIO in some ways. It gains a bit more melody as it continues, but never really becomes “song” oriented.

God Particle
This has a lot of the types of sounds heard on the first piece, but it’s also got a serious rocking groove to it. This is definitely Crimson-like in some ways, but also a lot like Djam Karet. It gets kind of noisy and dissonant at times. There is some decidedly Fripp like sound later in the piece and this really flows well. It’s a lot more accessible than the opener was. It does turn noisy, weird and more random later, though.
The Collider
Exploratory and weird, this seems to merge an almost Boxcar Willie kind of element with jazzy space rock. There’s a lot of open space here and it works out into more purely space territory as it continues. Yet there’s still plenty of fusion. It’s just that train sound kind of thing that fades away as this grows. This works out after a while into a RIO meets jam band meets Hendrix kind of thing. It’s quite cool and really works well. It definitely has a Red era King Crimson kind of vibe, too. It gets noisier and very weird later.
Killshot
This comes out of the previous tune and has a more driving rhythmic structure. It continues a lot of the musical concepts but has a real jamming guitar (and I mean that in the idea of freeform jamming) element to it. After a while this morphs into a slow moving dirge of a tune that’s still got a lot of that weird guitar element over the top. After a while something like Hendix’ “Third Stone from the Sun” enters, although it’s still got that freeform jazz element to it. It eventually wanders even further into space, though.
Aftershock
A cool jazzy jam is constructed here, seeming to come out of the previous tune. But, everything here plays out of the cut before it. Guitar slides over the top in noisy patterns that seems like clouds. Fripp is a reference, but so is Hendrix.
The Premonition
Spacey, echoey sounds predominate here. This is intriguing, but all the cuts are seeming a lot alike by this point. It’s not in a way that makes it hard to listen to, but in a way that makes it hard to describe. This is really taken better as one long cut than a bunch of separate ones. There is some cool soloing on this later as it builds. It works out into some serious space as it continues and really resembles Hawkwind in a lot of ways.
5_Warp
This comes in with more of that Hawkwind space type sound. It’s merged with more of a fusion element, but in many ways this feels like it could have come from early Hawkwind. It works out towards more pure fusion as it carries on, but still with a spacey vibe. The guitar soloing on this one again calls to mind Robert Fripp, if Fripp were in a jam band. Some of the bass work later also conjures up Crimson, though – Red era.
The Unanswered Call
More free-form jamming, this cut doesn’t really break any new ground, but rather continues the stylings of the rest of the disc.
 
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