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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Osiris the Rebirth

Lost

Review by Gary Hill

This disc includes a guest appearance by Hawkwind alum Bridget Wishart. That, in itself draws comparisons to Hawkwind. In many ways this music is cut from the same kind of space rock cloth. There are sections of the disc that really resemble that band. However, it’s more of a starting point for the music here, and they take it in a lot of different directions at times coming closer to mainstream progressive rock and at other times leaning on fusion. Honestly, the music here is so strong, this could almost make my list of best albums for the year. The problem is, some of the female vocals (but not Wishart’s) really turn me away. It’s almost a nails on chalk board reaction. Repeated listenings make it work better, but I just can’t get past that reaction. The music here, though, is strong enough to keep me coming back despite a slight aversion to some of the singing.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Turn Left

Atmospheric sounds serve as the background for a computer simulated voice – think Stephen Hawking – setting the basis for the science fiction story about to unfold. Then the sounds shift a bit and we get some sound effects and other elements seeming to pull us into the scene. There is a voice that’s basically a GPS on a space craft. The space sounds build and become a bit noisier before ending. Then the synthesized voice returns to take it out.

Planetscape
Atmospheric space brings this in. It rises very gradually with weird space sounds serving as the backdrop for various instrumentation. Between the two minute and two and a half minute mark it fires out into some hard rocking space music. This is sort of like Hawkwind, but there’s also some more mainstream progressive rock and some psychedelia built into it. The cuts shifts out at times into some far more pure progressive rock movements, yet space rock still fires into the mix. There are definitely a lot of changes and alterations built into this arrangement. Around the five minute mark it drops way down and Bridget Wishart is heard with some wispy, nearly whispered vocals. As the vocals rise., so does the music, feeling a bit more like something from Nektar or Yes than Hawkwind. They build it up very slowly, but the sounds are much more traditional progressive rock than space rock. Around the eight minute mark it powers up into some killer space jams, though, that are a bit like both Hawkwind and Oresund Space Collective. It takes on some Eastern tones as it intensifies. There is some smoking hot jamming here. It includes a cool staccato section with vocals that are processed in a killer echoey fashion. It rises up from there in more inspired space rock that’s awesome. Then it resolves to a nice melodic jam. That drops to atmosphere and a ticking clock segues into the next song. This is a tasty epic that, at over thirteen minutes in length, is the most massive number on show here.
Look to the Future
Coming in with more space music, this powers out to a rather garage take on psychedelia and space. There’s a spoken female vocal line. I really like the bass line on this a lot. They take it through a few changes and alterations before ending it.
Kneel At My Feet
There’s really not a lot of space rock on this. Instead it’s more of a slow moving rock arrangement with some fusion built into it. This is pretty and powerful. It builds up into something lusher, but it’s probably closer to Spock’s Beard than Hawkwind – just for the sake of establishing the general musical territory covered. Around the two and a half minute mark this works out into something that’s closer to prog era Rush. We get a smoking hot fusion like jam based on that backdrop. Around the four minute mark it drops way down to mellow territory to continue. It builds back up as this road progresses.
Starseed
Echoey atmospheric sounds serve as the backdrop for a spoken section. This is theatric and very science fiction oriented. It remains textural but works through some alterations. After the two and a half minute mark a more “song-like” element emerges and builds gradually. This is another that does a great job of combining a real space rock sound with something closer to mainstream progressive rock. A tasty guitar solo emerges a minute or so later. Mellower sounds return and segue it into the next number.
Brave New Earth
At almost a nine-minutes in length, this is another that qualifies as epic. It starts with the mellow elements that ended the previous track and builds gradually for the first half minute. Then a driving bass line comes in and they launch out into an energized progressive rock jam from there. A killer retro keyboard sound is added around the minute and a half mark. Then a guitar solo works it in some new directions. A little before the three minute mark it turns to an organic sounding balladic instrumental movement. They take it to an almost folk rock kind of jam for the vocals. Unfortunately, this is one of the places on the album where I’m a bit off-put by the vocals. After that vocal section, though, they power it out into a killer fusion meets space rock jam that gets very intense. The non-lyrical vocals over the top fare better and there’s some killer bass work to be heard. As those vocals get more inspired, though, they become a bit more like the B-52s and don’t work as well.
Not Found
This is a short special effects based piece that shows off a problem with the computer programming for the spaceship’s flight. The spoken lyrics are represented on the cover of the album.
Transdimension Flight
Over ten and a half minutes in length, this starts on acoustic guitar and keyboards join after a time. The vocals join and work a bit better than they did on “Brave New World.” This builds out in a slow manner from there. Around the three minute mark a new guitar based melody takes the piece in a fusion meets space rock way. They work through gradually intensifying that element for a time. As the bass wanders behind later it’s almost like a cross between Hawkwind and Nektar, but the female vocals take it into almost Gong-like territory. A stronger rhythmic structure brings with it more Hawkwind-leaning concepts. Then a frantic jam later that’s covered in lots of keyboards takes it towards territory a bit like Hawkwind meets Emerson Lake and Palmer. That works out to a mellow movement and then drops out almost to a false ending. Earlier musical themes return from there in a slow moving balladic fashion and the vocals come back, too. The next instrumental movement is built upon an intensified version of this musical arrangement. Vocals come back in as instruments are still swimming across the top of the piece. That motif, minus the vocals, takes the track out through a fade down approach.  
The Mirror of Her Dreams
At over twenty four minutes in length, this dynamic epic is the longest piece on the disc. Percussion leads out here and then other instruments join as the vocals take us in an almost Renaissance like direction. While I hear hints of Annie Haslam’s vocals here, this is another where I’d like different vocals. There’s a real organic jazz-like jam later that’s quite tasty. They take it to a flamenco section further down the road. As it works back out from there we get more progressive rock meets space rock. There’s some killer keyboard work at times, then a section with a smoking hot bass line. Violin orbits overhead after a while. Around the six minute mark it drops way down to atmospheric elements. A lullaby type vocal line is heard in the distance as the ominous space continues. Pretty space music meets Traffic continues the number from there. They work this segment out in an organic way and it gets quite hard rocking as it continues. The vocals return after this instrumental section and it’s quite Hawkwind-like in a lot of ways. It gets very intense and energized as it builds. They continue to expand and alter it from there and take into a real melodic space meets jazz jam later. A little before the fifteen minute mark it works out to a percussively driven tribal segment that’s very spacey and very Hawkwind-like in the early hypnotic chant style of that band. Piano takes control from there and moves it into a keyboard dominated movement that changes the piece dramatically. Then the vocals return over this mellower backdrop with a rather classical element added. A little before the eighteen minute mark another space jam takes hold. It gets quite powerful as different instruments take the lead, soaring overhead. Some Arabic elements come in at times. The bass takes hold and really directs it around the nineteen minute mark. Then they build out to a more full band arrangement from there with a definite Hawkwind-like sound. After the twenty three minute mark they move into a folk rock meets progressive rock sound to continue. That section, with more space added on, takes it to the mellow outro that ends the number and the album.
 
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