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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Muskox

Invocations / Transformations

Review by Gary Hill

Combining fusion with modern progressive rock and a lot of other sounds, “Invocations / Transformations” is an intriguing disc. It will certainly appeal to fans of instrumental progressive rock and fusion. In my opinion there’s only one track that fails, and only about half of that song falls into that category. This is music that’s hard to classify and hard to pin down, but reasonably easy to hear.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Lutonian Knights I

Keyboards lead this out. Then a driving rhythm section takes it in new direction. Some exploratory guitar emerges as this feels like space rock goes fusion and prog with some surf music thrown in for good measure. This is a short introduction. It has hints of modern King Crimson at times.

Buff Stop
Horns bring this in with a jazz kind of styling, but then other elements create different sounds. It calls to mind King Crimson quite a bit at times. It works through some crazy changes and turns out into some awesome fusion oriented music later.
Zephyria Tholus
Intricate and intriguing, this thing has a lot of fusion built into it. It turns pretty hard rocking, in a movement that’s a bit like banjo playing over a metallic rhythm section. There’s a mellower section later in the track that’s more keyboard dominated. It has some bits that feel almost Yes-like, but there are also bits of guitar that feel closer to modern King Crimson.
Generic Organs
There’s a jabbing little melody in the background here that really feels rather annoying. It takes away from the track in the ears of this reviewer. Some of the musical elements that are laid over the top are cool, but it’s hard to shake the nails on the chalk board of that background element. For that reason, if there’s a cut that fails, it’s this one. Later in the piece, though, that element drops away and the keyboards really begin to drive this. It’s got a psychedelia meets progressive rock texture and it goes a long way towards redeeming this. A dramatic progressive rock motif takes it from there in a satisfying arrangement.
Fever Dream I
Intricate and melodic, at times this makes me think of Genesis. I also hear elements of jazz and some Steve Howe in the mix. They take us through a series of changes and alterations as this continues. There are definitely points where it feels a lot like Yes.
Fever Dream II
Coming out of the previous cut, this shifts to a mellower, more tentative sound. There’s almost an Asian sound to this at times. We get some cool wind instrumentation over the top before it ends.
Gelding
This rises up with melodic fusion meets progressive rock, like the rest of the disc, but turns toward harder rocking territory after a bit.
Muskox Jr.
A slow moving and mellow fusion element creates the sound here. When it powers up there are some extremely Fripp-like guitar lines to be heard. It fires out into some Yes-related territory later, too. It is really a great marriage of sounds. We’re really taken through an intriguing path of music.
Fever Dream III
Percussion leads out here and builds carrying the early portions of the piece in a solo. Bass enters after twenty seconds or so and begins building in a noisy fusion way. Then other instruments enter and this fires out into some seriously crazy fusion. It doesn’t really stay there, though, moving through a number of differing sounds in an arrangement that’s quite diverse and dynamic.
Lutonian Knights III
Pounding fusion like progressive rock opens this and they take it through several changes and alterations. There are some extremely cool, envelope filter sounding changes that ensue here and there.
 
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