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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

MoeTar

From These Small Seeds

Review by Gary Hill

The music on this disc is definitely progressive rock. It wanders between varying styles throughout, though. Sometimes it’s closer to the old school melodic prog, but other times it leans towards RIO, still other points call to mind Frank Zappa. Whatever you call it, though, this is not the kind of music that’s intended for the casual listener or pop music fan. It’s not extremely accessible. It is, however, very cool and should please the real progressive rock fans.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Dichotomy

They jump right in here with a classic progressive rock sound that’s a lot like Yes or other classic prog bands. It gives way to a bouncy kind of vibe that’s a little more modern pop, but there’s still plenty of old school prog in it. It turns towards some jazzy dissonance. This is bouncy and quirky and cool.

Infinitesimal Sky
This is incredibly cool. It combines a jazzy progressive rock with a modern hard rock sensibility. It shifts and turns and really has a lot of attitude built into it. It also features some great guitar soloing.
Butchers Of Baghdad
Creative and theatrical jazz meets prog stylings make up this song. It leans towards RIO music and is quite intriguing. It’s not the most easily accessible thing, but it’s very exciting and interesting. I love the way the music and vocals follow the same careening pattern. There’s some scorching guitar work here and this thing really gets crazed at times. There’s almost a punk vibe here and there.
Random Tandem
This is weird, but also cool. It’s kind of like a cross between Frank Zappa, Renaissance and Gong. It’s very creative, but far from accessible. All the instrumental work here is impeccable and this has a lot of twists and turns, but also a real sense of humor built into it. Some of the vocals are a bit hard to take, but this thing is just so crazed, anyway.
Ist Or An Ism
Careening this way and that, the extended introduction feels very much like fusion. Then it shifts to a definite Frank Zappa-like jam based on a tasty riff. It works to a more stripped down arrangement that’s again Zappa-oriented. This turns quite heavy at times and turns corners over and over. What a cool tune this is. In fact, as strange as this number is, it might be the best song on the whole set. The vocals take on the same scat with lyrics approach as we get at a lot of points on the album. There’s some serious RIO later in the piece.
Morning Person
An almost metal guitar sound is merged with jazz and other fusion elements to create the musical motif of this odd number. It’s strange, but also very powerful and intriguing. There’s some amazing bass work in this beast.
New World Chaos
While a lot of this is appropriately chaotic. there is also plenty of melodic music here. There is a strange (but intriguing) section where the vocals are weaving melodic and mellow lines as the band simply tear it up with a disjointed and angular seemingly freeform jam in the background. The cut resolves out to some mellow guitar to end.
Screed
Classical sounding piano opens this, but it shifts to a jam that’s almost metal from there. This is one of the coolest cuts on show, and also one of the most interesting. It’s got one of the few vocal melodies with hooks that are easy to catch.
Never Home
There’s a lot of melodic jazz on the progressive rock tune, “Never Home.” This has one of the most straight-line musical maps and features some great melodic guitar work. It turns towards space rock later and gets pretty noisy, but also tasty at the same time.
From These Small Seeds
Here’s another cut that’s got a lot of jazz and some scat-like vocals. It turns more rocking after a short time. It careens this way and that as it continues. This has some more accessible vocals later, but the music is really quite free form and frantic. This is a powerful, if rather odd, piece of music.
Friction
The same basic musical approach makes up the concept here. That said, there’s a great soaring melodic movement contrasted to the weird careening melodies and changes. This is one of the most accessible and powerful tracks on the whole set, making it a great choice to close the set in style.
 
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