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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dymaxion Vehicle

Redesign: Fun in Strobes

Review by Gary Hill

As one might guess from the title, this album is made up of remixes. I’m not really positive it fits as progressive rock, but it comes close. There’s a lot of electronica here along with dance music and a whole lot more. Some cuts work better than others, but overall it’s certainly quite good.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Something Wicked (Exoteric Mix)

With distorted vocals, this has a real electronica feeling early on in the piece. It gets a more developed and intriguing arrangement as it builds out from there. In a lot of ways this reminds me of Art of Noise, but with a darker side to it. I really like the wind-down at the end.

Dreams in Argyle (Blood On My Hands Mix)
There’s a cool rhythmic texture here. This is like dance meets electronic and world music. The female vocals here are stronger than the distorted ones on the previous number. This is really quite proggy, but with plenty of dance music in the mix, too. The echoey nature as it continues is tastefully weird.
Firefly (Vapor Trail Mix)
Electronic music mixed with space rock and other elements is the order of business here. The vocals are processed with autotune (or some similar process). While I’m normally opposed to that, here it’s for effect and it works with the synthetic musical concept of the piece. This is very much like robotic music, and makes me think of Kraftwerk. As cool as this is, it tends to go on a bit too long.
Deep Red Mahogany (Fun in Strobes Mix)
This one’s more rocking. It has some cool layers of sound lending drama. I really like the vocal performance on this. That said, it kind of reminds me of Lady Gaga. The rhythm structures here are tasty and this is an intriguing number.
Agent Provocateur (Deep Throat Mix)
Starting rather tentatively, this is another that calls to mind Kraftwerk a bit. Sound bites and a repeated computerized vocals serve this nicely early on in its arrangement. It gets more of a groove later. All the vocals on this cut feel like loops, but this is really quite interesting.
In October (Lost in Spring Mix)
I’m not crazy about this. The warbly sort of effect on the vocals really detracts from it as far as I’m concerned. It makes this one pretty annoying.
Quantum in Fractal (World of Our Own Mix)
While the change here is not dramatic, it is definite. This one rocks out a bit more between the harder edged music and the rocking vocals. All in all, this is one of the highlights of the set. I really like it a lot and it seems to get better as it continues.
Brave New World (Plastic Fantastic Mix)
More standard dance meets electronic music is the order of business here. It’s OK but far from a highlight.
Eulogy (Sacred Procession Mix)
There are a lot of vocals here. In fact, the vocals really make this cut work. It builds up a bit from that later, but overall this draws its power and drama from multiple layers of vocals.
Behind the Wheel
Dramatic and powerful, this is like electronic music with a dark progressive rock twist. It gets incredibly powerful and involved as it continues.
Without a Trace (Diasporatix Mix)
This has a fairly stripped down arrangement in a lot of ways, but there is also a lot of diversity here. It’s electronic, sparse and a bit weird. It’s also very cool. I love the vocal arrangement, particularly the whispered portions. It’s close to space rock in a lot of ways.
Firefly (Vapor Trail Mix) (Radio Edit)
Here we get a shortened version of the earlier tune. I mentioned that the original went on a bit long, so having a shorter rendition is a good thing.
 
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