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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Gavin Harrison

& 05RIC – The Man Who Sold Himself

Review by Gary Hill

Best known as the drummer for Porcupine Tree, Gavin Harrison has produced a strong disc here. It has various sounds at various points in the set. It’s not the most accessible thing you are likely to hear, but it’s also very cool. It’s well worth the price of admission and the learning curve.

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
Prize

A crazed rubbery prog jam that’s got a lot of King Crimson like sound opens this. It drops to a much mellower motif for the first vocals. Then, as it continues, those two sounds seem merged into something new and unique. This is far from accessible or mainstream, but it has some cool moments. It works out towards jazz at a couple of points, too. The piano solo section, in particular fits that bill.

Identitas
There are parts of this that are even more King Crimson like. The rhythm section that drives it really feels KC like. Even some of the vocals are similar to Belew era King Crimson. Of course, it’s also not limited to that. At times, this works closer to more melodic modern progressive rock. The rubbery section later almost has a Peter Gabriel kind of vibe and hints of Deep Purple are heard above it.
The Man Who Sold Himself
Although the earlier tracks were far from mainstream, the title track is even more “out there.” It’s got a lot of fusion built into it and the vocal arrangement even seems to have a bit of a left-field vibe. This is very cool, but very odd.
Own
The rhythm section seems rather crazed, but the vocal arrangement and some of the other musical textures almost call to mind UK. While far from simple or easily accessible, there are moments here that have a more “catchy” vibe.
Body Temple
Percussive sounds open this and melody joins tentatively at first. When the vocals join, they have a real passion to them. The music is fairly sparse and the vocals truly drive this, with a Wetton meets Belew meets Bowie feeling to them. As the music fills out to match that level of power, it’s got some great funk in the bass line.
107
There’s a lot of funk in the backdrop of this one. Otherwise, though, it’s more of the nearly freeform fusion meets prog material we’ve heard throughout. While there is starting be a bit of a monolithic texture, this has enough power and a smoking hot fusion jam mid-track to keep it from feeling overdone.
Wherewithal
A King Crimson-like sound is merged with layers of vocals. There’s some killer melodic guitar soloing later and some chamber music instrumentation adds to the picture.
Awake
While overall this isn’t that far altered from the rest of the disc, but it’s certainly more easily accessible. Somehow it feels smoother and catchier. There is some awesome jamming later with some great bass work. I like the vocal arrangement on this one a lot.
Illusion
If the previous cut featured some cool bass work, this one just blows out of the stratosphere. Otherwise, it’s not that far removed from the rest of the stuff here, feeling like a cross between Belew era Crimson and fusion. That bass work is just plain stellar, though. This really might be the best number of the whole set.
Way
The closer is fairly short, and that’s actually good because, despite the fact that it’s a strong piece, at that point in the set, it all starts to feel the same.
 
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