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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Brendan Byrnes

Micropangea

Review by Gary Hill

This disc showcases a wide range of music. It’s not all progressive rock, but when you consider the range of sound and the areas on which Byrnes touches, that heading surely works pretty well for the whole set. Parts of this sound a bit like King Crimson while other sections have world music, electronic and jazz influences as the real guiding factor. All in all, this is an intriguing and quirky set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Trillopod

Electronic and yet, somehow symphonic, this is weird and twisted, but also compelling. It has a computer on acid sort of feeling to it.

Siolas
There’s a bit of a video game music element to this. Still, there are also parts that are more like world music, particularly the sections that feel like tuned percussion.
Fluorescent Desert

One would expect a more sparse arrangement on a song with “desert” in the title, and indeed that’s what we get at first. Still, even then, it’s far from lifeless. There are symphonic elements and even some jazz shows up in the arrangement. Then it rocks out more than anything we’ve heard so far, with a real twisted progressive rock vibe that almost soars at times. Later it drops way down to stuff that sounds like tuned percussion. It powers back out for a noisier, jazzier movement, but drops to mellower territory at the end.

Vacant City

The rhythm section on this is awesome and the tune has a real groove to it. There’s electronica and jazz merging in the mix of sounds. This one has the only vocals of the disc, feeling like modern King Crimson.

Eboa Ocean
Fairly sparsely arranged, this feels like freeform weirdness in a lot of ways. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is spacey and atmospheric more than anything else. That said, it does get loud at points.
Zibra Island

Sounds like birds open this and then we get a bouncy kind of jam with more of that tuned percussion sound and some world music and jazz heard in it. There are even some bits of space rock as it continues.

The Skies
The opening segment here is strange with bits of guitar echoing around amidst other musical elements.
Fever Swimmer (live in studio)

The early movements of this take us through energized electronic meets jazz music. After going along like that for a while, it drops way down and then it comes out with something different.  It really is like out of tune music. While interesting, it’s a little too jarring for my ears. It works to something with more power and momentum and is less abrasive at times. There are still definite moments of dissonance and the whole thing is still pretty strange. It works through several variants and gets into some more rocking territory later.

 
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