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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tripod

Tripod

Review by Gary Hill

We get a lot of jazz and classical in the mix here. That might seem like something that wouldn’t be fun, but this really is. Things like punk rockabilly, early King Crimson and other sounds are added to the mix. The groove is perhaps the coolest thing here. You might even make out some Primus or some Hawkwind in the blend of music on this disc. It’s certainly not for everyone, but this is actually pretty accessible and quite interesting stuff.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Jerome's Spotlight

Some noisy atmosphere opens this. Then it powers out into a smoking hot, frantic, off-kilter jazz styled jam. It drops back for some vocals that are kind of like some kind of punk rockabilly. The track gets more jazzy jamming after each set of vocals. Then, a little past the one minute mark it shifts directions completely. It becomes more of a progressive rock meets jazz sound with a slow moving tempo. More weirdness emerges after that point and then they power it out into another smoking hot jam. That jam eventually takes it to the close.

Trip the Light
A spoken “there’s a trip that I missed” starts this track. From there a killer riff driven jam ensues. I’m really reminded of some of the more groove oriented early King Crimson on this piece. The mellower section also makes me think of early Crimson. A more crazed jam emerges later and then modulates back into the song proper. A couple more changes ensue before this ends.
Dance of the Kabuki
Weird, but stripped back and fairly mellow, sounds open the cut. They jump out into some smoking hot jazz grooves and shift and change things around instrumentally for a little over a minute. Then vocals come over in the quirky sort of manner that’s pretty typical here. This is a great piece of prog laced with jazz and it has harder rocking and mellower sections played off one another for great effect. This is one heck of a ride.
Prelude
As one might guess from the title, this is a short instrumental introductory piece. It’s pretty and sort of part classical and part jazz.
No Diamond Cries
The groove upon which this is built is awesome. It’s a great combination of retro prog and jazz. This is arguably the strongest cut of the whole set. There’s a bit of a psychedelic edge here and I just love this piece.
East Flatbush
Weird samples and electronic music along with percussion makes up this short connecting piece.
Buzz
A bit weird, this is also very tasty. The musical styles range between jazzy bursts of power and more stripped back theatrical art rock. In some ways this reminds me of the punky side of Hawkwind, too.
Smoke & Mirrors
There’s almost a bit of a surf or even cowboy music sound to some of the music here. Overall, though, it’s atmospheric space rock that is quite sparse in arrangement and builds gradually. It builds out to something more rocking, but it’s still tentative and fairly sparse. There are jazz elements added to the mix as it continues, too.
Conversation Drag
Here’s a hard rocking tune that combines that King Crimson sound with jazz and other elements. This beast rocks out like crazy later with a powered up instrumental section that combines killer retro prog and jazz elements.
World of Surprise
Psychedelic music, prog and jazz combine nicely here. There’s almost a Beatles-like hook with a T-Rex like vocal delivery on the tune.
Ghosts
This does feel rather ghostly. It’s atmospheric and strange.
Fashion
More of that killer King Crimson-like prog groove sound opens this. In some ways it almost feels like The Beatles’ “Come Together” to me, at least a little on the opening section. There are some other melodies in the piece that feel rather Beatles-like, too.
Fuzz
This jazzy rocker is quite cool. It really has a Primus sort of riff driving it and some great instrumental work over the top.
As The Sun
King Crimson and other musical elements combine on this hard rocking tune. It’s a killer number that works really well. In fact, it’s one of my favorites here. It makes me think of the first King Crimson album quite a bit. It has a great contrast between dark and light, mellow and heavy. It’s an excellent choice to close a great album on a high note.
 
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