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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Sidony Box

Rules

Review by Gary Hill

Jazz, space rock, Rock In Opposition and more are combined here. At times the listener might think of Nik Turner. At other points, King Crimson comes to mind. This is a bit on the weird and freeform side, but it’s also compelling. It’s a strong disc, but certainly not for everyone.

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
Rules
Percussion opens this, but then it fires out into a frantic and rather crazed jam that features wailing saxophone. It sort of reminds me of a cross between some of Nik Turner’s more crazed saxophone performances combined with old King Crimson. They twist it into a little more straightforward jam later, but the same basic musical elements remain intact.
Girafe

This starts off much mellower. It is slower and more melodic. It’s closer to a pure fusion sound. While this shifts and changes and grows, it still remains more in the melodic format. It’s quite pure fusion. By the time it approaches the two and a half minute mark, though, a new insistent backdrop has emerged, threatening to bring the cut in new directions. It takes a little longer, but a rather noisy jam ensues for a short time before they bring it back down to more melodic zones again. Then that saxophone works back into crazed territory. This keeps shifting and changing, alternating between more melodic fusion and sounds closer to RIO. It gets built up into a fast paced, but still less dissonant jam later. The drums are really blasting away in the background near the six and a half minute mark. But, then it drops back down to more sedate territory. Then, past the seven and a half mark a new melody emerges, a very triumphant sounding fusion jam. It works into more exploratory patterns after that. There is almost an alternative rock vibe mixed with the fusion as it continues.

Nocturnum

Coming in mellower and more like a ballad, this has a definite progressive rock meets fusion texture to it. While it does build up and work through some changes, it still remains more or less mellow and melodic. That said, the percussion rises up for a crescendo around the three minute mark. Rather than exploding out from there, though, it drops back down to quite sedate musical territory. While this is very much like space fusion, it has some melodies that are quite accessible at times. There is a climb upwards later to a very triumphant sounding fusion melody. There is a bit of a space rock sound that emerges right near the end.

Dark Wizzard

The sounds that start this could pass for heavy metal, but as the saxophone screams overhead and the drums pound insanely in the background, it is far more like RIO than anything else. It’s quite freeform. Eventually a pounding King Crimson-like element emerges and takes control. The saxophone screams over the top in real chaos creating energy. This screams ahead with a more melodic, but no less insistent, King Crimson-like jam later. This has some of the most awesome music of the whole set. In a lot of ways parts of this feel like some long lost Red-era King Crimson jam.

Electric Love

The stripped down opening section here really had me thinking they were covering “Every Breath You Take” by the Police. The bass and drums drive this as saxophone sings overhead. This is arguably the most mainstream piece on the album. It’s very much just fusion, and melodic fusion at that. It’s a nice respite from some of the insanity found on this album.

Salsa

Jazz meets space rock and even psychedelia as this builds outward. It turns to more sparse jazz with a real traditional, yet freeform sound as it continues. The percussion is a big part of this as it gets louder and a bit crazed. Eventually it drops to a short mellow section to end.

Gotham

Although this starts rather tentatively, there’s almost a feeling of menace to it. It has a bit of a surf music vibe in some ways, but overall this is more space rock than anything else in the early sections. More jazzy textures – and some rather freeform ones – are added over the top later. This moves into weird atmospheric territories later, and then dissolves into real space.

Block Party

Bass starts this and they launch into a rather joyful jam from there. It’s got hints of surf and psychedelia, but also a lot of jazz in the mix. It’s definitely one of the most straightforward numbers here. It’s also a lot of fun.

Ambre Song

Mellow atmosphere starts this off and it builds out with some melodic jazz from there. This moves fairly glacially, but there’s enough change here to keep it from becoming boring. A real heavy space rock meets feedback sound emerges later. 

 
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