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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Birds and Buildings

Multipurpose Trap

Review by Gary Hill

Music this strange shouldn’t be this compelling. Somehow this really is accessible. The range of prog sounds is all over the place, and sometimes within each individual song. These guys are clearly left of center. They are also tough to keep up with as a music journalist trying to describe all the shifts and changes. What I can tell you is that I like this set a lot.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Dumb Fish

Some great old school prog sounds open this. At times I’m reminded of Yes, at times Genesis. Other parts have more unique musical elements. Some of the sections later shift towards fusion and this thing gets quite funky at times. The violin adds a lot to this cut. It’s also got a lot of quick shifts and angular twists and turns. The vocals are a bit strange, but work.

Horse-Shaped Cloud
I’m reminded of Kansas at times here. King Crimson comes to mind, too. Genesis and much more is referenced in some ways. I love the saxophone on this and while the vocals here are also quite unusual, they are even more effective than those on the opener. This gets incredibly powerful and has some great shifts and changes.
Miracle Pigeon
Jazzy King Crimson is laced with a powered up, playful world music vibe here. This is weird and very tasty at the same time. Somehow the odd vocals work extremely well here.
East Is Fort Orthodox
This is a unique and unusual piece. The first sections make me think of Pink Floyd quite a bit. As the vocals join the whole piece makes me think of Recycled era Nektar to a large degree. This is dramatic and powerful, if a bit understated. It works out to harder rocking sounds that are theatric and powerful. It works out to harder rocking movements that are theatric and powerful. This is a killer cut that really works very well. It drops way down at the end to a mellower section that turns towards some creepy science fiction movie styled music.
Secret Crevice
Weird symphonic prog meets chamber music and jazz on the noisy opening section here. It gets shifted and changed pretty readily. As odd as this is, it’s also compelling and rather catchy. There is a new frantic section that emerges with a great groove. There are definitely elements to this that make me think of things like Magma and others that are perhaps closer to White Witch. This is among the strangest music here. That said, it works really well. This one has more shifts and changes than just about anything here. It’s an amazing piece of music that just keeps getting reinvented. And, then it ends quite abruptly.
Tragic Penguin
This is not as crazed as the last song. It’s more of a straight line, but is still angled at a left of center inclination. The music here does move here and there and get quite powerful. There are some definite jazz leanings and some theatrical ones.
Catapult
Firing out rather crazed, this thing shifts this way in that in a rather off-kilter manner. It’s another awesome piece of music. It’s a real powerhouse with plenty of jazz and other elements in the mix. We get a cool funky groove later in the piece. More of symphonic prog with lots of King Crimson is heard later in the composition. Shifts and changes continue in ways that feel crazy, yet somehow manage to work.
Aviator Prosco
This opens with dreamy progressive rock that borders on space music. It works upwards from there in some great melodic segments. They take us out into a rather Pink Floyd like movement as they continue. It’s quite powerful. The piece evolves into a really powerful symphonic prog movement and then modulates out into something a bit stranger but quite cool. Twist after twist ensues as this works along an effective musical road. There are some amazing bits of music here at times.
Abominable Pelican
I love the bass work on the early sections of this. The cut has real symphonic prog vibe to it as it moves forward. Then around the minute and a half mark it shifts to a different section with some hints of middle-Eastern music. What a ride this is. It gets out into some pretty funky territory at times. Other sections include mellower sounds, science fiction movie like music and lots of other theatrical progressive rock. Early Genesis is a valid reference to a lot of this, but there are plenty of other things here, too.
 
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