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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Hendrik Schapel, Bertram Engel, Eddie McGrogan

One or Zero – The Lost Album

Review by Gary Hill

This album dates back to 1981. It is just now getting released. As you might remember, 1981 wasn’t a great year for progressive rock. So, you might guess this isn’t exactly mainstream prog from a purist point of view. However, it’s proggy enough to be included, as far as I’m concerned. The combination of sounds here runs from electronic music to space rock and more. There are seemingly equal helpings of Kraftwerk and DEVO. Odd as it is, this works really well.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Joey

The section that starts this off makes me think of Yes. From there, though, we get something a bit like DEVO meets Kraftwerk, but with more prog in the mix. The guitar solo on this is noisier and more rocking. It’s a bit like modern King Crimson in some ways.

Rays under Water
While there is even more of a powerhouse electronic progressive rock sound to this, it also has more of that DEVO kind of alignment. The combination is quirky and quite energetic. The instrumental section has more of a hard edged space rock sound. There are weird processed vocals later that are a bit annoying as far as I’m concerned.
Factory Man
Somehow this makes me think of Donovan a bit at times. It’s got a bouncy kind of electronica meets Rock in Opposition vibe. As odd as this is, it works really well.
One or Zero
The title track really combines that rock and DEVO sound with Kraftwerk and more. The vocals are among the most “rock and roll” of the set. Mid-track some weird computer voices are matched with some rocking guitar for good measure.
Who's To Blame
A prog meets electronic music number, this is energetic and catchy. There is sort of a punky space rock element at play here, too. I love the bridge on this, with its spoken vocal segment and lush keyboard sound.
Space (instrumental)
I like this instrumental a lot. It has a bit of a fusion sound combined with electronics and space music. The mix is unusual and very tasty.
Who Are We
This has a lot of rocking energy in it. In some ways, it’s the most mainstream progressive rock of anything here. That said, there is still enough quirky, electronic sound to keep it interesting.
Small Town Man's Romance
There are no big changes here, but this has a bit more of a mainstream sound to it. It’s okay, but not one of my favorites of the set.   
Better Go Back To School
They saved the best for last. This is fast paced and rocking. It’s perhaps one of the least proggy things here. That said, it’s just fun. I love it. It’s a great way to end things on a high note.
 
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