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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Marcelo Paganini

2012 Space Traffic Jam

Review by Gary Hill

First, I want to talk about the packaging here. I read that former Yes members Tony Kaye and Billy Sherwood both appear on one of the songs, “Somewhere Somehow,” so I checked the CD packaging. It might say that on the back cover of the digi pack, but I really can’t tell. Someone decided that black text on a dark green background was a good idea. I disagree because I can’t read it at all. Even with a magnifier I can’t tell you what it says. The booklet lists both men in the thanks, but doesn’t mention why they are being thanked. Since the CD Baby page for the disc says they play on that tune, though, I’ll believe it. Another notable guest, this one on every song, is Gary Husband. He’s from Level 42 among other acts. This set is pretty interesting. It feels kind of loose and jammy. However, the combination of progressive rock, fusion and space rock works quite well. It definitely gets kind of strange at times, though.

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
Sphinxes of Babel

This starts tentatively and bass rises up after a time. The cut gets a bit strange as it grows. It’s sort of a fusion meets space rock kind of vibe. The vocals are spacey, processed and a bit distorted. Around the two minute mark it shifts out into a different section. It’s fast paced and quite fusion-like. The riffing in that section is quite intense. Several shifts happen after that. We get a vocal section, with a more melodic female singer. We get some further instrumental exploration, too. There is some noteworthy guitar work. This thing just keeps getting reinvented as it moves forward.

Crying with a Smile
This is more of a mainstream song in a lot of ways. Still, it’s got some shifts and changes. It’s like progressive rock blended with psychedelic. It’s got some scorching hot guitar work and is a cool tune.
Actor
Coming in frantically fast, there are hints of Frank Zappa in the mix here. It’s got some other elements, too. It’s a rather mainstream prog jam at that. There are things here that make me think of Hawkwind at times, but the hard rocking, quick tempoed side of Hawkwind. There is also some guitar soloing that reminds me Steve Howe a bit.
Somewhere Somehow
Drums start this off and hold it for a time. In fact, the drum solo lasts for more than a minute. Then they fire out into a fast paced prog jam that’s quite cool. They drop it back for an organ solo, but the intense tempo continues. This thing works through a number of changes. It’s all fast paced and prog rocking, though.
Lost Secrets
Crazed psychedelia meets progressive rock on this frantic number. After a time, it drops to a slow moving, mellower movement. In a lot of ways this song really makes me think of Zappa quite a bit. There’s a neo-classical jam that takes it after the slow segment. It evolves out to more straightforward hard rock from there. The guitar soloing later, though, brings some oddity and intensity to it. At times this song leans towards technical metal and it really has some powerhouse jamming built into it.
Last Bart to San Bruno
Guitar solos all over parts of this. In a lot of ways this is very much like Frank Zappa’s jammier kinds of music. There are harder rocking sections and mellower ones.
B4ever Now
A melodic rocker, this is in keeping with the rest of the stuff here, but a bit less intense in some ways. I like this one a lot.
For Real
This one is even more crazed. It’s got a rather Rock In Opposition feeling to it. It’s fast and a little strange. The bass is quite prominent and really drives it. Personally, this song is a bit too strange and bizarre for my tastes. Your mileage may vary.
Can't Autograph Your Mp3
Another frantic one, this works much better. It rocks out pretty hard and is almost main stream hard rock at times. There are some crazed shifts and changes here. The closing section, in particular is pretty intense.
2012 Space Traffic Jam

Jazz and space rock seem to merge on this killer tune. It’s got some great musical moments. At times the guitar screams out some glorious soloing. At other points the keyboards direct things in a melodic instrumental display.

 
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