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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Pray for Brain

None of the Above

Review by Gary Hill

Is this progressive rock? Maybe it’s not. It’s definitely challenging music that is nearly impossible to classify. It also manages most often to groove. The range of sounds covers everything from world music to surf to jazz and funk. I think that qualifies it as progressive music at least, if not progressive rock. This is an exceptional instrumental set either way.

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

Track by Track Review
Drop the Needle

Some serious funk brings this in and it grows out from there. It’s sort of part fusion and part jam band. It also moves into progressive rock realms. I love the bass driven jam later.

Grind Responsibly
King Crimson blends with a jam band as this enters. It moves toward more freeform fusion turned jam band sound later. There is a killer section later that’s more or less pure jazz. We’re taken toward more Crimsonian elements further along this musical path.
This number starts mellow and stays that way for a time. It’s kind of exploratory. When it powers out, though there’s almost a country music melded with surf vibe to the cut. The piece continues to evolve, though, with different sections and flavors emerging here and there. It definitely lands more firmly in jam band territory for a while.
Taqsim Lami
This relatively short (around two minutes) piece has a stripped bare arrangement. It’s part world music and part psychedelia. It serves as an introduction to the next number.
Sufi Surf
As this comes in it combines Indian music with surf music. Of course, that’s what you’d guess from the title. It works out to more rocking territory later, but those elements still manage to peek out of the mix here and there.
Hawk and Mouse
This is one of the most dynamic cuts here. There is a lot of freeform RIO a bit like King Crimson. They take into some seriously jazzy stuff, too, though. I hear little bits here and there that make me think of Yes just a bit, too.
This is the most mellow piece we’ve heard. It’s also the one that tends to stay in one place more than the rest. It’s pretty free-form and tasty, though. It’s like jazzy King Crimson music.
More of a driving rhythm section pushes this one forward. The jamming has a real fusion vibe with a lot of jam band and psychedelia in the mix. It’s one of the most accessible pieces here and actually one of my favorites.
God's Mirrors
This jam is heavily based on world music. It has some pretty intense percussion built into it, too.
There is an odd little introduction here. That gives way to a bouncing kind of surf music meets country and jam band sounds section. It gets into some pretty freeform jamming later. It tends to resemble King Crimson a bit in those sections.
A mellow, world music type sound starts this off tentatively. After a minute or so it gives way to a jam that’s part surf music, part world sounds and part jam band meets progressive rock and jazz. It turns out toward more of a jazz element after a while. World music and jazz merge in a killer jam later. The piece just keeps evolving and one the hardest rocking segments of the whole disc serves to close it.
Thread of Her Heart
This is a fairly short cut that’s mostly world music with some jam band built into it.
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