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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Garden Music Project

Inspired by Syd Barrett’s Artwork

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual set. The title pretty much explains the impetus for this. The music is somewhere between progressive rock and psychedelia. The only real problem here comes from the vocals. They are a bit hard to take at times. That said, at other points, they work much better. This doesn’t sound as much like Pink Floyd and you might think, but that sound is an influence on some songs. This is an unusual set, but it’s also a compelling one.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Garden

Progressive rock and psychedelia merge on this number. It’s bouncy and fun and different points the balance falls at different ends of that spectrum.        

Squares, Lines & Polygons
More hard edged and driving, the chorus is more psychedelic, but the rest of the song is more straight ahead prog. The keyboard solo section mid-track is a great touch. The guitar solo that follows is also noteworthy.    
Isolation
The basic premise remains essentially the same. This is bouncy psychedelic progressive rock. It’s a bit mellower and slower than some of the other music, though. The closing section of this is harder rocking and distorted.
Transformation
Starting with a stripped back arrangement, spoken vocals come over the top as it gradually builds. There is uneasiness to this. As guitar starts to noisily interject on the arrangement there is a real sense of paranoia and fear to it. This is crazed and yet there is a beauty to it at the same time. It drops back after a time and begins working back out in this newly stripped back arrangement. This piece is the most far reaching we’ve heard so far. It’s also the noisiest and weirdest. There are some seriously jazzy space moments and this is very much in line with Rock In Opposition in a lot of ways.
Bullying
This is harder rocking and quite cool. It’s got plenty of psychedelic shifting and changing. Yet it’s also very progressive rock oriented.
My Ladies
If there’s a track here that’s most like early Pink Floyd, this is probably it. It’s also one of the most purely psychedelic pieces. It’s got some hints of things like Hawkwind in the mix, too, though.
Leaving Home
While this fits into the same general musical territory as the rest of the set, it’s got a pretty dynamic arrangement. It has some of the most energized and hard rocking music of the album. Parts of this make me think of the jazzy side of early King Crimson.
Crime Scene (To the Memory of Arthur Barrett)
Starting with atmosphere and sound effects, this work out to one of the most effective jams of the whole album. It’s hard edged, proggy and very cool. There is a mellower drop back later in the song and this has some distinctly Pink Floyd like music at times. It also has a killer guitar solo.
Coliseum
This comes in very mellow and grows extremely gradually. There are hints of Middle Eastern music as it grows. Then it powers out into a more pure progressive rock jam with hints of Spanish music in it. It dissolves to weirdness later in the piece, too.
Tour Bus
Split between mellower sections and more rocking ones, this one does feel quite a bit like Pink Floyd. It’s one of the highlights of the set.  
Bridge
This comes in with a cool psychedelic rock groove on keyboards. It works out to more rocking sound as the guitar noisily solos over the top. There are some decidedly Floydian sections later in the piece when the vocals join. After that movement there’s a mellow bit of psychedelia. It fires back out into the harder rocking jam from there, but delivered without vocals this time. That takes the piece to its close.
Self Portrait
Bouncy and playful, this does feel a lot like Barrett era Floyd. A saxophone dominated section later brings some jazzy moments to this. A mellow movement takes it beyond that. It builds out from there into a jam that combines progressive rock with jazz.
 
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