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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Guru Freakout!

Mothership

Review by Gary Hill

There are a few things you can naturally assume about space rock. First, it generally doesn’t shift or change quickly, instead evolving gradually. Secondly, comparisons to Hawkwind are going to ensue. Well, this mostly instrumental album fits both of those. Other musical influences are heard throughout, though. This manages to balance rocking and mellower nicely. It’s quite dynamic and diverse set. It’s also very entertaining.

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
Notre Dame (Mothership)

Coming in at over half an hour in length, this is a real epic. It works in tentatively with a very space rock meets jam band kind of vibe. They continue moving forward with the evolution quite gradual. As is typical with space rock, nothing here moves fast or transitions abruptly. Still, there are plenty of waves to ride as this ebbs and flows. Much of it calls to mind Hawkwind, but again, that kind of comes with the space rock territory. There are some sections along the ride that make me think of The Doors a bit, too. A section around the seventeen minute mark has a more mainstream rock mixed with jazz element to it at times. The jam band and mainstream progressive rock elements really take control as this works forward. Around the 23 minute mark it gives way to a pounding Hawkwind type jam, though. It gets pretty powered up and a bit noisy as it works through. This turns into a smoking hot, guitar monster type tune near the end. That more intense section takes the cut to the close.

The Snows of Mt. Bonnell
The same basic instrumental space music concept is the idea here, but this is definitely a different beast. Parts of it are noisier. Other parts land in mellower psychedelic territory. Again, the Doors are a valid reference at times. It does include some powered up guitar soloing at times, too, though. Hawkwind is still a valid reference, but less so than on the opener. This is less than half the length of that piece, coming in at a little over thirteen and a half minutes. The powerhouse jam later in this piece has elements of Hawkwind and Motorhead along with some really chaotic stuff.
Bonus Tracks
   
A Little Bit Spacier
This is pretty spacey. It’s mellower than some of the other stuff and really does land in the Doors meets Hawkwind kind of territory that has been heard some on the other tracks. This is quite melodic and definitely spacey. At less than eight minutes long, it’s the shortest track here.
Elektrolurch-Mutation
Definitely a change of pace, this has some rather odd vocals built into it. It’s more stripped back in a lot of ways. Yet, it also rocks out more. The arrangement has moments of driving guitar riffing and sections of weird bleeps and blips. Sometimes the two are combined. The jam band meets space sounds dominates this later.
Elektrolurch-Mutation (Live At The Salvage Vanguard)
This live version of the previous number is pretty darned cool. I think this one might actually rock out harder than the other one does. I think I like this one better.
 
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