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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Gianotti

The Great Unknown

Review by Gary Hill

There is no question this is progressive rock. The thing is, it’s kind of both modern prog and classic and yet neither at the same time. This is clearly something that’s true to itself first and foremost. Yet there are nods to a lot of other prog music. The flute makes on think “Jethro Tull” and there are times when this music is related to that. Yet there are many other things going on here, too.  Don’t expect extremely complex music with lots of twisting and turning changes. Instead, think of more melodic progressive rock and you’ll be on the right track.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Intentions - Letting Go

Symphonic elements start this. A guitar solos over the top as the introduction works forward. It works to a mainstream prog jam with a lot of psychedelia in the mix. We’re taken on quite a ride from there as various sections emerge at times. This is a great progressive rock jam with both classic and modern elements to it. Some parts of this make me think of Spock’s Beard meets Pink Floyd. Others are close to Jethro Tull. The extended closing instrumental section includes some particularly noteworthy guitar work.

Voyage
Atmospherics with intricate guitar over the top start this. There is almost a Yes vibe in some ways. It is quite a dramatic introduction. The song proper makes me think of different bands, ranging from ELP to Genesis and King Crimson. It’s more of a folk prog styled number. It works to a killer instrumental section. There aren’t a lot of changes here, Instead this builds by adding layers and elements to the basic song structure.
Dance of the Gnome
This killer instrumental works through a number of shifts and changes. The flute begs comparisons to Jethro Tull, but that’s really the only element linking the sounds. This is a powerhouse jam. It’s actually one of the best pieces here. Given the quality of the whole set, that says a lot.
The Great Unknown
The title track is the epic of the set. It weighs in at over eleven and a half minutes of length. It’s also epic in terms of scope and structure. It’s not made up of a lot of timing changes or different musical themes assembled, though. Instead, it’s a steady forward motion and evolution. It’s powerful and rather soaring in sound and style. It’s such a great piece of music, really. At times I can make out Pink Floyd. Other things make me think of Yes. Spock’s Beard is another valid reference point. It’s a powerful composition no matter the influences you can make out, though.
Sacred Ground
An intricate and complex classically inspired piano solo starts this piece. Around the minute and a half mark it shifts to atmospherics. Vocals come in over the top of this mellow sound. It grows and evolves from there. It gets quite powerful and more rocking. Melodic prog and space rock seem to merge at times. This makes me think of things like RPWL in a lot of ways. The jam with flute solo later in the cut is a great touch, too.
Corridor of Doors
Folky acoustic guitar with flute soloing over the top is the basic concept on the introduction. Other layers of sound bring the progressive rock. It moves out into a Celtic styled jam that’s again worth comparing to Jethro Tull and perhaps even Tempest. Before the two minute mark percussion takes over and the track starts to evolve from there. This instrumental works through some great changes, but it’s all organic.
A World Away
Celtic folk prog is the concept here. This piece works through quite a few changes. It’s actually one of the most complex pieces here. The female vocals bring some definite variety. This is actually one of the best tunes, too. It’s just so evocative and powerful. The instrumental section late in the track has some great Celtic prog stylings. It’s among the most effective musical passages here. Given the competition, that says a lot.
 
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