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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tea and Symphony

An Asylum for the Musically Insane

Review by Gary Hill

This is a reissue of a 1969 album. It is definitely proto-prog. This is psychedelic, experimental and very cool. It leans on the weird side, but manages somehow to be accessible at the same time. That’s some feat, really.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Armchair Theater

Folk music with weird psychedelia in the mix, this is definitely proto-prog. There is an odd little bit of old time music here. This thing is strange, but oddly compelling at the same time.

Feel How So Cool the Wind
Strange psychedelia blends with space music. There are things here that make me think of Tyrannosaurus Rex quite a bit. There are other things that call to mind early Hawkwind. I could see comparisons to Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd being appropriate, too. This is another that works well despite being really weird. There is a weird little piano and voice thing at the end, like an old fashioned singalong.
Sometime
I can hear some hints of the mellow side of early Black Sabbath here. Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd and more merge here, though. In some ways perhaps this is closer to the band H.P. Lovecraft than it is to anything else. It’s one of the more accessible and rock oriented pieces of the set. It’s also definitely proto prog. It has quite a few changes.
Maybe My Mind
Space rock and folk merge here. This is another weird, but also quite cool cut. It’s not a big change, but it’s also not like some place we’ve been before. There is a detuned recorder type section that kind of exceeds my “weird tolerance.” That gives way to a killer jam that’s one of the best here, though.
The Come On
Bluesy rock, psychedelia and more merge on this. It’s actually one of the most “mainstream” cuts of the disc. I dig the guitar solo quite a bit.
Terror in My Soul
This comes in creepy and especially weird. That holds more than the first minute of the piece, with piano driving it. Then acoustic guitar jamming joins. The sound of thunder is heard before the vocals join. This is intriguing and quite strong, despite how weird it is. Some of the most purely progressive rock oriented stuff is heard on some of the melodic bits here. It also has some definite space rock. We also get some pretty inspired acoustic guitar jamming. There is another crack of thunder at the end.
Travelling Shoes
Psychedelia merges with an energetic blues rock song on this cut. It’s one of the most accessible pieces here. It has some pretty intriguing jamming, though.
Winter
A ballad-like piece, there is a lot of folk in this. It again reminds me of Tyrannosaurus Rex. The shaking on the voice doesn’t sit well with me. Still, the psychedelic sounds make this work.
Nothing Will Come To Nothing
After a weird little dissonant introduction, harpsichord enters to bring a classical edge to the proceedings. After that piano takes over and the cut begins to get particularly exploratory and weird. The jamming after the final vocals (before the end) is pretty crazed. It has a lot of space music along with psychedelia. It gets accessible at times, but also turns to really odd stuff. An odd bit of studio chatter is looped at the end.
Bonus Track: Boredom
This psychedelically tinged folk jam is cool. It’s one of the more mainstream pieces here.

 

 

 
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