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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tony Patterson

Equations of Meaning

Review by Gary Hill

Melodic progressive rock is the concept here. That said, there is a definite range. There are things that lean more toward classic prog. Other times it feels more modern. There are fusion elements at play. I can make out space rock at times. All in all, though, this is a particularly effective sets for fans of all eras of melodic prog.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Ghosts

There is a dark and melancholy section that opens this, feeling a bit like movie soundtrack music. After that introduction acoustic guitar joins to weave intricate melodies. As synthesizer comes over the top this really resembles Genesis in a lot of ways. The atmospherics serve as counter-point returning here and there on this instrumental.

The Magdalene Fields
While the music here makes me think of Genesis quite a bit, the vocals probably land closer to something like Pink Floyd. In many ways, this piece feels like a merging of those two sounds. I love some of the spacier elements that come across the musical tapestry here. This is an expansive and powerful piece of music, really. There is a great saxophone solo late in the piece. The closing segment takes it purely into space.
Each Day a Colour
After a short spacey introduction, this works out to an energized, dreamy prog jam. It makes me think Spock’s Beard quite a bit, really. There are still some hints of Pink Floyd, too. The closing movement gets into some soaring territory.
Cast Away
A pretty melodic piece, this is quite mellow. It has s dreamy texture to it in a lot of ways.
The Angel & The Dreamer
Non-lyrical vocals come across a suitably dreamy soundscape for the opening movement here. That section holds the piece for a quite a while. It eventually shifts to a percussive section. Then just percussion remains for a time. From there, though, the powerhouse prog rock fires out, landing somewhere in the territory shared by Spock’s Beard and Genesis. When the horn comes across further down the road , it seems to shift the piece toward fusion. The vocals on this piece feel more like instrumentation than singing. The cut has a bit of a Pat Metheny vibe at times, too.
Beneath a Perfect Sky
More trippy, dreamy prog is the concept here. This is a melodic number that flows really well. The horn soloing over the top near the end brings some jazz to the table.
Sycophant
As this comes in, it really feels like an electronic hip hop kind of vibe. That intro gives way to more of a modern prog element. In some ways this makes me think of something Peter Gabriel would do in that first real movement. There is an alternating section that’s more full prog jam sound. There really is a Peter Gabriel element here, though. The harder rocking segment brings a different prog style. I really love some of the instrumental work on this cut.
And When the Sky Was Opened
This is a short trippy sort of instrumental. Of course, by short I mean in terms of this album. It’s still over two minutes long. It’s quite atmospheric and electronic.
Pilgrim
A slow moving and quite electronic prog jam makes up the backdrop for this. There are definitely elements that call to mind Pink Floyd. This is trippy and rather psychedelic. As it rocks out a bit more later saxophone brings some jazz to it.
As the Lights Go Out
Another that would be a short cut here, but not on many discs, this is also an instrumental. It has an early movement that makes up the bulk of its length. That section is dominated by piano. It works to a creepy sort of soundtrack music excursion at the end.
The Kindest Eyes
A melodic and balladic prog cut, this is really tasty stuff. It’s a pretty straight line cut. It is another that feels just a bit like a cross between Pink Floyd and Genesis. That said, there are reference points here like Steely Dan and more.
 
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