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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Cross & Quinn

Cold Sky Blue

Review by Gary Hill

The titular Cross is David Cross, probably best known for his work with King Crimson. The Quinn is Sean Quinn. This album features music that’s often both electronic and organic. It’s mostly mellow, but manages to rock at times. While a lot of it is instrumental, several songs have vocals. This is great stuff that should appeal to fans of acts like Curved Air and King Crimson.

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
Skyline Vertical

This instrumental is pretty and atmospheric. It’s quite trippy, too. Bits of backwards tracking add an otherworldly element to it.

Cold Sky Blue
The music here is still very proggy and rather mellow. There are hints of modern King Crimson in some ways. The vocals (Beth Hirsch), though, bring a real soulful, bluesy texture at times. They also turn vulnerable at times and soaring at others. In some ways, musically, this almost feels like something Peter Gabriel might do.
Counting All the Stars
Coming out of the previous one, this has a pronounced percussive element. It’s also quite pretty in its atmospherics. In some ways it makes me think of Todd Rundgren just a bit. Brendan Staunton provides the vocals.
On Spider Hill
There is sort of a weirdness to this piece. It’s slow moving. It’s also very trippy. There is a dreamlike quality to it in a lot of ways. Odd as it is, this is also compelling.
For Someone
Violin starts this piece off in a more rocking way. The piece moves forward in a way that is both organic and electronic. There is some great soloing here amidst some echoey kind of stuff that’s part Kraftwerk and part Tomita.  Paula Gilmer is the singer on this. The song proper really works out to one of the more mainstream structures of the set. It really has quite a bit of folk prog built into it, really.
Arc En Ciel Pt. One
There is some particularly inspired violin work on this. There are things that call to mind Hawkwind like space music, too. This instrumental is quite trippy and understated.
The M-Chord
With spoken words over the top of more trippy music, this is cool stuff. After the spoken part (Thomas Truax), it works to some cool, but understated space prog.
Arc En Ciel Pt. Two
This instrumental is slow moving and quite gentle until after the two and a half minute mark. It gets more intensity beyond that point, moving toward jazz just a little.
Meaningless
Atmospherics with vocals from Brendan Staunton, this is quite electronic in nature. Yet, the violin brings a more organic thing to the table. Cool stuff, this is a great way to end things in style.

 

 
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