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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Mani Neumeier

Talking Guru Drums

Review by Gary Hill

This is definitely not progressive rock. That said, it is progressive music. The vast majority of the sounds here are created by Man Neumeier himself. He’s  a drummer, so that means this is almost all percussion. Still, it’s augmented by found sounds and some voices (and even a little flute). The result is something that’s world music based, but psychedelic and quite experimental. This is great stuff for sure.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Time Drops

The rhythmic element that starts this, and holds it for a while, literally feels like drops of water. There are some other things (mostly found sound type stuff) that emerge as it continues. There are some rather trippy vocals. The music here is entirely percussive, with some of the stuff landing in the tuned percussion vein of sounds. This piece is almost 16 and a half minutes in length. It’s amazing that percussion can be so musical and hold the interest for that long.

Jingle A
This is just a very short bit of tuned percussion.
Shaman Dancer
More like a tribal kind of exploration, some of the chirps and whistles on this call to mind birds, while others feel almost like R2-D2 of “Star Wars” fame. This is quite involved and powerful  Later it turns more toward electronic tribal space music as it continues. There is a voice on this more like throat singing than anything else.
Jingle B
This is another short bit, this one with something more like gongs or bells.
Mori No Kaeru
There is almost a weird science fiction element at play here. It works to more tribal world music territory. Yet, the sound effects and stuff that come over the top lend a bit of psychedelia to this. Near the end a bit of conversation is heard, but I’m not sure what the deal is with the second voice. It sounds like some kind of alien creature.
Jingle C
This is just a single chime.
Maori Haka News
Crazed drumming starts things here. There are nature sounds on this, particularly something like croaking frogs, but beyond that it’s strictly drumming as it continues.
Jingle D
This is just another short bit of oddity.
Im Zaubergarten
A female voice talks over some sporadic percussion elements. The percussion here seems almost random. As this works along its path, the vocals are sometimes sung rather than spoken.
Om Mani Tom
This is pretty trippy stuff. It has a real echoey quality. This is more of a traditional drum solo as it gets going. In fact, there is a lot more of that than there is on any of the other cuts. For me, that makes this one a bit less interesting than the others, too. It does turn spacey mid-track and sounds of nature are heard. The cut continues like that, with the percussion really dropping away and only a psychedelic nature element remaining.
Jingle Shiva-Bells
This is almost a minute in length, but about half of that is silence. Beyond that it’s literally a bell piece.
 
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