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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Damo Suzuki's Network

Featuring Elysian Quartet - Floating Element

Review by Gary Hill

I suppose you could call this a single given that it's only one song. Of course, when that one song is over an hour and fifteen minutes, it doesn't really qualify. Damo Suzuki is best known as part of Can. This is trippy free form stuff for the most part.
 
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Floating Element

An explosion of sound starts this. The vocals are chaotic. At first the music less chaotic, but then it works to some rather crazed symphonic elements. It drops to mellower stuff, but the vocals bring weirdness to that. Then it works out to some driving, but still symphonic in terms of instrumentation, stuff. It's part classical and part crazed freeform jazz. The shifts continue with a mellower drop back that's still pretty tastefully bizarre. Some shrill female vocals join around the seven and a half minute mark. An almost mainstream rocking section emerges beyond that. Sure the instrumentation is still classical, but it's comparably "normal." It drops way down around the twelve minute mark and moves forward from there. The music becomes sort of a meandering background sound as the vocals return. It builds in chaotic ways from there. The vocals weave some intriguing lines of melody as they are the main focus as this evolves. This is one of the most captivating passages here, really. Around the 24 minute mark it drops way down again. There no vocals for a time. They come back in after a bit. Still, the music remains quite atmospheric. By around the 26 minute mark it gets very intense, but then drops back down. It gets into more of a rocking jam again. This is compelling and powerful as it builds. That straight line excursion holds it until past the 35 minute mark. Then it shifts to something a bit more freeform to continue. We're taken through some intriguing changes as this continues to grow and change. As it approaches the 44 minute mark it drops down quite far again. It builds back up only to drop back down a few minutes later. Weird trippy chaos takes over for a time. By around the 52 minute mark it gets even mellower with bit of chamber music carrying it. The vocals return over that motif and it works outward as it pushes forward. It gets sort of tribal and more rhythmic as it continues. By the time it's approaching the one hour mark it is getting more intensely rock music like. Around the hour and two minute mark it gets into some weird symphonic territory. The music drops way down for a mostly vocal movement. Eventually it goes to some trippy kind of stuff for a time. The journey continues with fairly mellow, but quite freeform stuff. That segment eventually takes it out. To me the ending is a bit unsatisfying after the road we've been traveling, but your mileage may vary.

 
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