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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

DVR

California

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual album. The songs here don't always seem to mesh together all that well. That said, they are visions within the creative experience of an artist, so I guess that failing is more about the mind of the listener (or in this case reviewer) than anything else. The majority of this is instrumental. In fact, only one song has traditional vocals. The range of sound is from something akin to Pink Floyd (in fact the bookends of the set both have a lot of that) to weird electronic music, fusion and much more. This isn't for everyone (but really, what is?), but it has some intriguing music in the mix.
 
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Groveland

Atmospheric sounds with some spacey guitar soloing over the top is the concept as this begins. It makes me think of Pink Floyd quite a bit.

Crushing rocks in Indian Wells
This one is pretty odd at the start. It's got weird timings, processing and other elements driving it. It's fast paced and bombastic. It gets more melodic for a couple short segments. There is some really impressive bass work on one of those. Otherwise, it really does kind of feel like rocks being crushed.
Shoshone

This cut has some vocals. It's an intriguing bit of electronic space music meets post prog.

405 to 420
The opening section of this is bombastic and weird. Mid-track, though, it works to a cool bass guitar solo lead movement that leans toward fusion. That movement is melodic and intriguing. The cut works through more melodic stuff and builds into a cool guitar soloing movement. This is one of the highlights of the album.
Sunset to the beach
More of a trippy, dreamy soundscape makes up the backdrop here. The "vocal" section is a spoken sound-bite of a guided meditation excursion. This is another of the stronger pieces here.
Cupertino Cabal
There are middle Eastern sounds, something akin to surf music, and a lot more built into this unusual instrumental. This is tastefully odd, and quite cool.
The theft of fire
This cut has non-lyrical vocals. It has a structure that starts in mellow territory but eventually gets powered up into more traditional prog rock territory. This is one of the more mainstream and effective pieces here.
Glitz
In a lot of ways this electronic number is more rhythmic than melodic, but it does have a balance of the two. It lands more in the weird end of the spectrum than some of the rest of the stuff here does.
Round dance
Another from the "weirder" category, layers of sound dance across one another in rounds - hence the title. This is perhaps more electronic fusion than it is anything else. It's a rather cool cut, if a bit on the odd side. It does get a bit more rock orientation in later parts of the song, pulling this even further into the "win" column.
Goodbye Santa Monica
Here we get the only song on the set with traditional vocals in English. This is another that calls to mind Pink Floyd just a bit. It's definitely the most mainstream thing here. It's also quite effective. The vocals make me think of Peter Gabriel in a lot of ways. I really dig this one.
 
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