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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Damo Suzuki & Jelly Planet

Damo Suzuki & Jelly Planet

Review by Gary Hill

Damo Suzuki is best known for his time as the lead singer of Can. His vocal style is clearly unique. He is not constrained by the types of things that hold other singers. He is seemingly all over the place, but in a very creative and artsy way. The two songs (yes, they are both epics) here seem to match that kind of spirit. They have a lot of space rock in the mix, but work through all kinds of freeform changes. This is not music for everyone, but it artistic on a particularly high level. It's great stuff, really.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Wildschweinbraten
The opener is the shortest cut here, at just under 28 minutes in length. It starts a bit tentatively with a cool rocking vibe. Some space rock elements emerge before the vocals join. The track moves forward from there. It continues to evolve with more space rock emerging in the mix. It gets into some seriously energized stuff as it makes its way forward. I love some of the overlayers of sounds around the three-minute mark. There is almost an insistent punk rock driving edge to the cut despite the proggy krautrock basis. By around the nine minute mark the music has dropped back to trippy atmospherics as the vocals have continued to make their way forward. It continues to evolve and change with this extensive movement seeming to focus more on freeform, trippy space music. After the vocals drop away, this gets into some freaky, noisy, space territory. It eventually works back out to earlier type sounds for a return of the vocals. After the vocals are finished we get into another noisy build=up. This is weird and spacey and also cool. It eventually ends it.
Venushügel
This number comes in very tentatively. At almost 35-minutes in length, it's more epic than the previous cut was. There are weird bits of sound over the rhythm section during the first vocal movement. The piece gradually builds upward as it moves forward. By around the eight-minute mark it's driving and hard rocking. It drops back down from there to continue. By around the ten minute mark it has evolved to a trippy kind of psychedelic space music. Around the sixteen minute mark they power this thing into some screaming hard edged space rock, but it starts to get more based on the space end of things as that carries the number forward. The harder rocking sounds again come to the forefront as it builds. Then around the 19 and a half minute mark it drops to full space music mode. Backwards tracked stuff emerges in the mix as this bit of tripped out stuff is the driving force of the piece. By around the 25 minute mark the music has dropped away and Suzuki's vocal remains in a rather scat-like fashion. Musical elements again rise up in waves of trippy space sound from there. Around the 28-minute mark we get more scat singing, this time over the top of a trippy, space jazz kind of musical arrangement. It eventually moves onward into more of a cool retro rock groove to continue. It has some funk merged with space music. The instrumental section that builds out beyond that has some cool space rock jamming. The vocals return over that basic arrangement. That section eventually ends the piece.
 
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