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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Joan Torres's All Is Fused


Review by Gary Hill

We generally land fusion under progressive rock at Music Street Journal. There are a number of reasons for that. First, most progressive fanatics also like fusion. Secondly, jazz-oriented prog and fusion are closely related. For my money whether the music lands a bit more on the jazz side or the rock side really makes the difference between the two. All that said, this album is decidedly fusion, but it's probably a lot closer to the progressive rock landing point than some other fusion is. However you label this, though, there is some particularly strong music here, It's also quite a varied ride. I'd consider this highly recommended for fans of fusion and jazzy instrumental prog.

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Track by Track Review

This comes in with a hard rocking sound. This is noisy and chaotic and just so cool. It drops to just a driving bass this is on fire. They bring it back upward gradually from there as it drives forward. Killer guitar driven fusion with hints of space rock take control as this continues its exploration further down the musical road. The cut shifts to almost heavy metal territory later with a King Crimson meets fusion, freeform edge merged with that.

High Stakes
Percussion begins this and holds it for the first fifteen or so seconds. Other instruments climb upward bringing a cool rocking fusion texture. There are more hints of King Crimson and hard rock built into this it, but it's also a more pure fusion journey. There is a drop back to a killer bass solo section further down the road. This thing works through a number of changes and some powerful sonic territory.
Moving Mountain
Percussive (but not in a traditional way - because it's actually a stringed instrument played in a percussive way) elements open this one, too. That holds it in a rather sparse arrangement, getting louder as it moves forward, for nearly two minutes. Then a rocking sound gradually emerges from that as this continues. There is still a stripped back and intimate vibe to it, though. This doesn't really grow into a full band treatment, remaining more as more of a solo, but there are bursts of clean guitar sound in the mix at times. The bass really has some interesting textures at points, as well. This is a particularly unique and quite intriguing cut. It does grow out into more of a traditional fusion jam after the half-way mark of the piece. It has a freeform and growing mode to it. I dig the keyboard jamming that emerges further down the road.  The rocking sort of King Crimson element emerges near the end. At over eleven minutes of music, this is an extensive cut, and of the album's finest.
Dramatic fusion elements bring this into being. Some of the piano gets rather crazed at times. When it drops back for a mellower movement, there is descent into something that's a bit twisted. The piece wanders around within that sort of tastefully troubled soundscape with an almost psychedelic meets jazz prog feeling. As it works out later to more old-school jazz the piano manages a killer bit of soloing while it's leading the group in the next movement. They resolve into a more traditional fusion bit right at the end.
More of a restrained piece, there is a definite dreamy, trippy element to this. Don't take that to mean that there is plenty of virtuosity and drama here, because that would be wrong. This is quite exploratory, it's just more restrained and lives in a mellower soundscape than some of the rest.
This cut has a great contrast between more pure jazz oriented sections and hard rocking, almost metal prog ones. There are some decidedly soaring passages. The contrast between mellower and louder movements is a big plus, too. I love some of the bass soloing on the piece. At almost nine-minutes of music, this is one of the longest here. They use that space to pack a lot of changes into this making it one of the most dynamic, too. It's also a highlight of the set.
This is another dynamic piece of music. It has some much mellower and exploratory movements. There are powered up and rocking sections that serve as contrast to those. This is more of a pure fusion thing, but there is still plenty of rock music built into sections of it. Another highlight of the disc, this thing really has some amazing instrumental work and musical passages.
Atmospherics bring this into being and a bass line rises up from there. The cut gradually builds upward, at first feeling like a jazz version of The Doors. This is another particularly dynamic piece of music, wandering through a lot of different movements. The jazz elements are pronounced and very strong here, but there are still hints of rock here and there throughout. This is another standout on the disc for me.
Bonus Track
True (Revamp)
The drums start this piece. It rises upward from there. There is some killer keyboard jamming built into this beast. It's a real powerhouse fusion jam. While it's a bonus track, it's among the best of the set.
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