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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

AKKU Quintet


Review by Gary Hill

It seems that a whole school of instrumental prog has emerged rooted in both the guitar based sounds of King Crimson and jazz rock. This act lands in that zone. This disc features some powerful cuts that have a wide range of sounds and textures. It works really well. If you like strong instrumental prog that features horns along with killer guitars and a potent rhythm section, this is for you. It's full of peaks and valleys and has plenty of contrasts and changes.

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Track by Track Review
Cool keyboard textures lead this thing out of the gate. The rhythm section joins after a bit, and the cut moves forward from there. The cut shifts and turns to twisted kinds of sounds. It is trippy and so cool. Saxophone brings jazzy elements to play as this evolves from there. I dig the ethereal guitar sounds that come over the top. We're taken into some mysterious directions before they drop it way down to continue. Eventually it makes its way back to the earlier zones to continue. Mid-track (this is over 14-and-a-half minutes long) it drops to just a horn. Bass joins as this holds this piece for an interlude. They eventually begin to bring it back out with style. There is a little bit of oddity at the end.
Made In China
Asian sounds open this (appropriately). The cut moves outward from there with some King Crimson-like guitar rising up to steer it into more rocking, but still quite jazzy and unique, territory. This gets into some major RIO styled hard rocking movements as it continues to drive forward. The bottom seems to fall out at one point and a rebuilding section emerges from there. There are a lot of King Crimson-like reference points on this cut.
While mellower elements bring this in, and it remains more sedate, this has some intriguing fusion meets prog stylings as it makes its way forward. The horn brings some serious jazz into this thing. The track is a steadily intensifying piece, much like a snowball rolling down a hill.

I dig the jazz turned psychedelic vibe of this piece. It's arguably the strangest tune here, but there is a real charm to it. it gets into some seriously spacey stuff further down the musical road. This thing drives forward with such cool style and flair. At close to 11-minuites long, they make good use of this space to really explore the sonic tapestry. It gets into more King Crimson like zones further down the road. A cool Crimson-like rocking groove emerges at the end.

Coming in tentatively, this works out to some killer rocking territory as it marches forward. As it approaches the half-way mark it drops to just piano and a distorted guitar dances over the top. It creates quite a cool dark soundscape. The piece begins rising upward from there in interrupted bursts. It eventually breaks forward with a real fusion kind of texture to it.
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