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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Udo Pannekeet

Electric Regions

Review by Gary Hill

Perhaps most people who know of Udo Pannekeet know him as the bassist for the band Focus. This is his new solo album. The musicianship here is top-notch. The music is basically fusion, which we generally include under prog. Everything here is strong, but the opening epic really steals the show as far as I'm concerned. It's worth the price of admission by itself.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Electric Regions Part One
There are some strange mellower explorations early in this piece. It explodes out into some killer fusion that's informed by world music as it continues. This is tastefully off-kilter and very cool as it drives forward. At almost 24-minutes of music, this opener is a pure epic, and that space is put to good use as it shifts and changes throughout. I really dig some of the more pure jazz based stuff built into this beast. There is some killer guitar work, too. Everything about this composition works so well, though. The horns are a nice touch for sure. Around the ten-minute mark it drops to atmospherics with some weird sonic elements in the mix. The piece grows back out into some frantically fast guitar work and driving fusion from there. It gets pretty crazed as it continues, and the horns really add to the mix. A Latin kind of percussive element emerges after a while, and the guitar solos with some particularly expressive passages. The piece continues to evolve and change, getting it to some pretty strange, but tasty, guitar work later. It evolves back to more melodic stuff beyond that. It eventually works through to a crescendo, and then drops back to just a martial drum beat around the 20-minute mark. The cut gradually rises back up from there into some melodic fusion zones to continue. Eventually that gives way to a mellow, keyboard-led movement that takes the piece to its closing.
Integration Yes
This is a powerhouse fusion number that works really well. It has some amazing musicianship and killer shifts and changes. It gets into a particularly cool jazz jam later in the piece that holds it for quite a while.
Little Nura
Bass, with the sound of children playing in the background, opens this cut. That instrument holds the piece for a while, but eventually other instruments join in more of an icing on the cake approach. This piece is slow moving, fairly sedate, but also very cool. It's a nice bit of variety, too. It's also one of the most decidedly progressive rock (versus fusion) based things here.
The Antibes Situation
Fast paced fusion brings this into being with a lot of style and power. There is a certain vibe to it that reminds me of some of the music in the soundtrack to the first "Terminator" movie. This has a lot of drama and energy built into it. I dig the bass work on this a lot, but don't ignore the piano or guitar. It shifts toward more traditional jazz later, losing most of that electronic soundtrack vibe. It doesn't lose any of the intensity or pace, though.
Cocon Cocon
I dig the cool jazz groove that starts this quite a bit. This gets into some pretty strange zones as it continues, but at times, it also lands more in standard jazz zones. There is some particularly active percussion work at times. The cut makes some intriguing journeys and covers some cool territory in the process.
 
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