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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

David Cross and Peter Banks

Crossover

Review by Gary Hill

Peter Banks was the original guitarist in Yes, formed the band Flash after that, and created solo music for years, in addition to other projects like his Empire band. He passed away in 2013. This set was recorded a few years earlier and Banks had wanted it to be released. Now, in 2020, that dream comes true. The music here is all instrumental. There is a real fusion meets space music vibe to a lot of it. There is quite a bit of variety built into it.

In addition to David Cross (violin) and Banks, there are some notable guest performers. Quite a few Yes members past and present are included here. Pat Mastelotto (of Mister Mister, King Crimson and more) is another notable guest. Jeremy Stacey (Lemon Trees, The Syn and King Crimson) is another.  All in all, they've put together an interesting set of musical pieces. I'm glad it's finally seen the light of day.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Rock To A Hard Place
This killer cut does a great job of combining a fairly hard rock element with fusion at the start. It later wanders into trippy spaceyness. Both Banks' guitar and Cross' violin feature prominently, as you would imagine. Geoffrey Downes handles the keyboards here, and Stacey provides the drums. The tune really goes through a lot of flavors at points feel a bit King Crimson-like, while at others leaning heavily on a space music concept. Still, neither of those two are dominant the whole cut, as this is particularly dynamic. There are such dramatic bits of instrumental weirdness built into the piece.
Upshift
Here we get a full on fusion jam that is so classy. In addition to Banks, this features four other Yes alums (Tony Kaye - organ, Billy  Sherwood - bass, Oliver Wakeman - keys and Jay Schellen - drums). While this cut is not as effective as the opener was, it's still a cool journey.
The Smile Frequency
Coming in very trippy and spacey, this cut includes Randy Raine-Reusch on "world instruments" and the return of Wakeman on keyboards. It's a mellower number that has some intriguing textures and moods built into it. There is a decent amount of exploration on this musical road before it's over.
The Work Within
Andy Jackson provides sound effects on this piece. The number is quite mellow and freeform in nature for the bulk of its run. Even when it does power up a bit later, it's relative. There is a real trippy nature to this thing.
Missing Time
This piece also lands in the mellower, atmospheric zone. It has more of that ambient trippy element, but there is an edgy sense of danger and mystery to it.
Plasma Drive
Some of the first half of this cut makes me think of the trippy side of Yes' Relayer album a bit. There is such a cool spaceyness to that section.  Pat Mastelotto handles the percussion while Sherwood (bass) and Wakeman (keyboards) both return. The number shifts out to a more rocking kind of sound from there. It works it through in style.
Laughing Strange
Stacey (drums) and Kaye (organ) are back on this number. This cut has a lot of varying flavors and shifts built into it. It gets into some seriously rocking King Crimson-like zones at times, while focusing on more melodic fusion zones at others. It's quite a smoking hot tune. In fact, it's among my favorites here, in part because of all the changes they build into it.
Crossover
Violin starts the closing title track, and the atmosphere turns mysterious and spacey as it moves out from there. It is another that feels rather freeform and has some great freaky textures to it.
 
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