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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Reuter Motzer Grohowsky

Shapeshifters

Review by Gary Hill

Markus Reuter in combinations with various musicians has created quite a catalog of intriguing instrumental progressive rock. This new collection with Tim Motzer and Kenny Grohowski is no exception. These pieces are called "instant compositions" because they were created while being played live. I think every piece here is effective and strong, but there are moments that shine brighter than others. Everything evolves nicely and organically, though. This might actually be one of my favorites from Reuter's collaborations.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Dark Sparks
At nearly 23-minutes long, this is the epic of the piece. It rises up atmospheric and works out gradually from there. It has a mellower, textural freeform evolution for quite some time. By around the seven-and-a-half minute mark the cut gets more intense as it rises up and begins to explore noisier soundscapes. It get rocking in an almost modern King Crimson vein by around the eleven-minute mark. The tune works toward a freeform nearly stoner rock kind of element at points. It drifts toward spacey atmospheric weirdness from there. I love the jamming the bass end gets into as this continues to explore soundscapes.
Transmutation
While this is shorter than the opener, it's almost 18-and-a-half minutes long. It comes in almost like an extension of the previous piece. Trippy atmospheric textures drive it as it works outward. A killer rocking groove emerges as part of the sonic tapestry past the four-minute mark. As they continue to explore those musical concepts it reminds me a bit of Liquid Tension Experiment. This gets pretty powered up and a little chaotic as it drives onward. As it approaches the half-way mark it drops do a rubbery kind of jam that is mellower, but has no shortage of weirdness. The exploration turns toward sounds like some weird psychedelic distortion induced soundtrack. It gets seriously rocking as the guitar sounds scream overhead as it continues. That peaks and gives way to near silence to end it.
Cyphers
Each song here is shorter than the one that preceded it, and this is almost exactly fourteen-minutes long. The track comes in atmospheric. As it builds there is a tension. It really feels like it could be the soundtrack to a twisted scene in a thriller or science fiction film. The piece turns toward echoey zones as it starts to build out into more of an energetic exploration. This gets super distorted and heavy later. Again I'm reminded of stoner rock, and even more so this time. This gets intense, hard rocking and rather crazed as it continues to evolve.
Burn to Aether
The shortest piece here, this is still almost nine-minutes long. Mellow atmospherics bring it in. I dig some of the killer rocking grooves that emerge on this a lot. There is a real mainstream rock vibe to some of this tune. That' might be why I like this one best of the whole set. The bass jamming on this thing is on fire. This has a real power trio vibe to it a lot of the time. Yet, with this outfit you know there is going to be an experimental, proggy twist, and there is. This gets incredibly frenetic and intense before it's done. It definitely gets noisy, but in a good way in the closing section. This really is a great way to end the album.
 
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