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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Brian Woodbury

Rhapsody & Filigree

Review by Gary Hill

This album is decidedly progressive rock based. This is definitely not AOR styled prog. It's of the more experimental school of sound. There is a lot of jazz here, but even then, this isn't simple jazz by any means. This is challenging music that takes the road-less-travelled and changes drastically and frequently. It's also some of the most interesting stuff I've heard in a while.

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Track by Track Review
Theseus Rex feat. Tulasi Rain, Derek Day & Rob Shapiro
There is a theatrical, jazzy vibe to the vocals on this track here. The cut comes in with a folk-like arrangement, but it shifts to jazzy, proggy sounds. The timings are strange and switch frequently. This is very complex and challenging music. As the female vocals join, I'm reminded of Frank Zappa to some degree. The number just keeps shifting and evolving. At nearly nine-and-a-half minutes long, it's an epic piece in size. It's also epic in scope. There is a full old-school prog jam later, but that's not very long. Around the four-and-a-half minutes in we get a twist toward metallic prog that is heavy and a bit King Crimson-like. This just keeps shifting and changing from there, though. Don't get comfortable anywhere on this because it will change very soon. Sometimes it feels like you just can't get your balance on this thing because it's so rapidly changing and unusual.
The Other Brian Woodbury
A horn brings this in. The track works into a cool jazz meets musical theater kind of arrangement. This twists and turns, but it's less off-kilter and dynamic than the opener. Don't interpret that as meaning this is mainstream. It's very Zappa-like and odd. The lyrics with their weird, rather funny vibe, don't seem that far off from Zappa, either.
Where It Came From
A mellower and jazzy piece, there is a lot of intricate guitar on this piece. It's less dynamic than either of the songs that preceded it, but it does still evolve.
Two Halves
Hard rocking sounds and edgy shifts and changes are on the menu here. This strange piece is another that makes me think of Zappa in its seemingly freeform concepts. This is another that is twisted enough and changes fast enough that it's hard to really get comfortable within it. It's very complex and challenging
We Are the Sun feat. Naomi Adele Smith & Johnny Unicorn
In some ways this is more melodic. it has these angular shifts on the backing vocals that are rather jazzy. For some reason there are moments of this that make me think of Yes. The piece is still quite experimental and challenging. It's just more oddly accessible than some of the other things here. This is packed full of rapid fire changes in its strange twists.
Dystopian Fantasy
This is a fairly short (less than two-minutes) track, that's very jazz oriented. It's oddly off-kilter, rapidly shifting and intriguing.
Everybody's Gonna Be the Same feat. Jonathan Feinberg
There is an intriguing intro that give way to more rapid-fire, off-kilter freeform jazz based stuff. This is another particularly challenging song.
How Soon We Forget, How Long We Remember feat. Amy Denio, Amy Engelhardt, Bill Burnett, Jonathan Feinberg, Paul F. Perry, Tulasi Rain & Johnny Unicorn
There is a lot of folk and world music on this. The weirdness and odd angles remain. The track has some definite jazzy angles at times. While the changes aren't as quick on this, there are so many different sections. It even gets into come Celtic zones later, and then klesmer music takes over.  
The Honorable Mention
Less than a minute-and-a-half long, this is fairly mellow. It has both male and female vocals. It's packed full of jazz weirdness.
This Golden Hour
This is one of my favorite pieces here. It's perhaps more accessible, yet it still has rapid fire changes and off-kilter angles. It does have some soaring moments and the more symphonic arrangement works well.
The Day the Music Never Died
The same sort of jazzy, rapidly changing challenging concept is on hand here at times. This is another solid entry to the album. It has a section that is among the most accessible here, too. This is another highlight of the disc
Piano and vocals bring this track into being. It's bouncy, playful and fun with a jazz meets classical approach. While the instrumentation doesn't change (other than some other keys added late as icing on the cake), this has a lot of twists and turns.
Murderer feat. Brian Dewan
Dramatic jazzy concepts are on the menu here. We get world music, musical theater and more here as the track continues.
Intelligent Life
Twisting and turning, this has some freaky jazzy vibes and grooves. There are some especially effective sections on this thing. I'm definitely reminded of Zappa at times on this thing.  This gets a parental advisory for the lyrics. There are some theatrical things on this later. It also turns particularly weird at points.
Bad Timing
Hard rocking at times, this is a strange ever changing thing. It makes me think of The Residents gone jazzy. This is another with a parental advisory.  It has some many strange changes and different styles and sections built into it.
When Byron Swam
Piano and vocals are the concept here. This is just over a minute-and-a-half long. There are some classical vibes in a lot of the piano work on this number.
Our Cattywampus World
Strange percussive elements start this. Weird music comes in for the entrance of the vocals. This is somewhat understated, but it's also some of the most insane music of the album. That says a lot.
Brief Mass feat. Anand Brian Darsie, Kathi Funston & Tulasi Rain
There is a dramatic, operatic sort of angle to this. The lyrics are in Latin. The music has jazz, classical and more in the mix. This might say "brief" in the title, but it's over seven-and-a-half minutes long. It is one of the least challenging pieces here.
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