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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Leon Alvarado

Charging the Electric Dream

Review by Gary Hill

This newest album from Leon Alvarado has similarities with the other discs of his I've reviewed, but it's also quite different. For one thing, while those other albums had additional musicians on-board, this is strictly a solo creation. Alvarado's keyboard work paints plenty of magic here, and really manages to keep it interesting from start to finish. I'd say that comparisons to other keyboard artists like Synergy are appropriate, but this stands on its own as something unique and effective.

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Track by Track Review
Alternate Frequencies
Keyboards in slow moving, almost machine-like, ways bring this track (and the album) into being. There is sense of drama about it. A bass line (probably played on keys) eventually joins as the track continues to evolve. Other keyboard textures paint melody lines over the top in jabbing ways. Then gradually more melody lines and keyboard voices emerge.
A moving and beautiful keyboard tapestry is heard on this piece. It has a sense of activity, but to me it calls to mind the music of some of the old nature documentaries earlier. Then again, cities are the natural habitat of humans. It becomes more bombastic, and somewhat symphonic further down the road. Mid-track it turns to mellower, mysterious sounding music that gradually begins to rise up, bringing a sense of danger with as it does. It continues to grow outward from there getting more involved and potent as it does.
Space Glitter
This comes in rhythmic and grooving, but also alien and spacey. This is much more playful than anything we've heard so far.
There is almost a funky angle to this thing. It's energized and classy. It also has some suitably spacey stuff, particularly when it drops to mellower stuff.
The Rising Sun
This starts on the mellow end of the spectrum and gradually rises upward. Synthetic textures create drama and mystery in waves of sound that intensify in degrees. A pounding, driving mode emerges abruptly later, getting quite percussive. That gives way to more melodic, and somewhat mellower, drama.
The Electric Dream
I love the energy and almost dangerous vibe to this cut. While this doesn't wander far from its origins, it's an entertaining piece.
Outside The Dream
There is a real classical music vibe on display here. I love the chiming bell that shows up. The cut has a sense of drama and magic about it. It also has a lot of beauty and majesty. It's dynamic, too. This makes for a great closer.
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