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Heavy Water Experiments

Heavy Water Experiments

Review by Gary Hill

This may be a new band, but the main man behind the project is not a new name. David Melbye has been featured at MSJ through his work with Imogene, Fuzz Beloved and Ludivine. While all of those projects shared some common ground in terms of psychedelia meets progressive rock, Melbye has upped the stakes here and given us the best album of the bunch. The majority of the music here has a lot in common with both Porcupine Tree and early Pink Floyd, you’ll also hear other sounds that might call to mind bands like King Crimson and Rush. All in all this is a killer album that’s both progressively challenging and catchy. Melbye handles all the vocals, guitars, basses and keyboards on this album while Roberto Salguero keeps the beat on drums and other percussion. The one exception to that is the fact that Erinn Williamson lends her voice to “Conflagration Song.”

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Goldenthroat
A cool psychedelia meets Pink Floyd texture pervades the balladic section that leads us off here. After a short time like this a heavy section with a great riff joins for a time. They drop it way back down for the verse – an atmospheric, trippy sort of thing. After another heavy segment we get a vocal based movement that really calls to mind Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd quite a bit. As one might guess that heavy riff takes us out from there. The song continues with alterations between these segments. We get a cool classic rock styled guitar solo. At least I think it’s guitar. It might almost be an eight string bass guitar. Either way it has a cool fuzzy sound. We are pulled through a non-lyrical vocal section that’s quite cool. Eventually this whole thing gives way to an acoustic guitar treatment that close it out.

Mirror The Sky
After a short psychedelic motif we get a heavy mode. Mind you, this is mostly heavy due to a fuzz bass. This takes it through for a short time before they drop it way down for the verse, but they bring it back into this heavier section for the chorus. They take this through several alterations and variations. Overall it comes across as sort of early Pink Floyd meets Porcupine Tree and Tool.

Anodyne
They start this one on acoustic guitar. It quickly launches into a jam that’s rather like The Pixies. This gives way to a more powered up version of the acoustic section for the verse. Although this alternates between these elements they more melodic section gets quite developed and potent in later iterations.
Clairvoyance
The extensive introduction here is rather metallic but has a definite King Crimson-like edge to it. The tune is dropped back to the mellower for the verse, but powers back up for the chorus. This powerhouse is one of my favorites on the disc. It is a killer and includes some awesome bass work.
Neverlove
The heavier riff driven portion of this song reminds me of early Rush. The Pink Floyd elements (along with Porcupine Tree) are heard again on the mellower section of the track. This has a cool space interlude built into it.
Oracles
This differs from a lot of the other music here in that it doesn’t alternate between a mellower, more melodic segment and harder edged music. It tends to stay in the more sedate patterns. It’s got a psychedelic texture to it and also feels a lot like Porcupine Tree.
Octavian
A psychedelic world music texture brings this in with percussion playing a big part. This doesn’t move far from this musical concept, but rather just expands upon the theme.
Otherland
The motif that starts this off reminds me of King Crimson quite a bit, but it’s also got a weird psychedelia texture to it. They alternate it with a more purely psychedelic element for the verses. This tune is odd, but also extremely cool.
Dementia
Despite the title this is another that stays mellower and more melodic. It has some definite Porcupine Tree elements, but also more of that early Pink Floyd sound.
Conflagration Song
This one is (appropriately) more incendiary in nature. It has a lot in common with King Crimson, but there are other more psychedelic sounds here, too. It’s the only cut on the disc that includes some female vocals.

Solitude
The harder edged riff that drives this reminds me a bit of modern King Crimson melded with Frank Zappa. The melodic motif has more of those Porcupine Tree and early Pink Floyd elements.
Book Colored Blue
The wall of sound that starts this track feels a lot like early King Crimson. They turn this into a more modern psychedelia meets prog motif for the verses and we get some hints of jazz in the mix. There is a cool heavier riff later in the cut that reminds me again of Rush. They move us organically through a number of changes in this epic number. At almost ten minutes in length it’s the longest cut on show here – by quite a bit. It includes some pretty awesome music and has some of the most retro-oriented textures at times.
 
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