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The Aaron Clift Experiment

Lonely Hills

Review by Gary Hill

These guys have quite an interesting sound. At times they have ties to jazz, but overall they are more of a progressive rock act. Still, even within that stylistic label, there’s a lot of variation. We get music here that’s like Genesis, other sections that are closer to Pink Floyd, things that aren’t that far removed from King Crimson and even Lands End seems a valid comparison at times. All in all, though, this is a disc that should appeal to fans of melodic progressive rock with both modern and classic stylistic links.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Seven

Here’s an energetic cut that’s part jam band, part jazz and part progressive rock.

Arsonist Games

There’s a bit of a controlled chaos to the sound on this track. It has a more symphonic prog sound and there’s definitely a great tension to it. Yet there’s also an extremely melodic and sedate movement in the midst. There’s some great guitar soloing on this tune.

Lonely Hills

Starting with piano, this has a modern sound, but yet seems to have some nods to Pink Floyd and early Genesis. It has some intriguing changes and is quite dramatic and powerful. It has a bit of a theatrical air to it.

My Andalusian Love

There is definitely some world music in the mix on this tune. It grows out in a modern progressive rock way. It is one of the most dynamic and diverse tracks. There’s a rather powerful vocal hook and some of the most classic progressive rock is heard at times.

The Castaway Saga
 

Part 1: Shipwrecked

The mysterious sounds that open this feel a bit like King Crimson. It launches out into some great, slightly off-kilter jamming that is extremely tasty from there. This is the coolest song to this point. It has some great swirling angular guitar interposed with more melodic sections. Fusion and King Crimson like jamming make up this awesome track. Still, some of the melodic movements are really exceptional. Around the three and a half minute mark it shifts to a section that somehow makes me think of Rush’s “Natural Science” a bit. From there, though it works out to some progressive rock that at times seems close to Gentle Giant and at other points seems to flirt with King Crimson again. There is some tasty melodic guitar soloing on the number at times. Eventually the sounds of a storm at sea takes the piece out.

Part 2: The Shell

This is a mellower number that’s rather moody and slow. There is a world music edge to it, along with some Pink Floyd and Genesis. It’s a slow moving number with an accessible vocal line. It really has a great pop rock meets progressive symphonic prog. They take it through some changes before exploding out into a killer jam band meets melodic prog movement later. It’s got a lot of energy and feels a bit like Yes through that segment.

Part 3: I. Low Tide

Piano opens this and the vocals come in over the top of that backdrop. It reminds me a bit of Lands End at times as it grows. There is some serious dissonance as this builds in a balladic fashion.

Part 3: II. Staring at Fruit Out of Reach –

At over nine and a half minutes in length, this is a song of epic proportions. It’s also powerful and dynamic, working through a number of changes and alterations. At times, it’s mellow and pretty at other points it’s more rocking. Again, I’m reminded of Lands End at times, but this modern progressive rock even has hints of The Doors at points.

Part 3: III. High Tide

This number has a bit of a world music vibe as it opens. From there it becomes a folk meets progressive rock ballad.

Part 4: Eye of the Storm
They end the set with a bouncy sort of melodic prog tune that’s got a lot of folk music built into it.
 
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