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Ian Narcisi

The Story of Blue: The Journey

Review by Gary Hill

Ian Narcissi always creates progressive rock that’s fairly mainstream and accessible. This new disc (the second in a trilogy) is no exception. A lot of this has quite a bit of psychedelia built into it. All of it is strong. I really enjoy this set. I’d also bet that most people who like their prog in the general AOR vicinity would like it, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Fall Away

In some ways, this makes me think of Prince. This is a cool psychedelic rocker with a real groove.

Dawn
Proggy psychedelia creates the musical concept here. There are some great melodies. The percussion is busy, but also very tasty.
Pieces
Another rather trippy number, this makes me think of a proggier version of Jellyfish in a lot of ways. This is good stuff for sure. I dig the cool instrumental section on this. The keyboards are great.
Beyond
No big changes here, this is another mid-tempo prog meets psychedelic rock styled tune. For some reason, though, this one seems to stand out a bit more than some of the rest here. It does shift into some weirdness for a bit, and then move out to piano. A harder rocking jam emerges from there that is one of the hardest edged jams of the disc. As it continues to evolve there is a short bit that makes me think of Queen before the piano takes it again, unaccompanied for a time. More hard rocking stuff emerges. Piano takes control at the end, though.
Olympus Mons
Speaking of piano, that drives the first three or so minutes of this cut. From there it powers out into a killer rocking number. This thing is dynamic and diverse, having classically inspired moments in the piano driven ones, things that are almost jazz and also hard rocking music. There are other segments that are decidedly melodic progressive rock. This instrumental is really quite a ride. I love the scorching hot guitar soloing later in the piece. Honestly, this is one of my favorites of the album.
Song of the Saints
This rocking number is more purely prog in a lot of ways. It has an almost space rock vibe in some ways. Some of the jamming later in this number makes me think of Pink Floyd just a bit.
Come of Age (New Sun)
A scorching hot tune, the hard rocking sounds on this are incredibly. This is definitely progressive rock, but it has a crunchy edge. It does drop down to mellower stuff at times. I’d have to chalk this up as the best song of the disc.
 
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