Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
 

Squintaloo

Über Bord!

Review by Gary Hill

Squintaloo is a new German outfit. They are an instrumental act (well, the final song has a few vocals at the end). They play a variety of music that's hard to pin down except as avant-garde and progressive. It can be noisy, in both industrial ways and along the lines of modern King Crimson. It can be world music based at times. It's always interesting, and no piece really feels like any other. If you like heavy modern instrumental prog, do yourself a favor and give this a try. It's unique and very effective.

 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Animal Privateer

Starting with keyboards, waves of noisy feedback laden stuff emerge. The cut works forward like that for a time before pounding out into a jam that's part stoner rock, part space rock and part pure prog. This continues reinventing itself. There are parts that are more aligned with classically based melodic progressive rock. Other things lean toward a techno/industrial interpretation of 1990s King Crimson. However you label it, though, this is steadily shifting powerhouse instrumental prog of the highest order. It's so classy. They take it through a cool dropped back jam and then move out into some killer world music from there. It explodes into fast paced, fired up prog when they come out from there. This thing gets to intense as it works toward its next movement. It continues to shift and change from there, with some weird, but tasty, sounds fighting for control. It turns toward more melodic, mainstream prog later, but continues driving in terms of tempo and intensity.

Nigeraurak's Dream
The opening movement of this piece seems to merge world music and fast paced prog rock into a quirky but effective jam. It shifts after a while to more hard rocking, almost metallic stuff. The changes continue to ensue, though, and it works to something that seems related to Dream Theater and Spock's Beard. It drops way down around the half way mark to a mellow and quirky little section that feels quite freeform. As it approaches the five minute mark the bass rises up to guide the tune into the next section. That turns into sort of a space rock meets post prog kind of jam that has hints of both metal and punk in the mix. It's a powerhouse. That movement works through some changes and takes the cut to its close.
Kara Buran
Coming in tentatively and rather strange, the opening sections here almost feel like a science fiction film soundtrack with some world music built into it. This evolves gradually, but eventually works into something more along the lines of 1990s King Crimson with some space music added to the mix. There are some synthesizers that sound like flying saucers. The cut turns heavier and crunchier from there. This is a screaming hot in that section. It lands near the heavy metal end of the spectrum. They get back into the Crimson-like jamming, but this has some seriously noisy stuff infused over the top further down the road. It really gets crazed as it marches forward.
Zirrostratus (The Fog Wonders)
Space rock, world music and jam band sounds seem to merge on the opening section here. This is less intense and more melodic than the closing parts of the last cut were. It's no less compelling. As this works forward it eventually makes its way into more intense and fierce territory. It gets crunchy and driving. It drops back to the mellower stuff around the three-minute mark. It gets back into the more rocking, crazed stuff eventually, but then drops back again to some trippy, almost psychedelic stuff from there. It wanders through some intriguing stuff before powering back up into some cool melodic prog jamming to continue.
Elmsfeuer
Acoustic guitar based, this is short at just over two minutes in length. It's a mellow exploration with some spacey things over the top of that guitar.    
Über Bord
This powers in with a driving, yet melodic, prog rock sound. It gets intense and crunchy with some fierce stuff over the top later. The cut is a powerhouse prog rock number with a metallic edge and some hints of fusion in it. It has some King Crimson like sections and other intriguing bits. Overall it remains fairly constant until around the half-way mark when it drops back to sort of a tuned percussion segment. It rises up gradually from there with hints of space music driving the sounds that start to come in over the top. The guitar playing has some definite world music in the mix, too. It gets into more melodic prog territory with hints of psychedelia as it pushes onward. Fast paced prog jamming more in keeping with the earlier section eventually takes over the driver's seat. It makes sense for this to be the title track because it's arguably the best thing here. It really elevates to some powerhouse intensity before they take it to the end.
3 Kraken
Melodic sounds related to tuned percussion open this. There is a definite hint of mystery as it works forward with a world music inspired sound. This is mellower and more purely melodic. There is a driving percussive element, though.
Fakir don pipone
A driving, rocking prog jam ensues right at the start. It has a cool staccato vibe. There is a world music sound driving a lot of the melodies here. This shifts and turns, but never really moves far from it's path. It's like minor course corrections along a path. That is, until around the three minute mark where it drops way down and moves forward with a trippy kind of atmospheric weirdness with some sound effects built into it. This gradually works forward and eventually becomes a pounding, driving prog rock jam. It modulates out to a section with a bit of a staggered timing. Then it works out from there into another prog jam that has a lot of world music built into it. This really swirls upward to an intense jam, a bit like a whirling dervish. Then after the eight minute mark it drops back to a mellower, spacey movement to continue. It power back out into another smoking hot prog jam from there. It makes for a great closing to the piece.
Peg Leg Copperjaws
Coming in tentative and a little weird, this grows out gradually for a time. Then it powers to more of the King Crimson-like jamming. The cut is built around a circular kind of blast pattern of sound. It gets rather industrial for a while, but then drops back. It fires out into frantic jamming that's more direct from there. That section really resembles space rock in a lot of ways. By around the four minute mark it's transformed into a seriously powerful movement that has a heavy texture and driving intensity. There is some horn driven stuff around the five minute mark. From there it gets more world music driven as it continues in avant-garde ways. Around the seven and a half minute we're taken abruptly into a weird psychedelia meets world music section that has some vocals. Those vocals are like chanting in a foreign language. That movement eventually fades down to end the piece.
 
Return
 
Google

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2017 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./Beetcafe.com