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E-Life 7

Featuring Michael Pennick - Miked Up

Review by Gary Hill

Let's make this clear at the onset: this is not progressive rock. It is, however, fusion, and we usually land fusion under prog. This time around I opted for "non-prog," though because of the balance of sound. A simple review for this album would be "the bass playing is amazing." I play bass myself, so I really appreciate how good Michael Pennick is. He manages to really shine on every song. The thing is, that might be an accurate review, but it's not a complete one. Everybody on this set plays really well, and these are complete musical arrangements that work very well. While this is mostly instrumental, two songs (well, technically three because there is a remix of one of the songs included here) do have singing.

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
Sunday Night

The horn section kicks this off in style. Then it drops down to some killer funky bass playing. This fusion number really rocks with the bass and guitar stealing a lot of the spotlight.

Chaos
Perhaps a bit less low-key, this is no less interesting. The bass is a big deal on this one, too, lending some killer funk to the sound.
Second Level
Speaking of funky bass shining, that's what starts this cut off in solo fashion. It holds it for a while before the rest of the musicians join for another smoking hot fusion jam.
Smooth Ride
This seems to come in mid-jam. It has a more rock based element for a while before it shifts out to more of a mainstream fusion sound. This is a bit mellower than some of the rest. It's no less magical, though. I love the bass work out on the closing section of the piece.
Inner Beauty
A melodic fusion jam, this has a great groove and some smoking hot bass work. There is some tasty piano work on this number, too.  There is funk is clearly alive on this thing.
That Girl
This cut has a bit more rock built into it. The funk is delivered in style from the bass. The horns sing their souls out. All of it adds up to some killer rocking fusion. There is some scorching guitar soloing delivered on this piece of music.
Tony Rome
I dig the slow, soulful groove on this piece. This thing delivers some awesome musical moments. There is some smoking, expressive guitar soloing. This has some pretty crazy moments later, too.
Sunrise
The groove on this is both classic and classy. It's a killer fusion number with some great horn work.
Feelin You
I love the energy and the vibe of this piece. It has some great changes and really weaves some powerful musical tapestries. This cut has some great soul vocal performances.
Before the Storm
I really dig the slower fusion grind that makes up this number. The piano soloing really shines, too.
Miked Up
There are some vocals on this cut. This thing has a chorus that feels a bit like Parliament to me. The cut is energized, catchy and very meaty. The guitar soloing on this wanders toward heavy metal.
Beautiful Day
This number has a lot more of a rock element to it. It's still definitely jazz rock, but it lands closer to the rock heading than anything else here does. The keyboard soloing on this one really sells it. There is some soaring, scorching hot guitar soloing, too.
Tony Rome (radio edit)
Here we get the first of two radio edits on the disc. This does a great job of capturing the magic of the piece and not really losing anything in the process. Of course, it's only about half a minute shorter than the full version.
Feelin You (radio edit)
This is a couple minutes shorter than the full-length version of the song. The cut works well in this configuration.
 
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