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Hillmen

The Whiskey Mountain Sessions Vol. II

Review by Gary Hill

I reviewed the first volume from this act when it was released. This is the new edition. Like the previous one, it's instrumental music. Also like that one it has a lot of jam band and jazz in the mix. This set gets pretty heavily into space music and more. The shortest track here is almost nine minutes in length. With Djam Karet's Gayle Ellett on hand, you would expect nothing but quality. That's what they deliver, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Long Way Home
Percussion starts this. The cut grows out into sort of a jazzy fusion groove from there. This has some definite funk in the mix. I love the keyboard work that rises over the top after a while. The jam just oozes cool as it continues to evolve. As it works forward it makes its way into something closer to a Grateful Dead jam. Some of the echoey guitar soloing is particularly noteworthy. The spacey elements that emerge as it works forward are also especially effective. It turns toward some seriously trippy stuff as it continues. This cut is of epic proportions, taking up almost 20 and a half minutes of the disc. They make great use of all that space by really creating a lot of different shapes and structures of sound.
The Mestizo Insect Frog Jam

Less than half the length of the opener, percussion starts this one, too. The piece grows outward with more of a cool prog psychedelic sound. This doesn't evolve quickly, but it sure covers a lot of ground. It gets very intense at times as they drive it onward.

Fire Breather
The shortest cut here, this is almost nine minutes long. The rhythm section brings it into being. Some cool jazz guitar soloing is heard as it develops. This eventually makes its way through a number of changes as the jam continues. It has some of the most directly progressive rock oriented stuff of the whole set at times. Both killer keyboard work and powerhouse guitar playing are delivered on this number.
 
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