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Peter Banks

Self-Contained

Review by Gary Hill

This album from Peter Banks is perhaps not his strongest solo set. That said, it has some very strong material. At times it seems to lack direction and get a bit on the wandering side. Still, there is a lot of great music here. I should note that this lands here under "Peter Banks," but it's actually credited as "Pete Banks." It fits under "Peter" here for two reasons. First, that's because it's how we have him listed in Music Street Journal. Secondly, it actually is listed as "Peter" on the box set I'm also reviewing in this issue (The Self-Contained Trilogy) of which this is one of three discs in the set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Radio Foreplay
The sounds of someone walking around open this. Then, as you might imagine, we hear someone searching through radio channels.
Endless Journey
Mellow and rather ambient, this is a cool bit of ambience. There are bits of people talking about music.
More Foreplay
Here we get some strange sound effects and in-studio elements. This ends with some noisy guitar playing.
Massive Trouser Clearance
This starts a bit tentatively but turns out to the most song-oriented piece here. It has some killer fusion elements at play. The cut has some cool changes and has some definite rock-oriented moments. It also gets into more dropped back, electronic styled things. I really dig the guitar work on this, but that is pretty much a given.
Lost Days
There is a little radio snippet of two people talking about Yes. Then some moody, mellower music rises up to drive the piece forward. While pretty, there is a melancholy vibe to this cut.
Away Days
Some killer fusion drives this number. It has a good groove and works well.
Two Sides
This short piece lands in the mellow end of the equation. It's a tasty number.
Self-Contained
The title track is intricate, mellow and pretty.
Clues
With quite a few sound bites in the mix, this rises up with a cool rock meets fusion groove. This is energized and a lot of fun. It has some particularly soaring moments as it drives onward. There is really some powerhouse jamming as this evolves. The closing bit is such a cool rocking jam.
The Three Realms
Mellower music with nature sounds leads this piece into being. This develops and gets pretty involved, yet it still remains in the sedate zone. There is some killer guitar work built into it. There is a little piano before this glides into the next number.
Tell Me When
Another mellower cut, this has some tasty guitar work early in the number to lead it off nicely. This is really pretty and has a great flow to it. It has some great fusion as it grows upward.
Funkin' Profundity
There are some sounds of nature at the start of this. Then a weird electronic prog groove is heard. Tribal percussion rises up as this works forward. Sound clips are a big part of this cut. It has a real world music meets funk kind of vibe to it. This gets really intense as the guitar drives it upward as it moves forward. It becomes a real screamer.
It's All Greek to Me

                 

The Great Dionysia

With sound bites at the start, this works out to some cool rocking stuff from there. The guitar soloing on this thing gets pretty darned intense as it drives forward. There are some voices on this, but they are loops. That's when the song drops way down to continue.

Erotokritos
A mellower cut this is quite pretty and works well. It has suitably Greek oriented music elements at play.
Less Talk
This is another cool instrumental piece. It feels a bit like an extension of the last one. Then again they are both movements of the same piece.
Oriental Bent
Coming in energized and more rocking, this is killer stuff. It really has some great musical elements at play. There are definite fusion elements in the mix.
In an Idyll Momentum

A mellower piece, this seems to come out of the last one. It has some shifts and changes as it works through.

Unnatural History
This gets into some noisier territory while still remaining reasonably understated.
Greekspeak
This is a strange bit of fusion that has some killer guitar work.
The Great Stifado
Built on a real rocking groove, this is classy stuff. .
Thinking of You
This mellower piece is quite pretty.
 
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