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Alya

Ten Years of Solitude

Review by Gary Hill

Do I think this is progressive rock? Maybe it is. It's certainly not progressive rock in the traditional 70s sense of the term, but it clearly has connections to that. It is very much art-rock of a modern variety, though. There are things here that feel related to modern pop like Lady Gaga, but at the same time this stretches far beyond that. The music brings in plenty of electronic sound, but also adds jazz, classical and hard rock. It all serves to create something that's quite effective and varied.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Animals
Piano starts this. The cut works out from there to a jazzy kind of artsy arrangement. There is psychedelia built into this. There are also plenty of classical leanings. It eventually grows out to some rather noisy rocking territory. The mix of sounds on here is rather chaotic and crazy, but somehow it works really well.
Seven
Coming in more percussive and electronic, this is less crazed, but no less cool. I'm reminded a bit of Kate Bush on this. I can also hear some of the duo Mask. This has some soaring sections and a great energy. It's still very artistic and suitably left of center. There is a cool movement further down the road with some intriguing whispered vocals.
Half of the Sun
Driving rock along with jazz and more makes up this cut. There are some modern pop music elements here, but twisted in ways that you wouldn't imagine it getting played on pop radio. I love the guitar riff that drives a lot of this. There are some many layers of sound coming in from weird angles and somehow making this work.
Heart Shaped ...
The keyboard textures that open this are retro. The cut works out to something that has a lot of jazz built into it. There is plenty of rock and more, though. This is another that is very artistic in nature.
Puppet Strings
Symphonic strings bring this in with a decidedly classical bent. The cut gets some electronic music added to the mix to herald the vocals. This gets into some particularly driving territory at times, really rocking. Yet it returns to the strings to end.
Twenty Six

An almost grunge rock meets metal and psychedelia sound brings this into being. It's a powerhouse rocker with some killer instrumental sounds driving it. It still manages to bring in plenty of the art rock trappings through overlayers of sound. There are some weird changes. Some odd processed vocals later are a cool touch. This is one of the highlights of the disc. It's a screamer that works so well.

Angel
While in some ways this is a more mainstream cut, it still has plenty of unusual elements to keep it from being anything run of the mill. There is a lot of energy and cool here.
Hachiko
Strings, piano and voice bring this in with a mellow musical concept. It's a stark contrast to the previous piece. While the arrangement remains simple in terms of instrumentation and layers, the music gets involved and quite soaring at times. There are a lot of intriguing changes. The full string section that takes over later lends some real classical music to it. This is a particularly pretty song and another highlight of the set.
Romano

There are some decidedly Asian elements at play on this song. Some traditional Asian instrumentation is also heard at times. Beyond that this is a rocking kind of piece with a lot of energy and intensity. There is an electronic spoken bit at one point, too. This is a real powerhouse cut.

Colorful Dreams
Piano and voice open this with a real old-school jazz texture. It grows outward as a torch song for a bit. Then a weird effect hits the track like it's stuck or erroring out digitally. It gets an electronic twist from there. As the cut continues to move forward those jazz elements are still present, but with some particularly odd, yet cool, electronic effects. There is a dream-like quality to this, but it not a restive dream.  

           

 
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