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Stratus Luna

Stratus Luna

Review by Gary Hill

This is an instrumental album. The sounds range from prog to fusion and the territory in between. This is quite an entertaining set with a lot of different flavors. It is varied enough to avoid every feeling tired or redundant.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Nimue
Coming in echoey and synthesized, I'm reminded quite a bit of Tangerine Dream as this works outward. Around the 45-second mark more of a rocking element begins to emerge as the piece continues to evolve. As it approaches the minute-and-a-half mark a new prog rock intensity emerges. That peaks, though, and the cut drops back to a balladic, guitar based movement before gradually rising up with sort of a fusion element at play. This piece continues to shift in change with that melodic fusion concept being the dominant one. A cool synthesizer bit takes it around the four-minute mark. The evolution continues as they work through with fusion meets prog jamming from there to eventually take it to the end.
O Centro Do Labirinto
Keys bring this into being in dramatic fashion. The rest of the band join, creating a killer prog rock movement as they do. This is fast paced and ever shifting with different instruments taking command. As it nears the two-minute mark a cool, more pure rock movement emerges. Mind you, it's still proggy, but not really very fusion oriented. I love the guitar sound on that movement, and the soaring melodic guitar soloing a bit further down the road just adds to that. After that works through, they drop it back to a mellower dreamy sort of section. Don't get too content in any one place, though. They keep this thing shifting and changing, eventually making their way into more pure rock based prog that's so tasty.
Zarabatana
This comes in dramatic and so tasty. The tones here range from more of a pure fusion to a real 1970s progressive rock intensity. It has some smoking hot shifts and changes. After changing and working through in a hard rocking (but melodic way), the cut shifts toward mellow psychedelia after the two-and-a-half minute mark. We're taken into space as it continues. It works toward more of a folk prog element as it continues, but those psychedelic things are still in the mix. Making its way back toward the earlier sections, there is a false ending. Drums take over before the band explodes into some scorching hot prog rock jamming. It turns toward more of a jazzy thing as it deftly makes its way around a corner. Guitar soloing that makes me think of early Peter Banks is heard as they drive onward. It eventually works out to some seriously hard rocking stuff as a dramatic and slightly crazed build up takes it. That resolves to more melodic, but still rocking, prog jamming. It breaks to a cool, almost Dregsish, hard rocking break before ambient things take it to the end.
Pandas Voadores
A cool old-school prog sound opens this thing. The cut works to a killer jazzy groove as it gets into the next section. By the time it approaches the two minute mark, it has evolved to a powerhouse jam, but then dropped away to a bass and keyboard jam. I can hear hints of The Doors as it evolves outward from there. The stereo separation on this piece is particularly noteworthy. It has some great jazz meets prog and psychedelia built into it, too. There are some crazed changes and jamming that emerge as this makes its way forward. It's a real powerhouse that never ceases to surprise. This drops to keys at the end, segueing into the next number.
N.R.E.M.-1
This composition is a short one (comparatively) at less than two-and-a-half minutes. It is a keyboard interlude, essentially, feeling a lot like Tangerine Dream or Vangelis. It's is intriguing and a nice change, but it's sort of a connecting piece, really.
Onírica
Keyboards bring this into being. They work out from there with a cool fusion meets prog jam. It eventually makes its way to a melodic fusion meets prog jam to continue. By around the two-and-a-half minute mark they have evolved this to a sound that has a hard rocking texture not far removed from Deep Purple, but still delivered with plenty of prog. The cut continues to grow and change from there. The number continues to shift and evolve, working to more pure melodic fusion as it works onward. There are some particularly cool keyboard sounds as this continues toward the closing.
Efêmera
A cool fast paced prog flourish opens this. The track works to a classic Pink Floyd type of texture from there. It works forward with more fusion elements grated onto the arrangement. This piece shifts and turns, moving into more pure jazz for a while after the two minute mark. It's an inspired, fast paced jam from there that makes me think of Al Di Meola just a bit. The cut eventually drops down to atmospherics before rising upward with a piano dominated movement. Guitar climbs over the top for an evocative solo. The piece turns toward some powerhouse jamming before it's all over and done.
 
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