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Ben Noble

Where the Light Comes In

Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed another set from this artist. I was tempted to put that one under progressive rock because it had some pieces that definitely showed off a prog sensibility. Ultimately I opted to put it under non-prog because I felt that the bulk was more a pure folk based sound. This time around Ben Noble has turned a set that's decidedly electronic keyboard based. While there are modern pop elements at play in places, I'd say this does deserve to be included under prog. It's quite an intriguing and diverse set from start to finish, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Night Wakes
Keyboards open this with a cool echoey retro style. The vocals come in bringing more of a modern texture. There is a real electronic proggy sound to this thing. As the rhythm section gets more involved it takes on more modern pop elements. The thing is, as the arrangement fills out more there are jazzy and proggy tendencies brought to bear, too. This cut is so tasty and so cool.
Wolf Eyes
This cut is the shortest one on the disc at a bit less than a minute. Weird keyboard elements are at its core with some hints of voices in the background. It's a trippy, proggy interlude with definite space elements.
Bluebird
Modern electronic pop is the driving factor of this. It does have a modern proggy element at play, too, though. This is an energetic cut that's quite lush in its arrangement.
Steady
Now this one definitely has more of that electronic prog sound to it. The cut works really well with some cool textures and a great energy.
Beneath Your Wings
Mellower and dreamy, this is very pretty. It's a sedate little dream journey. It gets more energized near the end, but overall remains one of the less rocking pieces here.
Turning
This one is very trippy and exploratory. It is another that is decidedly proggy. There is a real "dream sequence" kind of section built into it, too. This is actually quite a ride.
Lionheart
Starting with some percussive bits that showed up at the end of the previous piece, there is a retro keyboard based groove to this number. This gets pretty trippy near the end.
Weeping Willow
Coming out of the previous tune, ambient sounds that ended that one start this. This is a very trippy piece with processed vocals, weird electronic textures and more. While this is among the most modern sounding pieces here, it's also arguably the most art music based.
Blind
Weird processed stuff that almost sounds backtracked starts this cut. It's another tune that lands more in the zone of modern pop music. Yet the trippy, dreamy elements bring the proggy stuff to bear. There is some guitar in this tune lending a bit of a change, but the keyboard elements still dominate. It gets powered up and energized further down the musical road.
Earthshake
This piece is so trippy and freaky. It's also so cool. This is an instrumental that brings some interesting variety to the set.
Child of Earth
A trippy introduction brings this into being. A keyboard and vocal arrangement takes over from there. Eventually this shifts out to a louder, lusher, powered up movement that is very cool. After a time it makes its way down to dreamy sounds for more mellow vocals in a very proggy arrangement.
My Beautiful Blinding Light
Pretty, mellow electronic textures bring this into being. The piece evolves as it continues turning into something that sort of runs between modern textures, electronic prog and 80s electronics like stuff. It's a lush and potent way to end things.
 
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