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Moon Over Mountain

Champagne And Brass

Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed another set for this act. I liked that one quite a bit, but I think this is even stronger with the exception of one element. I'm referring to the drum machine sound that emerges on a lot of the songs. It definitely detracts from the music. Still, this holds up pretty well despite that. While quite a few of the songs here are instrumental, there are vocal numbers, too. This lands somewhere between new age and progressive rock.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Champagne & Brass
Intricate guitar brings this into being. Chiming bells are added to the mix. As the cut moves forward it is classy with horns and the other elements driving it. The percussion track feels like a drum machine and really takes away from the piece, though. If they were further down in the mix, it would probably work better, but they are right out front. It's a shame, too, because this has some great keyboard sounds and cool classical meets proggy elements.
First Snowfall
A drawn out "snowfall," starts the cut. Intricate, mellow musical textures are on the menu as the cut works outward from there. Again, the percussion track is too far up in the mix and too artificial to really serve the track well. That said, it drops back more at points, and this is more effective then. This does much better in that regard than the opener did. Eventually more vocals are heard, still slowly moving. They are angelic and rather dreamy, but also soaring at times.
Alone in the City
There is a real drama and beauty here. Classical music meets electronic and new age. I love the angelic vocal arrangement on this. The percussion feels more organic and works better on this number. The melodies are strong, and this is one of the highlights of the set.
Have Our Dreams Come to This?
This makes me think of things like Synergy and Tangerine Dream in a lot of ways. It's a potent piece of proggy goodness. This instrumental is one of the best pieces here.
Close to My Heart
Chorale style vocals are on display here. This song has some nice melodies, driven home with an electronic sort of arrangement. It's a classy piece of music.
The Man Who Spoke 10,000 Truths
Intricate and rather organic, this still manages to channel that Tangerine Dream meets Synergy kind of thing. Then, as it approaches the minute-and-a-half mark, the cut changes completely. The drum machine kind of thing returns. That is accompanied by a bass-like line. The tune begins to build back outward from there with an electronic groove that feels just a bit low-rent. Still, it's pretty and new age like. Then lush, mellower sounds take control for a bit. They return to the earlier modes after that.
Evening Falls
A pretty and gentle tune as it starts, I really love the vocals on this. The cut gets more involved and dramatic as it works onward. It becomes sort of new age goes prog.
Kyoto 21
I like the melodies and vocals on this cut, but this is another that's marred just a bit by the percussion. It's a short tune, though.
Colorado Dreaming

Progressive rock merges with new age and more on this cut. There is almost a folk rock vibe, if you imagine this stripped down to just a basic arrangement. This is lush and effective.

Passing Sacred Ground
Multiple layers of vocals are on display here. The cut features an intricate musical arrangement. It does suffer a little from the percussion element, but overall is an effective song.
Welcome to Life
This has some good melodies and vibes, but again the drum machine element detracts at times. Still, much of this is mellow and therefore doesn't have that aspect to it.
AOC

There is a Latin vibe to this piece. A dramatic drum corps kind of arrangement gone electronic is at the heart of the song. This is energetic, fun and classy. It's not my favorite piece, but it's the most "different" one.

 
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