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Brent Magstadt

Fuse

Review by Gary Hill

This instrumental set is dramatic and intriguing. It has quite a wide range of sounds from jazz oriented to more pure prog and even some other things. For me the most obvious comparison is to the solo work of Steve Howe, but that only fits so well, and really doesn't apply at all on some tracks. Whatever you label this, it's effective.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Blue Sunrise
Horn starts the album. A more rock based arrangement rises up from there. The cut shifts toward an arrangement that is decidedly jazz prog meets fusion as it continues. There are fascinating twists and turns built into this with a lot of drama and charm.
Fuse
A structure that's more mainstream rock based brings this into being. Still there are plenty of prog and jazz elements at play. A tasteful guitar solo comes over the top as it drives forward. This thing works through a number of twists and turns.
Clint
The acoustic guitar driven motif that opens this is somewhat roots music based. The cut builds out from there into cool zones that get proggier as it works forward. This remains mellower for quite some time, but gets really powerful and driving after a while. There are some hints of world music in some of the melodies that emerge further down the musical road. There is an ambient bit at the end of this.
Flying
The hard-edged guitar that opens this makes it sound like we're about to be propelled into a metal stomper. It drops back from there, though, to a bouncy sort of melodic prog meets fusion sounding movement. The cut grows out from there with some killer jamming that really pulls a lot of the sounds of the album together while also bringing some great acoustic guitar into the mix at points.  This gets into some soaring melodic prog zones with fusion edges later. There are definitely parts of this track that make me think of Stove Howe's solo work.
Lemon Drop
I dig the cool proggy fusion groove on this tune. The driving bass work is all class, and the horns lend some great texture to it. This gets very dramatic and powerful at times. There are some Latin vibes at times on this piece. It also includes some of the most metallic guitar work of the set. Yet, it also drops to an intricate mellower movement and begins building back upward from there later in the track. There is some incendiary guitar work further along this road as we get some of the most powerhouse fusion of the whole album.
Post Horizon
This is a shorter number that has plenty of fusion built into it. It gets into some trippy, dreamy prog zones.
Pseudo Escondido
An up-tempo mellow guitar movement starts this and holds with an insistent sense of something great about to happen. It builds up from there with style and charm into a faster paced prog jam, but then launches into a rather countrified movement later that reminds me of Steve Howe even more than anything else here has. This tune really feels like it could have come from a Howe album. There is a serious hoe-down section later in the track, too.
Night Forest
This short piece is all about melodic fusion prog sounds.
Viva Escalante (Farewell Mother Earth)
Intricate acoustic guitar work is on display here. This makes me think of what you might get if Steve Howe played with California Guitar Trio. I guess that would make them California Guitar Quartet. This is a nice bit of variety and a very classy tune.  It does shift out to more of a dramatic electric prog jam late in the track. Nature sounds take control at the end and hold it for quite a while.
Fanfare of the Day
This is a powered up and fast-paced prog jam. It has plenty of jazz in the mix, but really stays on the rock side of the equation rather than getting into fusion. It's a short tune, but there is a lot packed into that little bit of time. It's actually one of the strongest things here.
 
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