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AKKU Quintet

Live

Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed a studio disc from this act. That album was quite King Crimson like and guitar oriented. This live set works in very different directions. Don't get me wrong. It has some of those things at times. It's much more wide-ranging, though. There is a lot of jazzy texture and classical moments and more. This is a classy set however you slice it, though.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Waves
A percussive element starts things off. That holds the cut for a time. Piano starts to rise up around the four-and-a-half-minute mark. This really grows slowly and gradually as it continues. Yet, there is an insistent energy to it, even when it's seriously understated. At nearly half an hour long, this is the epic of the disc. It does get into some more purely jazzy moments later. It turns out to serious powered up prog rock with a more complete arrangement for the last third of the piece or so. The guitar really has some killer melodic soloing during that movement, calling to mind David Gilmour to some degree. This really becomes quite the dramatic and driving piece as it continues. Eventually that rocking movement fades downward and the track gets back into the mellower zones from whence it came. Piano serves as the final instrument with a rather classical solo.
Polar
Piano is the first instrument to appear on this piece. It comes in with a somewhat classical vibe, too. This grows upward much more quickly than the opener did, with other instruments joining pretty quickly. They take things into a jazzy kind of groove as they build up the number. It's decidedly prog rock and fusion based. This is quite an interesting ride.
Deep Sleep I
There is a weird, trippy, almost psychedelic vibe to the mellower jazzy concepts that brings this into being. This cut works through a number of cool changes bringing jazzy, psychedelic edges to this. This gets into some intense and driving rocking zones further down the road.
Schneemann
I dig the open, piano led arrangement that gets this going. This gets into some pretty crazed and experimental zones at times. It's also decidedly rock based, but in a weird freeform experimental prog way.
Deep Sleep II
Some guitar starts this, but sax takes over for a time from there. Then the number begins to evolve, working out into more driving prog zones after a while, calling to mind King Crimson to some degree. I love when the guitar takes over for a while later, painting lush lines of melody that seem to wash over the top in waves of sustained notes. It gets almost metallic for a while, but then shifts out into some seriously jazzy zones from there. This number really covers a lot of territory.
 
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