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Rob Massard

Ascension

Review by Gary Hill

I reviewed a previous set from Rob Massard a while ago. I landed that one under progressive rock, and said that it was mostly folk prog. Well, I think this one leans a little more heavily on the prog rock side of that equation, but overall the classification holds. I think that, as strong as the other release was, this is the better of the two.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
The Awakening
Classy keyboard textures with some non-lyrical vocals make up this short introductory piece.
Shine Your Shine
Atmospherics bring this into being. Acoustic guitar rises up as the number continues to work forward. As the vocals come over the time I'm reminded a little of Yes and The Syn with some Supertramp-like vocals. This is a balladic cut that's quite proggy. It gets some soaring elements added to the arrangement later.
The Candidate
This gets a little more energized, but overall lands in the zone of proggy mellower music. Supertramp is a valid reference point again in some ways.
Fireside Stomp
An instrumental piece, this has a great balance between a mellower, almost fusion vibe and proggy concepts. There is some particularly tasty guitar work on this, some of which makes me think of the acoustic side of Jimmy Page just a little.
Don't Cha Know
This mellow piece makes me think of the band America to some degree. Yet there are jazzy elements that call to mind Sting's first solo release just a little. That said, this is a very dynamic piece, eventually working out to more rocking proggy zones.
Stars To Your Moon
There is a spacey, melodic prog groove this piece of music. It's more AOR in a lot of ways, but it's also meaty.
Slip Away
Here we get another song that makes me think of America to some degree. There are some proggy angles, but this is among the most mainstream music of the set. It does turn a little jazzy later.
Rift Hills & Sugar Valleys
I like the acoustic guitar arrangement that starts this cut a lot. This is a multi-layer acoustic gutter instrumental that makes me think of Steve Hackett to some degree.
Maybe I
More of a folk rock, soft rock piece, this is effective. I wouldn't consider it a highlight, though. As symphonic proggy layers come in over the top near the end, the cut definitely gets more potent.
To Live And Breathe Underwater
This closing piece is sort of a bookend to the opener. It's a short instrumental that's atmospheric, but yet soaring and proggy.

 

 

 
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