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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Far Corner

Far Corner

Review by Josh Turner

This is unbelievably accessible for avant-garde. As far as instrumental music goes, it's as catchy and experimental as Kopecky. This should come as no surprise since they both share a member (that would be Bill Kopecky, the bassist). Even though there is overlap between these two bands, they are quite different from each other.

If you are interested in avant-garde, but would like a more accessible bridge to crossover, then this could be the band for you. I'm not expert in Univers Zero, but I have been told countless times that they have borrowed much from this band. If this is a band you enjoy, then you should not hesitate to check out Far Corner.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 1 at https://garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2005.

Track by Track Review
Silly Whim
If at first you don't succeed, then try, try again. In this case, the old adage holds a lot of water. This is one of the better songs on the album. So, if you can't fathom this piece, proceed no further. This is not said to turn you off, but rather to brace you for what's to come. If you're going to give it a chance, stick with this track as it's one of the better ones on the album. Once it makes contact with the cortex then, and only then, is it time to move onto the next one. While the music is actually avant-garde, it's done in a manner that's kept constantly within your grasp. It's intelligent, witty, and can be a whole lot of fun. Once I fell into their quicksand, I found myself stuck within the clutches of their complex compositions. Take one false step and you too will be lost inside their multifaceted melodies. If you think too hard you'll miss it. On the other hand, it takes just one tick of inattentiveness for one of their meditative mantras to tunnel in.
Going Somewhere?
Another one of my favorites follows. This is similar to the first but has two opposing melodies. Like a visit to the chiropractor, you will be twisted and turned. With each pop, endorphins are released throughout the system. It's all over the board, but by the time you finish this rigorous therapy, you'll be quite calm and sedated. Even though the prescribed regiment is aggressive, you'll come back for more. While it might be painful at first, you'll eventually achieve a positive prognosis.
Something Out There
I
In this triple suite of songs, they take us down a dark and deserted path. This eerie experience is much different from the earlier ones. The Night Strangler is hidden in the shadows on a dank moonlit night. All you hear is the rats in the trash and the infrequent clinging of cans. This is slow, solemn, and sparse, making it one scary situation. This opens the triple suite of songs. It's an improvisation in the studio, but slices through the senses like a sharp knife.
II
As far as this suite is concerned, this has the most pre-processing. While it has some shape and form, it's still experimental with a heck of a lot of ad-libbing.
III
This is a second swing of the scalpel as it's another try at the earlier improvisation. It goes from Twilight Zone to Mr. Rogers before it fades to black.
With One Swipe of Its Mighty Paw
I'm glad you made it this far. While I liked the first and second track a lot, this is actually the best song on the album. So, if you liked what preceded this piece, you are truly in for a treat. This one features some great keyboard-playing from Dan Maske. It's very hard to copy in concert, but I had the fortune of seeing it performed live with total accuracy. Now that I've heard both the live and studio version, I'd say it comes across slightly better here, but only because it's done so well. It's always difficult to duplicate perfection. While it's not free from flows, it's pretty close to it and that makes it damn near impressive. I'm not really a fan of avant-garde, but that's what this is, and admittedly so, I like it.
Outside
The violin hums like a horde of hornets. The swarm surrounds the listener. The bass adds an ominous element, which enhances the perilous potency of this creepy cloud. However, take a step back from these dangerous notes and you'll find a forest of pianos and drums that are both warm and inviting. What's great about their music is that each artist follows their own flight plan. While the bass wobbles awkwardly, the drums perform an elegant tap-dance. To counter the chaotic violin, the keyboards grind as if they were polished gears in a machine. Every listen brings forth an entirely new experience. It just depends on where you focus your ears and your attention.
Tracking
The pianos rotate like blades in a blender. The bass, violin, and drums are bits that are chewed up and refined. The result is an energized elixir. Every now and then it is slowed down for a taste. When this occurs, the pulse button is pushed to soften up this gooey mix. After it's had time to harden, it takes no time for the razors to pulverize the pulp and emulsify the liquid.
The Turning
The avant-garde returns full-force. It constantly changes tempo, time-signatures, and mood. The transmission smoothly transitions between the settings. The changes in this cut are so slick it must have been calibrated with a sonogram. It's precise from the highest frequency down to the lowest decibel.
Fiction
Now that you've made it to the last song, you'd think you've reached the end, but there is still a lot more to go. Aside from the suite (and that's three songs mind you), this is the longest song on the album. It stands tall and proud as it takes us through 16-minutes of creative bliss. Due to its length, you'll be happy to hear it's one of the stronger pieces and it is well worth the wait. As for the album as a whole, I recommend it to anybody who likes experimentation, improvisation, or simply put, something different. While avant-garde is their influence, they are original in the sense that they use only the most comprehensible methods.
 
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