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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Von Garcia

I Think a Think

Review by Gary Hill

These guys are an intriguing outfit. Their music seems to skirt the boundaries between space rock, Pink Floydian textures, jazz and jam band music. The result is an intriguing musical landscape that fits well under the progressive rock banner while creating its own section of that continent. I like this disc a lot and anyone who enjoys Pink Floyd and/or Djam Karet will probably dig it, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Ursa Minor
Space sounds start this off and then other elements join in an almost jazz meets early Pink Floyd approach. They build it up ever so gradually for the first half minute to forty five seconds and then move out into a more melodic motif. This moves slowly and still holds both of those elements (jazz and Pink Floyd type space prog). It’s quite a cool track. After the vocals run through they explode out into an instrumental segment that still maintains that jazz texture but also has some killer David Gilmour-like guitar. Eventually this runs us back around to the verse segment as they carry it onward. After a while this moves out into space and seems like it might end. Instead they bring it out into a killer faster paced prog jam that ends it after a time.

Space
As one might expect from that title, gentle atmospheric, but spacey, sounds lead this instrumental off and carry it for a time. After a short while, though, we get some funky bass and percussion in the mix and the track runs through like that for a while. This works through several changes. First it becomes a faster segment rather like The Grateful Dead’s Terrapin Station album.  Then it moves out into something more akin to Djam Karet before settling back into the more atmospheric elements to carry forward.
The Fog & The Mist
This comes out of the track that preceded it and takes on a jam band meets jazzy prog style. The vocals come in as a spoken poetry type recitation. They work it out through a number of variations as they carry on. At times this is another that calls to mind Djam Karet quite bit. They bring it back to the song proper and then this is built up into a more powerful version of itself and it is just plain killer.
Rain Water
This instrumental is very much like Pink Floyd – or perhaps more accurately, David Gilmour. Spacey elements make up the early portions and then we get a Gilmour-like guitar solo carrying the track later.
JP Splatter
Here is an odd, but very cool, one. It reminds me a bit of something that King Crimson might do. Percussion elements and space sounds serve as the backdrop for a slow moving spoken name check of various colors. After a while this shifts out into a crunchy fusion-like guitar solo that reminds me at times of Frank Zappa. They return to the song proper and then a new instrumental section that reminds me a bit of Satriani takes it. This gives way to more weirdness to end it.
buz (Featuring Ben Monder)
They bring it in percussive and very jazzy and then shift more towards Crimsonian textures. They work through a number of changes on this instrumental, yet it retains a cohesiveness. At times you might hear Djam Karet. At other points you might think of Tony Levin’s solo work. This is a cool cut. It really covers some intriguing territory.
Empty Hands
A drum solo starts this one out and then it moves off into noisy ambience meets techno territory. It’s a short instrumental cut at less than a minute and a half in length.
Between a Prayer & a Dream
Pretty ambient tones lead this off and then it feels like it might move into a balladic approach. Instead the jazz meets space prog approach takes it. Eventually it resolves out to more melodic music that again shares quite a bit with David Gilmour’s works. Still you can make out sounds closer to Djam Karet in this, too. When the vocals enter about mid-song I really hear more Floyd on this – although it’s not an obvious comparison.
So It Goes
This rises up gradually with melodic ambience starting things. The Pink Floyd comparisons are back in spades, but I still here Djam Karet here, too. The vocals on this are almost like a bluesy Flower Kings. You might hear some Led Zeppelin on this track, too. They dissolve it down towards space mid song and then bring it back up with more Gilmourish guitar work. They take this in a new musical exploration that is still related to the rest of the track quite organically. This works through for quite a while and then ends the piece.

Rebirth
Space elements start this instrumental and then it begins a slow climb. It’s not a direct route, though, instruments experimenting with different patterns here and there. At around the minute and a half minute mark it moves towards a more joyous exploration. They work this through to form the rest of the piece and eventually take it to its conclusion.
Garden Buddha
Spacey sound effects are the order of the day for the first minute and a half or so here – with a definite early Hawkwind-like texture. This eventually works out into a more melodic jam as they carry forward.
 
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