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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Beppe Crovella

What’s Rattlin’ on the Moon

Review by Gary Hill

This CD is fully instrumental and for the most part is Crovella’s interpretations of Soft Machine music. Much of this is nearly RIO in nature. It is also a bit of a challenge to listen to – at least actively listen to because in some ways a lot of it is quite similar. Still, it’s enjoyable and fans of Soft Machine should eat it up, but so should fans of avante garde keyboard music in general.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Tarabos

Ambient space rock elements start this off and it grows gradually from there. It turns out into a more rocking, but still quite weird arrangement. There is a definite RIO element to this, but also hints of King Crimson here and there. There are some odd vocals later and this just plain works through some unusual material.

Chloe And The Pirates

Another keyboard solo, this one is less RIO like and more melodic. It isn’t what you’d call mainstream by any means, though. It feels at times a bit like Tangerine Dream and at others like something from Tomita, but there is also a classical element on display.

All White

This begins quite jazz-like and that motif carries it for quite a while, but then it gets into more noisy fusion territory and wanders towards RIO. Still, there are bits that call to mind Keith Emerson here and there and I also hear a lot of King Crimson in the mix.

The Man Who Waved At Trains

In some ways this doesn’t differ a lot from some of the other music. It’s jazz oriented keyboard dominated instrumental work. There is a cool little shuffle at the end, though and the track is overall perhaps a bit more melodic than some of the other stuff.

As If

Waves of keyboard textures start this in a motif that calls to mind movie soundtracks and Rick Wakeman. It turns toward more Keith Emerson-like jazz influenced jamming later, though. It goes out in a lot of seemingly free form directions from there.

Hibou, Anemone And Bear

Vaguely Crimson-like elements lead us off in a free form sort of exploration that’s at once both spacey and noisy. After a while it works to some ambient noises and then a new section that’s a bit reminiscent of Yes and also Red era King Crimson takes over. This doesn’t stay around long, though, taking us instead to a piano dominated jazz oriented motif. It turns later to a run at computer like noises – again calling to mind Tomita. That ends it.

Out-Bloody-Rageous

String like keyboards that make me think a bit of Yes at times, but also of Red era Crimson rise up and this track begins to evolve from there. A piano melody that’s pretty and quite jazz oriented enters and dominates for a while. It turns out toward more space oriented territory later. Further along weird sounds and piano seem to fight for dominance. It turns later into something that’s closer to a bluesy rock jam for a while. Again I can hear Keith Emerson at times. Just before the six minute mark it turns another corner into a Vangelis like bit of dramatic atmosphere. It changes again into something closer to synthesized symphonic music.

Pig

This is the most accessible and melodic piece of music to this point. It’s a highlight of the set and at times makes me think of Yes.

Esther's Nose Job

As this one comes in I’m reminded of something from Jon Lord of Deep Purple or perhaps Vanilla Fudge. After a while this turns to something closer to Keith Emerson, but eventually wanders out into more RIO territory. Bits of real jazz emerge here and there. Beyond that it shifts to more pure progressive rock, but still in the ambient zone in a lot of ways. It continues to evolve and change working through a number of different motifs.

Slightly All The Time

At over nine and a half minutes in length, this is the longest piece on show here. This enters in a mellow jazzy mode that’s still quite atmospheric. Hints of Jon Lord type organ emerge here and there. It gets quite seemingly random at times, but then around the three and a half minute mark a new (more rocking) sound emerges. Well, it actually comes out tentatively at first, threatening to emerge, but not really shining for a while. It gets a little spooky at times. It wanders out into more spacey jazz stylings later, calling to mind Pink Floyd a bit.

Leonardo's E-Mail

Seemingly backwards tracked sounds lead out here and then we’re taken into a rather bluesy sort of keyboard jam from there. It changes and is altered and recreated as this continues.

Moonvision

One of the most accessible melodies on show here, this instrumental is almost catchy and has a mainstream ballad element to it. Still, there are some unique things going on, too.

Many Moons, Many Junes

Another rather catchy melody, this is more of an energized one and does manage to get a little stranger, while still maintaining an accessible quality.

Lunar Impression

A piano solo, this starts off as more pure jazz it turns towards strangeness at the end and seems to basically segue into the next track.

Circular Lines In The Air

The weird RIO elements of the previous piano solo continue on this track, another piano solo. It really feels like an expansion and continuation of the themes from the later half of the last piece.

Moon Geezers (to Elton & Hugh)
Another piano solo, this one is more melodic and essentially pure jazz.
 
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