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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Iron Kim Style

Iron Kim Style

Review by G. W. Hill

Take a healthy helping of ambient, textural music. Blend in some jazz. Stir some King Crimson into the mix. Sprinkle with some space rock and a bit of jam band. You’ve got a pretty good idea of what this instrumental album sounds like. A lot of it leans towards RIO, but it seems more cohesive and accessible than that and there is very little focus on dissonance here, although it definitely is far from mainstream. Yes, there is some shoegaze here, too, but I really like the combined jazz and space rock ambience that permeates a lot of this CD.

Track by Track Review
Mean Streets of Pyongyang

Percussion leads off and then a funky, rubbery bass line enters to drive it forward. Horns come in from there and the track is off and running. There’s a space rock meets Miles Davis kind of element here and this builds in some powerhouse ways as it continues. It gets a little King Crimson like (think Red) later. The bass turns uber heavy and uber low further down the road and the horns seriously wail. Around the four minute mark (this weighs in over ten minutes in length) we get a section that reminds me a lot of early Hawkwind, but it doesn’t remain long. It gets quite heavy after that, but yet it’s still quite purely progressive rock and again I can hear some King Crimson in the mix. A little after the five minute mark the horns really come alive over the top and it resembles a modern version of some of the jazz influenced rock from the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Then it morphs out into a mellower Crimson-like movement. This drops way down as it becomes a psychedelia meets jazz exploration for a while. It gets more freeform as they build upwards. It turns more purely towards jazz as it moves to the conclusion.

Gibberish Falter

Weird sound effects and such over percussion start this and build it for a while. Jazz elements emerge over the top after a while. It continues in a rather RIO-like fashion for a time, but then makes it way into something more akin to King Crimson’s improvised explorations for the remainder.

Po' Breef

Starting in ambient ways, this fires out from there in more crazed jazz-like oddities. It is very free form in nature and rather chaotic and cacophonous. Crimsonian elements, but still in a freeform motif, emerge as they continue. More jazz sounds take it later.

Don Quixotic

The first half of this stays fairly ambient and textural, but the cut grows out into a rock/jam band meets jazz and space rock movement later. Certainly you could consider this section to be like shoegaze music because it grows and transcends very slowly. It does build a lot, but it’s all very gradual.


Definitely textural and a bit like fusion meets King Crimson, this is another that morphs quite slowly and deliberately. Horns and a slow groove later bring in more pure jazz sounds.

Amber Waves of Migraine

This comes in feeling rather like an extension of the previous number, but it’s slower and darker.  I can make out Djam Karet on this later, but also Bruford Levin Upper Extremities. It’s a plodding and ominous, yet very cool piece of music.

Pachinko Malice

More freeform, there is a lot of jazz on this cut. It’s also got a lot of that King Crimson element on display. It gets a little noisy (and noodly) as it continues.

Dreams From Our Dear Leader

A much more jazz oriented number, this has some freeform moments. There are also things here that make me think of King Crimson, but I’m reminded again of BLUE, too.

Jack Out the Kims

Noisy and nearly metal in a lot of ways, this is fairly freeform and RIO like. It has some Crimson-like sounds, but a lot of other things going on, too. It’s only a couple minutes long, though – well, it clocks at around two and a half, but there is quite a period of silence at the end.

Slouchin' At the Savoy
If there is a pure jazz cut on show here, this is it. Again, I’m reminded quite a bit of BLUE.
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