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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Painting The Prototype

Painting The Prototype

Review by Gary Hill

I’m sure there are those who will dispute whether this fits under progressive rock. Certainly, it is electronic instrumental music. It has a lot in common with the sounds of acts like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk, though, and both of those are often embraced by progressive rock fans. Whatever you dub the music on this EP, though, it’s quite strong. It’s complex and powerful music and well worth having. Despite the fact that everything here is instrumental, it never gets boring or seems repetitive. This is a killer release.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Then It Clicks

Ambient sound effects lead this off, then melody rises up just a little at first. It begins to build slowly. Then a wave of sound comes over and it seems ready to explode. Instead, one wave moves in with a slow motion feeling and is followed by another and another. It grows very gradually with rhythmic patterns and other sounds joining. As it gets a little more intensity in the mix it starts to resemble Art of Noise a bit. It gets quite a bit more powerful around the two and a half minute mark. In addition to the references to Art of Noise, Kraftwerk would be a fair comparison, and even Tangerine Dream.

The Automaton
There’s an almost space rock kind of sound on the early portions of this. The track grows out from there with layers and textures added. Again, Tangerine Dream is a fair comparison, but as the rhythmic elements join, so is Art of Noise and even The Buggles. Later many of the layers of sound seem like the more electronic side of Hawkwind. This piece really grows and changes quite a bit. It’s stronger than the opener. Since there was nothing lacking in that cut, it says quite a bit.  There’s sort of a false ending later and then a return to the modes that preceded it.
At over seven and a half minutes in length, this is the second longest cut on show. The modes that open this really feel a lot like the electronic side of Hawkwind. The track grows gradually out from there in a slow moving progression of sound. It feels more organic than the music that preceded it. Around the one minute mark it bursts out into a more powerful version of itself and some sounds that feel almost Asian come over the top as it continues. This is a very emotive and beautiful piece of music. It might not be as energized as the last track, but the emotional content really puts this over the top in terms of quality. I’d consider it to be the star of this EP. It has an almost symphonic texture at times and feels like what you’d get if you blended a powerful progressive rock ballad with Kraftwerk. It drops back later to more purely electronic modes in a bit of a weird arrangement, but then powers back up after a while. Still later we get a treatment that’s like a groove laced version of weird Hawkwind electronics. The section transitions to a mellower motif to take the piece out.
Telesto Observatory
The true epic of the set, this piece is nearly ten and a half minutes in length. Dramatic electronic modes start this in a rather subdued fashion. It grows for a couple minutes and then drops way down to ambience. Around the three and a half minute mark it explodes back out in an arrangement that has hints of Tangerine Dream, Vangelis and Enigma. It gets dropped back to a sparser version of itself after a time and then powers back up. There is a bit of a club vibe at times on this. It works through some variants in a natural sort of way before powering out even further around the seven minute mark. It eventually drops back down to the territory that came before and then powers out again after a time.
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