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Progressive Rock CD Reviews



Review by Gary Hill

The blend of sounds here might not be a perfect fit for progressive rock, but it’s definitely a fit. Parts of this are more world music inspired. At times it’s quite psychedelic. Reggae and Latin sounds appear. The truth is, though, that combination of sounds, along with the more definite progressive rock leanings, make this fit nowhere else but under prog. It’s a creative and entertaining album that does a great job of stretching beyond labels. It’s challenging music that manages to feel pretty mainstream. That’s impressive in itself.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Now Approaching

This is just a little train or bus station announcement.

They launch out into an off-kilter jam that’s part Primus and part King Crimson. The vocals come across that backdrop. We get some shifts and changes and the vocals almost have a reggae turned psychedelic element to them. The closing segment makes me think of Frank Zappa.
Attack of the Killer Balafon
This just a short little, mellow instrumental with a lot of world music in the mix.
Noisy guitar soars over this thing and the female vocal performance is soulful and edgy, but also out there. It’s kind of like Gong meets the B-52s. Combined with the music, though, this first segment of the piece calls to mind Frank Zappa. There’s a more psychedelic movement later, though. Later it turns towards a melding of the Zappa and psychedelic textures. From there, though, it works to something like space rock jam band music. There’s a mellower section with world music built into it at the end.  
Who That Be?
Percussion, some tuned and some not, is combined with jazz like vocals on this intriguing cut. There’s certainly a lot of world music in this thing.
Steamship Enterprise
First off, I love the title of this song. Secondly, it’s the most mainstream cut here. There’s a Latin element to it, but overall this is very much like world music meets fusion and jam band sounds. It does get into more of a fusion turned off-kilter prog sound later. This tune is great. It’s probably my favorite track of the set.
Combine world music with Frank Zappa, and perhaps some Devo and you’ll be pretty close to this tune. It’s weird, but also very cool. I can make out some B-52s and also some Jane’s Addiction here. There’s also definitely a jazz vibe to this. A rap is included later.
No Sleep Til Oakland
World music meets fusion on this cut. It’s also got some hip hop in the mix, particularly because there’s a rap. It’s very much dominated by percussion.
Rage of Love
The concept of jazz and world music merged is valid here, but there is also some jam band sound and more pure progressive rock. This has some of the most soulful vocals of the whole set. They take it to a cool soaring jam later with some fusion and space rock in the mix. Nature sounds at the end segue into the next piece.
The jungle type sounds that closed the last one continue through this short instrumental. It’s basically a tribal percussion showcase.
Donde Quiere
There’s a lot of world music here, but somehow this really makes me think of No Doubt. The vocals certainly have that kind of vibe and there’s a bit of ska in the mix, too. Still, there is definitely progressive rock and space rock here, along with some jazz. Some backwards tracking is included later, too. It works out to a seriously hard rocking jam later, too that’s decidedly prog.
There's a Man Jumping off the Planet
This has a percussive based sound at the beginning with vocals swimming over the top of that backdrop. From there we get an arrangement that’s kind of like ska meets jazz. It’s playful and there’s a killer guitar solo later. It shifts out to noisy jamming beyond that.
Kassa – Nisoro
This is strictly a tribal percussion workout.
Back to the Mountains
While there is some percussion on this number, as much as the previous one was all about percussion, this is about vocals. In fact, it’s almost completely acappella (other than those drums) and quite jazzy.
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