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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Jah Wobble and Keith Levene

Yin and Yang

Review by Gary Hill

Yin and Yang is a cool title to this as the album really does have a duality to it. Overall, I’d land it into a creative, explorative progressive rock zone. There is quite a bit of range and quite a few sounds are represented within that heading, though. It should be noted that there are sometimes parental advisories here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Yin & Yang
This is strange, and oh so cool. It should be noted that it earns a major parental advisory on the lyrics. The groove is a bit like modern King Crimson merged with some kind of techno music at times. Then there’s an accessible section that has an almost Beatles meets King’s X kind of vibe to it.
Strut

The musical motif that starts this, and comes back here and there, has a little bit of reggae built into it. Overall, though, this wanders through a number of changes and alterations and feels like an organic, indie rock based progressive rock jam with some hints of blues.

Jags And Staffs

At almost nine and a half minutes in length, this thing is massive. It starts with just a poetry reading. Then keyboards join adding another layer of sound. As percussion is added, it calls to mind beat poetry. A little before the one minute mark, guitar and bass are added and we’re taken to something that moves slowly but calls to mind progressive rock merged with psychedelia and space rock. Mind you, by this point the vocals have gone away. It contains without vocals for four minutes or so, then amidst atmospheric keyboards the poetry reading returns. Around the six minute mark it returns to more rocking music without the vocals as the bass guitar leads the way. Then everything but the bass drops away and that instrument stops and eventually the sustain fades away. Percussion returns and we’re off into a killer psychedelic jam as the other instruments are added. It drops down to just drums and then rises gradually back up from there.

Mississippi

This shorter (less than three minutes) tune is quite a bit like 1960s psychedelia, but with some modern progressive rock in the mix, too. It’s one of the most readily accessible numbers here, and quite cool.

Within You Without You

There are some modern effects on some of the vocals here and this is even more trippy and psychedelic than the original version from The Beatles. The early sections are very electronic, but then the more rocking section has a distorted, indie-rock meets psychedelic vibe to it. The mellower mode returns for the closing segment of the piece.

Back On The Block

Slow bluesy music with lots of psychedelic sound is heard here. This instrumental seems to be a bit lacking in direction, but makes up for it in style.

Fluid

Bass opens this and the cut launches out into a cool jam with both blues and space rock built into it. There’s some jazz, too. There’s a weird vocal bit at the end of this that takes it into the next track as the instruments drop away.

Vampires

This short, less than two minutes, track combines space rock with techno music at the start. Then the bass leads it in a different direction.

Understand

The bass leads this one to a large degree, too. It’s sort of a stripped down space rock tune with some punk and reggae in the mix.

Understand Dub
Here’s a more techno version of the previous cut. It’s cool, but not all that different than the previous one.
 
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