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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Karma Obscur

Review by Gary Hill

This set is quite cool. The musicianship is incredible. The mix of sounds here ranging from fusion to progressive rock. The bulk lands under fusion, but we generally put that under progressive rock, anyway. While the bass work on this (the bass player's name is the name of the artist) is incredible, every musician here does such a great job. There is one song with vocals, but beyond that this is instrumental.

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Track by Track Review
Hors d'oeuvre
Some killer funky bass work is on display at the start of this cut. The tune is built on a fun rhythmic groove. There is a voice that's more percussive than anything else as part of the arrangement. Overall, though, this is a bass solo. It's a pretty impressive one at that.
Straight Ahead
While the bass is still a big part of the arrangement here, it gets augmented by plenty of other instrumentation. This is killer fusion jam that shifts this way and that, but always manages to groove. There are some smoking hot sections on this thing. The drums really pound like crazy later. That said, every instrument shines. It has some almost metallic portions to it.
Except I'm 65

This has some cool female vocals. The cut has a great jazz groove to it in the early sections. It fires out into a hard rocking jam that's like King Crimson meets Red Hot Chili Peppers with Debbie Harry singing. The guitar soloing is crazed. The changes on the cut are abrupt and yet graceful in terms of their execution.

Powerhouse bass work opens this cut. They fire out into some fast paced and incredibly tasty jazz later in the piece. There are some cool shifts and changes as this develops. .I love the funky bass playing on this number.
Karma Obscur
A fast little riff starts this, but it drops back for a short time from there. Then the cut begins to rise up into something that's like a freeform fusion meets Rock In Opposition styled progressive rock. The guitar just plain screams like crazy across it at times. The whole piece keeps altering as they march onward. This doesn't stay in anyone place very long. It gets pretty powerful and involved further down the musical road.
Rusty Dog
A mellower jazzy groove leads this one out at the start. It has some tasty guitar work, but everything is just so cool on this piece. It has a real classic fusion vibe to it. They take it through a number of sections, at times really intensifying. Around the three minute mark it drops to just bass, and it comes out to one of the cooler musical passages of the set from there. Then they shift into more pure fusion from there.
The Right Move
Opening to a cool fast paced flourish, it drops back to some funk bass that is particularly tasty. The cut grooves out from there with killer fusion elements driving it.
Green Elephant
I love the smoking hot funk bass work on this killer tune. The fusion is strong on this one. The tune works through some intriguing changes as it evolves, with some parts landing on the mellower side. Another movement features some killer rocking guitar soloing.
The Professor
Percussion start this, and the bass joins next. Soon we're into a more full band treatment as this marches forward. It's another dynamic fusion explorations.
By this point we've settled into a comfortable fusion journey. The music is all varied from track to track, but there aren't any paradigm shifts of sound in this section of the set. We get another cool ride here with great performances from all involved. I dig the rhythm section break down early in the track and the jam that emerges from there. A movement later in the track makes me think of Parliament just a bit.
Action Mutante
Now, this presents some real change. It comes in with more standard fusion, but shifts to some screaming hot hard rock that's part prog and part metal in a contrasting movement. The fusion alternates with that texture as the piece works through.
More firmly entrenched in the fusion vein, this has some killer funk built into it. There is some exceptional instrumental work here, and this grooves like crazy.
I love the riff that starts this cut. It has more of a rock sound to it. Working through some different musical territories, this powers into some smoking hot rock based stuff that has some almost space/psychedelia over the top of it. It gets very intense and has just a bit of a King Crimson vibe in some ways. It's one of the strongest pieces here, making it a great choice to end the disc as it kind of drifts off in space at the close. Weird keyboard whining, droning serves as the actual close of the disc.
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