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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Patrick Moraz

Out in the Sun

Review by Gary Hill

The first solo album from Patrick Moraz, The Story of i (also reviewed in this issue), was released in 1976 as part of a group effort from members of Yes to release solo albums.  By the next year, when this album was released, Moraz was no longer part of that band, and he had yet to join the Moody Blues (which would happen in '78). At this time the plan was to focus on his solo career, and to me this album really shows that there was a lot of promise to that plan. I like this one better than its predecessor. It has a lot of great prog, along with a mainstream groove and some fusion. It's a very effective set. This new remastered edition has one bonus track from the same studio sessions.

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Track by Track Review
Out in the Sun
This cut somehow merges an Island kind of vibe with the kind of progressive rock you'd expect from Moraz. It's a bouncy and fun tune that still has plenty of virtuosity. The non-lyrical vocal section calls to mind Yes. So do some of the shifts and changes on the track. I love some of the synthesizer sounds on this thing, too.
Rana Batucada
Weird effects, percussive textures and more combine with keyboards to create an unusual arrangement. There is a bit of an alien, almost frightening texture here. Yet, it is also playful and fun. The cut works out to more of a fusion jam after the extended introduction, really managing to groove nicely. This instrumental (there are some shouts, but no "real" vocals) has a lot of shifts and changes. It's quite entertaining.
Nervous Breakdown
More of a traditional prog rocking sound is on hand here. There is some classical music here. There are also some vocal bits that make me think of Todd Rundgren a bit. I suppose in some ways the whole tune has a bit of a Rundgren vibe, but comparisons to Klaatu are valid at points.
Silver Screen

I like this cut a lot. It has some cool mainstream rock vibes at play, but still includes plenty of progressive rock. There are some great synthesizer sounds here. The vocals make me think of something like Pablo Cruise at times. Yet, there are fusion at elements in the cut at times. The triumphant resolution section based on piano and voice later is all class, too. It works back out from there into some more powerhouse progressive rock. There are bits of that progression that again make me think of Klaatu just a bit.

There is a cool jazzy groove built into this number. The cut makes its way through a number of different sections. This has a real catchy vibe in a lot of ways. It rocks out pretty well, too. Some of the guitar on this makes me think of George Benson a bit.
Fusion is a valid reference on this number. There is even some funk at the heart of this one. It's a killer jam that even has some hints of space rock built into it. There is some killer work on this instrumental.
Psychedelia, prog and more show up at the start of this tune. The cut works out to a killer jam that has plenty of fusion built into it. The vocals come in, and the track turns to a blues rocker. While you expect (and get) some killer keyboard work on this thing, it also includes some smoking hot guitar sounds, at times turning very hard rocking.
Time for a Change (Time to Fly - Big Band of the Ancient Temples - Serenade - Back to Nature)
At a bit more than nine minutes of music, this is the epic of the set. It's also arguably the strongest cut here. The keyboard sounds that bring this into being are very Yes-like. The track builds out gradually before there is a shift to a new keyboard dominated kind of jam. This still feels a lot like Yes. The cut continues to build and grow. A piano section takes over around the four-minute mark and the cut moves into a new zone with that. It gradually transitions to nearly pure classical music. A peak is heard, and it drops down for the entrance of the vocals around six minutes in. This is a cool, vaguely jazzy ballad as it continues from there. The vocal based movement takes the number (and the album proper) to the end.
Bonus Track
Batucada XXX

Tropical percussion opens this cut and piano comes in over the top. There is a bit of a Latin vibe to it as the groove begins to develop. There is some great piano work on this rocking little number. It's energized and fun.

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