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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Basement Paintings


Review by Gary Hill

While perhaps not the tightest fit under progressive rock, at least in terms of the 70s definition, I'd argue that this belongs there. It's essentially shoegaze styled modern progressive rock. While the old school prog heads might argue that's not prog, clearly it is one of the modern iterations of the genre. Whatever you call this, though, it's classy, hard-edged, dark instrumental music that touches on psychedelia, metal and space rock at different times. It is  a solid set, but I'd say that perhaps it could use a little more variety.

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Track by Track Review
Rising up gradually, some rocking guitar joins as this drives forward. It has a shoegaze meets metal kind of sensibility at play. There is a lot of psychedelia in the mix. As it drops back there is a bit of a space rock element built into it. This is instrumental is classy stuff that works well to bring the listener into the set.
Bass brings this one into being. Percussion joins, followed by other elements as the piece begins to coalesce. This eventually makes its way out into more powerhouse shoegaze zones as it continues. It is more proggy in some ways than the opener was. This gets seriously hard-edged, leaning toward metal at times as it makes its way through.
Ambient elements start this piece. There is a trippy, echoey, feedback and fuzz-laden musical texture to this as it grows outward. It doesn't rise up far, though, not really gaining pace, but intensity and volume. The cut remains more ambient throughout its duration.
Here we have another powerhouse shoegaze styled piece. This has some intriguing shifts and changes and really works well. While the paradigm has not shifted one bit, somehow this piece manages to stand taller than the ones that preceded it. It does get closer to metal than some of the others do, too. It works into some glacially slow stuff at the end.
Textural stuff brings this into being, and as it starts to evolve it calls to mind Pink Floyd just a bit. It definitely doesn't change quickly, though, remaining fairly low intensity and incredibly slow moving. As some hints of dramatic texture enter it feels a bit like a film soundtrack. Then a driving jam emerges, and I'm reminded of Hawkwind-like space music, but with some definite metallic edges built into it. This gets quite hard rocking and almost metal at times, too. It's arguably the most dynamic and diverse piece here. It's also a highlight of the set.
This cut is cut from the same clothe as the rest of the set. It does get a bit more metallic at times, and also wanders into some spacey weirdness later, though. That space movement holds the middle part of the cut, but it grows out from there to some powerhouse jamming before it's all over and done.
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