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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Kutiman

Surface Currents

Review by Gary Hill

This is a three-song EP that feels like an album. That's because the shortest track here is almost 14-and-a-half minutes long. This is an instrumental disc that shares sonic territory with things like Synergy and Tangerine Dream. It's a classy release that works well from start to finish. It leans on the ambient side, and changes aren't fast coming, but they are definitely in place. As consistently strong as it is, I have to say that for my money the opener is the best track here.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Surface Currents
There is really a feeling of ripples on water to the opening motif of this composition. It works out gradually from there in style. Change and evolution happens slowly with this gradually beginning to explore new territory and soundscapes. This really does convey a feeling of being underwater as the currents bring various creatures past. At times this makes me think of Meddle-era Pink Floyd just a little. At 17-minutes of music, this title track is of epic proportions. I will say that it's a tribute to the music that it doesn't feel anything near as long as that.
Offshore
There is a bit more of a dense vibe to this piece. It has some energy to it, while still remaining ambient. It's not a huge change from the title track, but it's clearly not the same number, either. I'm reminded a bit of Synergy and Tangerine Dream here. It's a bit strange that this composition, which is almost two-minutes shorter than the opener, actually feels longer and more epic than that song. I'm not sure what that means, but it has to have some significance.
Coral Blossom
This is the shortest piece of the disc, but still weighs in at almost 14-and-a-half minutes long. It starts with a more classically oriented piano dominated section. There are hints of jazz in the mix, and this is some of the most song-oriented music here. I'm reminded quite a bit of Vangelis. I really think this has more meat in terms of a song than the other tracks did. Yet, I wouldn't consider it as effective as the opener was.
 
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