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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Machine Mass Sextet


Review by Gary Hill

Machine Mass, in various formations, produces unusual music time and time again. This new album is no exception. This is largely jazz based, but there is classical music, rock and more here. There is a wide range of sound here from track to track. At times it seems much more freeform and chaotic. At other points, it's more melodic. It's always exciting and entertaining, though.

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Track by Track Review
At nearly 11 minutes of music, the opener is an epic piece. Percussion brings it into being and dramatic, sometimes strange jazzy elements drive outward from there. The number gets into some pretty crazed and rather strange jams from there as it builds in freeform ways.  There is some powerhouse guitar work on this later. The piano is noteworthy at times, too. This is a dramatic and intense piece of music.
Another epic, this is more than three minutes longer than the opener was. Piano begins this with a melody that is classically based and both pretty and a little ominous and creepy. It evolves as the cut works on that element to continue. The piano holds the number by itself for more than two minutes. Eventually horns and drums join as the song works outward to jazzy zones. This doesn't get quite as crazed as the previous one did. It has plenty of melodic elements and gets rather soaring at times. It drops back to mostly piano around the nine-minute mark. It eventually makes its way back to a more full arrangement. They drive forward with some great jazz stylings as they continue to explore the sonic territory.
This Is
Less than two-and-a-half minutes long, this is freeform sounding piece of jazzy chaotic weirdness.
Not Another Loud Song
Roughly nine-minutes long, parts of this remind me of the band Traffic. There is some killer jazzy jamming built into this. Yet it gets pretty hard-edged at times. We get some powerhouse passages later in the piece. This is one of the highlights of the set for me. It just oozes cool.
This isn't much more than two-minutes long. It features some killer standup bass playing. In fact, this literally is a bass solo that serves as the introduction to and runs directly into the next piece.
The Roll
This comes out of the last number and drives forward with a fast paced jazz rock approach that is so tasty.
There is a dramatic concept to this as it gets going. It has a hard rocking, freeform jazz vibe. This thing works through several shifts and changes. There are some killer jazz motifs, but it also gets into soaring progressive rock zones. This is one of the most effective pieces here. It's also quite dynamic.
In a Silent Way

Nearly 11-and-a-half minutes long, this is another epic piece. Drums start it and hold it for a minute or so. Eventually freeform jazz stylings rise up to take control of the piece. It gets pretty noisy for a time, but then drops to a piano and horn dominated mellower space section for a time. It eventually makes its way to more freaky freeform jazz stylings from there. It turns toward mellower trippy stuff further down the road. That mode eventually ends the number. 

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