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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Octarine Sky

Close to Nearby

Review by Gary Hill

This group is a spin-off of the band Potter's Daughter. It features that band's lead singer (and more) Dyanne Potter Voegtlin, Jan Christiana (also of Potter's Daughter) and drummer Simon Phillips as the core. They are joined by Guthrie Govan, Amit Chatterjee and more. The mix of sounds here is so cool. We get fusion like stuff on the disc along with more melodic prog, harder rocking music and just about everything in between. This is a dramatic and powerful album that is also unexpected and unique.

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Track by Track Review
Crazed jazz fusion jamming with some definite classical angles makes up the concept for this cool instrumental. It's dramatic, challenging and so cool. This has a lot of shifts and turns and covers quite a bit of territory.
There is more of a pure prog rock element here, but it is laced with fusion. This makes me think of Curved Air to some degree, but the vocals (Dyanne Potter Voegtlin) have a gentler quality to them. As this works out later it becomes quite a melodic soaring thing, but it drops back to mellower, near classical zones. The cut keep changing, though, working out into more energized prog rock that, for some reason, makes me think of Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow a little. I dig the exploratory guitar solo that comes in further down the road.
Night Sky/Into the Dream
This comes in as a melodic prog number. It fires out later into harder rocking zones and Guthrie Govan provides some positively inspiring guitar work.
The Mask
Mellow, dreamy and atmospheric sounds are on the menu as this gets underway. This works out to a dramatic and quite pretty prog ballad approach after a while. This drops out for a spoken narration talking about psychotic delusions. As that works forward, a hard rocking guitar threatens to take over. Instead, the tune jumps out to driving, but still melodic prog from there. The guitar soloing that comes in further down the road takes on both fusion and classical elements. Melodic, mellower, prog takes over as it continues. Another rocking movement comes in from there.
Everything on this album is inventive and interesting. This might be my favorite tune here. I love how a cool rocking groove can bring fusion and prog angles. There are non-lyrical vocals, but otherwise it's an instrumental piece. It's packed full of changes that take it in different directions, but somehow there is an inherent consistency despite that. 
Based on a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, this has some powerful prog rocking concepts and deliveries built into it. It's dramatic, dynamic and so intriguing. The number includes some scorching guitar soloing. There is also some particularly noteworthy bass work near the end.
Trippy piano starts this cut. The number grows out from there into a jam that is part classical, part fusion and all crazed. A start and stop element emerges and hints of King Crimson are heard a couple times. This continues to explore it's sonic territory, making intriguing changes as it does. There are some unusual stops and restarts as it makes its way forward. A screaming hot movement past the halfway mark has some scorching guitar work. It really twists toward driving fusion from there. The jamming gets so intense with different instruments taking the lead.
Dreamy, soaring, melodic progressive rock is the idea as this track gets going.
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