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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Jim Yanda

A Silent Way

Review by Gary Hill

If you like freeform, odd music, this is probably perfect for you. I've never heard anything quite like it. There are some tracks that work pretty well for me. Given that this is not my first musical style choice, that says a lot. This is definitely art music, and really feels very much like the kind of thing you'd expect from the Rock In Opposition movement.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
CD 1
                      
Hero

Weird percussive elements and oddities are on display as this piece gets underway. It goes gradually but does not get any less strange and freeform as it does so. Feedback takes over for a while as this continues. Eventually more traditional instrumentation rises upward, but in a very freeform and strange way. It has an almost psychedelic feel to it as it does. Eventually more weird sounds take over after the instruments drop away.

Search
Although this starts percussive, it's a bit less strange than the opener. Other instrumentation does rise up in freeform and odd ways from there.
Spirits
Noisy whistles and other strange things really do create a sound that feels like restless spirits to me. Other instrumentation appears further down the road as this exploration continues, adding to the strangeness of the whole piece.
Consciousness
Slow moving as it starts, chords and more traditional music based elements open this number. It's echoey, and still tastefully strange. It's also more compelling to me. Weird as this is, it speaks to me more than the previous cuts did. It works out to more purely percussive, but still soaring, zones further down the musical road.
Questions
This gets pretty crazed in its weird freeform jamming. It is freeform, but much more organized and energized than some of the rest.
Stream
Chirps and blips of strangeness are a big part of this track. Horns feature fairly prominently here, as do vocal loops and samples.
Clues

There are some hints of world music amongst the strange textures of this odd piece of music.

Path
I really dig some of the guitar work on this thing. It has an almost Robert Fripp sort of feel at times. The horns bring some interesting flavors to the piece, too. This seems to gel and unify more than some of the rest. This really does cover some intriguing territory along the strange, but cool, journey.
Odyssey
Much more freeform and strange, parts of this feel like animal utterances. Some of the bass work is pretty cool. This continues to evolve and explore from there in unusual ways. The keyboard section later feels almost ominous at times, and it explodes into some killer fusion from there.
CD 2
                  
Jungle

Percussion starts things here. Other elements eventually join in a strange, freeform arrangement. This gets very busy and noisy. It's also quite crazed.

Nocturnal

A bit less crazed, this is no less strange and freeform. This is another with parts that sound animal-like.

A Silent Way

There are some definite world music hints on this piece. The track is another that's decidedly freeform, but you expect that here. This doesn't get as intense as some of the others do.

Possession

The title to this really fits. There are parts that sound like a possessed person. This is one of the darker and weirder cuts. Given the competition, that says a lot. There are vocals on this, but you can't call it singing.

Meta

Let it be noted that this album was released well before Mark Zuckerberg's recent announcement regarding Facebook's new name. This is a crazed piece of freeform fusion jamming.

Shaman

There are suitably some Native American elements at play on this track. The cut has some unusual textures and sounds. It's freeform and strange, but also quite intriguing.

 
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