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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Øresund Space Collective

Oily Echoes of the Soul

Review by Gary Hill

When it comes to instrumental space rock, you really can't go wrong with Øresund Space Collective. I pretty much love everything that has been released under that moniker. There are a few constants with the group's releases. First of those is Dr. Space (aka Scott Heller). ØSC is his band, and therefore he's on every album. Secondly, there is the fact that the music instrumental and improvised. Beyond that there is often a wide range of sounds and performers. I have to say, I think this two-CD set (listed as "Echo One" and "Echo Two") might be the group's best album yet. I really love everything here. It's varied, wide ranging and so cool.

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Track by Track Review
Echo One:
Bump and Grind ØSC Style

This opener is more than half-an-hour long. An almost funky guitar starts it. The tune shifts toward Doors-like music before turning more space-oriented. The jamming really starts to work through and cover a lot of territory. Yet, as is true of the best space music, nothing changes abruptly. It's a smooth and organic transition. I really dig the echoey section that emerges after the seven-minute mark. It works to a mellower, yet soaring space movement from there. As that new movement grows at times I'm reminded of Tangerine Dream to some degree. There is a section further down the road some non-singing voice samples - more like laughter. That part makes me think of early Pink Floyd. It gradually works upward into more hard rocking zones as it continues. The piece continues to grow and evolve from there, continuing to deliver the space magic.

Peace of Mynd
Tasty psychedelia is on the menu here, complete with sitar. This covers a decent amount of territory, but rather than getting into more pure space rock zones, it tends to stay focused on the more purely psychedelic. Sure there are some space synth sounds over the top at times, but that sitar and an almost mainstream rock vibe help to keep it more down to Earth. It shifts later to something that makes me think of The Grateful Dead jamming with Jefferson Airplane. Throw some more pure space in the mix and add a little Allman Brothers, and you've got a good grip on the closing movement of the piece.
Crusin' with the Alien Crew
Tentative space elements seem to gradually coalesce as this begins to build outward.  This grows with a real space rock meets pure psychedelia vibe as it continues. The tune turns more toward rocking pure space-based sounds. It really gets intense and features some smoking hot instrumental work. This piece is almost 34-minutes long, making it even longer than the opener. Around the half-way mark it dissolves into noisy space music, minus much of the rock aspect. It begins a new evolution from there. It eventually morphs from there to fast-paced space jamming that is edgy and cool. Chirpy, echoey sounds take over further down the road, but the rhythm section really holds it all together underneath that. I'm reminded of both early Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream on that section. As it works forward it gets more rocking again. Waves of synthesizer dance over the top. It continues to grow and adapt, and this is a particularly effective piece of space rock.   
Echo Two:
Oily Echoes of the Soul

There is a forlorn and melancholy vibe as this gets underway. It eventually moves to a mellow section with a prominent bass line. The cut works outward toward something not far removed from EDM. There are some sound effects that make me think of aliens. It continues to build and drive. As the evolution progresses this gets into some driving and powerful space rock zones. Around the half-way mark (the cut is almost 24-minutes long), it drops back and slows down. A reflective movement that makes me think just a little over the Doors takes control as the space continues and guitar produces some particularly cool lines of soloing. The number continues to evolve and grow from there. We even get some hints of reggae further down the road.

Look to the Sky, People
A minute plus longer than the previous one, this is another epic. It starts with some cool psychedelia meets space and builds with some science fiction goodness from there. It gets driving and potent as it continues. This continues to drive onward with smoking hot space rock jamming taking it on a classy journey. I love the section later where a keyboard dances over the top of a driving space rock groove with smoking hot bass work. It definitely makes me think of Iron Butterfly to some degree. It eventually gets into a unique and more guitar based arrangement from there. That movie still emphasizes the space rock elements. As the rest of the music fades down, effects-laden, echoey pure space enters to take the track to its closing.
Deep Breath for the EARTH
Coming in with a rather tentative rocking vibe, this grows outward gradually from there. Dramatic world music merged with psychedelia is grafted onto the space rock chassis as the number continues. This gets powerful as the jamming intensifies and gets more complicated. Circular movements with cool space keys over the top eventually take control of the tune. More powerhouse space rock jamming ensues before this is over.
S**t Kickin'
This short tune (comparatively - it's over four-minutes long) has a lot of country and old-school rock and roll in the mix. It definitely makes me think of the Grateful Dead. This is a lot of fun and still has some space rock built into it.
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