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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Miró Henry Sobrer

Two of Swords

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite an unusual, but also intriguing, album. The music here is essentially jazz based, but it has a tendency to get into art music zones. That element is augmented by the fact that most of the vocals are spoken. Add in the tendency for it to get fusion-like at times, and the inclusion under prog at MSJ is appropriate, I think. However you label this, though, it's a satisfying, if a little unexpected, set of music. I shouild mention that it's one CD, but it is divided into two acts on the cover, although there is no really division when listening to it.

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Track by Track Review
Act One
Two of Swords (Part One) Dream Combat

A spoken recitation opens the disc. Some instrumentation rises up in the backdrop and more spoken vocals emerge beyond that. This is very much art music.

Over You Only the Flowers
A killer jazz arrangement comes in to start this track. The vocals are of the female spoken variety, bringing more of that art quality. Without that vocal bringing the art angle this would lean heavily on the mainstream jazz end of the spectrum. In the extended instrumental section that point is made clear. Even then, though, we do get some definite fusion angles at play.
Tonight Only One Wind
Scat singing, driving jazz and more merge on this powerhouse tune. This is one of the highlights of the set. It covers some unique and rather experimental territory bringing more of that fusion sort of thing to bear. I really love the piano and bass dominated jam later in the track. It's so strong. We get another spoken movement, this time over some percussive jamming later. That gives way to more of the scat singing.
I Don't Know If I'm Seeing You
The speaking (of the female variety) starts this cut. Some music is heard well in the background. A jazz arrangement climbs up after the voice ends, bringing a lot of style and charm with it. This gets powerful and dramatic as it carries onward. The voice does return further down the road, and the music gets into some pretty freaky territory at times, too.
I Had a Vision of You Being Like the Sea
Piano and spoken vocals bring this into being. The cut begins a gradual building process on that concept as it continues. There is some classy jazz jamming that emerges and rises upward as this continues. Some seriously soaring and powerful music takes over further down this musical road. Percussion takes the lead for a time later, too. The jam that ensues from there is so tasty.
Make My Life Transparent
The music comes in first, with an insistent and driving sound. There is a male speaking voice joining the female one here. There is a sense of urgency at the start of this, but the track turns a little more swinging and relaxed from there as the instrumental exploration gets underway. Percussion gets a showcase later as a male voice speaking in Spanish is heard. As the music grooves out from there we get both the female voice (in English) and the male one (Spanish).
Act Two
Deep Waters (aigües Profundes)

The male voice begins this track and the music rises up to accompany with a jazzy drama. The cut works out into some fusion-like textures after the voice goes away. This becomes quite a satisfying musical excursion with some intriguing twists. The percussion gets a chance to be showcased on this number, too.

Trinity Dance (Part One)
A multi-part suite starts with some music that seems to have a real promise for building into something special. A "hare Krishna" chant rises upward after a time, while the music is content to sit at nearly only percussion. The arrangement slows and becomes quite dramatic and rather stripped back from there. The chant returns near the end of the piece as the music gets a little more involved.
Trinity Dance (Part Two)
Sans vocals, this starts playful and turns into something that makes me think a bit of "The Saber Dance." It's a short movement.
Trinity Dance (Part Three)
I really love this jam. It's more of a traditional jazz groove, and it's just plain cool. It's another without vocals. The "hare Krishna" chanting comes back near the end of this closing movement of the suite.
Bridge Over The Tiber
There is a more traditional jazz vibe on the display here. This is another that is purely instrumental. It has some killer instrumental passages along the road. There is a percussion solo section near the end, too.
Two of Swords (Part Two)
The closer is a short piece. It features the return of the spoken vocals and just a little dramatic music as a backdrop.
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