ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


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The "Pangea" compilation CD (Prog from Everywhere: part 1, 1997) ****+

"Pangea" is the first -international- compilation to come out from the excellent Mexican "Luna Negra" label. This CD presents only those tracks that either were never released before or were specially written for this compilation. The latter factor makes the "Luna Negra" compilations a really attractive find for Prog-lovers, but especially for completists of those bands whose tracks feature these in many ways unique compilations. "Pangea" presents a whole bunch of excellent compositions by the following bands and performers: Cast and Antiqua (both from Mexico), Perfume De Mujer (Cuba), Pendragon, Peter Gee (of Pendragon, UK), Interface (Japan), Nirgal Vallis (Brazil), and Amir Confusio Jr. (Argentina). While this unique album features representatives of such different Progressive genres as Art (Symphonic) Rock, RIO, and Prog-Metal, Cast, Nirgal Vallis, and Perfume De Mujer-s compositions are, without a doubt, the best ones here. content

The "Pangea II" compilation CD (Mexican Prog, 2000, "Luna Negra") *****

"Pangea II" is the first "Luna Negra" compilation CD that is dedicated exclusively to Mexican Progressive Rock bands (the only exception here is the Cuban band Perfume De Mujer). Actually, this is a great way to present a large part of the Mexican Progressive Rock movement. In my view, this is the most important (and a very interesting, too) compilation ever released by the Premier Central American label "Luna Negra". Below are bands and performers whose music you-ll find on this CD: Perfume De Mujer, Banda Elastica, La Mansion, Antiqua, Dino Brassea (of Cast), Nirgal Vallis, Oxomaxoma, Otho, Micro-Ritmia, and Jorge Alvelais. Actually, all compositions that sound on the "Pangea II" CD are excellent. Reviews / Overall Views on the albums / discographies by Banda Elastica, La Mansion, Antiqua, and Perfume De Mujer are parts of an Overall View on all albums ever released by "Luna Negra" until now. content

Panzerballett - 2006 - "Panzerballett" *****+
(50 min)

PANZERBALLETT from Germany is an instrumental quartet which comprises Jan Zehrfeld on guitar, Gregor Burger on sax, Florian Schmidt on bass and Max Bucher on drums, although on their eponymous debut CD they are backed up by several guest musicians most of whom play trombones and trumpets. With the exception of a brief untitled concluding track where there is nothing apart from human voices, this album is in its entirety subsumed to a united stylistic concept whose essence I see as a fusion of both swingy and, well, European forms of Jazz Rock and Prog-Metal, though the two principal idioms merge together not as often as I would like it to, a factor typical of each composition. The music is usually fast, dynamic, intense, polyrhythmic and challenging all at once, revealing its makers to be a group of highly skilled musicians. "Panzerballet" will be a real treat for jazz-fusion lovers, especially for those who like their music to be notable for striking contrasts in texture. As to fans of Prog-Metal, I don't think many of them would relish this recording - above all due to its richness in traditional swing tricks and brass instruments as well, all of which when taken together strongly distinguishes Panzerballett from their more or less close relatives in style, such as Liquid Tension Experiment or Planet X - just as examples. content

Paradox One (UK) - 2003 - "Escalators to Mars" *****
(45 min, Neurosis)

"Escalators To Mars", the second album by multi-instrumentalist and well-known progressive reviewer Phil Jackson, is an extremely unusual, yet, highly attractive experiment. These strange electronically symphonic landscapes are the best Martian music I've heard, as if such a thing really existed! The palette is painted with rich, spacey symphonic, very colorful passages and solos of synthesizers with the addition of the parts of electric and acoustic guitars here and there, all flowing to the accompaniment of an excellently programmed drum machine. The uncommon sound, typical for the greater part of the album, has a clear psychedelic character, and the music shines with diversity and profoundness. One of the compositions, Little Green Men, reminds me of the sci-fi movie music, and the voice at the end of it supplements and intensifies the effect. The parts of electric and acoustic guitars are effectively interwoven with those of synthesizers on Wake Up Call and Milo Mindbender, which is the last stage of this amazing Space Rock escalator. These two have somewhat a more materially minded sound than the others. Maybe, this means that contact between Earth and Mars is really possible after all? Like Phil, I want to believe in it, too. NASA should make a contract with him to play the album via the newest Mars research vehicles, which may turn out to be the best way to finally get into contact with Little Green Men, of blessed memory of Mr. Herbert W. content

Par Lindh Project (Sweden) - 1998 - "Mundus Incompertus" ***

After all, I found this live legend, a present-day idol of symphonic rock. I found it, and it's here, somewhere in the sands of Central Asia. Then I listened to it. Once, then once more. More. And now I am very disappointed in it. Incidentally, now I understand that "Mundus Incompertus" is a totally overrated album. Structurally, this work is very simple, the themes are by no means complex. You'll find here only monotonous keyboard passages openly a-la K.Emerson, and the likewise monotonous singing by a female vocalist. I can't rate "Mundus..." even as a good album, let alone excellent, after the really profound and original works of 1998 like Present's "Certitudes", Francis Monkman's "21st Century Blues", Peter Hammill's "This"... I know that the majority of you declared this "Mundus..." the best album of the year. Sorry, but my opinion is very different from yours. And as to "Incompertusus..." - ... much ado about nothing. content

View From The Rating Room:
Philharmonie (France) - 1998 - "The Last Word" *****

Genre: Progressive Rock, RIO
Manifestations include: Jazz Fusion
Playing Time: 48 min
Label: "Cuneiform"

Themes: varied and interesting
Arrangements: complex, mostly improvisational, influenced by King Crimson
Performance: expressive and masterly
Vocals: all instrumental album
Producing: satisfactory; the last composition is the worse on this album
Sound: excellent, clear

Overall Rating: *****

Phoenix (Holland) - 2003 - "Renascent Phenomenon" ****
(61 min, 'Polumnia')

This is a rather interesting symphonic Art-Rock album, performed by the duo of multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and composer Jos Hustings and keyboard player Mathilde Roza. The events begin with an excellent dramatic introduction, which gives its mood out to most of the materials. Hustings is an expressive singer, but his vocals too often remind me of those of Peter Hammill. Generally, the influences of Peter Hammill (in the nineties) are evident on most of the songs here, and especially on Day after Night and In Between. The vocals of Mathilde Roza are present on only one track, For a Chance. By the way, her voice has been treated through a computer, which, though, suits the psychedelic atmosphere of the composition. The following songs are still notable for rather dismal moods. Everything changes on Weekly Friday's Obsession, which is a light rather than dark composition and, moreover, features pronouncedly rhythmic percussion. All the remaining pieces follow the style and mood laid on that track. "Renascent Phenomenon" is a decent album, which, though, a bit lacks of originality and musical coherence. content

Pink Floyd (UK) - 1977 - "Animals" ******
(41 min, "EMI")

I am sure that I am correct in regarding Pink Floyd as the true fathers of Progressive Rock and the entire Progressive Rock movement. It is impossible to underestimate or overestimate, either, the contribution that both of the band's debut albums: "The Piper At the Gates of Dawn" (1967) and "A Saucerful of Secrets" (1968), has made upon the development of the genre. Of all of the works by Pink Floyd, only "Animals", IMHO, surpasses them both. Here, the band had not only reached the peak of their compositional and performing skills, but "Animals" had proven to be their most progressive album to date. This, in my view, is the most unique work of Spacey Symphonic Progressive, and at the same time, the most underrated album in the history of Rock Music. I for one, however, will love it to death. content

Pink Floyd - 1994 - "The Division Bell"(as always, released on "EMI", UK) ****

After seven years of almost absolute silence these Gentlemen are back eventually with a new album (2LP=1CD) "The Division Bell". In comparison with its predecessor, the first Pink-Floyd-without-Roger-Waters album "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" (1987), there is the same good sound production, though sounding highly different, in general, which is usual for Pink Floyd: any album from their duscography is different from any other, also including their latest works, which are simply not so progressive. " The Division Bell", unlike the previous album, is the result of the cooperation between David Gilmour and Richard Wright, though David has written more than one half of compositions. As for me, I really like much more these latest albums than the last work with Pink Floyd's former bassist, the absolute leader at the time, the main generator of ideas Roger Waters ("The Final Cut", 1983). After the shining crazy diamonds as the Big Four of 1973-1979, that one was his weakest work, more than that, exactly the basic of that stylistics Roger has continued in his solo-career. And if his earliest compositions from the first two band's albums, plus "Animals", are my especially dearly loved, his absolutely lyrics-based solo works I can't tolerate... content

Porcupine Tree (UK) - 1995 - "The Sky Moves Sideways" *****

The only real "clone" album I know is "Somewhere but Yesterday" by Xitizen Cain see the review). "The Sky Moves Sideways" released by the heroes of this material few years ago on "Delerium" label is another more or less successfull attempt to make a clone. What's more, Steven Wilson & Co made even an "improved clone" of the legendary Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" (1975), because Steven's work contains more really "progressive" arrangements, plus a portion of his own (already familiar since 1993) originality. Slow (less gloomy, though), very Floydian music with typical Gilmoresque grave guitar solos have a prominent role on the two-thirds of the album's playing time. Fortunately, Steven decided to include in this album 12-minute single Moonloop, one of the best and original compositions he ever made. This piece will blow up somewhere in the middle of this peaceful, on the whole, and pensive landscape. Moonloop is the only separate composition here, not sounding like "Wish You Were Here" at all! As a result, I can rate this album only as almost a clone, yet excellent. However, the level of complexity on the clone-album "Somewhere but Yesterday" is higher than here, therefore the rating (five, but not six "stars") for The Sky Moves Sideways conforms to the reality. As to the term "clone", please read the detailed review on Ozrics' "Strangeitudes". content

Pursuit - 2006 - "Quest" ****

Pursuit is a three-piece from the American state of Iowa comprising Andrew Zuehlke on vocals, Dan Wolfe on guitars and keyboards and John Sebring on drums and backing vocals. "Quest", which is their first official release, is a mixed bag where straightforward AOR and metal numbers adjoin those leaning towards heavy symphonic progressive, most of such resembling Kansas in style. Among the 12 tracks, there also are two that approach the best examples of contemporary prog-metal, but nevertheless, the number of simple songs noticeably exceeds that of those interesting from a progressive standpoint. It doesn't manage without certain drawbacks in the performance department either. The drummer is strongly inferior to his partners, playing well only within the plain movements, but failing each time the music gets a more complicated shape. I can't remember the last time I heard such an inconsistent album as this. content

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ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages