Progressive Ears: Earsongs (CD, 71:38); PE Records, PE0001, 2001 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cyberhome: http://www.progressiveears.com 10 words or less: Various artist compilation from members of a progressive music website. Elaboration: 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this sampler go to support the cost of operation of this website. I must admit, I have visited this website and can tell you that it is by far, the best progressive music resource/message board/chat forum on the web so itís a worthy cause. There is practically an even amount of info about Symphonic Rock, Fusion, Avant Garde, NeoProg, ProgMetal, SpaceRock as well as other music of interest like progressive R&B and Latin. There is a balanced group of progressive music lovers who are all quite friendly and helpful not at all like usenet. I will try to give each of the 11 separate artists on this disc equal time so letís have at it. The disc opens with a piece from The Red Masque. This is a long and ambitious piece that goes through many changes and sounds quite original. After an ominous, ethereal intro the song conjures recollections of Souxsie and the Banshees with their emphatic female vocals but then morphs into something much more akin to King Crimson yet not derivative in the least. A number of changes follow in this 10 minute suite, leaving one with the impression that this band can do many things albeit a bit on the dark side. Track two sounds immediately like something from Grace Under Pressure era Rush. The artist, Scott Mosher handles all of the instruments himself but the sound is quite full with great energy. Track three is by Menayeri, a Spanish language band influenced by Genesis and Yes. This nearly 8 minute piece goes through many changes and is a bit reminiscent of Going for the One era Yes. Track four by Mindworm is perhaps the tune with the best production on the CD. The sound is clear and clean with nice separation. There is a strong Genesis feeling ala The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. This is a very talented band who, on this piece take the listener through various nimble fingered changes culminating in a hot call and answer Guitar duel. I want to hear the full album. Track five is a shorter Fusion styled tune by John Curtis. The tune is quite lively and apparently all performed by John but at 1:40 it leaves you too soon. The sixth piece on this compilation is by Lyle Holdahl. Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, this piece is exemplary of all that is good about Symphonic Rock. This is so nice itís hard to believe itís a one man effort! This piece makes me want to hear the full album. The seventh piece fits right in after the Holdahl piece yet has more of an ominous quality. This piece by The Owl Watches, is apparently the work of one Phil McKenna though once again sounds quite full. Taking the listener on a journey of contrasting soundscapes that seamlessly blend during this eight minute instrumental piece, McKenna shows a mature sensitivity for the finer points of Symphonic Rock. Once more, I want to hear this entire album. Track eight is a bit out of place on this CD being the only Pop structured sound. The tune is reminiscent of something perhaps by Sugarloaf from the early 70s. Track nine is by Random. This is an Italian band who sing in English and have somewhat of a modern Rock feel. Thereís not an overt progressive feel to this piece, perhaps due to the lack of Keyboards. The song does have a nice, catchy though melancholy feel. The tenth piece here is by Eric Kampman and at over 12 minutes, is the longest piece on this CD. Apparently a one man effort, this has the feeling of Harbour of Tears era Camel, alternately somber then uplifting. The final track on the CD is... um... well the best thing about it is that it clocks in at only 1:05! But seriously, itís a novelty song in the grand tradition of those silly boys from Canterbury, Hatfield & The North. Many of these artists have full length albums available from bigballoonmusic.com except the Menayeri album which is available at menayeri.www4.50megs.com/ordercd.htm. ~ L Perez
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