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Moraine - Groundswell CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.79 | 19 ratings

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4 stars My first experience with Moraine was not with an album, but with a live show at the Baja Prog Fest this 2014. They were the last confirmed band due to the cancellation of another group, so it was a magical incident, because I totally loved their show, which made me get interested on their music. I also met Dennis Rea, a very kind person who was happy with their performance and the crowd's response, we talked for a while and got their first two CDs. But well, that was just my introduction to Moraine's realm, now I will focus on their recent production, "Groundswell", their second studio album, released some months ago by Moonjune Records.

The music you will find here cannot be pigeonholed in one single label, no, because it blends several styles with an exotic sound that might please the tastes of jazz fusion, avant-garde and rock lovers. So fasten your seatbelt and get ready for this 10-track instrumental album. It opens with "Mustardseed", a 3-minute track with a mid-tempo rhythm where winds, strings and drums speak the same language. The sound might appeal to either RIO or Canterbury fans. "Skein" is a great track where all the musicians do the right thing in their personal world, I mean, we can listen to a sax solo while the bass player makes addictive lines, while the violin enters with cadence, while guitar plays some low-profile but necessary figures, while drums mark the rhythm. All seem to be separated, but all have the same goal.

"Fountain of Euthanasia" brings a nice diversity of textures. Here, I love the stick bass' job and how it perfectly connects with the "leader in turn", I mean, sometimes violin takes the moment, others the sax, but no matter the instrument, the music always flows in the right way. "Gnashville" is a very cool composition that has an inherent rock sound, but it is pretty experimental. Here Rea's guitar become crazy and produces some stoner-like riffs that are nicely accompanied by drums, bass and sax.

"In That Distant Place" is a longer composition that brings a softer sound, here one can close the eyes and feel embraced by a relaxing and charming atmosphere, mainly created by saxophone, but perfectly complemented by the other instruments. "Synecdoche" is a wonderful piece, it seeks for and gets your attention immediately with its hypnotic fusion sound. I love that the musicians are equally important for the musical direction, I mean, though sometimes it is easier to perceive sax, violin or guitar due to its solos, they would not success without the help (complement) of the other ones, so Moraine is a solid band as a whole, with humble musicians that simply do what they love.

"The Earth is an Atom" brings wonderful carousels of sounds, passages where softness and tranquility prevail, contrasted by bombastic explosions and raw-exotic nuances that let us know they are a band of talented composers and performers. "Waylaid" is a nice but not-easy-to-dig track, because it might be divided in different passages that have nothing to do between each other, so here you will start listening to a jazz fusion jam that all of a sudden turns into a spacey-atmospheric tune where you might either get involved or get lost.

"Spiritual Gatecrasher" is an enigmatic composition and a very interesting one, a favorite of mine. Here we can gather slices of experimental moments that bring different moods, some jazzy passages, some folk ones reminiscent of eastern cultures (I love the flute's introduction here) make this a unique track, which honestly was not a "love at first sight" no, one has to listen to it several times. The last song is "The Okanogan Lobe", and I am not sure, but my memory says that this was their first song at Baja Prog. The sound is addictive, it is repetitive but never boring. After a minute it changes and offers a charming tune for some seconds, until it returns to its initial form; guitars and saxophone interact, later drums, bass join and create a pretty cool structure. Excellent!

This is another great 2014 release in this progressive rock realm, another satisfactory record that asks to be discovered by more and more people. My final grade, four stars.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 4/5 |


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