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Milo Black - BlackTracking CD (album) cover


Milo Black


Psychedelic/Space Rock

5.00 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars BlackTracking is a compilation of Milo Black's best material from the 1990-1994 period. The insert with this CD indicates these tracks first appeared on albums called Recycled Fish, Endless Bloody Guitar Solos Vol. 2, and More Songs About Cars & Girls. I haven't been able to track down these other titles, so either they were in limited runs or were only available to people Miles Walsh knew personally (perhaps even made up for humorous reasons?). With independent artists who only have an internet presence, typically their catalogue is only known to them as releases come and go (like the variety of releases Milo Black issued on, of which this was one).

BlackTracking starts off with a driving instrumental called Journey that reminds me of a mix of Ozric Tentacles, Eloy, and Rush. The guitar work of Walsh is very impressive, giving some slight nods to Gilmour in places. This leads into the second track, another instrumental called Crystal Passage, which has a slight Eastern feel to, giving a slight nod to the Ozrics again (similar to their slower-paced instrumentals). The guitar work is again quite beautiful (with the title being perfectly suited for this).

The third track, Random Walk, is another instrumental but more in the symphonic prog vein. It contains several movements which bring to mind comparisons with Camel, Eloy, and Marillion. On this song I sense influences from Andrew Latimer and Steve Rothery in the guitar work. It contains a lot of nice lush synthesizers. This is simply a beautiful track that I still enjoy listening to. It's probably one of the best songs Milo Black ever made.

End of the Road is more in the realm of radio-friendly material. It's the only song on the compilation containing vocals (with the exception of the voices on Jabberwocky), these being sung by guest vocalist Sali Burton. It kind of has the feel of the Alan Parsons Project, but with more bite. It's chiefly upbeat in style. It's the only song of this style on the album.

The fifth track, Cloudsweeping, starts off with a Floydian combination of winds and Gilmour-like guitars. This builds up into a segment reminiscent of Steve Hillage meets Eloy. This excellent guitar jam fades out with a windy exit similar to the beginning of the track. The next song is a multiple movement instrumental called Elysium. It starts off with another Hillage inspired intro with lush synths behind it. This leads into a nice driving section similar to the Ozrics with soaring guitars and eventually segues into a nice keyboard-driven symphonic prog section (kind of reminds me of Yes in some ways). The next section of the song contains spacey, sweeping synth noises and spoken parts in the background (not sure what they're saying), which leads into some lush synths and acoustic guitar and then a slow build-up to a grand finale guitar solo with lush synths again backing it (kind of similar to Marillion's Script for a Jester's Tear album). Another beautiful track.

The seventh track is a short instrumental featuring Dominic Crane (Rumblefish, Low Art Thrill) on guitar. It's chiefly a very Gilmour-inspired guitar solo with spacey synths backing it. The final track of BlackTracking is another multiple-movement piece, chiefly instrumental, called Jabberwocky and based on Lewis Carroll's poem of the same name. Throughout the songs are spoken parts citing lines from Caroll's poem. Again, similar influences from prior songs show themselves in this song, including Eloy, Genesis, Marillion, and Rush. A wonderful ending to a masterpiece compilation.

For me, this was probably the most amazing independent artist find I've ever found. Mile Walsh is a very skilled guitarist and I wish that someday he will get the recognition he so well deserves. Many prog bands could use a guitarist of this quality. The only downsides BlackTracking has it that Walsh uses programmed drums (but rather skillfully) and sometimes before and after songs there is a lot of background recording hiss. For me, these problems are very minor and in some ways adds to the charm of this independent release. A chiefly unknown gem easily worth five stars and deserving to sit among the best releases of 2000, especially among independent artists. Highly recommended if you can find it.

progaeopteryx | 5/5 |


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