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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Prog Is Not A Four Letter Word CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

3.03 | 5 ratings

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3 stars Oh, joy. Don't tell me all genre collections suck, or your words might come back and kick you square in the gonads after you hear this little beauty put together by Andy Votel and released by Cherry Red/Delay 68. The best part of the deal, after the terrific tunes, is that some of this material is simply not available, or perhaps even desired. But it's Prog through and through, and that's what counts. And Mr. Votel, a musician, true fan and visceral writer, conducts these ceremonies with passion and a deep understanding of this particular universe.

Picchio Dal Pozzo shoves things off strumming the acoustics of 'Merta', soon imbued with a wormy synth and bright vocalizations, a nice minimal piece taken over by France's Visitors and some killer classic stuff, complex, weird, masterful and with just the right hints of avant classical, Brubeck-style prog jazz, a screamin' violin and downright hot rock power. Illes from Hungary picks the baton right up with gargling wonders of blotter acid bliss, stiff and nerdy psycho-pop and a steady cowbell, and Korea's San Ui Lim's scattered (even bad) dance psych continues the creep. The ethnic wonders of this comp begin to steadily come out with Turkish representative Baris Manco's blood-pumping bellydances of prog, this beauty spinning ever faster with finger cymbals and an appreciative crowd. Breakout (Poland) follow, Bran with a similarly toned elegy, some OK garage space-jazz from Phillipe Besombes, a nice ditty from Embryo, and Czechs Martin Kratochivl & Jazz Q finish things with the marvelous, brooding and subtle fusioner 'Toledo'.

Not every single thing here is great or even very good, but the value a collection like this has - both musical and historic - trumps most of the clunky sounds and cringe-worthy performances. Votel writes; "The discerning cosmic music enthusiast of the early 1970s would witness an unwaining influx of mind-bending subgenres flood through the record racks on a daily basis as rock mutated beyond palatable recognition overnight, providing new challenges and breaking boundaries at every turn. So what of the truly progressive international rock musicians who started their own hybrid hurricanes outside the rectangular iris of Prog's media storm?". That question is answered on this CD. More than the sum of its parts, and of a weight greater than the three stars given.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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