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Wolf - Saturation Point CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.88 | 57 ratings

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4 stars What a stellar line-up of excellent musicians, led by the crafty virtuosity of Darryl Way of Curved Air legend, with future Soft Machine guitarist John Etheridge , future Caravan and The Strawbs bassist Dek Messecar and future Trace and Marillion drumster Ian Mosley. So what do we get? Some blazing string driven things with very few keyboards, the six string electric in battle with (at time against) the four string chin job! "The Ache" is a fiery instrumental opener that showcases Etheridge's rather tectonic playing as well as Way's capacity to parallel the emotional zeal with seeming ease. "Two-Sisters" leaves the station as a pleasantly sung Brit Rock piece, until the two soloists (the two brothers?) conspire to shred the arrangement to pieces, the little terrorists! Way in particular has a sizzling outro. "Slow Rag" is Etheridge's turn to show off his skills, weaving a leisurely guitar tapestry, in unison with Way's ultra-romantic glide, an ornate acoustic foray that has a definite Mediterranean feel, almost mandolin-ish , building up into a paroxysm of emotion and then gently ebbing, the violin's elegance leading the er. way. Mosley thrashes nicely on this fine piece. "Market Overture" supplies some electric piano musings, with supersonic jazzy electric guitar picking and a kindergarten violin sortie that builds inexorably, percussive adornments and booming bass taking this to an impromptu end. "Game of X" is at first straight ahead rock and roll, a two- fisted power boogie with scorching violin and some oddball hard scat singing but the shifting moods take this into a different expanse of improvisational violin screeching at the raucous guitar ramblings. Almost punkish at times, this definitely shows that the Wolf has big fangs. It becomes quite obvious that overproduced and lush symphonics are not what this rock predator is about. "Saturation Point" is a slow moving exploration that gives again both stringers the opportunity to forage above the bed of electric keyboards and seek out new sounds to play with, seemingly effortlessly. The classical tendencies here a quite remote as jazz or rock seem to be the prey of the day. Etheridge in particular has an electric guitar style that is enormously impressive, fluid yet raw, very animated as opposed to run of the mill. The bass rolls along nicely and keeps things nice and tidy. The fantastic finale is "Toy Symphony" (the definite highpoint here), which does revert to some intense violin classicisms but are quickly kidnapped by some weighty fuzz bass and cliff-hanger drumming, again flinging the arrangement into rockier geographies. Darryl Way displays his complete mastery over this tremendous instrument by choosing to eschew gratuitous note splashing and wringing out feeling and emotion from his trusted weapon. The final few minutes are a frenzy of exhilarating interplay that will leave you breathless. Just like being chased by a hungry wolf. Definitely worthy of your prog zoo, I mean.. collection. 4 canines.
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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