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Moraine - Manifest Density CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 27 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Sounding somewhat like a mix of Lark's Tongue in Aspic, Fred Frith's Gravity, Bartok string quartets and McLaughlin's Indo - fusion, Moraine's Manifest Density draws on Progressive Rock's past, but synthesizes something totally fresh and new at the same time. With two string players on board they are able to expand further on the violin-rock sound initiated by Mahavishnu Orchestra and King Crimson. In fact, it's that seamless mix of semi-sting section and jazz-rock trio that is the hallmark of this band's sound.

Although this band can improvise on a scale comparable to the best fusion bands, their love of progressive rock composition often makes them more similar to jazzy prog-rock bands such as Focus or Quiet Sun. Meanwhile, their tendency to favor heavy diminished scale riffs with odd-metered rhythms will bring on the Mahahavishnu/Crimson reference again. To their credit though, despite all the obvious tributes to their favorites of the past, Moraine never sounds cheaply derivative or short on original musical ideas. Also, their tendency towards the occasional 'pretty' melody or chord progression makes them different from the harsher members of the jazz-rock set. Album closer, Middlebrau, in particular recalls a classic escalating 'prog-rock' chord progression, but with a more modern less indulgent approach.

Like many of the artists on the Moonjune label, Moraine has a very pure 'live' sound with little or no overdubbing or slick studio technology. The exact antithesis of ambient nu jazz, acid jazz, trip-hop or much of today's post-Laswell neo-psychedelic music, the individual musical lines of each player can be clearly heard and they are not buried beneath reverb, echo and a plethora of modern 'dubbing' techniques. If you are looking for a modern and original extension of bands like King Crimson, Henry Cow and Mahavishnu Orchestra, Moraine has it.

Easy Money | 4/5 |


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