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Where's The Nine - Desensitized to Insanity CD (album) cover


Where's The Nine


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.70 | 12 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars A debut instrumental album with pulsating grooves and everchanging time signatures

It's amazing how you discover new prog and in this case I actually received a Private Message at the PA forum stating: "I would like to bring your attention to a new release that I think you will like based on your previous tastes. Where's the Nine is a Canadian instrumental prog rock/fusion who have just released their debut album, "Desensitized to Insanity". You can hear the entire album here. If you are inspired, I would appreciate you giving the album a review". Two years later I returned to this website and listened to the album again. Time for a review on a new band. Immediately there is a sense that the band are borrowing heavily the influences of Yes, ELP, early Rush and U.K. among others. There are some nice melodies and very accomplished guitar work on these tracks.

'A Rather Odd Tribute' consists of a melodic guitar riff and heavy handed Hammond. Barry Connors is a precise drummer with jazz influences, and he is joined by the musicianship of Dean Watson the guitarist, keyboardist and general noise maker. A great sound is achieved and I am very drawn to the frenetic keyboards in particular.

'Mood Swings' is a 6 minute ambient piece of music focussing on sustained keyboard chords and an angular guitar passage akin to Fripp's style of perhaps Lifeson. The guitars are multilayered although only one musician is playing these, plus keyboards. I am in awe that musicians can play like this.

'Half Of Eighteen' is a 9 minute slow paced melancholy piece. The hi hat cymbal work is gentle and the approach is minimalism for a while. The keys sound like violins, calm and serene, until the pace quickens, threatening to break out into a loud crescendo. The guitar solo is divine and perfectly timed as I was being lulled to sleep. This is very emotional music, at times a bit like Visual Cliff's early instrumental albums. The keyboard chimes in as the time sig changes and staccato stabs sound very much like ELP's 'Tarkus'. I love it when the keys take off at this point, and then it slows again with a sustained pad and an odd time sig with heavy guitar notes locks in. The song changes again at the end into a slower track. A real highlight of the album.

'Threw The Looking Glass' focuses on innovative guitar lead breaks and keyboard trade offs. The duelling instruments work well together, although we know this is the same musician of course, Watson is duelling with himself in some aspects. The quiet section is very jazzy and I like that electric piano sound with the violin type pads. A jagged guitar riff cranks along with the pads. In a sense the music becomes repetitious and hypnotic, the drums are sporadic and timed well with the frenetic playing.

'2 Days Left' begins with drums and keyboards emitting short blasts of energetic riffs that stop and start. Again I am reminded of ELP, the intro to 'Pictures at an Exhibition, especially. I like the cool funky sound of the keys on this, a bit like Pink Floyd's 'On The Run'. The tension in the time sig is astonishing. The frenetic keyboards continue overlayed with many instruments. Soon a distorted guitar riff with fractured metrical shifts chugs along and a divine keyboard pad with sustained chords adds to the atmosphere. A wonderful piece of music and one of my favourites from the album.

'Lethargic Waltz' is a dynamic tune with menacing bottom end chords. There is a meandering progression, infinitely patient and foreboding. The Hammond sound is quite disarming and provides a strong resonance. The piano is a feature too played with virtuoso precision, and the complex music is taken up a notch when the chaotic bassline locks in and the keyboard solo takes over sounding like an electric guitar. The Hammond pounds down as the texture becomes darker and there is an off kilter time sig, the tempo blazes away and then settles into a swing time feel as a lead guitar soars over with hammer ons, speed picking and squealing harmonics. There is even a glockenspiel effect at the end. One of the highlights of the album.

'She's Furious' has a strange time sig that misses consecutive beats, and the sound is heavier with a myriad of high speed notes picked on guitar. Then a guitar solo with some complex licks is heard over a new time shift. This fades as a keyboard pad swells in and a bizarre fractured keyboard plays. A new riff locks in and gives way for a beautiful keyboard solo, similar to how Petrucci plays with his continuum keyboard. The polyrhythms continue until a blazing crescendo ends it abruptly.

'The Camera Ear' may be the answer to Rush's 'The Camera Eye' but only in name alone as this is way different. It's all keyboards at the intro, until the angular guitar riff is unleashed. The keyboard notes are bent in different directions and then a heavy distorted guitar riff chugs as the keyboard provides the dynamics of sound. An electric guitar solo and keyboard solo are to follow in different time sigs. These passage are sublime. The piano provides a transition to the next section; a bass solo lays down the rhythm and than a choppy organ blasts out chunky motifs.

In conclusion, 'Desensitised To Sanity' by Where's The Nine is a pleasant listening experience featuring pulsating grooves and everchanging time signatures; the musicianship of the two musicians is very inspiring, and they have somehow produced an instrumental album that is replete with retro influences and yet refreshingly original and modern. 3.5 stars. (rounded off to 4)

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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