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T.A.P - Paradigms CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.09 | 11 ratings

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Prog Dog
3 stars I remember my dad had one of the albums by The Ventures in the family collection. It's an instrumental surf-themed rock band from the '60s. Boy, how far we've come in the instrumental rock genre!

T.A.P. is a studio project featuring musicians from various parts of the world who are fluent in the rhythmic and musical language of progressive rock. They share a few things in common: good jam-sense and exceptional creativity.

What's most interesting to me about this album is its richness and variety and the adventurous spirit that animates it. If you're looking for a jazz fusion album, this is not it, though there are some splashes of jazz. In fact I don't recall hearing that many instrumental prog themed records that are not dominated by jazz-rock. So T.A.P. manages to stay mostly away from those more commonly taken pathways and instead offers up truly unique musical vistas by leaning into ambient, ethnic, blues and psychedelic influences.

The album meanders purposefully like a smooth volcanic lava flow from tune to tune, from idea to idea, never repeating itself, never treating any one idea as too precious not to follow and see where it takes its host musician. Be it Mike Jobborn on keyboards, synth, soundscapes, drum programming, or Mark Cook on the Stick-like Warr guitar, guitars, basses, drums, soundscapes, synths, samples or strings. Then you've got Suzi James on guitars, basses, oud, flute, random percussion and Gayle Ellett covering keyboards such as Hammond, Moog and mellotron (Ellett is from another instrumental prog band that apparently I need to look into called Djam Karet). A couple of tracks feature drummers in the flesh: Paul Sears (track 5) and Bill Bachman (track 8). The tracks with drum programming are so good that I was fooled.

I won't use the word 'metal' as a descriptive here either because the music is couched in rock and hard rock in general. This will be a plus to those who are not fans of djent or super-dense Dream Theater-type electric guitar distortion (just hints of it in parts).

I find this to be an impressive album. I would have scored it higher but I really value drummers in the flesh on all of the tracks if at all possible. I love this CD though. It commands your full attention and isn't a 'put it on and ignore it' album just because it's fully instrumental. There's plenty here to 'study'. It has plenty of musical meat and potatoes and is a rare instrumental offering that proves you don't always have to rely on jazz tropes (except for a bit here and there) to create an instrumental prog buffet. So bring your appetite to this table of solid offerings, it's sure to fill you up.

Prog Dog | 3/5 |


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