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




Eclectic Prog

4.09 | 11 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is quite the progressive project, combining some serious global talent, namely Fearful Symmetry's guitarist Suzie James from the UK, Canada's Mike Jobborn on keyboards, Americans Mark Cook on Warr guitar and bass, drummers Paul Sears and Bill Bachman and finally Gayle Ellett showing his mellotron skills among other ivories. The material is all instrumental and focuses clearly on complex evolutions of experimental progression, and certainly not aimed for the faint of heart or the dancing disco bunny glitterati. The delivery is intense, demanding attention from the audience that must concentrate on the sounds and imagining whatever individual emotions that make come of them, a typical modern prog adventure.

The sprawling 12 minute 'Infinite Names' is a scorching slice of futuristic expanse, proposing a mind-numbing gurgle of synthesized substance, on which guitarist Mark Cook gets to channel his nasty Warr guitar with some lethal oblique runs in apparent controlled exuberance. The apocalyptic disposition shifts into a subdued electronics drenched segment that sets up a bluesier fretboard foray, with a laid-back beat and some delirious soloing from the crisscrossing of Suzy James' fluid guitar and the intrusive Warr beast. Another wave of sonic serenity is the perfect set-up for the audience to settle in and get comfortably numb. The finale rekindles the finer moments of the Robert Fripp-Andy Summers collaboration back in the early 80s. 'The Progbient' has all the musical ingredients in its title, an ominously fluttering soundscape that infuses a supremely funky e-piano played by Jobborn with gusto, an upbeat diversion that has immediate impact qualities that cannot be ignored, laced with subtle mellotron washes. The moody perspective of 'Initiate Protocol 7' recalls the kind of soundtrack one would hear in some strange sci-fi movie where cowboys and aliens would meet on some forgotten mesa, the dual guitar work showcasing the two sides, little dabs of flute from Suzy adding flair to the effort and some foundational e-piano, a hallmark feature on a multitude of tracks (love that instrument!).

Veering towards more orchestral string arrangement expanses at first, 'Signal Transactions' travels into adventurous playfulness, once again led by the combination bass, e-piano and choppy guitars, with James flipping a seductive bluesy solo into the mix. The business gestures are confirmed with some amazing classical violin arrays that help the sun settle on the horizon. Speaking of which, the colossal album centrepiece 'Silence from the Storm' (it will get a HOI mix at the end, totalling over 20 minutes for the two) is without any hesitation the 'piece de resistance', a cinematic voyage in one's imagination, a fully anchored progressive rock manoeuvre with Suzy's rolling bass , Paul Sears (the Muffins) on the drum kit , James and Cook dueling once again with their respective stringed weapons of mass entertainment, while Mike and Gayle lay down torrents of organ and synths. The themes are actually complex yet thoroughly enjoyable, with elevated melodic content, a pre-requisite for enjoying this style of instrumental mayhem. This is a crowning achievement track that should garner massive applause from the prog community, as it has all the goods!

Some fascinating 'americana' with the intriguing 'The Last Words of Dutch Schultz' (a famous New York mobster, assassinated by two Murder Inc hitmen, in a restaurant). A musical whirlpool of eerie keyboards, flickering Moog from Ellett and more growling e-piano, topped off by some sweeter electric guitar flurries, set in a retro-futuristic setting as would befit the storyline. A sombre finale closes the mortuary. Dutch Schultz's final words were: 'A boy has never wept'nor dashed a thousand kim. You can play jacks, and girls do that with a soft ball and do tricks with it. Oh, oh, dog Biscuit, and when he is happy, he doesn't get snappy'. Delirium or poetry?

I have been a huge fan of Mark Cook's playing, having latched on early to both his Herd of Instinct albums as well as Spoke of Shadows, and of course collaborating with the mighty Djam Karet. On 'Terminus', this gifted multi- instrumentalist gets to whip out his whole arsenal of devices, namely his trusted Warr, fretless guitar, fretless bass, electric piano, tamboura and soundscapes. Gayle adds mellotron, Mike plays the piano and synth, and Suzy operates her guitar. It's a kaleidoscope of glittering mirrored sounds emanating from every pore of the participating musicians and is a joy to behold.

As mentioned earlier, the album finishes off with a Herd of Instinct remix of 'Silence from the Storm', with drummer Bill Bachman manning the drums, and James adding some pulsating bass to the mix. The first one was a masterpiece, this is its close cousin, with same blood, same sweat, and identical enjoyment. A fascinating recording which will enthuse the most discriminating fan and most assuredly the prog musician community as well, as this is quite a mammoth experiment in aural splendour. Do yourself a favour and get this into your collection as soon as possible.

5 theories

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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