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Estradasphere - Quadropus CD (album) cover

QUADROPUS

Estradasphere

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.04 | 25 ratings

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Brendan
3 stars Well boys, mark this one down as one of the 'must get' bands of modern prog. Neither they sounds like a clone of an earlier band; rather a mixture of different elements that all come together well.

They are classed under 'Avant-RIO', admittedly a genre I don't know a lot about, but using definitions outside of this they are a blend of Eastern / middle Eastern folk with jazz-rock fusion. death metal (unfortunately) and pop exploration. If I were to compare them to any band that came before, I would say Works-era Emerson Lake and Palmer, in that they sound like an eccentric cacophany of genre's that no-one else want's to touch, at least no one else in the prog world. As no one else in 1977 wanted to touch Rag-Time, Cabaret and the like, very few prog-bands in 2003 would mix Beach Boys send ups with Jazz-rock and Eastern folk music. Even, you wonder if they intended to be 'prog' at all, but that's okay, they're refreshing.

The first song is an interesting Eastern European folk song, it's interesting to hear in a world of organs and Heavy guitars. Th is is followed by one of my favourite songs on the album, 'Dubway'. Dubway is what I would call 'vocal techno', it's techno music but the beats and rhythms are all made by making/singing noises into the microphone. I think it must take a lot of skill to pull such a thing off so well, and actually turn it into an infectious piece of pop music. Followed by 'King Krab Battle', an interesting jazz-rock fusion piece, although there are moments when the song turns into a 'death-metal' song, and I can't see that as being a good mix. 'Speck' is a haunting ballad, like something the Moody Blues would have done in the late 60's (e.g. Candle of life), but it is done poorly. Needs better vocals, at least.

Then comes the highlight of the album, 'Hardball', a twisting turning long song that mixes various Eastern and sometimes middle Eastern folk with jazz-rock fusion, and gets up towards the 15 minute mark. Now I might have been complaining about Yes songs in the mid 70's being dragged out to 20 minutes and it was more of an exercise, and was a chore for the listener to sit through, and maybe some folks might think I'm not a real 'progger', and that may be true... but I enjoyed every minute of Hardball, enjoyed how it kept progressing and felt liek it was working towards something. Now if this song was 24 hours long, no problem! I'd call my workplace up sick and take the time to listen to it! I would sit down for the 24 hour duration and probably enjoy every minute of it. But ten minutes of Siberian Khatru is ten minutes too long.... sorry...

Hardball is followed up by a similar sounding 'Car Ride through Idealistic Ethiopia', though this song is a bit more psychedelic. Actually, it's a breath-taking piece of a mix of styles, and to demonstrate their abilites, they do this 'radio tuning' effect, to make it seem they are changing stations, and when they settle on a new station, it's a different style playing the same melodic theme as was present before they changed stations. So, with those two pieces, there is at least 20 minutes of excellent music.

They are followed by four shorter piece, Crystal Blue, an enjoyable but sloppy Early rock n roll meets Beach Boys tune, A couple of awful piece of 'Death-Metal'; 'Jungle Warfare' (Prog- Metal) and 'Bodyslam' (straight metal) and a Beach Boys ballad send-up 'At least we have today', though this is also sending up Van Morrison, I suspect. Sure, how it keeps restarting after minutes of silence is a bad idea, but the original 2 1/2 minutes is very enjoyable.

From the praise I was giving you may think I would give it ****, but in light of two terrible pieces of metal, I cannot rate any higher than ***. Jungle Warfare is worse for trying to be prog, it shows you can 'prog up' anything, so you could have 'progressive crap' or 'progressive traffic samples' or the like. At least 'Bodyslam' tries to be fun, now wasn't that what rock was suppose to be all about? Of forget that, that's such an old theory, went out-of- date in the early-90's....

But I have to admit, having heard this Estradasphere album, it made me want to go and reduce ratings I had given to bands such as Porcupine Tree and Transatlantic. On 'Quadropus', hear all those different instruments, so many... On a Transatlantic album it's just same old guitar/organ/synth combo, and the synths are strictly Banks/Wakeman retreads. So it's ncie to hear people who can bring more sounds to the table than what has already been.

Brendan | 3/5 |

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