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Purple - Under a Binary Tree CD (album) cover

UNDER A BINARY TREE

Purple

 

Crossover Prog

3.00 | 2 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars My feelings about this one-man project are controversial. There are some very good things joined together with other that I quite dislike, and all inside the same track. Before looking at this album's page I didn't know that the two 32 minutes long tracks were "officially" divided in subtracks (usual in prog), but I had already identified the "mathematical" structure of the two tracks.

Both are exactly 32 minutes long. The first is made of 8 subtracks with a duration of exactly 4 minutes, each of them made of two distinct portions of two minutes. The second track is made of only 4 parts of 8 minutes each.

I think we can consider this like a double sided vinyl with different tracks played gaplessly. Taken in this way the weight of the less good parts is lighter than if we consider "The Ebony Queen" as a single track.

The beginning is symphonic with clear reminds to Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherazade but with a theme which could fit into a western movie, especially in the second 2-minutes sub- section. A gong at exactly minute 4 introduces a section of acoustic guitar, bluesy but with some dissonances vaguely reminding me to Bo Hansson. The third subtrack starts with a subtle keyboard, then electric piano and bass for a part that alternates jazzy moments and classical influences. Again a gong but the transition is now smooth. Up to now what I have heard was good, now things start to worsen.This subtrack (the fifth) features piano and blueasy acoustic guitar on which a folky flute and what sounds like a concertina play something vaguely dissonant and really not much interesting. Then it's the turn of loops and tapestogether with a blues electric guitar. Usually I don't dislike tapes played reverse if their use is not excessive. Sometimes I find Anthony Phillips boring for the excess of reversed tapes. There's another reminder to Sheherazade and we are in the seventh subtrack, the worst in my opinion. A circus organ plays a waltz based on a trivial melody. In this case 4 minutes are really too much. The last 4 minutes are occupied by a blues guitar with some hints of classical. Not a good closer, but as I have said before, if we consider it as a standalone track it's not too bad.

Let's now go to the "Ivory Tower".

The first of the four let's call them "movements" is progressive electronic. Drone drumming with a keyboard layer with sounds between Edgar Froese and Rick Wakeman, a bit more oriented to the first but also in this case classical influences can be perceived. The fact that this movement is 8 minutes long is everything but disturbing, specially for a listener used to Tangerine Dream. The transition is made with some electronic noises, then the second movement is again classical inspired. Its sub-title "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" gives well the idea. The sound is mimic of a church organ. Let me define it as "Edgar Froese plays Criminal Record". So not bad at all, but there's a sudden break to the 8 minutes rule. Seashore sounds are used to bring us out of the cathedral into the bazaar...well, effectively the bazaar starts exactly at minute 12. Not as intense and experimental as the Grand Vizir garden party on Ummagumma, but interesting enough. Again little electronic noise are used for the transition to the third movement. A leslie organ plays a waltz on drone drums, then it changes to uptime. It's a good keys performance reminding of Rick Wakeman but it's made of several short pieces very disconnected, each of them quite good, but too short and with transitions which apparently haven't requested a big composing effort, thay are just transitions. It's a pity, but probably "The travelling Salesman" means that every short piece has to be considered as a different situation for the salesman it's about. Othe electronic low-volume noises introduce us to the final movement. The title is interesting: "The dining Philosopher" and this kind of electronics is something that I'm used to like,and I like it also this time. Between Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield, has some weak moments, like a descending sequence of organ chords which interrupts the track's continuity at minute 26:30 but it's an excellent electronic performance even with that weakness. It proceeds alternatin a funky sequence to pure electronics until the end.

In few words this is a double face album, not only because of the title. The first track is more acoustic and contains many guitar parts while the second track is mainly electronic and keyboard based. I would rate the first with 2 stars and the second with 4 (question of tastes, but apart of making "averages" I think that 3 stars are a good compromise in terms of rating.

I still have to check better the other two albums of this one man project but from the first listens I already have the impression that the formula is almost the same. Formula or not, the second track deserves some attention. There's not a specific reason why I started reviewing this album instead of any of the other two. Just a random choice.

octopus-4 | 3/5 |

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