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MacKenzie Theory - Out Of The Blue CD (album) cover


MacKenzie Theory

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A raw sound captured live-in-the-studio!

After failed attempts at an out and out studio album Australian outfit MACKENZIE THEORY recorded its debut album "Out Of The Blue" live-in-the-studio in front of a very small but appreciative audience in Melbourne back in 1973.

"Out Of The Blue" is an all instrumental affair where the listener is taken on a pulsating, often fiery musical journey as the guitar playing of band leader Rob MacKenzie intertwines with the electric viola of Cleis Pearce, all the time being chaperoned by a fairly low- key rhythm section in Mike Leadabrand on bass and Andy Majewski on drums.

The music on "Out Of The Blue" shifts from the very jazzy to fairly hard rocking and goes to a number of places in-between, truly fusing these two main musical influences.

For me the stand out track is the opener "Extra Terrestrial Boogie", but having said that all six tracks are great to listen to and the longer ones feature some great improvising.

"Out Of The Blue" is recommend for those with an interest in the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA style of jazz-rock or "Night Of The Living Dregs" era DIXIE DREGS. 4 out of 5 stars from the Dinosaur.

Report this review (#132978)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
3 stars Out of the blue is also out of the dark ...

Very interesting instrumental album from this australian band named MACKENZIE THEORY. Recorded at a studio in front of a small audience you can feel the live character - a special sort of spontanity. During (only) 45 minutes, because of the original LP format, we have some similiarities to the Mahavishnu Orchestra because of Pearce's viola playing - she is sometimes Jerry Goodman like but mostly very unique. The album is dominated by Rob MacKenzie's compelling guitar work which also is a little bit spacy. Exploring this you are listening to a dynamic performance - complex songs with a mix of slow melancholic and highspeed racing parts. Recommended Jazz Rock/Fusion - 3.5 stars

Report this review (#155871)
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Mackenzie Theory were certainly unique in the Australian context, as an all-instrumental group, playing mostly improvised music, with an electric viola sharing lead duties with guitar. The music isn't dreadfully sophisticated though - most of the pieces revolve around long repetitions of a few set chord changes, with only a couple of pieces ("Opening Number" and "Out Of The Blue") featuring riffs that go beyond the ordinary - over the top of this, guitarist Rob Mackenzie and violist Cleis Pearce jockey for position. Both of them seem to favour playing as fast as possible - in Pearce's case, often at the expense of intonation or melodic comprehension - and one often gets the feeling that they're not really listening to each other. Having said that, there are some genuinely exciting moments on this record ("Out of the Blue", with it's shock-value dynamics, slightly convoluted main riff, and relatively short running time, is the highlight for me). Maybe the album would have been stronger if they'd been allowed more time and budget to work things out in the studio, instead of recording the whole thing 'live in the studio' in one night.
Report this review (#722277)
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars MACKENZIE THEORY was the project of one Rob MacKenzie, guitarist extraordinaire. They were an Australian band and they released two albums back in the day. This record "Out Of The Blue" was released in 1973 and recorded live in studio before a small audience. We get a smattering of applause after each song. It's an all instrumental affair with the guitar and electric viola dominating the sound. The viola is played by classically trained Cleis Pearce and man she can shred. They sound like a cross between MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA and the DIXIE DREGS. The guitar is complex and often sounds like an acoustic guitar to my ears. With that sound of viola and guitar usually taking turns leading the way this comes across as kind of one dimensional to my ears. I was hoping after many, many spins I would feel different but I don't.

"Extra Terrestrial Boogie" opens with guitar, bass and drums and there's almost a reggae vibe at first but it's brief. Viola comes in over the top and here we go. It settles before 5 minutes then it kicks back in hard quickly with a faster tempo. "O" has some outbursts with viola helping out before it calms right down with some strummed guitar. Viola to the fore after 3 minutes as it builds.The guitar starts to solo after 5 minutes but it will trade off with the viola.

"Opening Number" has some interesting guitar work, complex is the word as the drums and bass help out. Viola's turn before 3 minutes and check out the fast paced and fluid sound of the viola 6 minutes in. "New Song" is my favourite although the bonus track of this song done live tops it. Some viola expressions only to start then guitar and a full sound after 1 1/2 minutes. The viola is back after 2 minutes as the rest of the band continue. Some outbursts around 3 1/2 minutes followed by a calm with picked and strummed guitar. I like the viola 7 minutes in, my favourite section including the bass and drum work. The guitar and depth of sound impresses before 9 minutes.

"Out Of The Blue" has this faint sounding guitar intro that is blown away a minute in by a full sound and a faster tempo. Contrasts continue. Some ripping viola and guitar on this one. "World's The Way" is brighter sounding as we get this uptempo and catchy sound. A calm a minute in with picked and strummed guitar. Nice. The tempo shifts often as the guitar and viola take turns leading the way. A great way to end the album.

Despite many spins this just doesn't click with me. Yes it's an impressive performance by all involved but I'm just not warming up to it. I don't find this very jazzy either, just my opinion. Check it out though if you like hear some top notch playing.

Report this review (#1734954)
Posted Saturday, June 17, 2017 | Review Permalink

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