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Where's The Nine - Desensitized to Insanity CD (album) cover


Where's The Nine

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars WHERE'S THE NINE looks like a relatively plain project name for a collaboration of two colleagues knowing each other for more than 25 years. However - the musical potency is anything but harmless on the other hand. 'Densensitized To Insanity' proves to be an interesting effort based on instrumental fusion and mixed up with a lot of influences from other prog genres. Not peering hard at something like a commercial success - technically brilliant, ambitious as for the implementation and not overproduced though. Barry Connors' drumming is straight and powerful supported by Dean Watson's jazz rock and heavy guitar style and playful diversified keyboards.

Retro symphonic (ELP) and Return To Forever references as a contrast to riffing guitar elements (sometimes near to prog metal) are not only given on A Rather Odd Tribute which serves a fireworks of breaks and turns all in all. It takes some time to capture the whole complexity. There are songs like Half of Eighteen reminding of the hammond infected Niacin style particularly. Nice electric piano sections are interspersed here and there. Lethargic Waltz approves its name only in parts because also performed in a dramatic mood in the same way as the following She's furious. And The Camera Ear finally is even a little bit spaced-out with an aggressive behaviour and weird synths.

It is recommended to listen to this album for more than one or two times to come closer. 'Densensitized To Insanity' deserves recognition because giving variety - a good sample of complexity and virtuosity in the whole with a wide palette of key, guitar and percussion work.

Report this review (#185348)
Posted Saturday, October 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars So our just included asset Where's the Nine recently launched their debut Desensitized to Insanity. At first listening I compared the band to Planet X and listening to all the songs again I come to no other conclusion. I can't say they are imitating them but there is obvious similarity in style.

First track A Rather Odd Tribute is a good example for the comparison. Complex rhythms and instrumental contribution changes is typical for this composition. There is some melody line detectable but I can't say melody is the intention of the song. It's obviously challenging music and it will take some listens to get into this one. The next one Moodswings is a little more accessible at least so it seems in the beginning but after half a minute the complexity is there again. And in fact this goes on with the next tracks as well. It's an all instrumental album and I always respect those because they don't have lyrics or vocals to score with. It all depends on the instrumetal compositions and that's not easy if you ask me. But that's the bands choice also of course so they will have to deal with it. I think these guys are doing real fine from what I hear on this release.

Does this mean it's a monotonous album with the same kind of songs ? No way, it's pretty versatile. The music is full of twists and turns, fierce playing on both drums as well as guitar and keyboards and yes, that's coming back in most songs but continuously in a different way. At second listen I'm even more enthusiastic than at first so that's promising and I think it will take a lot more spins of the disk to really get the hang of this fascinating music. And there is also a bit of humor detectable in their songtitles. How about Half of eighteen, Threw the Looking Glass and The Camera Ear ? I mean it's not hilarious, it's subtile and that's why I like it.

I'm even contemplating a 5 star rating here but maybe that's going a little overboard in the end. Well, at least it's close, I think this will be a 4,5 to me and our policy is to give the 5 to the scarce masterpieces and I have always supported that policy so I'm giving 4. So you could say: Where's the Nine ? Here it is: 9 out of 10 for this album !

Highly recommended to fans of Planet X and lovers of modern and stirring jazz rock. For my personal taste it's even better than Planet X due to better compositions and more melody.

Report this review (#185382)
Posted Sunday, October 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Desensitized to Insanity is the debut studio album from two man fusion band Where´s the Nine.

Drummer Barry Conners met the other half of Where´s the Nine Dean Watson ( everything else than drums and percussion) in 1979 when he joined Dean Watson´s band AirKraft. Barry Conners was not satisfied with the low income that came from playing in a progressive/ jazz rock band and went on to pursue a commercial career. He has played with artists such as Coney Hatch, Lee Aaron and Toronto. Twenty five years went by without the two of them speaking to each other until they found each other through the internet and then started exchanging ideas. Desensitized to Insanity is a product of those ideas.

The music is Instrumental Fusion with both jazz and progressive rock elements. I hear a couple of heavy elements too. Artists like Allan Holdsworth, UK and Planet X are some of the influences I think I hear in the music.

2 Days Left is a favorite. Great dark and aggressive track. Listen to the fantastic drum playing in that song. Most songs are excellent and even the last track called The Camera Ear which I find a bit annoying ( it´s a bit too jazzy perhaps or maybe I´m just getting a bit tired at this point after listening to challenging and demanding music for 57:52 minutes ?) is extremely well played and composed.

The musicianship is outstanding. Dean Watson who plays both keyboards, guitars and bass is an extraordinaire musician to say the least. He handles all instruments on a virtuosic level. But the price does go to drummer Barry Connors. What a fantastic musician. Seldom have I heard as varied, challenging, fast and precise drumming. Being a big metal fan I would really like to hear him play some tech metal. I´m very impressed with his inventive and very powerful playing.

The production took some time to appreciate but when I got more into the album it unfolded to me and I enjoy it now. It´s a very cold sound IMO though and it might scare off some people.

I can´t say that fusion with this many jazz leanings is something I normally appreciate much, but Desensitized to Insanity is an excellent album that also blends other genres into the mix and besides that it´s really hard not to enjoy listening to such skilled musicians play. The compositions are very strong too though. This is not just a show off. 4 stars is well deserved. I expect much from Where´s the Nine in the future.

Report this review (#185886)
Posted Wednesday, October 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Remarkeably solid music throughout makes Desensitized to Insanity one of the finds of 2008. This Canadian outfit make very tight progressive rock/fusion instrumental music. There are undeniable King Crimson/Rush influences yet a solid unique tightly arranged setlist which are consistently good songs. Personal highlights would have to be Mood Swings and Half of Eighteen. The drum work can give the ears a serious hammering so add some hefty bass to smoothe out the sounds. Barry Connors ( percussion) and Dean Watson (Keys and guitars) compliment each other exceptionally well, check out the last song The Camera Ear' for good synchronisity between the two. Again a great discovery/introduction. One lowish point is the cover, not very entertaining but that is irrelevant in the big scheme of things. Don't miss out on listening to this great album. Four healthy stars.
Report this review (#186216)
Posted Saturday, October 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Someone I did not know on this site invited me to write something about this album. He must have thought I was Canadian too. I'm a freeking Dutchman! But OK... I gave this record a trie, you can listen to it for free on their website.

I seriously do not like the artwork here. This is no inventation for a record like this! A black cover with the title in white would have been better. This mistake gives an perspective on the album as a whole. These musicians are very good! They play symphonic/progressive rock with jazz influences. The style is to be put between UK and Return to Forever. The band has only two members: one does keyboard and guitars, the other is the rytmic basis of the band. But what's the problem then?

The recording sounds a bit cheap. I wished bands in these days had the same oppertuneties as some talented bands in the '70 had. My advice for WHERE'S THE NINE would be: Find a guitarist and a bassplayer and a good place to play and record this album in a live session withoud public. This would get us rid of the static sound. The music wouldn't only be technically very good but it would also live!

Band like WHERE'S THE NINE give me the feeling that if they recorded the whole during a Pink Floyd-like live amplification set it would have been a four-to-five star performance and recording. The band has got talent to play different and difficult songs that also have a somewhat mysterious vibe.

So... Good musicianship, dissapointing recording. But also: potential! In the future this could become a serious act if a complete band is formed around these two very inspiring musicans! So.. three stars for now, but a positive feeling abound the name of this band. I will remember!

Report this review (#186490)
Posted Monday, October 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars You know, with so many new bands coming, they could be mediocre ones or bands that did not start on the right note. Add to that this album's cover and I started listening (their album is free) thinking that it is just another band. Luckily in this case, the debut is quite solid and shows potential of a very good band. This is an instrumental album with emphasis on instrument interactions and tempo changes. The guitar and the keyboards are sometimes improvisational in nature, and sometimes riff-oriented or carefully written. The rhythm section is excellent, thanks to the drummer. However, the album doesn't work on all levels, but considering it is a debut, is expected. For example, the production can sometimes feel cold or clinical, which is not really the kind of production you should have in a jam-heavy jazzy album. This band needs a live-atmosphere. I also can imagine how much a good singer could bring to the mix, as long as the instrumentals keep taking a large role in the music, tho it is not necessary as the band is good enough instrumentally to keep the interest of the listener.

A Rather Odd Tribute starts the album dazzlingly with fast runs. After its intro, it gives you a mid tempo main theme on the electric guitar until they decide to jam in a very jazzy manner (reminding of a less virtuosic, yet more accessible Mahavishnu Orchestra). Not everything works: an unexciting distorted guitar riff hurts the song.

Mood Swings is one of my favorites here, with a rhythmic distorted guitar riff that combines well with the synthesizer runs. It also features more somber moments in which the drummer, who is given plenty of room, creates a nice atmosphere. The song title would give you an idea of this song sounds like, but luckily coherence is achieved.

half of Eighteen is another longer tune and is as good as the opener. The soft, yet busy, drum groove in the beginning is especially worthy of mention. Instruments slowly join in and the song starts having changes during the middle of the tune, where the synthesizer takes the spotlight. Unfortunately, some passages and keyboard tones are not to my tastes.

Threw the Looking Glass has the keyboardist player's best moments (using electric piano) and every now and then an inspired hard rock riff pops up.

2 Days left is where I start having problems with this album. While it has some good passages (the guitar riff halfway through the song), there is a very irritating drum-oriented riff that is used several times. I also do not like some of the keyboard tones here: one bein the one in the middle part of Half of Eighteen and another is a very dated and quirky synthesizer tone.

Lethargic Waltz alternates heavy moments with somber ones, both being keyboard-oriented. After a while, you'll get some inspired jams. The first one is a more laid back synthesizer solo with excellent lively bass. The second one is heavy and has hammond organs. The last one features a guitar solo and some intricate instrumental passages.

She's Furious is obviously more energetic and riff-driven, with excellent drumming throughout the song. However, It is not fast-paced all the way through. In fact, this is the most diverse track in the album and is full of twists.

The Camera Ear is proggy, dynamic, and rhythmically complex. But in the intro, it brings the synthesizer tone that i complained about in two previous tracks. I also find it anti-climatic for the album.

So, in the end, some tracks work better than others. This band has serious chops, and I know they have the talent to release a superior album to this. I suggest that they have a more organic/livelier sound production, tell the keyboard player to be a bit more careful with synthesizer tone choices, and make sure the drummer keeps taking as large of a role as in this album.

Report this review (#186658)
Posted Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | Review Permalink

Toronto, Canada based duo Where`s The Nine`s Desensitized To Insanity debut could have turned out to be a full-blown exercise in campiness for music critics to eat for dinner by virtue of it`s clichéd and un-original instrumental configuration which had me saying to myself here we go, not another copycat band. My first big hurdle with the work was the zany cover that seems to depict the two members Barry Connors and Dean Watson in straightjackets with their name Where`s The Nine scratched in in red blood. Red blood? This came off to me as rather odd because I was expecting a Roger Dean-like cover depicting some sort of sureal celestial backdrop with space unicorns, stars & galaxies and expected another art-rock take-off with keyboards & drums. So what`s with the straightjackets?

Whoa !

After the first listen I realized what these guys were all about and found that the work, despite being a bit clinical at times, immediately acquired a rather light-hearted aura about it which was established in part by the cover and the tonque-in-cheek track titles. They issue a warning on their myspace that : Children Left Unattended Will Be Sold To The Circus and even play on their moniker on track 3 which is entitled Half Of Eighteen ! Another track entitled Lethargic Waltz is anything but lethargic! So, on the contrary, these guys take no prisoners, take no bows but have a whale of a time making music that is immensly interesting to listen to because you don`t know what`s coming next. In summation their sound can be described as a big bang of every fusion jazz band meets every progrock dinosaur band from the seventies right up to the present day with the most common camparison I`ve heard so far being made to Planet X. If comparisons and generalizations such as these aren`t drawn I`m pretty sure these guys would deem themselves to be the mother of all musical miscarriages.

The whole beauty and irony here is that they are completely different from anyone they might be compared to. But this is not to say that someone who is a fan of The Mahavishnu Orchestra or ELP will not appreciate their cunning fusions and variations of themes and motifs of these bands and others. The opening track, appropriately entitled A Rather Odd Tribute, borrows from each of the afore mentioned, so we get know right from the onset where they`re coming from musically. Fusion and more fusion. Fuse fuse fuse. Moving through the work elements of Bill Bruford`s first band, FM, Rush, King Crimson and freak knows who/what else surface and get thrown into this witches brew as Connors and Watson throw more curves at us than a major league pitcher. Doses of smooth fusion laced with doom metal power chords, speed of light guitar runs a la McLaughlin, frantic machine-like synth rhythms abound as well, and when everything seems to be going totally mental and off kilter they back off and come to some resolution and then continue on so as not to give the listener complete cardiac arrest. Drummer Connors is not merely along for the ride here either. He focuses a lot on quirky rythms rather than showboating and his percussives are as much a part of the compositions as are Watson`s busy keyboards ( and guitars! ) not to mention some cool subtle effects.

There are many things which are put in peril with an all instrumental presentation, the most notable one being compositions beginning to sound like one another. This does not occur here and I thouroughly enjoyed the disc from beginning to finish without once saying to myself OK that`s enough of that. With all it`s changes, stops and starts the music makes it all the way through unscathed. Continuity is remarkably well maintained which is one of the big suprises here.

With their versatile musicianship and clever nods to the past this musical frankenstein sounds excitingly fresh and should appeal to fusion freaks of all freak ages in all freak zones. 4 stars here.

Report this review (#194120)
Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Last year, like some other Prog Archives Collaborators, I received a Private Message in the Prog Archives Forums asking me to listen to this album in a website (, which is owned by the record label which has this band and others signed as recording artists). So, I listened to this album and I found interesting things on it.

That website says that drummer Barry Connors was a member of a Canadian Rock band called Conney Hatch in the eighties. I think that I listened to this band at least once in the FM Radio stations of my city, but I can´t remember anything about this band now. But it is really a suprise to find that Connors is a very good drummer and that now he plays very complicated and precise drum parts in this album. The other member of the band, keyboard player-guitarist Dean Watson is also a very good musician, and both knew each other after playing in a band years ago. As I read in that website (more or less as I remember now), both composed the instrumental music in this album in an unusual way: both live in separate cities in Canada and they used the web to send their parts. First, Connors sent to Watson his recorded rhythm ideas and Connors sent him his recorded keyboards-guitars parts. Later they recorded this album together. I think that they used the modern computer recording technology available in a recording studio (and I also know that some of this recording computer software even can print the recorded music in scores). I also think that Connors had to send the drum parts written in scores to Watson, because maybe it could be very difficult to compose the keyboards-guitars parts by only listening to the recorded parts. The parts played by both musicians have a lot of interaction and precision, so I think that it could be the only way to compose the musical pieces in that unusual way.

The musical style from this band is really hard to be defined as only "Jazz Rock Fusion". Yes, the album has this style of music as the main ingredient, but I also could listen to several influences taken from bands like: Bruford, U.K. (in some keyboard atmospheres), Return to Forever, King Crimson (from the good line-ups of the late sixties-seventies), Jeff Beck (as a Fusion guitarist in the mid-seventies), Billy Cobham, Jean-Luc Ponty (from the seventies), ELP (particularly in track 1), and even Rush in some parts. Some parts are heavier and I think that they also have some influences from Heavy Prog Rock bands. The musical pieces also have very good solos, and some "Retro" sounds, particularly in the keyboard solos, because I think that there is a lot of influence from keyboard players like Jan Hammer. I don`t write this to criticize this band as lacking in originality, because nobody can escape from some influences from previous bands. The music has a lot of originality in all this mixture, and it is even "dark" in some places. I think that the titles of the musical pieces have some humour, like "She´s Furious" (I really could imagine an angry woman shouting only by listening to the music!), "Threw the Looking Glass" (not titled "Through the Looking Glass", as one could expect), "Lethargic Waltz" (a bit monotonous as the title could suggest, but it is not pllayed like a waltz, I think) and "The Camera Ear" (not titled as "The Camera Eye", an old Rush song). Even the cover design has some humour: two men (maybe the musicians, I don`t know!) photographed using straitjackets in an asylum! Maybe the cover concept was done this way to give the idea of some humour and that the musicians don`t take themselves very seriously. But this cover design is the only thing that, as public image for a predominantly Jazz-Rock Fusion band in style, could confuse some people and made them think that this band is more a Heavy Rock band than a Jazz-Rock Fusion band. Anyway, this album is very good, despite the songs are similar, with heavy and difficult drums and keyboards which sometimes are not very easy to be "processed" by the listener by only listening to them once, and in some parts the album is so heavy and dense that the listener is sometimes a bit tired. But anyway, this band is really very good and deserves to be listened with interest. I think that many fans of the Jazz-Rock Fusion musical style, the Prog Rock style and even from the Heavy Prog Rock style could like this album. It sounds like it was done with a lot of care and work. A four stars rating from me for this album.

Report this review (#197373)
Posted Monday, January 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review of Where's The Nine's "Desensitized to Insanity" by Chris Otter. December 8th 2008

Having never heard of "Where's The Nine" I proceeded to gather information you may find crucial to the making of this wonderful, quirky, majestic masterpiece. The story began sometime back when Mr Connors and Mr Watson first met..The musical connection was formed while playing together in a prog rock band, they somehow unwittingly sowed the seeds then, for the making of this album. On first listen I felt the influences were evident, and hinting at early E.L.P. King Crimson, Yes, early Santana, early Genesis and even more current influences Porcupine Tree...but in saying this "Where's The Nine" have forged ahead and in my thinking have created something very unique, groundbreakingly different and adventurious. Meeting up again it was only natural they would continue their musical journey initially using email technology, the songs took shape and this time here is the final proof of their collaboration with the making of this album. Released October 1st 2008. Recorded @ "The Chalet By The Lake" in Rosseau and all drums @ "The Dungeon" in Cambridge. Mr Connors plays...Drums,Cymbals,Gongs and Percussion devices. Mr Watson plays...All Keyboards, Guitars and Bass parts. Purely an Instrumental album each track moves seamlessly from one time journey to the next..never boring. Listen, while melodies catch melodies and time frames to time frame, a fusion of prog/jazz/rock is offered here. This album is a " Must Listen To" more than once, for its full potential to be revealed.

Track 1 "A Rather Odd Tribute" 9.03mins Starting like a sci-fi movie soundtrack and building from a dramatic syncopated and solid drum/keyboard driven theme, we are taken into the main riff of the song with swirling and mesmerizing guitar riffs which lead you into a myriad of time themes, double times and little journey's and back again as new change occurs. An arsenal of cymbals must have been used here and fits perfectly around the quirky keyboard passages and bass driven charges. The mood of this track fluctuates and you wait to see where your taken next and briefly a return to our main and underlying guitar riff, which comes to end again nicely on what must be the only voice passage on the album replaying as if from your radio. Clever use of cowbells..double times..loved those little keyboard solo's which reminded me of early "Santana" too, and that clever end to the song.

Track 2 "Mood Swings" 6.07mins The mood is set very early here as the name suggests..hauntingly beautiful but it changes and builds into a nice 4 and 5 time pattern and Mr Watson punctuates the mood further with soaring keyboards elevating you further within the song to a clean stop before Mr Connors begins his percussive build..bass keys following strongly into accented time and building the song quite intensely on this theme Mr Connors proves how effective speed within slow time can be, all the while protecting the syncopated feel of the song. Guitar now starts and takes you deeper into Mood Swings as Mr Watson also demonstrates his prowess on guitar and his solo weaves and winds you down to the end..beautifully. Blindingly fast drum fills..and some very nice guitar here.

Track 3 "Half Of Eighteen" 9.0mins(get it) A swathe of Keyboards begins this track and quickly Mr Connors sets the feel behind Mr Watson's stab notes and proceeding carefully they both pull you along with them while the feel builds and further changes into Mr Watsons first long keyboard solo..bending and stretching the notes he fluently coaxes.. winding around and over you he goes, into harmony within harmony, compellingly changing further into a clever and now driving soundscape of big brass stabs and cunningly it all changes again..Mr Connors can easily follow this and He does. Nice use of keyboard notes on top of notes almost off- key but perfectly placed..there is no right or wrong here just good sounds. Full stop again as Mr Watson calls again and into another well placed solo He again draws you along with him..what time is this..Well...It's Half Of Eighteen, as we return to the well crafted introduction. I'm loving this tracks very clever use of percussive feels (never heard Hi-Hats sound sooo Fat) and again Mr Watsons clever use of sound patterns.

Track 4 "Threw The Looking Glass" 8.23mins I noted the spelling of "Threw" here and thought a mistake was made but on listening of this track you'll get it...I hope Little sparkly things start this song and again Mr Connors begins with percussive introduction and broken time as the bass follows along vibrantly and calling for Mr Watson to join in to which he does slowly building the song and punctuating it further with more witty keyboard play, to and fro into more little time quirks then the fingerwork of Mr Watson takes over also proving speed and agility over a nice groove can work.. oh, so well...a very jazzy and yet tasteful feel has been achieved here and is interjected occasionally with brief pauses but wait they all follow down into an abrupt and sudden change..guitar now taking the reigns as all follow..Mr Connors follows the riffing closely then all is taken over as Mr Watson's keyboards brings about further change as we head into a very tasty guitar solo with more keyboard thrown into the mix as they both playfully venture into new ground bouncing solo's off each other until finally it all eases to a pause and further change back to our driving riff punctuated by all until a deep melotron sound takes over and the whole feel changes..Mr Watson demonstraing further prowess takes the lead in creating another nice groove, and just as suddenly we are taken back to the main theme of the song which drives us to the long and interesting slow fade. Nice and crunchy guitar work..some well played keyboards all held together by Mr Percuss

Track 5 "2 Days Left" 5.42mins Again a play on words...Mr Connors builds on this track with some pretty fast and furious snare, double kick drum patterns...taking you into a zig-zaged driving pattern with more dropped beats..a build of times and sounds to add to the already existing main theme to a complete stop, and Mr Watson to begin his very open solo while bass and drums maintain a strong emphasis...back to the main theme we go but only briefly as another time pattern occurs..this time with more heavy brass leading the charge and again into another change as guitar now takes the lead as all follow into a downward spiral pattern all the time Mr Connors contributing some very exciting drum forays..Mr Watson now takes the charge but only briefly as Mr Connors conjures some more clever time and beat as we return to the brass assault and more builds to our main intro theme which adds all and everything we have previously heard. Brilliant! Drum work amazing..loved the huge brass sounds and clever use of times.

Track 6 "Lethargic Waltz" 7.11mins Not quite a waltz..a dark mysterious feel is the main focus here...but is quickly taken over by a new vibrant pattern which halts and returns you to the d.m.f. with Mr Watson demonstrating further his virtuosity on keyboards as he and Mr Connors create a somewhat eerie but exciting feel..but suddenly and just as quickly we are taken into further and differing passages..a nice vibrant feel with dropped beats is a very cool passage and Mr Watson's keyboard sounds and solo remain interesting and draw you along with screaming guitars and twisted notes.. and even some shredding which builds to another nice groove and finishing cleverly on Marimba. Lots of subtleties..nice keyboard solo's, guitar shreds.. and that clever little Marimba end.

Track 7 "She's Furious" 5.12mins The mood is set very directly here, as we are taken on another Watson/Connors time journey..carefully adding more and more layers we arrive now at guitars emphasising the rhythms further while all the while helping to create the bouncy ride of time progressions we are taken on.. mood changing again as guitars take over the story and tells it beautifully in what must the longest guitar solo on this album..Mr Connors now takes us through a beat passage to bring about further change as Mr Watson now moves in to create another complete feel change as guitar takes the drive again and all follow as Mr Watson now adds his moody... moogy type solo under the changing patterns of guitar, bass and drums...effortlessly we are back to the main story behind the song and again building it to it's "Furious" ending. Standouts here must be...the buiding and layering of the song..and the moogy type solo..the rhythms also cleverly arranged..nice ending too.

Track 8 "The Camera's Ear" 7.12mins Starting very directly with keyboards..and fading to another broken time with distorted keyboards..what time sig is this?? DRAMATIC!! stuff here...huge crashing keyboards and building patterns..all the while maintaining this quirky and very interesting mood..however it just as suddenly changes as we are now hearing a faster 4/4ish time change under another guitar solo..Whoops! (I think Mr Connors just dropped his glass of ?) which interrupts the mood again quite cleverly and into another time charge we go, for Mr Watson to solo through with little answering key stabs we travel the groove changing slowly as guitars and Mr Connors now takes it to a complete change for Mr Watson to place another short clever piano passage... again we now hear our rhythm section driving further change into an aggressive but rocky passage punctuated by keyboard and brass we go, as it's built again and again...and finally back to it's Dramatic climax. I loved Mr Connors playing especially on this track..the clever glassish change...the time signatures in this song and the quirky and very clever keyboard sounds...A Dramatic masterpiece to end on.

On A Personal Note: I loved reviewing this album as more and more these songs have endeliblized themselves on me and I would just love to see this album taken out on the road for all to hear it's remarkable, dramatic, majestic and clever sounds and rhythms. A brilliant 1st album for "Where's The Nine"..lets hope we will hear more, from this clever partnership of drums and keyboards.

Report this review (#201049)
Posted Thursday, January 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars A debut instrumental album with pulsating grooves and everchanging time signatures

It's amazing how you discover new prog and in this case I actually received a Private Message at the PA forum stating: "I would like to bring your attention to a new release that I think you will like based on your previous tastes. Where's the Nine is a Canadian instrumental prog rock/fusion who have just released their debut album, "Desensitized to Insanity". You can hear the entire album here. If you are inspired, I would appreciate you giving the album a review". Two years later I returned to this website and listened to the album again. Time for a review on a new band. Immediately there is a sense that the band are borrowing heavily the influences of Yes, ELP, early Rush and U.K. among others. There are some nice melodies and very accomplished guitar work on these tracks.

'A Rather Odd Tribute' consists of a melodic guitar riff and heavy handed Hammond. Barry Connors is a precise drummer with jazz influences, and he is joined by the musicianship of Dean Watson the guitarist, keyboardist and general noise maker. A great sound is achieved and I am very drawn to the frenetic keyboards in particular.

'Mood Swings' is a 6 minute ambient piece of music focussing on sustained keyboard chords and an angular guitar passage akin to Fripp's style of perhaps Lifeson. The guitars are multilayered although only one musician is playing these, plus keyboards. I am in awe that musicians can play like this.

'Half Of Eighteen' is a 9 minute slow paced melancholy piece. The hi hat cymbal work is gentle and the approach is minimalism for a while. The keys sound like violins, calm and serene, until the pace quickens, threatening to break out into a loud crescendo. The guitar solo is divine and perfectly timed as I was being lulled to sleep. This is very emotional music, at times a bit like Visual Cliff's early instrumental albums. The keyboard chimes in as the time sig changes and staccato stabs sound very much like ELP's 'Tarkus'. I love it when the keys take off at this point, and then it slows again with a sustained pad and an odd time sig with heavy guitar notes locks in. The song changes again at the end into a slower track. A real highlight of the album.

'Threw The Looking Glass' focuses on innovative guitar lead breaks and keyboard trade offs. The duelling instruments work well together, although we know this is the same musician of course, Watson is duelling with himself in some aspects. The quiet section is very jazzy and I like that electric piano sound with the violin type pads. A jagged guitar riff cranks along with the pads. In a sense the music becomes repetitious and hypnotic, the drums are sporadic and timed well with the frenetic playing.

'2 Days Left' begins with drums and keyboards emitting short blasts of energetic riffs that stop and start. Again I am reminded of ELP, the intro to 'Pictures at an Exhibition, especially. I like the cool funky sound of the keys on this, a bit like Pink Floyd's 'On The Run'. The tension in the time sig is astonishing. The frenetic keyboards continue overlayed with many instruments. Soon a distorted guitar riff with fractured metrical shifts chugs along and a divine keyboard pad with sustained chords adds to the atmosphere. A wonderful piece of music and one of my favourites from the album.

'Lethargic Waltz' is a dynamic tune with menacing bottom end chords. There is a meandering progression, infinitely patient and foreboding. The Hammond sound is quite disarming and provides a strong resonance. The piano is a feature too played with virtuoso precision, and the complex music is taken up a notch when the chaotic bassline locks in and the keyboard solo takes over sounding like an electric guitar. The Hammond pounds down as the texture becomes darker and there is an off kilter time sig, the tempo blazes away and then settles into a swing time feel as a lead guitar soars over with hammer ons, speed picking and squealing harmonics. There is even a glockenspiel effect at the end. One of the highlights of the album.

'She's Furious' has a strange time sig that misses consecutive beats, and the sound is heavier with a myriad of high speed notes picked on guitar. Then a guitar solo with some complex licks is heard over a new time shift. This fades as a keyboard pad swells in and a bizarre fractured keyboard plays. A new riff locks in and gives way for a beautiful keyboard solo, similar to how Petrucci plays with his continuum keyboard. The polyrhythms continue until a blazing crescendo ends it abruptly.

'The Camera Ear' may be the answer to Rush's 'The Camera Eye' but only in name alone as this is way different. It's all keyboards at the intro, until the angular guitar riff is unleashed. The keyboard notes are bent in different directions and then a heavy distorted guitar riff chugs as the keyboard provides the dynamics of sound. An electric guitar solo and keyboard solo are to follow in different time sigs. These passage are sublime. The piano provides a transition to the next section; a bass solo lays down the rhythm and than a choppy organ blasts out chunky motifs.

In conclusion, 'Desensitised To Sanity' by Where's The Nine is a pleasant listening experience featuring pulsating grooves and everchanging time signatures; the musicianship of the two musicians is very inspiring, and they have somehow produced an instrumental album that is replete with retro influences and yet refreshingly original and modern. 3.5 stars. (rounded off to 4)

Report this review (#279196)
Posted Saturday, April 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars WHERE'S THE NINE is a duo consisting of our own Dean Watson (guitars / keyboards) and Barry Connors (drums). If your familiar with Dean's solo albums you will know what to expect here, although I would say this isn't in the same league. Barry Connors played with CONEY HATCH back in the eighties and they were a band I was not only a big fan of but i've seen them live as well.

"A Rather Odd Tribute" sounds great when it picks up 2 1/2 minutes. A calm 4 minutes then it builds. It's heavier before 7 minutes. Nice. A cool ending with that phone call. "Mood Swings" is drums and a variety of keyboards throughout. Some ripping guitar 6 minutes in. "Half Of Eighteen" opens with piano. Drums lead after 2 minutes with background synths. Guitar 4 minutes in as drums continue. "Threw The Looking Glass" is heavy with background synths. A change before 1 1/2 minutes as the guitar solos. It's heavy again late to end it.

"2 Days Left" features piano then the drums take over. it builds then turns heavy after 2 1/2 minutes. Guitar to the fore as it trades off with the keyboards. It settles before 5 1/2 minutes then it kicks in again. "Lethargic Waltz" is different. It's all over the place really. Not a big fan of this one. "She's Furious" is heavy with synths playing over top after 2 minutes. It picks up before 4 minutes. It calms down before 5 1/2 minutes. Great sound when it turns heavy. It settles again late. "The Camera Ear" is no doubt a RUSH reference and like the album cover it made me smile. Some nice contrasts in this one.

A good album that pales when compared to Watson's solo records. Still it's kind of cool to hear this record.

Report this review (#745436)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2012 | Review Permalink

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