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Siena Root - Different Realities CD (album) cover


Siena Root

Heavy Prog

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

Yet another one of these Scandinavian retro-prog bands: I'm not using the term in a derogatory manner, but it's really the best way to describe their music, an excellent mainly instrumental psych-prog rock that is obviously very inspired of the 70's, all the way down to the recording process, entirely and proudly presented as 100% analogue, its general length (2 x 25') and its vinyl issue proudly announced on the mini-Lp's inner sleeve. Difficult to say whether the group is a trio or a sextet, because from the line-up listing, there are three musicians who don't appear very busy: the female vocalist, the flauter and the ac-&-el hurdy-gurdy player. The lion share of the music is handled by the guitarist-keyboardist KB West, but he's well-helped by bassist Riffer and percussionist Fursberg.

Music-wise, there are only two "sidelong" suites, each clocking a normal vinyl side (roughly 25') and composed of four and six movements respectively. When I spoke of retro-prog above, it's clear that SR's main influence are more in the early 70's heavy rock ala Zeppelin, Purple, Heep and Sabbath than in the ELP or Crimson realm, but their mix and songwriting makes their soundscapes definitely proggier than their influences. The A- sidelong track is called We and is the only one featuring (often effect-laden) vocals and lyrics (most of it in the first movement) and a tiny bit at its close, and there are some Mid- Eastern and Indian overtones spread throughout the "epic", namely some Arabian ambiances in the Desert movement. The music is moody, sometimes a bit hazy, slightly more "prog" than "psych" and never boring.

The "flipside" track starts out more Sabbath-y (as in slightly doomy) and if you listen well, you'll hear imbedded in the loud guitar grunts, some hurdy-gurdy, before the sitar, darbuka, tzouras and qaraqab and step in to evoke the Agartha/Raagmala realm. This "epic", while still complex is definitely more psych and jam-like than its companion piece. Fairly likely to please to 70's loving progheads that are not too-demanding accepting intellectually the "retro-prog" philosophy , SR's first album is an interesting (and even impressive, but not really essential) slice of today's prog scene, but I won't cross the line to call it "modern" prog either.

Report this review (#542463)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Swedish band SIENA ROOT was formed sometime in the late '90s, with a central core trio as the foundation of the band, while a minor army of musicians has participated on records and concerts in the following years. "Different Realities" is their fourth full-length venture and was issued by the Swedish label Transubstans Records in August 2009.

Eastern-tinged psychedelic hard rock with a sonic expression firmly placed in the early '70s is the name of the game on "Different Realities". And while the opening composition concentrates on the psychedelic hard rock part of the description, the second one has its focus set pretty deeply in raga territories. Those who find this sounding like an intriguing musical package to explore will most likely find this production to be a delightful experience ? as long as they don't expect anything of a highly sophisticated or overly progressive nature.

Report this review (#542474)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | Review Permalink

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