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Hectic Watermelon

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Hectic Watermelon The Great American Road Trip album cover
4.27 | 8 ratings | 4 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sacred Watershed (3:53)
2. The Third Derivative Of James Brown (5:12)
3. Bionic Hillbilly (5:45)
4. F. Street Fulano (5:10)
5. Dreams Of Concrete Jungles (2:08)
6. Subterranean Rapid Transit (5:51)
7. Layover In Hamemet (2:00)
8. Stray Dogs Messaging Project (2:05)
9. Steve's Stunt Double (4:02)
10. Twenty-First Century Visigoth (4:21)
11. Bullets, Dice And 30 Megabytes (6:24)

Line-up / Musicians

- John Czajkowski / guitar
- Harley Mausino / bass guitar
- Darren Debree / drums
- Brian Kahanek / fuzz guitar

Special guest:
- Jerry Goodman /electric violin

Releases information

Issued independently by the band's own label, Predator Fish Records and Abstractlogix.

Thanks to Dick Heath for the addition
and to Joolz for the last updates
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HECTIC WATERMELON The Great American Road Trip ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(62%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HECTIC WATERMELON The Great American Road Trip reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Angelo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Ten years down the road, one Czajkowski album

The debut album of Hectic Watermelon makes me hope for many more to come. I just hope it doesn't take band leader John Czajkowski another 10 years to get out a second album. The oldest track on this 2006 album was written already in 1996, and it doesn't sound dated at all. Nor can it, the mix of different genres that this band borrows from makes the music timeless in every sense. A different take on this, and indicative of the crazy amount of time signatures this band goes through, is this note from a music score published on the band's web site: "Drum solo (sense of time and barlines disintegrate further)". That score and a few others proof that band contiously cruises through time signatures like 4/4, 6/4, 10/4, 8/8, 6/8, 12/4 and 3/4 in various orders. Stop counting, just believe it or you'll go crazy.

The album is about travel, and the music is a journey through different stuyles in itself. From the opener Sacred Watershed, which is a pretty relaxed jazz rock tune right down to closing track Bullets, Dice and 30 Megabytes.

The opening tune is part of a movement of four tracks, consisting of the hectic (no other word seems to fit) Third Derivative of James Brown. A great track, full of bits and pieces of various styles. There's hip hop yells in there, funky bass, but also a riff that sounds very much like the one in Black Sabbath's Sweet Leaf. The title is probably related to the jazz rock math metal commando style the band claims to have invented.

Bionic Hillbilly is, relative to other tracks on this album, the 'happy tune'. It starts like quite relaxed, but quickly explodes into something that jumps in all directions, and somehow swings like crazy. I never thought I'd use the word swing in a prog review, but it definitely applies here. F Street Fulano closes the first movement, and it has all the sounds of a busy street, but without a single synthisized sound or sample. Guest musician Jerry Goodman (guest is relative, he plays on 9 tracks) is having a very good time with his electric violin here.

A second movement of four tracks is opened by Dreams of Concrete Jungles. It doesn't contain any guitars, which I only realised after reading it in another review. It does however contain an Elephantophone, and John Czajkowski explained in the forums on how he made it himself with Home Depot materials. Go search for it if your curious.

Subterranean Rapid Transit is one of my favourite tracks on te album. I really like tracks like this, that remind you of exactly what they're supposed to represent without having to read liner notes first. It's about trains, and it sounds like trains (rolling, engine sounds and whisles), but like F Street Fulano, this is all due done with real instruments. Another fitting description might be a battle between violin and guitar, but that's form, not function. After getting of the train, we can relax - close our eyes and lay down in on the floor of a hut in Hamemet (Tunesia). Too bad the hut is next to a busy road and cars drive by every 3 seconds (samples this time). A relaxing intermezzo, before the Asian influenced Stray Dogs Messaging Project. According to Czajkowski, a mix influenced by between visiting an Asian exhibition in San Fransisco and travel experiences in Asia. The intro of Passage to Bangkok is childs play compared to this...

The final movement contains two tributes. One is Steve's Stunt Double, a guitar oriented track dedicated to Steve Morse. This one is followed by 21st Century Visigoth, which has no relation to King Crimson, but contains some really well done vocals. It's almost like having a voice solo rather than a guitar solo. Closing track Bullets, Dice and 30 Megabytes is a majestic, full sounding rock/fusion track that is dedicated to the band's drummer. It's inspired by a remark once made by Czajkowski - "if I ever need to rob banks to get money for new band equipment, you will be my partner". Oh well... the track may be a lot better than the story, if you weren't part of it.

This is one of the Jazz Rock/Fusion albums that really got me hooked on the jazz and fusion related subgenres listed on A sonic journey through a mix of many different musical styles, yet with a feeling for atmosphere in each track. As Czajkowski probably intended with this travel inspired album, if I close my eyes, I can travel to a different place in the world with each track, from the bands home town of San Fransisco to Tunesia, or way down to Asia. If this album won't stand the test of time, I will have to revisit this review, but for now, after over 20 listens - it's simply a solid 5 stars.

Review by Wicket
5 stars I finally found this album.

After nearly 2 years of searching this album after I heard previews of the album through a good friend of mine, I finally found a copy of this disc for myself.

Never before have I been obsessed about an album. Until now.

Many people, including prog faithful, don't like a record where every track sounds different. It makes it very difficult to latch onto the style of the record, and the band, especially when it's a debut album. However, I applaud John Czajkowski's work on this album. Every track is different, which is good, because otherwise every track would sound the same and that would be boooooooooooring.

There's really no correct way to review an album like this other than to convince the reader to buy the album and listen to it for themselves. Czajkowski's amazing technical playing has been present on nearly every album he produces, and "The Great American Road Trip" is no exception. What sets this apart from most others, however, in my mind, is the humor and experimentation present here. Indeed, it's not everyday you get to hear a "post-Zappa commando-fusion" band come out of San Diego, California and have any relation to the names James Brown, Frank Zappa and Jerry Goodman.

It's a fun album. There's actually no other way to describe it. If you listen to this album, any song at all on it, and you don't have a smile on your face at track's end, then you're not a human being. That, therefore, only means that your body must be purged from this world.

Apparently, this album must be played in the car stereo while driving. While I love to listen to music while driving (I actually think every single song ever recorded sounds better in the car with the windows open and stereo blasting), I have yet to do so.

It's a shame this isn't a complete review to the likes of previous ones I have written in the past, but I have to listen to this album again. This album is more important than this review.

Buy it already. Or I will find you. (Actually, I probably won't. I'll still probably be listening to this album)

Latest members reviews

4 stars Shocked! Not at the rating, but at so few reviews. I heard about this album when seeing John McLaughlin and the 4 the Deminsion back in 2007. The program guide had ads in it for various Jazz music and this was one of them. After reading that Jerry Goodman was in it and some of the info on ... (read more)

Report this review (#812683) | Posted by AEProgman | Thursday, August 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Warning: may contain an Elephantaphone The liner notes say the album is about travel, so the best atmosphere (theoretically) is to listen to this while travelling! And that is exactly what I did. I went to Wales for a week and had ample time to appreciate this album while travelling around th ... (read more)

Report this review (#119957) | Posted by progismylife | Friday, April 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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