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OVRFWRD

Heavy Prog • United States


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Ovrfwrd biography
This is a four piece American band that plays instrumental progressive rock. They were formed in 2012 with drummer Rikki DAVENPORT, guitarist Mark ILAUG, bassist Kyle LUND and keyboardist Chris MALMGREN. They came together with diverse and complex backgrounds and musical influences. Initially the band was supposed to have a vocalist, but he didn't show up at the recording sessions. Beyond the Visible Light was recorded in 5 days and is a adventure with many colors and textures. They show some influences from many bands of the 70's Prog Rock scene with some intrusion in the Jazz Rock genre. Their debut "Beyond the Visible" Light was released in 2014 and is an adventurous listening journey with many colors and textures. In 2015 they released "Fantasy Absent Reason" (vinyl) continuing on the path of sonic textures and soundscapes. Together they have a common goal; to create and perform powerful, colorful, interesting and sonically descriptive music, engaging and pushing forward on the musical journey.

The band has released a live cd in 2018 containing tracks from the first 2 albums and new tracks for a future release. The live cd will also be release in dvd format later this year.

Bio by rdtprog updated by Chris Malmgren

OVRFWRD Videos (YouTube and more)


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Beyond the Visible LightBeyond the Visible Light
CD Baby 2016
$9.96
$15.23 (used)
Occupations Of Uninhabited SpaceOccupations Of Uninhabited Space
CD Baby 2018
$11.00
Beyond the Visible Light by OvrfwrdBeyond the Visible Light by Ovrfwrd
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OVRFWRD discography


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OVRFWRD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 14 ratings
Beyond the Visible Light
2014
3.77 | 23 ratings
Fantasy Absent Reason
2015
4.88 | 11 ratings
Blurring The Lines (A Democracy Manifest)
2018

OVRFWRD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.59 | 4 ratings
Occupations of Uninhabited Space
2018

OVRFWRD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

OVRFWRD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

OVRFWRD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

OVRFWRD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blurring The Lines (A Democracy  Manifest) by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.88 | 11 ratings

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Blurring The Lines (A Democracy Manifest)
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After releasing the assertive live-in-the-studio teaser "Occupations of Uninhabited Space" only six months earlier, the Minneapolis quartet OVRFWRD completes what has to be the most impressive one-two punch of 2018 with their long awaited third album, in the process cementing a (so far) low radar reputation as one of the best and most authentically progressive bands at work today.

From the eye-catching cover art to the inscrutable title to the undeniable depth and variety of the music itself, this is stunning stuff: old-school instrumental Prog as it used to be practiced, by four ace players very much aware of their shared musical heritage. On their Facebook page the band cites the influence of Pink Floyd, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Iron Maiden, Rush, Yes, Opeth, Joni Mitchell (!), and King Crimson, and believe it or not all of the above are discernable in the new album. But this is hardly an ensemble stuck on a retrograde treadmill: the same list of influences ends with an intriguing "TBD..."

In truth the only thing OVRFWRD actually borrows from the past is a legacy of boundless creativity. Their music is hard to categorize, which ought to be true (but usually isn't) for any band flying the Progressive Rock banner. Heavy, intense, lyrical, sensitive, and thrilling are a few words that immediately spring to mind at first exposure. I dare any self-respecting Proghead not to respond to the attention-grabbing album opener "Wretch", with its gut-punching rhythms and near-symphonic instrumental chorus (a brief "Reprise" later in the album acts more like an interlude excised from the earlier track but too good to waste).

The same challenge also applies to the gentle acoustic beauty of "Kilauea", an oasis of calm before the macho chords powering "The Trapper's Daughter". Or the Kick-Muck Ozric Tentacles intensity of "Forbidden Valley Opiate", one of two tracks previewed on the "Uninhibited Space" collection. Elsewhere the title "Cosmic Pillow" may have been intended as a joke: note the ethereal faux-'60s sitars and tabla, and the Roedelius-like simplicity of Chris Malmgren's acoustic piano accents, bathed in interplanetary echo. But it successfully conjures an age of outer-atmospheric exploration better than most dedicated Space Rock bands, then or now.

For this session OVRFWRD seems to have shed the few remaining inhibitions that might have lingered over their previous two studio albums. The band is playing with a greater sense of space and freedom, but at the same time have bonded tighter and harder than ever into a single musical unit. Solo turns are few, and are always heard within a larger group context: a possible explanation of the "Democracy Manifest" in the album's title. Chris Malmgren's nuanced keyboard work; Mark Ilaug's fiery lead guitar; and a vigorous rhythm section with stamina to spare: these guys function like an eight-armed beast controlled by one alert, curious, and very confident brain.

I'm always hesitant to award a new album five immediate stars: masterpieces need to first stand the test of time. But maybe this effort has been there and done that already, even before its official release. After all: if the same music had been around 40 years ago (and it might have been, if only more bands at the time had resisted commercial trends and played to their strengths) the album would likely be remembered today as a classic...so why wait?

 Blurring The Lines (A Democracy  Manifest) by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.88 | 11 ratings

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Blurring The Lines (A Democracy Manifest)
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team

5 stars The band continues to experiment its instrumental music by exploring different kinds of styles from Progressive Rock, Jazz Rock, world music and classical. In the same song, you can expect a surprising twist around the corner, a special groove. They can cover different moods from the more heavier passages to the light ones using piano and sitar and not only modern instruments. Often compared to King Crimson, that is mostly accurate for the rhythm section which is similar to the 90's King Crimson than for the guitar style of playing. There are so many highlights in this 50 minutes plus album that it would be a waste of time to analyze every song, you can't skip a song, it will keep your focus from the beginning to the end. For those who enjoy an eclectic or fusion kind of heavy prog and don't mind the absence of vocals. Why ruined this beautiful music with vocals!
 Occupations of Uninhabited Space by OVRFWRD album cover Live, 2018
4.59 | 4 ratings

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Occupations of Uninhabited Space
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Should this be noted as a live album, remake, best-of collection, or what? It doesn't matter in the end. During one weekend session, taking place at the Pachyderm Studio, they are performing carefully selected songs from their first two albums, which were originally released around the years 2014 and 2015. Though not exclusively. On top the quartet delivers three previously unreleased recordings which are intended to appear on the upcoming third studio album. This certainly makes curious. And indeed, first of all, the whole thing sounds completely rounded. A special snapshot, based on the same team spirit, when considering the short-timed circumstances.

While being completely instrumental in the making, those eight songs are showing a balanced relationship of composition and improvisation overall. First one and newbie Mother Tongue then explicitly proves what I mean. A main frame, rich in variety, shines while coming along with a clever space jam in between. Appealing, piano and electric guitar are perfectly complementing. Taken from the debut album 'Beyond the Visible Light' next one Raviji sounds matured concerning the fine-tuning. They are able to hold up this high level towards the finale. What basically means the songs constantly are featuring a rather complex fundament, instrumental virtuosity and enough catchy moments. Highly recommended.

 Occupations of Uninhabited Space by OVRFWRD album cover Live, 2018
4.59 | 4 ratings

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Occupations of Uninhabited Space
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars When keyboard player Chris Malmgren contacted me to let him know that Ovrfwrd were releasing a new album, recorded live in the studio, I was definitely interested. Recorded and filmed live at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, MN (Nirvana, Live, PJ Harvey, Soul Asylum) on August 5th and 6th, 2017 it features music from the first two albums ('Beyond the Visible Light', 2015, and 'Fantasy Absent Reason' from 2016) as well as new unreleased music for an album they are currently working on. Chris, along with Rikki Davenport (drums), Mark Ilaug (guitar) and Kyle Lund (bass) have producing some of the best instrumental progressive rock music for a few years now, and it is incredibly to realise that this a live recording as they definitely nail it.

Influence-wise I have previously stated that they combine the likes of King Crimson and Discipline in their music, and give that much of this is taken from their first two albums there is no surprise that this is still the case, but there are times when one thinks that Spock's Beard have had a part to play, or Arena, or Dialeto, while there are times when they bring in fusion and make it centre stage. There is a great deal going on, but the guys never lose focus and there is no room for any meandering as the intent is always clear and there is just no room at all for any vocals! Al four play to their strengths, and while Mark and Chris often are taking the melody leads, the contra-melodies from Kyle and the aggressive attack from Rikki all make the music what it is.

All in all this is an incredibly intense and enjoyable progressive rock album, one that I have no hesitation at all in highly recommending to anyone who enjoys this style of music. I suggest you play the video for 'Unitopia Planitia' and then buy the album.

 Occupations of Uninhabited Space by OVRFWRD album cover Live, 2018
4.59 | 4 ratings

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Occupations of Uninhabited Space
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by Kjarks

5 stars I don't know in which conditions this concert has been played but the musicianship is still impressive just like in their previous studio recordings. There is something fascinating in the skill of these musicians, combined with a great talent of complicated composition.

This music is surely too difficult, may be too cerebral to become commercially successful. The only way to enjoy it is to sit in a comfortable sofa in the evening with a glass of old Cognac or, at a pinch, an old Porto, with just a dim light. Then let you be carried away in a tumultuous journey during which you will never have time to rest.

It is impossible to classify it. I don't find any other group to which I could refer. Heavy influences, space influences, jazz-rock influences... are obvious' with others !

Names that spontaneously come in my mind are Djam Karet, Heldon (in 'Gengis Khan', for instance), Dream Theater (in the extraordinary 'Stones of temperance'), Ozric Tentacles (in 'Raviji'), King Crimson, Explorer's Club, why not Uzeb or even Spock's Beard (more especially in 'Brother Jack McDuff')' but that's just a personal feeling because it would be too reductive to associate them directly with one or even several group names and it would be aventurous to think they really have one of these influences.

You just need to like instrumental music with complex structures and technical maestria. If you really are prog fanatics, you can only be hypnotized.

I put 4 stars to their first two studio records. This one, recorded live in studio sound conditions, is a real best of and diserve at least 4,5 stars to my mind.

 Beyond the Visible Light by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.66 | 14 ratings

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Beyond the Visible Light
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

3 stars Instrumental grittiness: 6.5/10

Featuring a fascinating album cover, OVRFWRD (I have a harder time spelling this than I'd like to admit), to my pleasure, had nothing to do with the modern prog band waves of cold virtuosity and polyrhythmic frenzy. What I have seen while listening to BEYOND THE VISIBLE LIGHT are reasonable musicians that opt for melodies and don't overload they sound with countless instruments, which, while not depicting any mind-boggling virtuosity, are nonetheless accomplished and get their point across satisfactorily. In the end, that's all that matters.

Many things permit me to compare OVRFWRD to DISCIPLINE, although the first is entirely instrumental and latter has a more eclectic, symphonic sound. Both arose in the musical scenario where blasting sounds were the norm (coff coff GRUNGE); both sound gritty and dark, and neither demonstrates instrumental skill overflow. Naturally though, OVRFWRD still has a path to take to reach the beloved band's critical acclaim.

As I said, BEYOND THE VISIBLE light is surprisingly gloomy. Maybe because, since the last source of light is beyond grasp, they were obliged to embrace the darkness. OVRFWRD's music sounds modern, characteristic of this epoch, and so we can see a distinctive focus on the guitar with an overload of distortion and guitar harmonics. Perhaps a better exploration of other instruments with more embracing compositions would have benefited the band's sound.

I'm sorry, but I can't ignore how their sound resembles METALLICA's instrumental songs. Even though that thankfully they didn't inherit the thrashers' overly boring that makes me think "please end this", that similarity took a large sum of what could be OVRFWRD's uniqueness, and along with it, chunks of interest away from me. I blame the guitar tuning.

Can We Keep the Elephant's intro is pretty prog as the guitar, keyboards, and drums all have equal shares of the limelight. The song quickly shifts to being guitar led though. The grave, murkier tone I spoke of is especially noticeable in the (great) medievalesque bits of Stones of Temperance; the song's energy and darkness makes me think OVRFWRD is fighting for their lives, or perhaps that they had an omen of devastation and are trying to warn the world about it. They gain aggressiveness and melody in Raviji, although it's ended in a sadder tone. The Man With No Shoes was a delightful surprise as it shows us OVRFWRD's jazzy side, presented on the long bohemian guitar and keyboards duo. While they have constructed an enjoyable atmosphere, I felt the guitar still sounded dingy, as opposed to nimble and soothing as the passage demanded. In fact, that's how I felt most non-distorted parts sound like: too somber. Darkest Star presents us exactly that, as the song is predominated by a lack of distortion. The chaotically noisy outro filled with piano cacophony and distorted guitar sweeps was an unexpected twist that peppered the mood in the same way cinnamon and clove seasons desserts.

Maybe the METALLICA influences, guitar-orientation and grittiness was a bit too much for OVRFWRD's sound, but the debut really demonstrates what great potential they have. While they weren't able to charm me on this attempt, I'm still interested in looking their development and eager to check out how much they developed on their next release.

 Fantasy Absent Reason by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.77 | 23 ratings

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Fantasy Absent Reason
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars

There aren't many bands who go out on a limb and finance a vinyl release of their second album, so all power to Ovrfwrd for making this available either digitally or as a real honest to goodness record. The album kicks off with the sixteen-minute-long title cut, which allows the band to show all the tricks they have available. They are very much their own band, but some of their most important influences are on display on this song, with Discipline and King Crimson well to the fore. They move from bombastic and discordant to gentle and reflective without a pause for breath, from prog metal to piano-led gentleness, going wherever they feel the music is taking them. Rikki concentrates on cymbals when the time is right, hardly touching the rest of the kit, while swirling keyboards can provide accompaniment to the melody leads of electric guitar and piano.

That this is the highlight of the album is never in doubt, but the rest of the songs also stand well up to muster, with "Brother Jack McDuff" having a late-Sixties feel with plenty of Hammond organ sounds on clear display. The joy of both these albums is that the guys clearly know what they want to achieve and have a diverse approach to getting there. I know that they are currently working on their third album, which I am eagerly awaiting, as both of their albums to date are well worth investigating and I know that the next one will surely build on what they have been doing to date.

 Beyond the Visible Light by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.66 | 14 ratings

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Beyond the Visible Light
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I was recently contacted by keyboard player Chris Malmgren, who wanted to know if I would be interested in hearing the instrumental progressive rock band he was part of, which is how I came across Ovrfwrd. Formed in 2012, as well as Chris the band is comprised of drummer Rikki Davenport, guitarist Mark Ilaug and, bassist Kyle Lund. Five songs, with a total length of forty-eight minutes, this is a light-hearted and interesting debut. When a band is fully instrumental then of course there is no room to hide behind a singer, and what impresses me about this 2014 release is the sheer variety of styles and sounds that they are bringing to bear. They aren't a fusion act, but there are some elements of jazz here and there, and although the guitar can be gently picked, there are also times when the only thing to do is to shred. When this is undertaken on 'Stones of Temperance' I found it interesting that drummer Rikki is the only one keeping up with Mark, blasting around the kit, while Kyle kept everything grounded and Chris was playing piano.

They interweave melodies so that there is always balance, and even when the music is delicate and almost fragile, there is a strength that holds it all together. They know when the time is right to rock it out, or bring it all back in, when they need to use piano or keyboards, when to riff or gently play leads. The result is an album that is immensely listenable to, and enjoyable on the very first playing

 Beyond the Visible Light by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.66 | 14 ratings

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Beyond the Visible Light
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars VERY Good Debut.

I probably should have reviewed OVRFWRD's two albums in chronological order, but I have been so enthralled with Utopia Planitia that I reviewed their second album first. But this is also a very good album. I think the 5-star system here on PA is missing one category, in between "excellent" and "good". What to do when an album is better than "good but not essential", but not quite at the same level of "excellence" as, say, Moving Pictures ? Perhaps we need a "very good" category? Ovrfwd's debut album, for me, is clearly in this realm, and better than a lot of classic albums. The style is very similar to their second album (Fantasy Absent Reason, or FAR), and I do not agree with some reviewers who claim the second album was a huge step up from this first one. Both albums are, in fact, quite similar in a lot of ways (except that there is no flute on this one, which featured on Utopia Planitia), and the quality is generally high. Beyond Visible Light has five extended tracks, often with multiple sections to them, just like FAR, with a number of great guitar and keys solos. And, similar to my review of FAR, there are enough sections where the chord progressions are not overlaid with solos that I feel another instrument (say, perhaps a flute? - sorry, can't help it) would have helped fill out the sound. The album starts with a great song ("Can We Keep the Elephant"). The main theme starts the tune for the first two minutes, dies down for an extended interlude, and then comes back. The song packs a great punch. "Stones of Temperance", the second track, is my favourite on this album, and my second-favourite of OVRFWRD's songs (after Utopia Planitia). Starting with an excellent interplay between piano and e-guitar built around a slightly-modified minor scale (hints of that tri-tone again!) the song builds from very quiet to what Frank Zappa liked to call "an orgasmic frenzy", only to quiet down in the middle and change to another excellent chord progression which once again leads to a great build-up and awesome guitar solo. If this whole album were as good as this, it would be 5 stars.

The last three tracks on the album all have a kind of AB structure (or ABC), such that the second-half of the song is quite different than the first half. In each case, I much prefer the second halves. The third and longest track on the album, "Raviji", is in this style. One can clearly hear the influence of Rush here (hints of "Xanadu", "Free Will", etc), particularly in the first five minutes (more tri-tone). This first part of this song is not my favourite part of the album, but the piece gets really good about 6 minutes in, starting with new a piano-only chord progression into, then some acoustic guitar lines, and then a fantastic electric guitar solo which jams out long enough to get into some feedback-laced soloing over a rising chord progression bringing the piece right up to a brief jazz-fusion-y ending. The fourth track, "Man with No Shoes" moves among a number of different styles in its first half, some of which involve some crunchy metal and some which are more jazz fusion (again avec lots of tri-tone, and some nice drumming!). Then, at the almost-5 min mark, it becomes very quiet thus beginning a guitar solo which ushers in the conclusion with some new themes. The last tune ("Darkest Star") starts as a fairly simple falling chord progression that repeats over a straight beat, for about 4 mins. Like their second album, I don't think vocals are necessary on most of this music, but these four minutes could have used something accompanying (flute maybe?). But the song gets good at the 4:10 mark when a great guitar solo starts, changing completely the feel of the song. As in "Raviji", the guitar solo ends in feedback, at which point a great new section of the tune begins - one of the highlights of the album, albeit too short. The song ends with an abrupt cut (like the Beatles' "Shes So Heavy"), which abruptly changes the mood and wakes you up, like an alarm clock in reverse. But I was loving all the noise!

All together, a very good album. Lots of very musical sections, but sometimes feeling patched together - the transitions are not always smooth. The noisy ending to "Darkest Star" and the great guitar solo on "Raviji" makes me wish there were even more extended guitar solos and that the band free- improvised a bit more. On balance, I give this album 7.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale - just a hair shy of what I gave their second album. Indeed, the quality is pretty consistent across both albums, and "Stones of Temperence" is really excellent - recommended! I would like to thank Chris Malmgren for sending me these albums. I have really enjoyed listening to them. Chris - if OVRFWRD ever gigs in Toronto, let me know. I would love to see the band!

 Fantasy Absent Reason by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.77 | 23 ratings

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Fantasy Absent Reason
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Very close to 4 Stars!

The most recent album from OVRFWRD contains a lot of really excellent musical sections. The music is all-instrumental, with the band bio stating this is because the singer never showed up for the recording sessions, so the band just continued without a singer (!) I listen to a lot of post-rock and jazz too, and have never thought a singer was necessary. Saying this, when listening to both the first album (Beyond Visible Light) and this one, there are times when I felt the arrangement could have used something additional. While a lot of post-rock (and Krautrock, etc) is intentionally sparse, the music played by Ovrfwrd is more like YYZ or La Villa Strangiato, with a lot of structure and directionality, and there are a number of places where there are repeated chord progressions without soloing, so it seems to me there could be something else there. Not singing though, as I really like this music without any words. Then, eureka! - I got to the song "Utopia Planitia" on this album, and heard the flute that plays over top of the beginning and ending of the piece. Amazing tune! The flute adds just enough additional (improvised) counterpoint to the keys and guitars to fill out the sound and wake up the brain. At a number of times in the other tunes, the piano fulfils this function, and there are some great guitar solos there too. But for the sparser sections in the other pieces, I keep coming back to Utopia Planitia and wonder what those tunes would have been like with the flute. Utopia Planitia is so good, I have added it to my casual rotation, even after listening to the rest of this album a bunch of times. Even without the flute, I think this is the band's best song, but the flute elevates even higher. Very musical, with a great arrangement that does not interrupt the flow (unlike some of the other tunes) and keeps the listener tuned in right to the close.

Saying this, I also like the other tunes. My second-favourite is the closer, "Creature Comforts". Starting out with a really nice interplay between electric piano and jazzy guitar, then a repeated guitar hook brings in the main chord progression and melody. Great song! I only wish it were longer (its only 4 min - would have been a great 12-min epic). The other shorter tune, "Brother Jack McDuff" also works very efficiently, and I wouldn't have changed anything on this one. The remaining two tunes are the ones I think could most have used the flute or something similar. Dust Nova starts out soft and jazzy, with really nice piano and echo-y jazz guitar solo, it slowly builds to power-chord tune with both and guitars at times playing rapid 16th note patterns, but it still seems over-sparse. A flute playing over top would have nailed it ('nailed' in a good way of course!), especially during the build up and then afterwards right at the end as the song settles down. Finally, the long 16+ min title track that opens the album contains a lot of musical sections, although it seems to me overly fragmented. At times a great section dies right down to silence only to rise again with a completely different theme. There are some great organ and guitar solos in places, but those sections where the guitar or piano is playing power chords accompanied by repeated 16th-note patterns by the other instrument could have used some accompaniment. In particular, the main build-up between minute 10 and minute 14 in this piece would have really benefited from a flute or some other accompaniment (or even just a long improvised keys or guitar solo). Many of the chord progressions throughout this tune are built around the tri-tone (augmented 4th), which is still less common, but it generally works well here. I appreciate the non-standard chord progressions on these tunes - while most of the music is not super complex, a number of sections are quite musical and use non-standard chord progressions.

On the whole, this a very enjoyable album. There is not a bad track in the set, even if I think some of the pieces could have been even better. I give it 7.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is at the top end of the 3-star range. Very close to 4 stars!

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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