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Asia Minor - Crossing The Line CD (album) cover

CROSSING THE LINE

Asia Minor

 

Symphonic Prog

3.56 | 115 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars An album of twisting and turning motifs and styles that can often be compared to the work of CAMEL while also containing many displays of jazz-fusion and prog folk over which band leader Setrak Bakirel lends his pleasant and often stylized vocals in both English and his native Turkish language. The influences of this multi-cultural band can often be felt in both melody and structure yet the music always feels fully Western prog.

1. Preface (4:18) flute accompanied by exotic percussion sounds for the first minute before MAHAVISHNU-like bass, drums, and arpeggiated electric guitar establishes the form of the body of this slow but aggressively jazzy song. A shift into a smoother sound base at 2:25 allows the introduction of English the plaintive yet pleasant singing voice of Setrak Bakirel. After his verse, the band revs up into a more aggressive sound for some soloing--of which the electric guitar is especially noteworthy. (9/10)

2. "Mahzun Gözler" (8:13) lush, emotional prog with Arabian percussives! The weave is slowly established, layered, added to, and developed, while flute joins in as the lead melody maker. At 2:45 there is a sudden shift in pace, more aggressive and fast, though this is supplanted less than 30 seconds later by a flute and electric guitar dual of more Middle Eastern feeling melodies. A downshift a minute later before moving into a GENESIS-like section for the rest of the fifth minute over which Setrak sings for the first time. Another musical shift--even beneath the singing! Interesting and gutsy! Overall, a kind of CAMEL feel to this intricate and serpentine song. (13.75/15)

3. "Mystic Dance" (1:45) beautiful electric guitar play while flute flies recklessly above. Gorgeous. (5/5)

4. "Misfortune" (4:30) opens with vibrating hum of factory machinery before very aggressive flute-led jazz rock music enters and runs. Great melodies from all the instruments, especially the flute and bass! Slows down at 1:40 to support vocal section. Interesting effect on the electric guitar here. Return to aggression after the (only) singing verse--cool chord progression by rhythm section. (8.75/10)

5. "Landscape" (3:50) arpeggiated electric guitar opens this before drums, bass, and electric guitars jump in with some rapid and syncopated hits. Voice enters around the one minute mark, shushing and calming the instrumentalists back into opening form. Not a great vocal. At 2:35 electric piano leads into a uptempo instrumental section over which fuzzed lead guitar solos melodically to the end. (8/10)

6. "Visions" (5:35) bass and cymbols open this one before another JEAN-LUC PONTY-like jazz tapestry is established. Despite impressive drumming, this all goes horribly wrong even as the electric guitar tries to stop the hemhorraging with some flashy guitar solo. At 1:20 the band slows down and pushes reset, establishing a very nice OMD-like fabric over which Setrak sings one of his better lyrics with rather impressive emotion. Things strip down even further in the fourth minute as Setrak lowers his register an octave. Nice. A more steadily-paced BABYLON-like GENESIS section launches around the 3:50 mark, and plays out to the end with Setrak finishing his story. (9.25/10)

7. "Without Stir" (1:50) nice little exercise of guitar harmonics while second 12-string strums. Setrak sings over the middle. (4.5/5)

8. "Hayal Dolu Günler İçin" (4:38) return to heavier sound, though this time of the JETHRO TULL type. At the end of the first minute the music calms as Setrak enters singing in an Arabian language. Drummer's tom work helps to muffle the preponderant Mellotron strains before there is a return to the opening motif. AT 2:40 there is a shift and we're speeding along in a more jazzy before severall other shifts into previously explored motifs. Setrak's second round of singing begins in the second half of the fourth minute as the previous motifs and riffs continue to shift beneath (as if in disregard of each other). (8.5/10)

9. "Postface" (2:00) organ. And then flute with organ. A kind of bookend to the opener. (4/5)

Total time 36:39

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music and another instance where the Neo Prog umbrella feels a little far-fetched. To my ears, the music of this album as well as this band's approach stand well enough on their own. Yes, they borrow from those that had gone before but there is no blatant imitation of any one band, style, or sound.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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