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Dean Watson - Imposing Elements CD (album) cover


Dean Watson


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.02 | 143 ratings

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4 stars Dean Watson's 'Imposing Elements' is a jazz prog odyssey of scintillating music.

Dean's followup to "Unsettled" is another jazz feast with touches of metal and symphonic prog that is rather relaxing and a great album to put on after a hard day at work. It is soothing and features accomplished musicianship enough to satiate the appetite of any music lover who is into keyboard driven heavy prog with jazz nuances.

The keyboard wizardry on such tracks as '16 Feet Below' is tremendous, with strong bass embellishments and interchanging time sigs. The music is definitely uplifting and features dynamic arrangements, the drumming being a key feature. This track is my favourite on the album, I love the jazz threads merging with prog elements and superb keyboard work throughout.

'Past Present' opens preceedings with minimalist keyboard and spacey atmospheres. The dissonant tones create an ethereal soundscape like Pink Floyd. Keyboards dominate but the layer of rhythmic percussion and bass is a nice foundation to build upon. There are ambient key pads beneath and the tempo changes soon in to a faster cadence and a variation of tones as a synth and lead guitar trade off solos.

Another highlight is found on 'Underpass' with cymbals, vibraphone and piano dominating until a lead guitar takes over. Then a distorted riffing guitar breaks through the light weight music. The jazz fusion sound is terrific with odd time shifts and space for each instrument to breathe, all played virtuoso by Dean Watson.

'Push Too' has some quirky vibes and a funky bassline as a synth swells along a disjointed melody. I like the way the dirtier guitar riff drowns out the synths, and then a vibrant lead solo soars over it all in the style of Andy Latimer.

'Pendulum' has a symphonic edge with music that drifts along as though swinging back and forth, hence the title. The lead guitar sings sweetly as the music builds along a graceful keyboard motif. Swathes of mellotron and jazz piano permeate the atmosphere and it seems to be ascending higher until it breaks into a passage of piano fortissimo. A beautiful piece of music to wrap your ears around.

After all the melancholy tranquillity, 'Depth Charge' submerges into a jazzy ominous piano motif. The darker sounds are portentous that something will explode. It does as the paroxysm of metal guitar lead thunder and synth lightning takes over. The lead work is fiery and follows a complex bass and synth. The drums are sporadic at this point and full of emotive power, with hi hat work and cymbal splashes like waves crashing up on the boat. The imagery is conjured by the arrangements carefully amalgamated with the tension and release of light and dark shades, slow and fast tempos.

'Of Age' has a metal distortion riff and is blended well with colourful mellotron ambience. It locks into some odd time sigs, and progressive building blocks of synth lines and guitar phrases. The guitar riff is simple but effective. The next section is a layered keyboard break and it settles into a rhythmic section as a lead guitar howls over. The acoustic flourishes are effective and the chimes as the sig changes again into a faster more urgent pattern. Guitar blazes away with finesse sounding again like Latimer. One more time change and a return to the main riff bookends this sensational track in a blaze of glory.

The album ends on the longest track, 'New Resolution', beginning with impactive jazz piano reminding me of Miles Davis 'Freddie Freeloader' from 'A Kind of Blue'. As with that track, this feels like walking down a rain soaked street at night with the neon lights dancing off the soaked roads. It is up tempo and entrancing with powerful keyboards including a delightful shimmering Hammond sound. The strong jazz tones are augmented with off eat patterns and lead guitar phrases.

Thus the journey ends on a high note and this album is as good if not better than Watson's debut. The music is always compelling and moves in many directions enough to maintain interest. Watson plays well on all instruments and is a fine arranger. The album is well produced, with high quality sound and is certainly an instrumental album well worth seeking out.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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