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Mats / Morgan Band

The Music or the Money?

Review by Gary Hill

The music on this is pretty bizarre. It’s also pretty wide ranging. At times it leans closely on RIO while at other points it’s more traditional progressive rock. The one thing that seems constant, is the ever changing tradition of altering the sound from piece to piece. All in all, this will probably appeal mostly to fans of RIO, but there are other things going on, too.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
You Have To Wait in the Rain

Sound effects merge with weird piano in a RIO like instrumental arrangement.

If I Only Had a Clavinet
There is a definite fusion element here, but it also feels a lot like something from Chris Squire. They take it through several changes and alterations. There’s kind of a crazed fusion meets Yes sort of section later. In some ways it makes me think of Relayer era Yes.
Fortsätt Mats!
Weird whispering and other sounds are laced over the top of odd keyboards in this strange piece of music.
Sylox
There’s a European café texture to this, but it’s also got some of the same weirdness we heard in the last track. This reminds me a bit of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. As it continues it seems closer to Morglbl. Later a killer rhythmic groove is added to the mix.
Asaw X
A hard rock sound is heard, sort of in the background. Then the sound of a needle being pulled off a record is heard. From there they move out into more music rather like the previous cut. Weird backwards masked voices and stuff are heard and they take it through a series of changes and alterations. This is again a lot like Morglbl.
Watch Me Pleasure
There is a section here that feels like music that’s been sampled and sped up. This is quite weird. It isn’t really dissonant or jarring, but it’s very strange. More of that French café kind of sound filters in here later.
Spinning Around
They keep much of the musical motif of the last track here, but there are hints of Asian music and more traditional progressive rock. This one has vocals, though. This is oddly accessible, yet quite strange with weird sounds and textures coming and going.
Jeriko
This is seemingly random in a lot of ways, but it’s also got some moments where it pulls together into tasty jamming. The violin brings in a more cohesive, fusion kind of sound.
Coco
Bouncy and fun, this is still strange, too. It’s got a pop feeling to it, but twisted. There are Beatles-like elements here, but this is strange, too.
Inget Har Hänt
Supercharged in terms of speed, this is like funky fusion, but twisted weird. It’s one of the more “rock” oriented things on show here and features some scorching guitar soloing. There’s a killer keyboard dominated movement later.
Tyrschon
There is more of that strange sampling type music here. This is really weird, but also tasty. They take it on a couple little side trips as they continue.
Nordic Ice
This one is quite weird. It’s not all that musical, but does have some ambient qualities.
Third Movement Farmor Märta
It feels like we’re dropped right into the middle of this piece. It has a more classic prog sound, but with an envelope filter sort of thing to it. There’s some definite nods to Art of Noise here, too.
I Wanna
A pounding piece of weirdness, this is very much like Morglbl. There is a more melodic, more mainstream prog section later, but it gives way to an even weirder arrangement.
Let's Stay Positive
Piano starts this and the cut moves out into rather random weirdness. There are backwards tracked vocals distant in the mix.
Harmonium 4
This one has that definite café texture, but with a lot of real weirdness, too. Little things come and go as this continues.
The Difference Between Powerful and Loud
This is pounding driving fusion that’s quite RIO-like. Birdsongs of the Mesozoic definitely comes to mind. Later there’s a cool rhythmic movement, but it feels like it’s backwards tracked or somehow tweaked. Then it twists to a driving piece of RIO weirdness for a while.
Baader Puff
The frantic rhythm on this for some reason makes me think of bluegrass music. They use more of that café sound and other musical elements to turn it into something completely different and quite RIO. They drop it fully into café music at one point. They take this thing through change after change with one section careening one way and the next pulling it a different direction. There’s a melodic piano section that I really like a lot. And, that’s worked up into a motif that’s a bit like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai. It’s quite satisfying and cool and holds the piece for the last quarter or so, creating an excellent extended outro.
Disc 2
Dr. Thor
The first three minutes or so of this is a piano solo that works in a very jazz-like way. Even after that point, the only accompaniment is percussion. The piano gets noisy and dissonant in some crazed soloing later.
Advokaten and the Jazz
This is very much a jazz piece, but it’s also noisy and dissonant one. It gets pretty crazed at times.
Daisy
Parts of this make me think of something Jon Anderson might do if he explored into jazz territory. It’s a cool tune that keeps shifting and changing, though. It’s definitely one that will be most popular with the prog purists.
Banned Again
Here we get quirky, bouncy, jazz weirdness.
Griefen
This is one of the coolest cuts in the set. It’s still got lots of RIO in it, but there’s this driving, pounding rhythm and a lot of King Crimson-like progressions. They introduce some of that café music, too – bringing weirdness, but overall, this is just plain cool.
Secret Room Out-takes

Here we get something that almost feels like the previous piece, but with the café sounds having a more dominant role.

Resp Rush
While in a lot of ways this doesn’t differ that much from the rest of the music, there’s sort of a playful rock element here and some real tasty jazz.
Hjortron Från Mars
There’s a bit more of a classic melodic prog feeling to this, but tempered with the same kind of jazzy elements that predominated a lot of the rest of the music. We get an especially cool resolution section later in the tune.
If I Only Had a Pianet
More melodic and jazz-like, this is cool. It’s less than a minute long, though.
Q
Now, this one is quirky and very RIO-like with little jabs of music coming and going in a seemingly circular pattern.
I Know Where I Have It
There are spoken words on this cut and it’s got a powerful driving beat and lots of weird music woven into it. At times I’m reminded of Art of Noise, but there is also plenty of jazz, King Crimson and Birdsongs of the Mesozoic here.
Zepp
There’s almost a 1960s rock element to this and yet it’s also got a real pounding RIO feeling. It’s kind of like spacey retro music meets King Crimson and jazz.
Bass
This opens with a strange sampled voice section. It works out into more oddities closer to the rest of the set. There a lot of weird little bits that feel like samples and loops and the voices come back.
Advokaten Le Messiaen
A pounding rhythm starts this. Then it shifts out into something a little like King Crimson, but more RIO. There’s a dramatic piano driven movement later. They take it out into even weirder territory from there, though.
Paltsug
Powerful and noisy, this is bombastic and cool, if strange. It gets quite frantic as it continues.
Slut-text
This is extremely mellow and a bit like something from Steve Howe solo. It turns more towards fusion ala Pat Metheny with some hints of world music as it continues, though. It’s a satisfying, if atypical, conclusion to the set.

 

 
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