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Brand X

Is There Anything About?

Review by Gary Hill

I like this album a lot. It seems to be more diverse than some of the rest of Brand X’s catalog. Sure, there is quite a bit of jazz and fusion here. But there are also plenty of more pure progressive rock moments. Things like Deep Purple and King Crimson are valid reference points at times. Fans of Brand X will find plenty to like on this reissue. It would also make a good introduction.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Ipanemia

This opens up as pure fusion. The cut has a smooth, fairly mellow jazz sound to it. Still, it’s got a lot of energy and some of the keyboard sounds lend something a little meatier. There is some tasty acoustic guitar soloing on the number, too. There are some funky elements at play from time to time and it does get more fired up later.

A Longer April
Coming up very gradually, early on this is just bass and percussion. In fact, it’s about a minute in before some keyboard textures emerge over the top of this. Even then, they rise up gradually. As the piece continues to evolve some guitar brings new energy and melody to play. Saxophone comes over the top in fine fashion. As the piece continues it explores some proggy jazz stylings. It drops to some really spacey sounds later. Then mellower jazz takes over.
Tmiu-Atga

Coming in fairly sedate and intricate, this is more purely progressive rock as it starts. It evolves into some definite electronic music, perhaps a bit like Vangelis, but with a space edge to it. Keyboards and bass perform a tasteful dance around one another as this keeps building. Although this continues evolving, there are no big changes.

Swan Song

This powers in feeling a lot like King Crimson. It’s noisy and very cool. More melodic elements are brought into the mix as it continues. There are some non-lyrical vocals later in the piece. There are also some more fusion-like sounds built into it further down the road. Still, that King Crimson element remains in some ways throughout. This builds out into quite a dynamic and powerful piece of music.

Is There Anything About?

The rhythm section opens this and the bass drives some intriguing paths as it works forward. As other elements join the title track takes on some hints of space music. There are also hints of things like King Crimson. Then it works out to a killer fusion jam that’s melodic and very effective. It gets more rocking and quite energized as it continues. Each musician contributes a lot to this, but there are some definite moments where the keyboards and drums stand out the most. Of course, that said, Percy Jones’ bass playing is always amazing.

Modern, Noisy and Effective

This is modern, noisy and effective. I just had to start this off with that given the title of the song. Yes, it was obvious, but it had to be done. It actually starts off with a rhythm section that makes me think of Deep Purple just a bit. Then we’re taken out into a melodic jam with a very familiar sounding melody. There are moments here that almost feel like disco a bit, but other moments make me think of Jean-Luc Ponty a little. There is a harder edged keyboard driven movement later that I just love. That section is eventually faded down to end the disc in fine fashion.

 
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