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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Scott McGill / Michael Manring / Vic Stevens

Addition By Subtraction

Review by Gary Hill

Formed by Scott McGill (guitar) and Vic Stevens (drums), this is almost a band, but really a project. The duo, having played together in McGill's Hand Farm, recruited bassist Michael Manring (Attention Deficit) and keyboardist Jordan Rudess (Dregs, Dream Theater) to complete the outfit and record this album. The resulting disc is an instrumental fusion work that has a lot of varied textures. It also seems to for the most part avoid getting caught up in all the noodling that fusion can often times become.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2001 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Zimparty
Frantic and cacophonic fusion in hard-edged waves makes up the majority of this cut, although a more sedate interlude does take it for a time.
We Are Not Amused
A bit more melodic and cohesive than the last cut, this is an entertaining fusion number that can captivate while still being somewhat sedate throughout the majority of the piece. A piano based segment adds a lot.
KVB Liar
Much more sedate tones start this cut and a slowly moving sea of sound begins to emerge. Its waves ebb and flow, steadily increasing, much like the tide coming ashore. This is really a strong melodic fusion tune.
The Execution of Veit
At far less than a minute in length, this is a hushed atmospheric piece.
The Voyage of St. Brendan - Abbot of Clonfert
Starting in fast, almost chaotic, modes, after a time this one slows and mellows down taking on more melodic textures.
Silé
This one is more sedate and rather pretty and relaxing.
Addition By Subtraction
Feeling a bit like a fusion oriented take on newer King Crimson, this one screams out and just starts evolving and growing.
Alone With The River Man
Starting with one of the most mainstream melodic progressions on the CD, this one starts a slow build. After a short stop, the song is absolutely reinvented with a hard rocking Santanaish jam taking over. It then begins redeveloping on that mode while capturing much of the spirit of the first movement.
Vicodin Shuffle
With a title like that, one should expect this track to put you to sleep. It probably won't do that, but it is a rather chaotic and jumbled creation in somewhat muted tones.
Euzkadi
This one can be pretty dissonant at times. Acoustic based, it is a rather weird and disquieting number.
Conflict Resolution
More melodic and straightforward (as fusion goes), this cut eventually shows segments of screaming that offset the more melodic jamming.
Purging Mendel's Beasts
Starting off quite atmospheric and sedate, this one begins a gradual buildup. It is another that feels quite Crimsonesque at times.
In-A-Gadda-DaVinci
The title alone has to earn some points for this composition. The track itself feels a lot like a fusion-oriented instrumental take on the sound of Frank Zappa.
Four Fields
Another one that starts quite softly, this tune begins building in dramatic waves, becoming one of the most powerful and evocative songs on the CD. It is a great melodic an entertaining piece.
Post Hocto-Proct
More frantic fusion meandering, this is a very brief cut.
 
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