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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Leon Alvarado

2014 Music from an Expanded Universe

Review by Gary Hill

Leon Alvarado plays keyboards. He’s joined here by guitarist Trey Gunn and drummer Jerry Marotta. This music is instrumental. It’s also very powerful. It has a leaning toward atmospheric, but it does move well beyond that at times. There is definitely a lot of space rock here. This is quite an effective set overall. It never feels tired or redundant and always entertains.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Irreverence Part I
This comes in atmospheric and grows out gradually. It’s essentially a space piece and it’s quite effective.
The 2014 Microcosm
There is more of a rocking groove to this cut. This is very much like space rock mixed with fusion. That space is particularly obvious in the mellower section mid-track. There is really some great drama in this piece.
Blood Like Red
Atmosphere merged with percussion starts this. It gets more waves of textural space and fusion over the top. Eventually it works to a more driving section, but it’s still quite mellow. It starts build outward from there, though. It gets into some great rocking territory as it continues. This is more mainstream rock, but still informed by space rock and prog.
Irreverence Part II
There is a real groove to this. Somehow it makes me think of a combination of Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk with some King Crimson thrown into the mix. This dissolves into atmospheric space later in the piece. That makes it a good book end with the first half of “Irreverence” that started this set.
Cinemania “Alive” (Bonus Track)
Somehow this is more of a mainstream progressive rock tune. It’s still instrumental. It’s energetic and I really love the keyboard sounds on this live performance.
 
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