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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Zhongyu

Zhongyu is Chinese for Finally

Review by Gary Hill

Based on the name of the group and the cover, it would be easy to think that Zhongyu was a Chinese band. That’s not the case. The group is an American act, but has a lot of Asian influence. This music is creative and diverse. It contains world music, fusion, prog and more. Three members of the band Moraine are included in this lineup, and there are definitely links to be made musically between the two acts. If you like instrumental, adventurous music, this is a recommended journey.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Apple of My Mind's Eye 2

This comes in echoey and trippy. As it grows out from there it is decidedly space music. Asian elements emerge over the top as it continues to evolve.

Torture Chambers of Commerce
Also starting rather trippy, this is much heavier and darker. It’s very much like King Crimson and perhaps Djam Karet. Yet there is some 1960s music in the mix, too. It has a real “secret agent” kind of vibe in some ways. This is a real powerhouse that’s a bit crazed, but also a lot of fun.
Iron Rice Bowl Has Rusted
This is very Asian in sound. The musical explorations are less rock than they are world music. That said, there is still a rock edge here. Not that it matters, though, as this is compelling and very proggy.
Hydraulic Fracas
This comes in very mellow with a flute weaving world music mystery. Eventually other things gradually begin to rise upward. It eventually works out to some seriously hard rocking territory as it continues.
Tunnel at the End of the Light
Fusion and more merge on this killer jam. It’s very intriguing. It’s pure prog with space and jazz elements working together. There are things that make me think of King Crimson, but the space is a different angle than that.
Apple of My Mind's Eye 1
Asian and rather trippy, this is weird music. It’s also cool. It’s abstract and world music based.
Half Remembered Drowning Dream
Jazzy and more melodic, this is an energized and exploratory jam.
Sleepwalking The Dog
This is a much more rocking jazz meets space and more jam. It’s a powerhouse for sure.
Wanderland Wonderlust
Traditional Asian music opens this and moves it forward. That style holds it as it evolves and builds. Harder rocking stuff emerges later to really kick things into gear.
Cat Hair All Over It
This is a crazy and very strange jam. It’s dissonant and quite free-form. It’s not really my kind of thing, but it’s still quite cool, really.
MBBL
Coming out of the previous piece, this is a high energy, intense jam with a really driving rhythm section. It gets pretty crazed.
All Food Comes From China
Asian music meets psychedelia here. It gets pretty crazed before eventually ending the album.
 
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