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Days Between Stations

Days Between Stations

Review by Gary Hill

This is really an intriguing album. Days Between Stations have created a unique sound that certainly exists within the realms of progressive rock. That said, it’s unlike any prog rock you’ve ever heard – or at least I’m willing to be that. This music seems just as happy to sit in space territory percolating with undercurrents that never reach the surface as it is to soar in fusion-like territory. A lot of the music has jazz elements, but they have some common ground with Pink Floyd and Hawkwind. This is definitely unusual, but it’s also great.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Requiem For The Living
They open the album with the first (and shorter) of two epics, this piece that weighs in at almost thirteen and a half minutes. It rises up gradually with textural layers building upward. At around the one and a half minute mark it starts to become more melodic. Piano creates a lovely backdrop and other sonic elements merge over the top. This gets a bit noisy at times, but it’s also quite lush. Shrieking keyboards punch up here and there later in the track and when they go away we get something that sounds like a non-lyrical mournful moaning in terms of vocals. At around the half way mark the cut is completely deconstructed and reassembled. A low rumbling sort of sound creates a rhythmic texture and then other music elements skate across the top. This holds it for a time until they explode out into one of the more melodic passages of the cut. It is powerful prog. This shares some common ground with Pink Floyd. When guitar emerges over the top that Pink Floyd comparison is even more valid. After running through in that vein for a time they drop it back down to the mellower motif that lead to this guitar segment. They keep it there for a time before the guitar feels the need to shine again. This moves almost towards the metallic (reminding me a bit of Tool for some reason). They climb higher and higher on this until it suddenly changes to a keyboard oriented progressive rock flourish that ends the piece.
Either-Or
This comes in fairly slow and moody. It shifts towards Pink Floyd sounds for a time and then moves out into a completely different jam. This is part metal, part jazz and all strangeness. Female non-lyrical vocals dance around this arrangement. As they work through some thematic variants this segment feels more like Dark Side of the Moon era Pink Floyd. This eventually shifts out to a keyboard dominated section. The keyboards really shine here in a powerful extended solo.  They take this out into weird space for a short time and then end it.
Intermission 1
Although this piece is less than two and a half minutes in length, it has some of my favorite music of the whole CD. It starts with ambient keyboard sounds that serve as the background for a sound bite of a woman talking. Then it shifts out in a lush and powerful balladic format that holds the rest of the piece.

How To Seduce A Ghost
The music that opens this is suitably ghost-like, warbly and spacey. After a time like this some percussion shows up in the mix. Then they fire out into a strong instrumental movement that has a harder edged, but still packs a lot of melody into it. As the guitar solos this again resembles Pink Floyd. They drop it back to a dramatic and pretty keyboard dominated After a time these two elements are merged and they carry onward. They turn it out to weirdness before they end.

Radio Song
Strange ambient textures start this. Then percussion joins and soon this becomes a faster paced jam that feels a lot like Hawkwind to me. Robotic vocals, kind of like Kraftwerk are placed in this mix. They take the song through a few reworkings and recreations as they carry it forward. This turns extremely jazzy – at times feeling like early Chicago or Blood Sweat and Tears before they finally close it out.
Intermission 2
This starts out more hard rock oriented, but then shifts after a time to weird space sounds. Sound bites (bits of movies) come in as this ends.

Laudanum
They close the disc with another epic. This one is a massive twenty two plus minutes in length. An uneasy, but still sedate motif leads us off here. As this grows piano enters and seems to want to lead the way, but the disquieting elements remain and eventually outlive this piano segment. Jazz stylings enter as they move forward and the song begins to feel a bit more welcoming. This becomes quite a powerful fusion jam as they carry on. Still bits of Crimsonian weirdness come up here and there and space elements remain in the mix. They move it towards a louder and quite melodic journey later. They shift out to space a few minutes in and then various melodic elements move across this backdrop. After a time this grows back out to more soaring territory and the guitar solos over a wonderful keyboard based motif. The next change is out once again to more pure jazz. Eventually sharp jabs of guitar come over and coalesce into a soaring jam. We’re pretty fully into fusion meets Pink Floyd territory and keyboards provide a joint soloing effort with the guitar. They shift the emphasis to those keys for a time before the guitar roars back in. Eventually this gives way once more to ambient space and they start to rise gradually back up from there. This becomes noisier again and then crescendos with only a hum sound remaining. That sound holds it for a time but then other sounds coalesce around it in textural atmosphere as they once again begin rising back up. They bring it to boiling and then drop back down once more. Piano brings in a melody and then after a time fusion guitar takes it. Acoustic balladic guitar joins and then they move this out into another fairly pure jazz treatment. It becomes quite pretty as they keep working through this. That section takes the song, and the album, out in a very satisfying way.

 
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