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Apps 79 review for ProgArchives.

John Colling review

App79 ProgArchives Review

Multi-instrumentalist and composer David Campbell is the main figure behind this Canadian act. He was part of a couple of jam bands of the Toronto area during the 90's, when he decided to form his own midi-based Fusion ensemble alongside bassist Pelle Vadim. Thus The Rebel Wheel were born and Campbell recruited sax player Christopher Plock, drummer Cab Lind and keyboardist Nils Bell in a line-up where midi technology met the sound of natural instruments. The band released a self-produced album in 2004 carrying the name of the band as a title.

From the first tracks the aim of the group to combine modern technology with physical instrumentation and influences from Prog Rock and Jazz are more than clear.The 9-min. opener ''1oz'' sounds like the dark side of KING CRIMSON visiting the Latin roots of AL DI MEOLA and the experimentation of HERMETIC SCIENCE, offering smooth acoustic textures and powerful grooves. Next come three short instrumental tracks, where the gears are up and running over a Fusion enviroment filled with changing tempos and atmospheres, delivering echoes from KING CRIMSON, BILL BRUDFORD and RUSH in an amalgam of jazzy, rhythmic and heavier explorations. The ideas are pretty nice and the complexity of the compositions is good enough, but the mass of digital sounds, especially the drumming, is rather disturbing. The last track, ''Crystal Rain suite'', is the most ambitious attempt by Campbell to offer contemporary music with old-school roots. Clocking at 28 minutes, this is a piece largely based on keyboards, sampled effects and ambiences with a deep, experimental edge and often a bizarre, almost chaotic atmosphere. The opening minutes sound like a more modern version of PINK FLOYD with vocals, orchestral segments and mellow guitars in evidence, before an explosion towards a Heavy/Fusion style occurs, based on angular electric guitars and layered synthesizers. Again KING CRIMSON and RUSH are good references at this point. A cinematic orchestration at the middle will open the doors for a Jazz/Fusion orgasm of synths, samplers and jazzy guitars, an acoustic part with Campbell vocals in evidence and a finale featuring more or less the atmosphere of the opening section.

Definitely the least known work of The Rebel Wheel, a deep trip into a Fusion world with progressive flashes from past and present and plenty of synthetic vibes. Not very cohesive as a whole, this will please fans of the jazzier and more experimental side of Progressive Rock...2.5


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Progressive Soundscapes

I've been involved with internet radio for about 4 or 5 years now. I get a great many discs sent to me, and sadly, a lot are just what I call sanitized, homogenized interpretations of the progressive music from the late 60's and early 70's. It's musically ok, but it's all been done before; nothing truly inspiring.

But every now and then I get a disc that's just one step ahead of the rest. I have to admit guys, the name didn't grab me at all at first. And when I opened the envelope I went, "oh great, another prog disc for the unplayed box." But for some reason I brought your disc out with me tonight. I put it into my car's player completely expecting to remove it after the first few bars of music. What can I say was absolutely stunned. Right from the opening notes of "1 Ounce" it just reached out and grabbed my attention and just wouldn't let go. I was literally grinning. I loved it. It was far and away from what I was expecting. It is so refreshing when you get something new that's truly outside the norm and really captures and embodies the spirit of progressive. All I can say in any reference of comparison, is that it reminded me of the days gone by when I'd put the newest Crimson, Zappa, Gentle Giant, Miles, etc. in my car's cassette player and go "What the heck is this?" And then months later we'd all go, "aahhhh, so THAT'S what they're playing! What a great lp!"


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