Moraine: Manifest DeNsity

January 30, 2014

As a progressive rock band featuring violin and cello in addition to guitar, bass, and drums, it isn’t surprising that Moraine’s sound is in some ways reminiscent of ’73-’74 King Crimson (and perhaps even more reminiscent of ex-Crimson violinist David Cross’ instrumental solo work). But the comparison goes only so far. While the band does explore the nexus of classical tonalities and hard-rock edginess, and guitarist Dennis Rea frequently employs Fripp-like sustained tones and oblique soloing strategies, Moraine’s approach is typically jazzier (shades of early Mahavishnu) and considerably more groove oriented. Dark timbres, dense harmonic aggregations, and exotic melodies abound—along with the usual odd time signatures, quirky phrasing, and other de rigueur elements of the genre. And while the emphasis here is clearly on ensemble playing, Rea’s guitar work continually imbues the proceedings with splashes of color from his global grab bag of stylistic goodies—including liberal dashes of oriental intrigue. Moonjune. —Barry Cleveland

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