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Hybrid Child (CD)
What if I told you that not every "American Idol" contestant has been involved with bland, mediocre pop music? What if they released truly forward-thinking-yet-backward-thinking prog-rock? What if they infused it with catchy pop melodies and virtuosic instrumental work? District 97 is just the band I describe and "Hybrid Child" is one hell of an album. Fronted by Leslie Hunt, a former "American Idol" contestant, backed by some of Chicago's finest musicians, including a cellist from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, this band is creating quite a stir in the progressive rock world, garnering the praises of prog mainstays like Bill Bruford (who has played with them live), John Wetton, Roine Stolt, and others. But what is this album all about? Well, the first four tracks are as concise as the album gets, and they all exhibit some interesting traits: Leslie's pop-influenced vocal melodies, guitarist Jim Tashjian's riffs, drummer Jonathan Schang's shifting time signatures, Rob Clearfield's exquisite keyboard playing, and bassist Patrick Mulcahy's tight playing. The band also utilized cellist Katinka Klein for an added texture, and it works flawlessly. The production is slick and modern, the songwriting is as accessible as prog gets, but never sounds watered down or unintelligent. There are no boring parts, and everything sounds in its right place. "I Can't Take You With Me" and "Termites" are especially powerful tracks, the former combining the band's penchant for pop hooks with prog instrumental playing flawlessly, and the latter showing a nearly prog-metal intensity. The final batch of tracks are part of a larger, half-hour composition called "Mindscan," and it consists of many sections, each very different. Some parts consist of very little music, focusing on ambiance and electronic noise, others being songs in their own rights. I did find the experience of "Mindscan" a little jolting at first, as it can be quite a task to listen to in its entirety, but the more song-oriented sections are as great as the rest of the record. None of this truly diminishes the wonderful sound of this band.
139 SEK 
 
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Specifications
Type: CD
Recorded: 2010
Release Date: 2010-09-14
Label: Laser's Edge
Country: US
Item No: LSER10057.2
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Track List
01 I don't wanna wait another day - 7:17
02 I can't take you with me - 5:36
03 The man who knows your name - 8:48
04 Termites - 5:53
05 Mindscan pt. 1: arrival - 1:30
06 Mindscan pt. 2: entrance - 3:07
07 Mindscan pt. 3: realization - 2:45
08 Mindscan pt. 4: welcome - 2:47
09 Mindscan pt. 5: examination - 2:53
10 Mindscan pt. 6: hybrid child - 3:30
11 Mindscan pt. 7: exploration - 2:19
12 Mindscan pt. 8: what do they want - 2:42
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