Herd of Instinct — Manifestation
(Firepool Records FR006, 2016, CD)
by Peter Thelen, 2016-05-27:
Three times is the charm, or so it seems for Herd of Instinct’s third full length album, which is nothing short of a Stick player’s instrumental dream with dual keyboards adding a new dimension to the band’s overall sound. The complex textures, polyrhythms, and lavish instrumental densities are woven into all of the ten memorable band-penned compositions, each one featuring powerful melodic savvy and a seemingly natural disposition to groove. Since 2013’s Conjure the band lost two founding members, drummer Jason Spradlin and guitarist Mike Davison, leaving multi-instrumentalist Mark Cook the only original member remaining. But the shake-up (which occurred gradually throughout the interim) has been good for them, resulting in new members Rick Read (Chapman Stick, bass, and bass pedals), Mike McGary (keyboards), Gayle Ellett (of Djam Karet, playing mostly keyboards and some guitar) coming on board, with drummer Ross Young playing on most of the ten cuts, Bill Bachman drumming on the others. Guest players Bob Fisher (flute and sax) and Stephen Page (violin) contribute generously throughout the set list. A cut like “Gridlock” is bound to remind the listener a little of 80s King Crimson with some middle-eastern influences merged in with both sax and violin in attendance; when the synth played through a vocoder takes a solo, the result gets is pretty cool all around. The mighty Mellotron is used extensively on numerous cuts, as well as other vintage sounding keys (Hammond organ, Moog, bass pedals, and more), but more than anything it’s the dueling Chapman Stick, guitars, and Warr guitar that provide the solid backbone for most of what’s here. There’s an amazing amount of variety herewithin, both in the structures and arrangements, making each piece a unique statement. In short, with Manifestation, HOI has topped all their previous efforts!
by Henry Schneider, 2016-12-03:
The Aaron Clift Experiment and Herd of Instinct played some gigs together earlier this year and Aaron encouraged them to play at this years Voyager Festival in Austin in September. I was blessed to witness their mesmerizing performance. I was familiar with their previous release, 2011’s self-titled CD, and 2014’s side project Spoke of Shadows. But I had not heard their new album Manifestation. Though Peter Thelen reviewed it earlier this year, I wanted to contribute my views. The music on Manifestation contains ten different, complex, and intelligently orchestrated instrumentals. Different themes interweave creating a very interesting and enjoyable listening experience. I spoke with Mark Cook, band leader and Warr guitarist, after their performance and being a quiet humble guy, he seemed a bit embarrassed when I called his compositions intelligent. Mark is quite the virtuoso Warr guitarist, but he claims that he is still learning the instrument. You do not realize what is happening by listening to the disc, but watching Mark play live, you soon discover that he is playing two different melody lines, one with each hand, on this tapped guitar and controller. In addition to Mark, bass and Chapman Stick musician Rick Read enhances the complexity of the compositions. There is more than a passing reference to Robert Fripp and King Crimson on many of the instrumentals. And remote band member Gayle Ellet (Djam Karet) provides Mellotron and the subliminal Sci-Fi touches. There is some diversity between the different tracks. Interspersed between the Frippian compositions are some funky bass lines, the acoustic guitar and ambient electronics of “Baba Yaga,” the dissonance of “Saddha,” the eerie “Nocturne” that stands alone, and the upbeat “Time and Again” with some cool organ sounds, possibly Hammond. All in all an excellent album, and if you do have the opportunity to see them live, do not pass it by.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more