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The Instigations — Insults & Injuries
(Bandcamp no#, 2023, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-04-30

Insults & Injuries Cover art

As much as The Instigations sounds like the name of a band, it is in fact the work of one man, Owen Green of Los Angeles, California. As things stand on this, the third Instigations album, it’s Green’s project alone with occasional guest players, fewer on this album than on the last, as his mastery of a number of instruments continues to grow, though precise clues to the instrumentation used are not given. The eleven tracks at hand — or thirteeen if one gets the CD — seem to fall into a couple general categories, the first being keyboard-based progressive rock with bass and percussives, the second being Middle Eastern flavored world music, and then there are some outliers that move into jazzy territories, slapstick, and such. With only a couple exceptions herein, it’s an all instrumental endeavor, and a fairly impressive one especially given the variety of arrangements. One of those exceptions is one of the album’s standouts. “Long Story Short (Shamans of Light)” is a ten-minute piece combining progressive rock stylings (yeah, the Mellotron is here too), intermittent blasts of surf-rock, and three guest Tuvan throat singers for one of the most strange and compelling things I’ve heard in my thirty years of reviewing music. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of other standouts here as well, like the opener “Theories of Relative Conspiracies,” where a piano intro gives way to a deep driving odd bass groove and all the trappings of a prog masterpiece; with the quirky “Every Napoleon Meets His Watergate” the sound takes a jazzier turn and features guest percussion by Joe Berardi; among the world music tunes, “Rugs and Goats 834” is the first one the listener will encounter at the number-two spot, and with the oud, percussion, and blasts of strings, it takes you right there to the open-air market in Tangier; “Eyes Up, Feet on the Ground” also has a strong Middle Eastern feel, though in a slower gentler way, with the oud tangling it up with piano and vibraphone. The bonus track, “Irregardlessly Irregardless,” with its nonsensical spoken word narration merits a mention here, the underlying music is definitely from the world music well, and it’s guaranteed to put a smile on yer face. All taken, Insults & Injuries has a bounty of outstanding sounds on offer for the discerning listener.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): The Instigations

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