Moraine - Metamorphic Rock - 2011



... recorded live at the North East Art Rock Festival (NEARfest) ...


Since releasing their widely acclaimed debut CD “Manifest deNsity” in 2009, Seattle’s Moraine has quickly built a reputation as one of the most electrifying and original instrumental rock bands anywhere -- winning over listeners across the globe with its unique amalgam of art rock, forward-thinking jazz, world music, and more.

Now there is a new release from the band with chamber-rock origins. “Metamorphic Rock” consists largely of new and previously unreleased material, augmented by a number of radically retooled tunes from “Manifest deNsity”. “Metamorphic Rock” is recorded live at the North East Art Rock Festival (NEARfest) in Bethlehem on June 20, 2010.


Dennis Rea - guitar; Alicia DeJoie - violin; James DeJoie - baritone saxophone, flute, percussion, Kevin Millard - NS/Stick (8-string extended-range bass); Stephen Cavit - drums, percussion


On this overwhelming album you find the following tracks:
“Irreducible Complexity” (3:39), “Manifest Density” (3:45), “Save the Yuppie Breeding Grounds” (4:02), “Disillusioned Avatar” / “Dub Interlude” / “Ephebus Amoebus” (10:25), “Disoriental Suite” (“Bagua”, “Kan Hai De Re Zi”, “Views from Chicheng Precipice”) (11:46), “Kuru” (4:31), “The Okanogan Lobe” (7:36), “Uncle Tang's Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (3:44), “Blues for a Bruised Planet” (4:35), “Waylaid” (5:31) and “Middlebräu” (9:09).

Because I’m not in the possession of Moraine’s debut album “Manifest deNsity”, I’m new to Moraine’s music. When you put this album for the first time in your CD player it is an overwhelming experience. The often complex music is a mix of progressive rock, jazz fusion and Avant-garde. Sometimes also the band’s chamber-rock origins shines true the music. The music is highly original and has a lot of power in this live setting. The unique style of the band is partly realized by the use of some unusual instrument combinations. For example the use of the baritone saxophone in combination with the electric violin. The band has the power of a band like Djam Karet. And the music has sometimes a resemblance with the music of Mahavishnu Orchestra and early King Crimson, both bands from the seventies. However the music often is complex and complicated, the band also manage to put some beautiful melodies in their music. The violin is the perfect instrument for those passages. You can hear this for example in the “Disillusioned Avatar / Dub Interlude / Ephebus Amoebus” suite. In the “Disoriental Suite” (“Bagua”, “Kan Hai De Re Zi”, “Views from Chicheng Precipice)” the band integrates influences of Oriental and Classical music. The part you have been listening to can also been seen as a resting point. A very welcome contrast next to all that hectic music.


Because of the complexity of the music, “Metamorphic Rock” is more an album for the adventurous progresive rock lover. But if you are open minded you’re in for an overwhelming musical ride. Check out Moraine, a band with skilled musicians who don’t make any concessions to their music and is exploring the boundaries of progressive rock, jazz and Avant-garde.

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - December 2011 -   - MoonJune Records