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Days Between Stations: In Extremis

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Eggshell Man"

The band moniker, Days Between Stations is named after Steve Erikson's 1985 novel and perhaps intimates an ongoing musical transition set forth by Southern California-based multi-instrumentalists, Oscar Fuentes Bills and Sepand Samzadeh. In Extremis is the duo's second release following its self-titled 2007 album. Here, the artists employ fabled progressive-rockers—keyboardist Rick Wakeman, bassist Tony Levin, XTC vocalist Colin Moulding and the Angel City Orchestra among others. This production also features some of guitar virtuoso Peter Banks' (Yes, Flash) final recordings before passing on March 7 2013.

With the traditional prog-rock style keys, synths and polyrhythmic forays, merged with sinewy time signatures amid a bevy of dips and spikes, the alternating ensembles instill an artistic schema outlined on meticulously executed arrangements. Prime examples of these attributes are evidenced on "Eggshell Man." Commencing with Samzadeh's discreet acoustic guitar phrasings and drummer Billy Sherwood's yearning vocals, Bills shadows the warm climate with a sense of antiquity via his musty Mellotron progressions and Wakeman's balmy Mellotron flute lines. The band aligns classic British prog with multiple fabrics, treated with Banks' streaming textures, leading to sturdy back beats and thundering grooves.

The group raises the pitch during the bridge and opens the floodgates as Wakeman executes a lyrically resplendent Minimoog solo, preceding the wistful opening theme revisited during the closeout. Indeed, Days Between Stations nestles an artsy approach into its repertoire, often contrasting the soloists' tenacious yet purposeful excursions, and seeded by the leaders' wide-ranging agenda.

Track Listing:

Personnel: Oscar Fuentes Bills: piano, Rhodes, Mellotron, synthesizers and electronic percussion; Sepand Samzadeh: rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar and Tar; Peter Banks: guitar textures and rhythm guitar; Ali Nouri: Tar solo; Billy Sherwood: vocals and drums; Rick Wakeman: Mellotron flute and Minimoog solo.

Title: In Extremis | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced

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