160

Xtreme Measures: Xtreme Measures

By

Sign in to view read count
Xtreme Measures: Xtreme Measures What is it about prog rock that puts people off?

One thing is certain: many artists who identify with the "progressive" pretenses of Dream Theater and Yes are concerned about the technicality and complexity of their music. Toward this end, they employ advanced musical theory to make their songs more difficult to play, more "virtuosic." This is a very pompous means by which to create art, but it can be quite engaging to the right listener.

The all-instrumental Xtreme Measures is such a group, taking a stab at technicality. Over-the-top syncopation from the rhythm section, awkward time changes (and sometimes ridiculous meters), and rapid-paced instrumental breaks dominate the group's debut album.

"Turbulence" is a great example of XM's writing style. Four bars of intense 32nd notes begin the song. After this the guitar introduces a tranquil, soothing melody to which there is literally no transition. The melody is unmemorable and the arrangement seems to be completely soulless, evidenced by an odd bar of transitional music lacking of any kind of rhythm. The song is a good attempt at virtuosity, featuring very keen musicianship and quality electric tone, but it seems to be another product of "prog for the sake of prog" attitudes.

Not all the songs are as (mis)structured as "Turbulence"—much of the album is very improvisational. "War Zone" is based on solo guitar work; "Distraction" is a well-structured but melodic composition, more accessible than "Turbulence" while still retaining an air of pomposity. Xtreme Measures has strong fusion leanings, but it is at heart a progressive instrumental album. Traditional jazz aficionados will appreciate the polished improvisation and elaborate rhythms, but the synthesizers and distorted guitar may be distractingly new.

These players set high standards for their work. Nick Carr has a very unique style of guitar improvisation: very clean-toned but also very fast and intricate, evocative of Larry Coryell. Dean Gaudoin adds fretless bass with discretion; his bass lines are tasteful and creative. The keyboards, performed by Gianni D'Ambra, reinforce the music with one foot in electronica and the other in classic fusion. D'Ambra uses modern synths as well as electric piano and organ sounds, and he's partly responsible for the jazz touches throughout the record. Daniel Luttick is probably the most noticeable talent, playing difficult fills in the vein of rock drummers like Mike Portnoy.

Xtreme Measures' instrumental skill far overshadows the group's writing abilities. It seems that these players are more concerned with complexity than cohesiveness.


Track Listing: Fragile; Rise of the Midnight Sun; Unsound Reflection; Turbulence; Misanthropia; Tears of the Sun; War Zone; Distraction; Illusion.

Personnel: Daniel Luttick: percussion; Dean Gaudoin: bass; Nick Carr: guitar; Gianni D'Ambra: keyboards.

Title: Xtreme Measures | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Do For You?" CD/LP/Track Review Do For You?
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "Atmosphères" CD/LP/Track Review Atmosphères
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "Graveyard Whistling" CD/LP/Track Review Graveyard Whistling
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "We Live Here" CD/LP/Track Review We Live Here
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "Manhattan EP" CD/LP/Track Review Manhattan EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 2, 2017
Read "Straight Ahead From Havana" CD/LP/Track Review Straight Ahead From Havana
by James Nadal
Published: June 6, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.