Skip to main content

Progressive Rock Review: Not Otherwise Specified-Projective Instruments

Release Date: 25thFeb 2014
Label: Weeping Angel 
Although this is the second release from Not Otherwise Specified, going by the title of Projective Instruments, I must admit that this “band” had escaped detection under my musical radar. The “band” in question is a bit of a misnomer, in that Not Otherwise Specified is a one man, multi-instrumentalist Craig Kerley, and his debut release, which was well received, was the album, Judgment.

Apart from playing all the instruments on the album, Craig sings, and produced the album as well, although he does allow Jerry Guidroz (Neal Morse) to mix and master Projective Instruments.

Music wise, Craig does not meander much from the debut, which I’ve now listened to, but that does not mean this is in any way a retreading of paths already followed. Think Pink Floyd, early King Crimson evolving into Arena/Pallas and then venturing into the domain of Dream Theater and in that mélange somewhere you would find Not Otherwise Specified.

Projective Instruments is a 7 track album with a total playing time of around 63 minutes, with track 4, “Sorbet” at 2:38 minutes, the shortest on offer and then the epic “Racing Shadows” at 23:32 minutes, the longest piece on the album and is a 5 piece suite.

The album starter, “Harvest Soul” (9:46) is a storming piece of work. A genuinely heavy piece of metal, but thankfully  lacking the “growled” vocals, which blasts off immediately and then continues to fire on all cylinders, with some very melodic, almost gentle, passages. This is a terrific entry to the album Projective Instruments, which wants you to keep listening to what follows with interest.

“Hold On” (4:04) is again a track which demands attention with superb guitar, amazing synths and a powerful voice and also varies from areas of light and dark. The third track, “Falling” (11:20) fires up with some amazing bass, and is then joined with more guitar and keys. The main component of the tracks thus far, is to move easily from an all-out aural assault, to being gently subdued and this mixture of contrasts is excellent.

The short “Sorbet” (2:38) follows and is a gentle, haunting, acoustic track with superb acoustic guitar and ethereal/plaintive orchestral strings in the background built around a terrific melody line. From the shortest to the longest, “Racing Shadows” (23:32) , which can be split into 5 sections, “The Starting Line,”“Pitfalls,” I’m The Man”, “Fine Dead Song”  and  “Again.” A piano lead intro with excellent powerful vocals is soon joined by drums, bass and a wind instrument (possibly synth generated?) setting up a track that slowly builds. This is a real tour-de-force of a track with constant ebbing and flowing through many themes and ideas. From the simple, uncluttered areas, it can suddenly soar into a high energy workout. The playing time of this track is suitably disguised by the swings in the music that occur and the 23+ minutes appear to pass much quicker.

A very different track follows this epic with “Caveat” (3:56), which is an a cappella track starting with a solo voice and builds by adding others at different times and then stripping them away again. This is an unusual track that seems to work, but do not ask me why? 

The final track, “Signal To Noise” (8:10) has a mixture of radio voices/clips vying to be heard before a plaintive piano theme starts up and an emotive vocal builds, to be replaced shortly by strings and a plucked acoustic guitar, before the vocal reappears. Around the 3 minute mark, there is a fair amount of jagged guitar riffs over some feedback with the vocals drifting down into the mix. Chiming guitars build from around the 5 minute point, leaving the voice “screaming” somewhere, away in the background. The track then shifts completely with another passage of keyboards/strings, before the jagged guitar riffs re-enter the scene and the track is on its way out, having bludgeoned itself, in a strangely painless manner, into your brain.

Projective Instruments is a rollercoaster of an album, in that it can produce moments of sheer poetic music gentleness and just as suddenly sweep everything aside as it “wakens the beast” of pure metal. Not an album for the fainthearted, or those with delicate hearing, but an immensely satisfying listen for all of its 63 minutes. I think that you should clear a space on the shelf for this one.

4.5/5 Stars
Harvest Soul
Hold On
Racing Shadows
Signal To Noise

Key Tracks:  Harvest Soul: Racing Shadows: Caveat

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

May 6, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk


Popular posts from this blog

New Age Instrumental Review: Anaya Music-AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music)

Release Date: February 2, 2018 Label: Anaya Music Website
Around this time a year ago I had the experience of listening to Anaya Music and providing coverage of Eternity.  It was an uplifting experience and a memorable listen as I recall.
Now with February drawing closer AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music) will arrive.
Once again, the recording features several exceptional collaborations between Anaya Music and a live virtual symphony orchestra recorded in the heart of Prague, the capital of the Czech republic. The orchestra combines members of the finest ensembles in Prague, including the Czech Philharmonic.
I think they should rename the orchestra to “The Live Spiritual Orchestra.” If you have been exposed to Anaya Music you will understand what that means. If this is your first journey with this music you will find out very quickly. Either way, this is spiritually uplifting music that leaves a smile on your soul. It’s like the term digital footprint, there is an everlasting m…

Jazz Fusion-Rock-Pop-Funk Review: Project Grand Slam-Trippin’

Release Date: June 29, 2018 Label: Cakewalk Records Website
This will be my sixth voyage into the world of Project Grand Slam (PGS). So, what is this experience going to be like this time? I would expect the same great combination of jazz, rock, funk, and pop that I always enjoyed.

Just so you all know PGS is: Robert Miller (bass), Mario Castro (saxophones), Bayden Goyo (keyboards), Joel E. Mateo (drums), Guillermo Barron Rios (percussion), Tristan Clark (guitar) and the beautiful Ms. Ziarra Washington (vocals).

So, now we are Trippin’ into 2018 with PGS. And the first track titled “1972” was like turning on the radio and hearing the Average White Band or Tower of Power. Yes sir, on the AM dial, it came blaring through back in those days. 

The title track is a real gas too. This number has some great sax from Castro and a killer rhythm section courtesy of Miller and Mateo. It shines the spotlight on them clear and bright. Let me tell you, those two are like the dynamic duo, kind of like a p…

New Biography on The Cars Singer/Bassist Benjamin Orr by Vermont Writer Joe Milliken to be Published November 2018!

Bellows Falls, VT – Veteran music journalist Joe Milliken recently announced a publishing deal with the Lanham, Maryland-based publisher Rowman & Littlefield Publishers to produce his first book, a biography about the late Benjamin Orr. Orr was the co-founder, co-lead singer, and bassist for the platinum-selling rock band The Cars. Titled Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars, a release date is set for November 15, 2018.

Often considered the band’s heartthrob, Orr possessed an incredible voice, diverse musical talent and rare stage presence, all balanced by a magnetic, yet enigmatic personality, striking good looks, and a relentless determination to reach rock stardom. Born Benjamin Orzechowski (aka “Benny Eleven Letters”) and raised in the Cleveland suburb of Parma Heights, Orr was, prior to becoming a world-famous rock star with The Cars, a “teen star” as a house band musician for the nationally syndicated television show Upbeat.

A few years later Ben met his musical partner and …