Hook The Captain - Bang To This

Year of Release: 2002
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 74:16:00

Hook The Captain is the pseudonym of Justin Katz (contributor to BPM Culture Magazine, DJMixed.com, URB, and XLR8R) used for this release, the title of which I don't know. You see, Hook has released an 7 track EP The Temple, and some of the sequence of tracks matches a track listing shown at Amazon.com (yup, you can buy his music there), but there are more than 7 tracks here, which would lead you to believe that it's Bang To This, but then the track listing is wrong, not matching either the Mp3.com version of the tracklisting or that which appears at Amazon.com? well, its just quite confusing. This that I'm reviewing is a CDR sent to my by Hook, so... well, that may have something to do with the confusion. Which is why I've just simply called it, He's The Pants (the faux tagline invented in promoting this artist ? invented by the artist). [Aug 2009: I've switched with refering to this as Bang To This -SS]

What isn't confusing is how to describe this album, slick sounding progressive electronic pop. Take one drum machine pounding out solid and demonstrative beats at various tempos, even in one song, and one thing comes to mind ? techno. Yes, this is electronic music with a techno beat, which makes it seem all very European. But progressive music fans will probably enjoy this, too. Sure, it makes you want to dance ? whether you should or not, is another question ? more than it makes you want to air guitar. But I've been attracted to this kind of music, too, via Future Sound Of London and many of the artists on the Waveform, Silent, Astralwerks, etc. labels. And yet, at times, Hook The Captain also sounds like Porcupine Tree, especially in the fragile, breathy, effect-laden way Katz sings. And at other points I thought of the techno-remixes of such Marillion tunes as "Memory Of Water" ? but then Steve Hogarth sang soft and breathy-ish there, too, so? Neither of which thus bestow "progressive-hood" upon the music in and of themselves, but given that Porcupine Tree still seem to be asking and trying to answer the question "what if," maybe at least one of them does. And certainly if your definition of progressive isn't exclusively tied to progressive rock? whatever that exactly is.

The set opens with a piece that sounds like a meeting between 90s electronic dance and some smooth hybrid of Steely Dan and Ambrosia, with a soft-spoken Peter Gabriel on vocals. The second track sounds like a floaty Porcupine Tree piece circa Stupid Dream with a chilly techno beat cutting across it, and soon dominating it. In fact, I wouldn't doubt that if PT hadn't gone heavier, this is the other direction they'd have gone? and could yet. "Take Me Away" sounds like it might turn into a techno version of "Walk This Way," until a preset sounding bass line (my Yamaha keyboard has the sabegins and foggy synths come rolling in. The squeaky-ish female vocals are little off putting to me, but female vocals return on a later track ("Reach"?) where she sounds like Kate Bush (they're credited to "Petra Faulk and Kate (the polish chick)" ).

Sure it's a man and a bank of synths that create everything from the sonicscapes to effects to the many-beats-per-minute drum tracks in various permutations. But you know what, it sounds pretty damn good. Some pieces may go on a bit too long, or do nothing but repeat the same phrase for a bit too long, but overall it's a rather interesting release. One that is interesting enough that, if you are very inclined toward this style of music, you'll give more than a just a few spins. If your interest is more than passing, it might get a little tiring after a while, leaving you reaching for a little more "traditionally progressive."

[Justin Katz is also recording under the pseudonym J-Punch, as I've now (Aug 2009 still) added to the discog below ?ed.]

What's Inside of Us / I'll Follow You / The Way You Like It / Liquid / Temple (Deep House) / Reach / One Million / Red Blood / Temple / Sigh / In Dreams / Whatever / Take Me Away / Hook Theme Song 2002

[Thanks to the review site Fear Of A Blank Planet who also ? it appears ? reviewed this CD and from whom I obtained the tracklisting? so now we can include it here as well. That connection, by the way, kinda gives add'l creedence to my PT reference? maybe?? ? SS Aug 2009]

Justin Katz ? synths, programming

The Temple (ep) (2001)
Bang To This (2003/2004)
Bang It Forward (2005)
Level (2006)
J-Punch And Dave Moonshine - When You Disappear (ep) (2008)
J-Punch - Take Everything (2009)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: November 16th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.hookthecaptain.com
Hits: 600
Language: english


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